What I Want For Christmas Is…A Good Book

Happy holidays! I hope all of you are making the most of the year-end vacation, whether using it to catch up on your hobbies, to relax or to spend time with your family. Here at Lil’ But Mighty, we have been busy sourcing for interesting books for you to sink your teeth in. And since Christmas is around the corner, what better present to ask for (especially if you are a bookworm like me) than a truly wonderful book?

Christmas 2017

For this post, I’ll be focusing on three book genres; namely mystery, fantasy and science-fiction. Each book comes with a recommended reading level, but bear in mind that this is just a suggestion. I believe that anyone who loves well-told stories will love these books, regardless of their age. These books have been chosen because they have received great praise from many readers, including parents, teachers and children. Shall we get started?

Mystery

1) The Great Shelby Holmes (Elizabeth Eulberg)
Recommended level: Primary 3 and above

This book is recommended for those who love quirky and fun characters. Shelby Holmes, the intelligent but rather bossy nine-year-old protagonist, must solve a dog-napping case of a wealthy classmate’s pet, with the help of her sidekick, John Watson. While the plot may seem simple, the writer keeps her readers on their toes, as they try to guess who the real culprit behind the crime is. A refreshing twist on the original Sherlock Holmes, this book is also a great way to introduce young readers to the famous consulting detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Summary from back cover:

Shelby Holmes is not your average sixth grader. She’s nine years old, barely four feet tall, and the best detective her Harlem neighbourhood has ever seen—always using logic and a bit of pluck (which yes, some might call “bossiness”) to solve the toughest crimes.

When eleven-year-old John Watson moves downstairs, Shelby finds something that’s eluded her up till now: a friend. Easy-going John isn’t sure of what to make of Shelby, but he soon finds himself her most-trusted (read: only) partner in a dog-napping case that'll take both their talents to crack.

Pick up this great read from the Book Depository now!

2) Murder in Midwinter (Fleur Hitchcock)
Recommended level: Primary 5 and above

Murder In Midwinter
By Fleur Hitchcock

If you enjoy a gripping story that is full of mystery and drama, then this is the book for you. The plot is well-paced, with a good balance between chills, thrills and humour. The main character, Maya, appeals to the reader because she is funny, brave and strong. Although there is a murder in the story, it is not scary or frightening but includes enough suspense to engage the reader to the very end.

Summary from back cover:

Sat on the top of a bus days before Christmas, Maya sees a couple arguing violently in the middle of a crowded Regent Street. They see her watching, she looks away, and the woman disappears. Maya goes to the police, who shrug and send her away. Then a body turns up… Now convinced she is a vital witness to a crime, the police send Maya into hiding in rural Wales. She resolves to get to the bottom of the mystery. Then the snow comes and no one can get out. But what if someone can still get in?

Pick up this great read from the Book Depository now!

Fantasy

3) The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman)
Recommended level: Primary 3 and above

The Graveyard Book
By Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite authors because he has a knack for creating vivid settings and unique characters in all his works. This book is no different. The story starts on a brutal note, with the murder of Bod’s family. Being the only survivor, Bod is adopted by a sweet ghost couple who live in the graveyard - the Owens. Bod spends his entire childhood playing among graves and interacts with several interesting characters. An imaginative combination of sweet and creepy, Gaiman creates an unforgettable coming-of- age story.   

Summary from back cover:

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts.

There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard. But it is in the land of the living that the real danger lurks for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod’s family.

The Graveyard Book won the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal and is a Hugo Award Winner for Best Novel.

Pick up this great read from the Book Depository now!

4) Inkheart (Cornelia Funke)
Recommended level: Primary 5 and above

Inkheart (Inkheart Trilogy)
By Cornelia Funke

What if you have the power to make fictional characters come to life in the real world? If you have ever wondered about having such an ability, you will love Inkheart. You will meet vivid and memorable characters, such as the evil Capricorn and his henchman, the knife-wielding Bast. With a compelling plot, this is a magical book for the reader who has ever imagined how it would be like to be transported into the world of the stories he or she has read.

Inkheart is the first book in a trilogy. If you like the story, look out for the other two books: Inkspell and Inkdeath

Summary from back cover:

One cruel night, Meggie's father reads aloud from a book called Inkheart - and an evil ruler escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books. Meggie must learn to harness the magic that has conjured this nightmare. For only she can change the course of the story that has changed her life forever.

This is Inkheart - a timeless tale about books, about imagination, about life. Dare to read it aloud.

Pick up this great read from the Book Depository now!

Science-Fiction

5) A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’engle)
Recommended level: Primary 3 and above

A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet)
By Madeleine L'Engle

An award-winning classic, this book is a delightful adventure that promotes values such as loyalty, family and love. The story is centred around the relationship between Meg, an intelligent and strong girl and her precocious younger brother, Charles Wallace, as they are transported through space and time to rescue their father from the evil forces that are holding him prisoner on another planet.

Summary from back cover:

It was a dark and stormy night. Out of this wild night, a strange visitor comes to the Murry house and beckons Meg, her brother Charles Wallace and their friend Calvin O’Keefe on a most dangerous and extraordinary adventure - one that will threaten their lives and our universe.

Pick up this great read from the Book Depository now!

6) The House of the Scorpion (Nancy Farmer)
Recommended level: Primary 5 and above

Set in Mexico in the future, this is a story of survival like no other. Matt is the only clone who survives from the batch of cells harvested from El Patrón, a powerful drug lord who is 140 years old. The story follows Matt through his childhood as he experiences isolation and rejection, and shows how he survives in a world where he faces many hardships. Beautifully written, you will come to care for the intelligent and kind Matt and root for him in his journey of self-discovery. The book covers tough topics like drugs, cloning and slavery in a thought-provoking way.  It won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature and was named a Newbery Honor Book as well as a Michael L. Printz Honor Book.

Summary from back cover:

Matteo Alacrán was not born; he was harvested.

His DNA came from El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium - a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt's first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to foetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster--except for El Patrón. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself.

As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister cast of characters, including El Patrón's power-hungry family, and he is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards. Escape is the only chance Matt has to survive. But escape from the Alacrán Estate is no guarantee of freedom, because Matt is marked by his difference in ways he doesn't even suspect.

Pick up this great read from the Book Depository now!


I hope you will consider one of the books in this list when thinking of what book to read next. Do let me know in the comments section of any other wonderful books you would like me to mention in the future. From all of us here at Lil’ But Mighty, have a lovely Christmas and a happy 2017! 

About the Author: Nora is an English Teacher at Lil' but Mighty. She is committed to providing students with a dynamic and nurturing environment in which they can grow and develop. One of her greatest strengths as an educator is instilling a love for the English Language in her students.

Nora Kamal

Lil' but Mighty Education Centre Pte. Ltd., Block 431 Clementi Avenue 3 #01-326, 120457

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the National University of Singapore and later receiving my Postgraduate Diploma in Education from the National Institute of Education, I began my teaching career in 1998.

I am committed to providing students with a dynamic and nurturing environment in which they can grow and develop. One of my greatest strengths as an educator is instilling a love for the English Language in my students. I accomplish this by incorporating games and Drama conventions, such as hot-seating and freeze frames, into my lessons to spark their interest and make learning enjoyable.

In my years of experience, I have had the opportunity to meet students from various backgrounds and cultures. I have been able to establish positive relationships with and support the pastoral development of the students under my care. More importantly, I believe that working hand-in-hand with parents is the ultimate key in helping children to succeed.

Robert John Meehan once said, “Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning.” As a teacher who is passionate about what I do, I hope to equip my students not only with the necessary examination skills but also to develop them into thinking, creative individuals.