Today I’ve got one more gift idea, a lollapalooza of a gift, one that makes Christmas happen all year long.
It’s a children’s book-of-the-month club and, well, who wouldn’t want a present in the mailbox every month?! Terribly exciting. But also…not cheap. So I’ve got a couple ideas to make this gift more affordable and/or charitable.
First, let me tell you about the club. It’s offered by Magers & Quinn Booksellers, the largest independent bookstore in the Twin Cities, and with Minneapolis rated the #1 most literate city in America, you know that’s saying something. It’s a great store, selling both used and new books, with staff (including my daughter!) that can’t be beat, so if you’re in the area, you should pay them a visit.
The children’s department at M&Q has put together a Young Reader’s Book-of-the-Month Club, available for three different age groups — ages 0-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Sign up by New Year’s and the gift-ee will get a wonderful new book in the mail every month. This would make me so very excited, and I’m not even in the right age demographic.
However, come to think of it — kids’ books have no age limit, so especially with the set of books for the 9-12 year olds, this could make a sweet gift for someone well into their adult years.
I’ve looked at the lists of what’ll be sent out in 2016 and the selections look terrific. For the 0-5 club they include perhaps my favorite 2015 picture book, Last Stop on Market Street, as well as a couple of books I’m still (impatiently!) waiting for my library to put on the shelves, Lenny & Lucy, and Beyond the Pond. There are a couple darling board books in the mix as well.
The 6-8 year olds will receive a number of short chapter books such as Milo Speck:Accidental Agent, plus a lovely, lengthier read-aloud, Firefly Hollow. Lots of action and antics in this collection. The 9-12 year olds start out with Brian Selznik’s new beauty, The Marvels, and move on to a selection of fantasy, adventure, mystery. Both of these age groups feature a nice mix of male and female main characters. I will say that the selections lack the degree of diversity I would have liked to see. So, there’s that.
There are two subscriptions available: 6 months for $98 or 1 year for $198. If you’re in the area, just stop by the store and talk with the staff there to set this up. You can also call the store (612) 822-4611 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information. Shipping must be to a U.S. address. (Now if they would just deliver by owl — that would be a ginormous plus!)
So — here are a couple ideas to trim the cost a bit:
1. One membership could be easily shared by several children. The 0-5 club, for example, would work well for several siblings with the youngest ones chewing on the board books while the older ones enjoy the longer stories. The 6-8 club is perhaps the most age-specific set of books. The 9-12 titles could definitely be enjoyed by kids much older than 12.
2. You could team up with several families to give this gift to one child — perhaps someone facing chronic illness with a lot of hospital stays coming up, or someone you want to play Secret Santa to all year long. Or, you might consider banding together to give the gift to a children’s hospital ward, a struggling school library, a youth shelter. Use your imagination and team up to generously supply books to someone in need.
3. You could create your own book-of-the-month club for someone you love by browsing for used books in bookshops, library sales, thrift shops. It’s a fantastic idea for a year-long, exciting treat that would bear your own personal touch. What fun that would be!