Books by ALMA laureates. Phtoto: ALMA

Great books for holidays

Another year full of books is ending and Christmas break is upon us. We have the books that will keep kids reading all through the holidays—on their own or out loud with the family! Our tips come from ALMA jury member Annika Edlund, who is also a children’s librarian and literature specialist from Umeå, Sweden.

For the youngest readers

Basu ni notte" (Taking the Bus)
Ryôji Arai

An exciting vehicle story in a new setting. In the holiday bustle, this book about a man waiting for the bus is perfect for a two-year-old and their busy parents to wind down with. It’s the reverse of a road movie: a long wait that takes a lot of patience.


Kitty Crowther

Is it time yet? No! Is he here now? No, not yet. What about now? Nope! Wait a minute…Sshh, I hear something!

This book by Kitty Crowther is a chamber play and a delightful miniature thriller for the youngest readers. It is a gem that you’ll be happy to read over and over again.

For ages 3–6

”Stories of the Night”
Kitty Crowther

This storybook in shades of pink feels like a lovely lullaby, joyful and comforting to the spirit. Every night, Little Bear asks for three bedtime stories about things people do in the woods at night. Mama Bear tells him the stories of the Night Guardian, of Zhora who is looking for the best blackberry, and of the man who has lost his sleep.

For ages 6–9

"Good Dog, McTavish"
Meg Rosoff

Together, a clever girl and a very wise dog turn out to be a wonderful solution for a family in crisis. No real resolution, but McTavish’s need for love and structure sets the family on course to patch things up and get on a schedule.

A book to love and laugh along with for dog lovers—including those who never knew they were. A truly funny read-aloud book for the whole family!

For ages 9–12

       "Florian Knol"
Guus Kuijer

A captivating book that made me feel good all over. A philosophical, tender story about compassion, forgetfulness and falling in love.

Florian is just a regular boy with unusually big red hair. Then one day a sparrow lands on his head, and Katja from school tells him she is in love with him. Old lady Raaphorst has forgotten her key; on top of that, she calls it a fork. So Florian and Katja decide to give her a hand.

”Picture Me Gone”
Meg Rosoff

About twelve-year-old Mila, who understands so much about life and is so wise. Mila and her father are getting ready to fly to America to visit her father’s best friend, Matthew. The tickets are bought. Fun is in the offing. Then Matthew’s wife calls and says that Matthew has vanished. Out of the blue. The book turns into an exciting mystery with a scary feeling that something terrible might have happened. And of course there’s a dog, in true Meg Rosoff fashion!

"Jättehemligt" Barbro Lindgren

Is it ever OK to read someone else’s diary? No! But that’s what makes reading this book about Barbro and her family, her best friend Ingrid, her doll Dock Dock and the class clown Anton feel so secret and slightly forbidden. Barbro writes about school and play, about being too sad sometimes to even go to school, about thoughts of death and about joking and fun times. All the important things in life are here! A good book for reading to yourself or out loud with someone close to you.

For ages 12 and up

Jacqueline Woodson

There’s a new boy in school. He stepped through the door as white and quiet as the snow. Strange, thinks Frannie.

Feathers is a beautiful read about hope, but also class, gender and ethnicity. Woodson writes with nuance and great empathy about belonging and exclusion, about friendship, family and school, and about love.

”Tales from the Inner City”
Shaun Tan

“The greatest curse of any animal is to be worth money to men,” writes Tan. Here are 25 thought-provoking stories about the animals that live in a landscape of concrete and steel. It is a book about the relationship between people and nature, and a critique of civilization. Immensely beautiful but also a powerful read for grownups, who bear the responsibility for the exploitation and eradication of our planet’s animals.