For those who love to read, there is nothing better than curling up on the sofa on a cold winter day with a hot drink and getting lost in a story.
To help you share your love of reading, we asked local educators and librarians to recommend a book for holiday gifts.
(One thing to note – those who enjoy shopping for gifts online can always support local bookstores by ordering through: bookshop.org.)
First, children’s books.
Mark Malcolm, affectionately known as Mr. Mark, a children’s librarian at the Maynard Public Library, said he didn’t even have to think for a second when it came to choosing a title.
âThe only book I would choose would beâ The Story of Ferdinand âby Munro Leaf. Its message of pacifism is universal and relevant to all events that may occur in the world. It’s also a pretty entertaining story that kids of all ages would enjoy. I would be happy to sit ‘under the cork oak tree’ and read it anytime, âhe said.
Denise Hatch, CAGS reading specialist at Maynard’s Fowler School, said her pick was Lisa Fipps’ âStarfishâ. The main character, Ellie, is obese and has been bullied about her weight since she was 5 years old. Ellie eventually tires of being ashamed of the fat and decides to take matters into her own hands.
âIt’s definitely a new favorite for ages 10 and up. I love this book because it’s told from the perspective of a girl struggling with her self-image. â¦ Ellie is easy to identify and I think mid-level readers will easily sympathize with this likeable character, âHatch said.
A thriller and romance for young adults
Casey Petipas-Haggerty, young adult librarian at the Maynard Public Library, struggled to choose just one book, but was able to narrow it down to two.
She recommends âThe Cousinsâ by Karen M. McManus and âThe Love Curses of Melody McIntyreâ by Robin Talley. The first is a thriller starring three cousins ââwho spend a summer working in the seaside resort of the island which belongs to their grandmother whom they never met and who denied their parents before they were born. , she said.
The second is a young adult romance that follows the director of the Beaconville High School theater group and her “damned” love life. The school’s drama wing is supposedly cursed and to ward off the curse, Melody can’t date anyone until the spring show is over. However, his growing attraction to Odile, the star of the series, could derail his best intentions.
Some favorite adult books
Samantha Downing’s “My Lovely Wife” was Tina McAndrew’s first choice.
âThis is such an unpredictable, dark, and unstoppable thriller,â she said.
McAndrews is director of the Randall Library in Stow.
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Wally Koval’s “Accidentally Wes Anderson” will appeal to a wide variety of readers, including movie fans and those who enjoy traveling and photographing, said Jean Maguire, director of the Maynard Public Library.
The book was released in 2020, but with director Wes Anderson’s recent film release âThe French Dispatch,â it’s still a timely choice, she said.
âIt brings together a lovely collection of photographs of places and things around the world that evoke the colorful and imaginative world of a Wes Anderson film. Sections are organized by geographic region, and each photograph is accompanied by text that is not about Anderson’s films but rather gives context and fun facts about the place depicted, âsaid Maguire.
She notes that the book has small print, so some readers might prefer the ebook version or need a magnifying glass.
Matthew Biggs, Dean of Students at Nashoba Regional High School recommends âEquity by Design,â by Katie Novak.
“[Itâs] an awesome book for educators to broaden their horizons on their vision for education, âBiggs said.
Non-fiction, mysteries and love message for adults
Jean LaBelle-Pierce, librarian at Maynard High School, had four books to recommend.
âThe best non-fiction book I have recently prepared is ‘Waste’ by Catherine Coleman Flowers. He tells about his mission to fight for basic sanitation in poor areas of the United States. The book is shocking in its explanation of poverty and racism in modern America. It’s also a fascinating look at Flowers, as her life intersects with civil rights history. His activism and perseverance have improved people’s lives, âsaid LaBelle Pierce.
For anyone who enjoys the Hulu series, “Only Murders in the Building”, she suggests “The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman, who she says is “rich in character and spirit”.
Another favorite is Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series, she said.
âThis year’s crowd madness serves as a commentary on the pandemic as well as intellectual and social contagion,â she said.
TJ Klune’s âHouse in the Cerulean Seaâ also made his list of favorite books this year.
âHis message of unconditional love and universality of the human condition (and not even so human) was heartwarming. The characters make a great family and remind people to be courageous in their life choices, âsaid LaBelle-Pierce.