give a book

November 25, 2018

I love giving books!

Why a book rather than a tie or perfume? My flippant answers include no batteries required, one size fits all, allergy free and it is easy to wrap.

The best thing about giving a book is that it keeps giving.

It’s like opening up a portal to a new world.


I just picked up Falcon Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson. It’s an action packed, contemporary novel about surviving in the wilderness. As I turn the pages learning more about Karma, she’s 13, and her obsession with falcons, I am also thinking about who would enjoy this story. Certainly if you loved H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald and had a middle grade reader in your life, this would be the perfect gift for that young teen.

eco epic

While reading The Overstory by Richard Powers I wanted to put this into everyone’s hands. The hefty book caught my attention this fall because it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. As soon as I read the first sentence “Now is the time for chestnuts.” I was intrigued.

This is a monumental epic about trees and people in a sweeping, impassioned, lyrical novel of activism and resistance for our natural world.


from the roots to the crown and back to the seeds

The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from New York to the late twentieth century timber wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, exploring the essential conflict on this planet: the one taking place between humans and nonhumans.

If trees of this earth could speak, what would they tell us?


Listen. There’s something you need to hear.

If you read Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees or love anything Diana Beresford-Kroeger has written, please embrace this eco epic of the year because unlike the Lorax, who spoke for the trees, Richard Powers prefers to let them do their own talking.


I am listening to Michelle Obama and I have never enjoyed an audiobook as much as this one! She is a warm and articulate narrator. Her story is engaging, funny, charming, enlightening, inspiring and honest. This audiobook is perfect for everyone!!


In her memoir there is reflection and compelling storytelling from the South Side of Chicago to Washington. I identified with her balancing the demands of motherhood and work. I loved the warmth in her voice when she shared the beginning of her relationship with Barack. When she finally told me they kissed – I swooned. It was so romantic. Then later her honesty about her miscarriage and IVF sessions. She invited me into her public and private world and although I admired her before NOW I am an even larger fan for her continued work for a positive future.

Michelle inspires me further with her Let’s Move! initiative dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.

And recently, The Global Girls Alliance, a program of the Obama Foundation, seeks to empower adolescent girls around the world through education, allowing them to achieve their full potential and transform their families, communities, and countries. They engage people around the world to take action to help adolescent girls and the grassroots leaders working to educate them.

Acquire the book or the audiobook (my preferred format) and go high when they go low e v e r y d a y.

go Dutch

A dutch oven is the most versatile pot in your kitchen: a soup pot, a deep fryer, a braiser, a roaster, an enclosed bread oven, and the perfect vessel for one-dish meals.

I keep a cookbook on my kitchen shelf if there are a minimum of 10 recipes that I will make, not once but over and over again.

I pulled my dutch oven out of the basement cupboard over a year ago and use it all the time now! I was thrilled to start turning pages of Cook It In Your Dutch Oven and amazed that there are dozens of recipes I will absolutely make repeatedly.


This cookbook contains great weeknight recipes (that’s what I’m looking for) but also deep frying and artisanal bread baking. PLUS a range of desserts. In a dutch oven, who knew?

Give this book and a dutch oven at Christmas or any time of the year for a house warming or a graduation gift. Hopefully you’ll be invited over and over again to enjoy the fruits of their labour.


Jólabókaflóðið (Icelandic for Yule Book Flood) is the annual release of new books in Iceland occurring in the months leading up to Christmas. Newly published books are listed in a yearly compilation called bókatíðindi (“book news”) that is distributed to all households for free.

“This tradition began during World War II once Iceland had gained its independence for Denmark in 1944. Paper was one of the few commodities not rationed during the war, so Icelanders shared their love of books even more as other types of gifts were short supply. This increase in giving books as presents reinforced Iceland’s culture as a nation of bookaholics – a study found that half the country’s population read at least eight books a year.”


Gifts are opened on December 24 and everyone reads the books they have been given right away often while drinking hot chocolate. Isn’t that da best tradition! Let’s all pretend we’re Icelandic!

I hope you are enjoying my own bókatíðindi for your jólabókaflóðið.

Ready for more?

Ann with an E

The reason I love Anne’s Numbers is because of its charming, hand-embroidered illustrations. Go on a nature walk with Anne and count trees, flowers, clouds and friends. The path Anne takes is based on the description of Anne’s walk to school in Anne of Green Gables. Each scene has multiple counting opportunities, with simple text.


This is part of a new series from Kelly Hill, whose middle name is Ann-with-an-E. She is an award-winning book designer and a colleague of mine at Penguin Random House Canada. She is also a crafter and the illustrations in the book are a combination of sewing and embroidery.

She will be appearing at the Mattawa River Writers and Arts Festival in April 2019 at the Canadian Ecology Centre. Celebrating Earth Day with a walk in the woods seems naturally perfect.

Red Socks

Red Socks Go With Absolutely Everything by Darla Woodley and illustrated by Evan Munday is an inspiring book with a positive message.


The story of Red Socks Go With Absolutely Everything centers around the idea and notion of simply being there for someone and how sometimes words and conversation are not needed.

In this story we find a youngster called Sunshine, who is experiencing a series of events over the course of their young lifetime. Some moments seem bigger than others to an adult, but they are daunting in the eyes of a child at the time. At each turn, when our Sunshine begins to fill with doubt, we notice the mother’s subtle but powerful gesture of wearing a pair of red socks to show her support. With each event Sunshine comes to realize that love and encouragement creates a feeling of being strong, ready and able to do anything.

The message is “… one that will speak to youngsters from their earliest and most intimidating moments, and will carry them throughout their lives in a wonderfully empowering way…” (Children’s Literary Classics).


Darla sent me her hardcover book, bookmarks, magnets, activity sheets, stickers and of course, RED SOCKS to “keep my toes warm on my bicycle rides.”

Her goal of spreading the message extends to setting up a system so that when books are purchased, additional copies of the book are printed and donated to a school or local charity. She included in my red box a couple of extra copies and they will be my donation this Christmas to the sibling library at the Mount Sinai Hospital NICU department coordinated by Fabiana Bacchini founder of HandFullHearts.


Give a book. This photo is me giving away copies of Soft In The Head in the summer of 2016. I loved this touchingly comic tale of an unusual friendship that began in a park. So where did I give away books to strangers? In parks of course because I’m a nut!


I first met Erna because she had a flat tire on her bicycle. I got to know Erna better because I gave her a copy of this book.

Marie-Sabine Roger personifies the power of reading in Soft in the Head. A conversation opened a door into a world Germain never imagined — the world of books and ideas — and gave both him and Margueritte the chance of a happiness they thought had passed them by. Don’t you just want to dive into this booklovers book right now?!

I could go on and on with more book suggestions but I will finish my “give a book” blog with An Anthology of Intriguing Animals from DK Canada. It’s a wonderful collection of more than a hundred incredible creatures.


I think this is a great Christmas morning book because you can browse the large pages with your child and read amazing stories and fascinating facts about your favourite animals and discover some new ones! This falls into my edutainment category of being a launch pad for learning but totally fun in the process.

The hardcover requires no wrapping as it has foil on the cover, gilded edges and a ribbon for keeping your place. Give to the child age 7 to 10 who can’t get enough of wildlife and nature!

I encourage you to give a book and to spread the joy of stories this holiday season!


Want more ideas? Here’s my book suggestions from last year!

GLOBAL TV The Morning Show Christmas 2017 Book Flood

created by robertson mcclure