In fact, if you are a kid and I buy you a present, you can be pretty sure it’s going to be a book! And if it’s not, you might want to ask me why! Here’s a list of my favourite books for gifts just in time for Christmas and the Holidays.
I’ve broken my list into categories – Kids books, books on health, cook books and Energy/Woo woo/self-help/Inspiration (which I hope is self explanatory!)
Kids Books –
I think a kids book pays it’s way if it’s fun for the parents to read out loud. OK, so it’s fairly important that the kid likes it too but honestly, why shouldn’t reading time be fun for everyone? All of these titles fill both considerations. I also think the types of books our children read can shape them for the future. That’s why I gravitate to books filled with kindness, happiness strength and beauty – for girls and boys! The suggested age range refers to the age of the child being gifted. All of these books will remain classics in their libraries and probably be handed to their own kids but for first exposure, these age ranges are a pretty good guide. There will of course, always be exceptions but I’ll leave that judgement up to you. :
Flora and Ulysess: The illuminated adventures by Kate DiCamillo (for ages 7 and up). Kate DiCamillo is Miss E (7) and my new favourite author. We adore her style and her work. This delightfully uplifting and funny story about a girl and a squirel with super powers is a great night time chapter book for mums and dads to read aloud! Trust me, you’ll be sad on the last night – always an accurate measure of a good book! Kate DiCamillo also wrote Tales of Despereaux and a number of other titles.
Hop on Pop by Dr Suess (2 – 5). We all have our favourite Dr Suess books. This one makes me laugh out loud every time (“no Pat no, don’t sit on that!) and I’m positive it was a huge catalyst in our daughter’s ability to read at an early age. You’ve never seen so many 3 letter words assembled in the one place.
Put me in the Zoo by Dr Suess 3 – 7 It’s the colours of this book. I’ve loved it since the first time I read it. It’s a tale of suspense, patience and knowing what to do with your talents. And see if you can spot the Cat in the Hat on the last page.
Fairy Shopping 3 – 7. Sally Gardener (out of print but available second hand/remaindered from many places and worth the trouble!). A truly magical book for a little girl. Everytime it’s read, we find something new in the beautiful illustrations.
Miss Lily’s Fabulous Pink Feather Boa Margaret Wild and Kerry Argent. 4 -7. A delightful feel good story about feeling alone and forgiveness all with the happiest of endings. Just beautiful!
Dog Loves Books – Louise Yates. 4 – 7. For anyone who loves books or doesn’t but should! Gentle, sweet and lots of fun.
Press Here – Herve Tullet. 2 – 5. The most fun you can get from a book that’s not a computer game! A seriously clever, seriously simple book. Wish I’d come up with it!
Skippyjon Jones – Judith Schachner. 4 – 7. So much fun to read aloud (especially for the adult). “My name is Skippito Friskito (clap clap), I fear not a single bandito (clap clap)”. See how good your “Mexican” is! Ours is brilliant… now…. well at least our accent is! Skippyjon is a Siamese cat who thinks he is a chihauhau so you could could argue this book bridges the gap between cat and dog lovers.
The Lion and the Bird – Marianne Dubuc. 3 – 8. Truly beautiful illustrations in this story of tenderness and kindness. It’s books like these that give me hope for the future. If we read our children gems like this and they absorb the lessons of kindness and gratitude instilled in them, the world can only become a better place.
The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers. 4 – 7. Such a good little story about the frustrations of the individual members of a packet of crayons (who knew?). Each crayon writes a letter to Duncan venting…purple is annoyed that Duncan is drawing outside of the lines, blue is too short and stubby from overuse (Blue is Duncan’s favourite colour after all!) and yellow and orange are arguing over what colour the sun really is. Inspite of all of these issues, this is a really delightful book with loads of colour as you might expect.
These books are all as good as they get in their areas of expertise. OK, they are my bedtime reading but they are all approachable, conversational and incredibly informative. The kind of books I’d like to write! (watch this space!)
Why we get fat and what to do about it – Gary Taubes. This book will open your eyes to the hows and whys of our current medical crisis. Gary is an incredibly well researched science journalist and this book and his other title; Good Calories, Bad Calories have been in no small way, responsible for the recent changes to the way we regard the low fat high carb dogma of the last 50 years.
The great cholesterol myth – Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra MD. An easy to read, highly informative and well researched book that you should give to anyone you care about who is on cholesterol lowering medications. And yes, it comes with all the appropriate warnings.
The hormone cure – Dr Sara Gottfried. Dr Sara has quickly become the go to girl on natural ways to get your hormones where they should be. Harvard medical school trained, her book shows us how to get better sleep, more energy, happier moods, weight loss and more productivity. If not a gift for someone else, maybe a gift to yourself!
The woman code – Alisa Vitti. As a sufferer of PCOS, Alisa has been able to heal herself using food and lifestyle changes and now runs a large and highly successful practice using her principles. In this book, she shares her methods and philosophies. A wonderful enlightening gift for women of all ages.
Grain Brain – Dr David Perlmutter. Love this book. Get it! It contains really important information and makes it easy to understand why we’ve got it all wrong with our current mainstream lifestyle. A great book for learning about the connection between the food we eat and way our brain performs. A really entertaining read but with loads of meaty and interesting detail.
