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Christmas Gift Ideas: Scrap the Toys—10 Books for Kids Under 10

Toy catalogs and commercials have children begging for the latest new toys, but a bounty of books also appeal to kids’ varied interests while honing early reading skills.

As Dr. Seuss wrote “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” Open a new world of understanding while pushing your kids to the top of the class with these literary picks.

Head to the Eagan Barnes and Noble, the Half Price Books in St. Paul or jump online to find these great books that fit your children’s interests.

For the budding artist:
The Wall Street Journal recommends What is Contemporary Art? A Guide for Kids from New York’s Museum of Modern Art. A great book to prompt further discussion, kids and parents can share their impressions of the contemporary artwork featured on the pages.

For the active child:
The Minneapolis St. Paul magazine suggests Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun, co-authored by Minneapolis writer Elizabeth Foy Larsen. It comes highly recommended by 10-year-old writer and reader Lucie McCallum of St. Paul who said the book is “bursting with activities to do alone or with friends.”

For the parade lover:
As we enter the holiday season, holiday parades provide a sense of wonderment for children. Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade, written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, tells the story of Tony Sarg, the man who helped imagine the enormous balloons that float through New York City each Thanksgiving.

For the future astrologer:
During the holiday season, stars are a constant in decorations and traditions. The Association for Library Service to Children recommends Stars by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Marla Frazee, as “a great read aloud with spare, poetic observations that explore the realities and possibilities of many kinds of stars.”

For the dog lover in the family:
See Me Run, written and illustrated by Paul Meisel, features dogs everywhere—running, sliding, splashing. Sure to produce giggles of glee.

For the comic book enthusiast:
Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists introduces age-old nursery rhymes to the younger generation through distinctive illustration styles by different cartoonists and graphic artists.

For the beginning reader:
Tales of a Very Picky Eater by Josh Schneider won the 2012 Theodor Seuss Geissel award. Beginning readers will love the outrageous humor in this story as James’ dad comes up with creative ways to get James to eat foods he thinks he doesn’t like. Every kid has been through at least one of these battles.

For the truck lover:
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld uses sweet, rhyming text and irresistible artwork to capture the night time rituals of construction’s biggest trucks.

For the LEGO-fanatic:
The LEGO Ideas Book by Daniel Lipkowitz spurs creativity with six themed chapters and tips from master builders.

For the Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans:
The seventh book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series comes out Nov. 13. The Third Wheel, (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 7) by Jeff Kinney deals with a middle school Valentine’s Day dance. Librarians have a hard time keeping Diary of a Wimpy Kid books on the shelf so kids will be begging for this new book.

Other unique choices appeal to children through local subject matter or hometown author connections. Check with your local library or local bookstore for more recommendations, and you’ll be opening a new exciting world for young readers.

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