So, I admit it... I'm a book pusher. If you have a birthday coming up (and obviously, if you're anticipating a present from me) I can almost always guarantee that this gift will involve a book of some sort. It doesn't matter how old you are, what your gender is or even what the occasion is - you're getting a book. Christmas? A book. Birthdays? A book. Easter? Yep, you guessed it... a book.
This means that I have become quite a prolific book buyer. I have a veritable repertoire of age or gender specific books that I know will go down a storm with the recipient. Some of these books are new, whilst some are classics. Some are huge bestsellers, whilst some are aren't. Either way... if you need a gift idea for someone, then you aren't going to go far wrong with any of these books.
So... let's talk babies. You have a friend or relative who has just given birth to a beautiful bundle of joy. I can guarantee that they will get more gifts than they have space for. They will absolutely receive more newborn vests and outfits than they will ever be able to use, and their pile of pretty blankets will probably stay in a wardrobe whilst the more functional, vomit resistant ones will be washed within an inch of their life. So... why not buy the little bundle a book? Sure, they wont get much use out of it for a few weeks - but so what? The minute the little baby is starting to pay attention and be alert - I can guarantee that the mother or father will be glad to have something on hand to occupy them with. My personal favourite baby board books are the Usborne touchy-feely 'That's not my..." books.
They are so bright and colourful, any little baby would struggle to keep their eyes off them. They are clunky board books, so they're perfect for little hands, and they are all textured inside to stimulate the little one's senses. There are a ton of them to choose from too, so you can tailor them to the specific child. These books are also perfect for first Christmas or first Birthday gifts too. The child will love them!
Once the little bambino moves on from board books and onto picture books - there is a whole world of stories to choose from. My favourite picture book, and the favourite picture book of millions of children worldwide, is The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. Published by Macmillan, it's an amazing rhyming story with fantastic illustrations by Axel Scheffler. This book won the gold award in the 1999 Smarties book prize and it won the Blue Peter 'Best book to read aloud' award.
But whilst 'The Gruffalo' is the book that Julia Donaldson is most famous for - please don't ignore some of her other stories. Here are a selection that you should definitely consider if you're looking to buy a picture book;
Or, if you've already exhausted the Julia Donaldson possibilities. Here are a selection of other fantastic picture books;
For early reader books - you really can't ignore the wonder that is Jacqueline Wilson. She is brilliant and has a plethora of easy to read books that any child will adore. They are stimulating and engaging, and they will bring your child's reading on in leaps and bounds.
Or if you're looking for something a little bit girly, why not try the Rainbow Magic books. They are written by a collection of authors under the pseudonym Daisy Meadows, and little girls will love them. And for boys? Horrid Henry, of course! Written by the brilliant Francesca Simon, they have inspired both an animated TV series and a movie.
For the Middle Grade reader... please remember the classics. Think back to the books that you were reading at that age. If you loved them, then why won't your gift recipient? My personal childhood favourites are...
Or if you're looking for something else, why not try....
For Young Adult books, you cannot ignore the huge smash hits books-turned-movies that have hit our shelves in recent years...
But here are are the others that I can guarantee will go down well...
Need a book for the woman in your life? These won't fail to impress...
Aside from grabbing a copy of a Haynes manual or a sporting icon's autobiography to present to the man in question, here are a few books that look good, and have always been well received gifts for men...
Of course, these are very generic and very subjective suggestions, but if you're buying for someone who you don't know well enough to be able to recite the contents of their library or literary preferences - then you probably won't go far wrong in buying one of these books.
Please feel free to comment with any other suggestions to add to the lists, I'm always looking for new gift ideas and I'm sure any recommendations will be included in my Christmas lists!