Suellen Reed, the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Indiana encouraged Hoosiers to give books as gifts to children for the holidays this year. “Reading is absolutely essential in all learning, and books make great gifts,” said Dr. Reed. "Instilling our students with an appreciation for the importance of reading and the enjoyment that can be derived from it will not only result in higher test scores, it is the most effective way to build a highly skilled workforce and an informed citizenry.”
Dr. Reed accompanied her suggestion of buying books with a list of more than 100 age-appropriate titles submitted by people from across the state of Indiana. You can find the full press release on this initiative, complete with a link to the full set of recommended books (in PDF format), on the DOE website. I learned of this initiative from an excellent article in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel.
Although a number of the books on Dr. Reed's list are holiday books, many of them are more general. The books are grouped into Primary, Intermediate and High School levels. Some examples from the list (mostly holiday examples) include:
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
- If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff, Felicia Bond (illus.)
- Junie B., First Grader: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May) by Barbara Park, Denise Brunkus (illus.)
- The Polar Express by Chris van Allsburg
- Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories by L. M. Montgomery
- A Little House Christmas Treasury: Festive Holiday Stories by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams (illus.)
- The Seven Days of Kwanzaa by Angela Shelf Medearis
- Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
- The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, Michael Dooling (illus)
- Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
- American Women Inventors by Carole Ann Camp
I strongly support this idea of giving children books as holiday gifts, and I recommend that you check out the Indiana Dept. of Education's full list (see the link at the bottom of the page).