The Gift of Books

Can you recommend books for fourth-grade boys? I want to get my grandson some books for Christmas and I’m not sure what is appropriate.

When choosing books for children, start with their interests. Children, like adults, will read voraciously about topics they’re interested in. So, if your grandson has a favorite figure in history or a favorite sports hero, perhaps you can find a biography of that person.

There are other things to consider when choosing books for kids, such as age and the skills the child is developing. Here are some guidelines for each age group:

Age 2 and Under:

For young children, it’s a good idea to buy board books that have sturdy pages rather than paper ones.

For toddlers, choose books with uncluttered pages that have clearly labeled pictures of things that babies know about, such as toys, pets and families.


When children reach preschool age, you can introduce picture books with a simple story supported by illustrations.

Books on tape are a good way to introduce longer stories to young children. Many classic stories are now available on tape cassettes that they can listen to in the car or at bedtime.

Many publishers have a series called “Rookie Readers” or “First Readers” that are perfect for early readers.

You can also try buying some books that are advanced for a beginning reader. These require “lap time” with mom and dad to tackle the difficult words.

3rd- to 6th-graders:

Focus on books about topics that interest them, including resource books and fiction.

Kids love to read books about children their own age.

Preteens can start to read biographies about their favorite sports athletes or other heroes.

Jokes, riddles and brainteasers often go over well at this age.

Books are a wonderful gift to give children at the holidays or any time during the year. They send a strong message to your kids that you value their educational and intellectual growth.

P.S.: If your shopping list includes a teacher, let your child help make the selection and write an inscription inside the cover. As a classroom teacher, I always prefer books for my classroom above something personal. It will be a gift that lasts a lifetime for the hundreds of children who will share the story.

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