How to Eat Move and be Healthy – Paul Check. Love this one too. It’s really a complete template for living a healthy life and learning how to listen to your body. As well as valuable information on food and nutrition, it also contains an amazing array of low impact exercises to suit everyone. Paul calls his exercise program “working in” as opposed to working out.
Nourishing Traditions – Sally Fallon Morell. This book has started so many people including many health professionals on their health journies. A big book loaded with information about healthy eating and how we have been misled into thinking that low fat eating is good for us. Contains over 700 hundred recipes to help you on your journey to wellness.
Changing Habits Changing Lives – Cyndi O’Meara. Cyndi has been pushing the Eat Real Food message for over 30 years now and this is the book that started it all for me. It’s full of great advice on learning how to eat well for optimum health, energy and love for life. It is broken down into easily digestible chunks and is great fun to read with “bombs of truth” placed throughout!
Primal body primal mind : Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and Longer Life – Nora Gedgaudus. A total lifestyle book written in a no nonsense easy to understand way. This lady knows her stuff inside out and back to front and has put it in this book. I’ve listened to her many times on podcasts (go to the iTunes store and search her name) and she just makes so much sense. If you are toing and froing over whether to adopt a more paleo/ancestral/low carb way of life, have a read of this book to help you decide.
I adore cooking and could be accused of having automatically assumed everyone else does too. Before I got hung up on devouring everything I could on natural health, I used to sit up at night reading cookbooks like they were novels. I think it helped! Hope you like these babies.
The Cooks Companion – Stephanie Alexander. What kitchen is complete without a copy of this amazing book containing almost 1000 recipies broken down by ingredient. (Got a glut of zuchinnis? Go to the zuchinni section and take your pick of recipes). Why did I even put it on this list when pretty much everyone already owns it? Well for one thing, a newly revised edition has just been released. The new edition (released in October 2014) has two major new chapters, two expanded chapters, 70 new recipes and the text has been completely revised to reflect changing times.
On Food and Cooking – Harold McGee. Do you have a passionate cook to buy for? This book is like the magicians handbook. It tells you what the tricks are, how to do the tricks and why they work. It’s as much about chemistry as it is about food and it’s the book so many chefs turn to when they want to understand a cooking process or an ingredient more thoroughly. Invaluable for people who like to create their own recipes or who are just food nerds!
Manna From Heaven – Rachel Grisewood. Definitely not low carb, although Rachel uses load of quality fat in her cooking! I just love pawing through this book and reading her gorgeous stories of how recipes came to be. If you can, get the hardcover one with the pink and orange cover. It’s too beautiful!
The Real Food Companion – Matthew Evans. When this book first came out, (before I knew what ERF* meant) I stayed right away from it! I thought Matthew was having a go at my hero book of all time – the Cooks Companion – Stephanie Alexander (listed above). Silly me! He meant The Real (as opposed to fake) Food Companion. Once I worked this out, I realised how evolved this fabulous bloke is. This book is seriously wonderful and talks about how to source and prepare food that has been ethically and sustainably raised. *Eat Real Food
Family Food : 130 Delicious Paleo Recipes for Everyday – Pete Evans. So for those of us living in Australia, hasn’t Pete Evans come a long way since his days on “Fresh with the Australian Womens Weekly” on channel 9 every morning? Pete has adopted the Paleo lifestyle with gusto based on his learnings from Nora Gedgaudus (Primal body, primal mind listed above). This book is full of tasty easy recipes that embrace the paleo way of living. Beautiful pictures and a great place to start if you are looking to adopt a healthier way of eating.
The Nourished Kitchen: Farm to table recipes for the traditional foods lifestyle. – Jenny McGruther. Disclaimer…I don’t own this book. But I want too! A book chock full of recipes (160 of them) and information on eating real food made in the traditional way. Lots of pictures too!
The Power of Now – Eckart Tolle. I’m not sure I’m qualified to tell you why you should get this book or give it to someone you care about, but you should! It will change your world and if enough of us read it, collectively, we can change THE world. Eckart is an enlightened being, that much I can say, and there are not many of them around today. A word of warning, it’s not an easy read and it may need to be read more than once (actually I’ve read it 6 times! No lie! But each time has been even more rewarding than the last.)
Energy Medicine : How to use Your Body’s Energy for Optimum Health and Vitality – Donna Eden. I love that this book teaches you how to make yourself and your loved ones feel better by using a hands on approach. It really is inspiring how much we can do to make ourselves feel better just with touch and energy.
Life is a Verb – Patti Digh. This book is a gentle introduction to living life more mindfuly. It is beautiful both in production and message. A thoughtful and lovely gift for someone special who might need to take some time to smell the roses…. or perhaps for yourself.
You are a Badass – Jen Sincero – such a great book for someone who is new to mindfulness or perhaps might need a bit of a confidence building kick up the pants.
Fire Starter Sessions – Danielle Laporte – If you or someone in your life needs some motivation; if they need a reason to get on with achieving the success they truly deserve, then this book could hold the key. It inspires creativity and clear thinking and puts personal and professional goals into perspective. Danielle wants us to get in touch with our desires and not just our goals (more about that in The Desire Map) Its not just for people who are floundering. Anyone will get huge benefit from it. Oh and if you decide to get it for yourself, I would highly recommend the audio version. That way you get to listen to Danielle’s dreamy voice convey her wry humour and feel even more inspired to make it happen.
I’d love to hear of your suggestions of books for gifts. Let us know in the comments below.