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Season's readings: What to buy for every reader on your list


Need a little help with your holiday shopping?

Katie Turzansky, manager of Edmonton Public Library’s Strathcona branch, is sharing book recommendations with CBC’s Radio Active over the holiday season.

Whether you’re looking for a graphic novel or a royal romance, there’s something for everyone on this list.

Potato on a Bike by Elise Gravel

Turzansky said her toddler loves this call-and-response book, which came out in October and is full of humour and silly scenarios.

The Worst Book Ever by Elise Gravel

The Worst Book Ever is a comic book by Elise Gravel. (Submitted by Drawn & Quarterly)

Don’t believe the title.

“It is absolutely not the worst book!” Turzansky said. 

Gravel’s story is intentionally error-filled, begging readers to intervene and rescue its exasperated main characters.

Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe

Pokko and the Drum is a picture book by Matthew Forsythe. (Thanh Pham, Simon & Schuster)

In this book, Pokko the frog plays a drum she received as a gift from her parents. Pokko’s loud music receives more and more attention from local forest animals, but her parents are anything but proud.

In My Anaana’s Amautik by Nadia Sammurtok and Lenny Lishchenko

In My Anaana’s Amautik is a picture book by Nadia Sammurtok (left) and illustrated by Lenny Lishchenko (right). (Inhabit Media)

An amautik is a traditional Inuit parka with a pouch that can be used to carry a child.

This gentle book has readers imagine themselves inside that pouch.

Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon by James Lovegrove

Set in 1890, this Christmas story features some familiar characters dealing with a new client, Eva Allerthorpe, who is convinced she’s haunted by a demonic Christmas spirit.

Sounds like Christmas by Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko

Sounds Like Christmas is a picture book by Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko. (Scholastic Canada)

Fans of classics like The Paperbag Princess, Stephanie’s Ponytail and Love You Forever might enjoy Robert Munsch’s  Christmas story, which came out in October.

The book follows two children, Lincoln and Georgia, as they compete in decorating a Christmas tree. 

Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

In the latest volume of the Shopaholic series, protagonist Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) returns home to England, where she agrees to host Christmas dinner.

Christmas at Highclere by the Countess of Carnarvon

Calling all Downton Abbey fans: This book gives readers a peek inside Highclere Castle, where the popular series was filmed.

The Countess of Carnarvon’s hardcover book includes historic stories, decor traditions, recipes and more.

Shopping for a hard-to-please young reader?

“A few of these were recommended to me by parents of children who weren’t super passionate about reading and have just gone all-in on these series,” Turzansky said.
 
The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey
 
Part novel, part graphic novel, this book stars Mr. Wolf, Mr. Shark, Mr. Snake and Mr. Piranha as they try to release 200 dogs from the city pound. Chaos ensues.
 
The Haunted House Next Door by Andres Miedoso
 
In this first book in the Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol series, fearful Andres Miedoso and his outgoing neighbour, Desmond, have a haunted house on their hands.
 
The Dragonet Prophecy by Tui Sutherland 
 
The first book in the fantastical Wings of Fire series follows young dragons who are responsible for ending a war between their tribes. 

Barnabas Bigfoot: A Close Shave by Marty Chan

Edmonton author and comedian Marty Chan giving a lunchtime presentation entitled ‘it is not the years; it’s the mileage,” as part of this years spring session of the Edmonton Lifelong Learners Association. (Adrienne Lamb/CBC)

 

Barnabas Bigfoot’s feet are too small, but that’s not his only problem. In A Close Shave, the first book in the series by Edmonton author Marty Chan, Barnabas tries to save his fellow sasquatches from danger.

Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan

In Keep This to Yourself, Mac Bell tries to find the serial killer who claimed the life of his best friend, Connor. 

The plot twists and turns enough to satisfy teen or adult readers, Turzansky said.

Watching You Without Me by Lynn Coady

Lynn Coady is the author of Watching You Without Me. (House of Anansi Press)

Giller Prize winner Lynn Coady returns with a suspenseful novel about a woman who goes back to her childhood home in Nova Scotia to take care of her older sister.

One of her sister’s support workers, Trevor, complicates the plot as he becomes increasingly involved in their lives.

Trapped by Michael Northrop

A high school with neither heat nor power serves as the setting for this young adult novel.

Seven students try to survive after getting stuck in the school during a blizzard, and though the story takes place in New England, Turzansky said it’s readable — and relatable — for Canadian readers.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Alex Michaelides’s debut novel follows psychotherapist Theo Faber as he tries to convince a famous painter to explain why she killed her husband.

The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster by Cary Fagan

Hartley Staples starts searching for cards in his small town after stumbling upon a mysterious handmade postcard. 

Operatic by Kyo Maclear

In this graphic novel, Charlie discovers the music of soprano Maria Callas and tries to emulate her success in her own life.
 
“It’s a great choice for any kid who is really into art and music,” Turzansky said.
 
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
 
This bestselling royal romance, which is set to become a movie, stars the son of a U.S. President and a British prince.

There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

Turzansky predicts teen readers will love this book, which is the first in a trilogy.

A prince, a killer, a leader, a gambler and a dying girl try to save their world from destruction.



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