Gift suggestions for young book lovers

Lori Cheverie of The Bookmark in Charlottetown shares her top five children book gifts for the holiday season.


This year's top picks for the holiday season include books for children of all ages. (Lindsay Carroll/CBC)

Christmas is less than two weeks away.

For those still looking for a gift for children, Lori Cheverie, manager of The Bookmark in Charlottetown, has prepared a list of her top five books for young readers this holiday season.

Among them are titles by Prince Edward Island authors.

1. The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield

Fiction/ Picture book
Kids 4 and up

As a young boy, Chris Hadfield was afraid of the dark. But after watching the moon landing on TV, he realized that he wanted to be an astronaut. And he learned that space is the darkest dark there is – and it can be beautiful and exciting.

Inspired by the childhood of the Canadian astronaut, The Darkest Dark is one of the bestsellers at The Bookmark this year. Brought to life with illustrations by Terry and Eric Fan, it encourages readers to dream and shed their fear of the dark, she said.

"I think (Hatfield) is so popular, he is so much in social media, so much out there," she said.

"All the kids love him, and kids get scared sometimes. So this tells them there's no reason to be scared, that the dark can be pretty cool."

2. A cure for Wereduck by Dave Atkinson

Kids 8 and up

A cure for Wereduck is Dave Atkinson's sequel to his hugely popular first book, Wereduck.

The book tells the story of Kate, whose family turns into wolves every time the moon rises. Except for Kate, who turns into a wereduck.

When Kate discovers a recipe book with "A Cure for Werewolf," she can't help but wonder if she can one day resist the call of the moon and be free from the constant threat of exposure.

Cheverie said the book is popular amongst parents and teachers. Atkinson's first book was also nominated for the Hachmatack award.

"That's a pretty big kids award, grades four to six, and the kids actually get to choose the winning book. So it's a pretty special award," she said.

3. Prince Edward Island ABC by Dale McNevin

Picture Book
Newborns and up

A prolific Prince Edward Island illustrator has a new take on teaching children the ABCs by creating letters with scenes from the province.

Dale McNevin's alphabet teaches children letters by using C for Cradle of Confederation, or H for Hats Off, Hands On, referring to Island artisans.

Cheverie said McNevin is a wonderful writer but it's her beautiful illustrations that sell the book. The Prince Edward Island ABC appeals to both children and adults, she said.

"It's not a Christmas book, it's a beautiful Island book. It's going to be a classic for a long time for us," she said.

4. King Baby by Kate Beaton

Fiction/Picture book
Kids 2 and up 

King Baby tells the story of one adorable, but very demanding little guy.

He enjoys the attention, and doesn't mind posing for photos and allowing hugs and kisses. But when his parents are exhausted and can't quite keep up, he takes matters into his own tiny hands.

Cheverie said King Baby is flying off the shelves at her store because Beaton, who is a well-known Halifax illustrator, has a lot of fans.

"Young adults love her too, so it's not just a kids book," she said. "A lot of young adults are coming in and grabbing this one because of her." 

5. A boy called Christmas by Matt Haig 

Kids 9 and up 

A boy called Christmas is the re-telling of the story of Santa and where he came from.

Cheverie said the book is part Lemony Snicket, part Roald Dahl: A tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, and an eleven-year old boy called Nikolas who is not afraid to believe in magic.

It is likely to become a keepsake for many people, she said.

"This one right now is on the top of the Christmas book list both kids and adults in the independent bookstores in Canada," she said.  "It's funny, it's's great." 

With files from CBC Island Morning