THE BERKSHIRES — The holidays are upon us and be it a last-minute Hanukkah present, a Christmas party favor or a gift for Kwanzaa you’re looking for, why not put a local author on your gift list. These books span the ages and genres and any of them would make a perfect gift to give (or get ) this holiday season.
Suzi Banks Baum, Great Barrington (and various Berkshire moms/writers)
- “An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice,” The Troy Book Makers; 1st edition (2013), 153 pages. A collection of writings and art about mothering by women who are also artists. Do you pause during the course of a normal batshit busy day to wonder, “Will I ever finish a full sentence again?” or “Is it possible to resurrect my own voice amid the din of this crowd that persists in following me, even unto the bathroom?” These 36 women have finished a few sentences for you to be inspired by and to assure you that, yes, it is possible and even, really important for you to finish that row of knitting or write that story. In the words of Audre Lorde, “The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.” Enclosed in this book are peeks in to the daily lives of some . Buy it here.
Susan Geller, Pittsfield, and Susan Merrill, Stockbridge
- “I Live in Stockbridge,” (first published 1976; republished in June 2012). It was first published in 1976. $10. A children’s history of the town, readers, young and old, will gain an interesting perspective of this quaint village in Southern Berkshire as seen by a grade school girl. Geller and Merrill collaborated on the 48 page, large lettered account of the town they both remember from their own lives. The book’s young narrator takes the reader on a walking tour of Stockbridge, pausing at places like the Indian Burial Ground, the Mission House, Laurel Hill, the Children’s Chime Tower and the Berkshire Playhouse, to discuss the history, while passing the time of day on the porch of The Red Lion Inn, with an elderly resident, Mrs. Ashburner. The little girl also talks about some of Stockbridge’s famous citizens, like John Sergeant, Jonathan Edwards, the versatile Field family, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Daniel Chester French, Mabel Choate, and illustrator Norman Rockwell. You can find the book on Facebook , or in Stockbridge at The Red Lion Inn Gift Shop, Chesterwood, Williams and Sons Country Store, or The Norman Rockwell Museum. In Lee: Re-Wear. In Lenox: The Bookstore. In Pittsfield: Circa, Museum Facsimiles, Yours, Mine and Ours. firstname.lastname@example.org or you can write the author directly at: email@example.com
Ali Benjamin, Williamstown
- The Cleaner Plate Club: Raising Healthy Eaters One Meal at a Time, Storey Publishing, LLC; 1 Original edition (January 15, 2011), 305 pages, $11.69. At last, feeding kids well doesn’t have to be a battle! Parents are all too familiar with the challenges in serving fresh, healthful food. There are picky eaters, cereal aisle tantrums, and school menus that are more nuggets than nutritious. Complicating matters, the most healthful foods don’t come with their own directions. Finally, there’s hope for parents who want to swim against the ever-rising tide of Pop Tarts and potato chips. Buy it here.
Michelle M. Hill, Pittsfield
- “Stanley,” AuthorHouse (July 17, 2012), 12 pages, Stanley, a rainforest snake, is trying to find his sister Suzy. With the help of trusty friends, Tim Toucan,Stevy Sloth, Freddie Frog, Jasper Jaguar, and Betty Butterfly, he gets closer and closer. But will he find her? $15.99. Buy it here.
- “A Present for Suzi,” AuthorHouse (2013), 16pages, $15.99. Stanley the rainforest snake is on another adventure —this time he wants to find a perfect birthday present for his sister Suzy. He once again seeks out the advice of his trusty friends, Tim Toucan,Stevy Sloth, Freddie Frog, Jasper Jaguar, and Betty Butterfly. Will Stanley ever find the perfect gift? See what they come up with! Buy it here.
Ben Hillman, Sheffield
- “That Pesky Toaster,” Hyperion (1995), 32 pages, $14 and up. Who knows what’s going to pop up out of that pesky toaster? Goldie puts in her fresh homemade bread but — oy vey! — out swirls a galaxy! Buy it here.
- “How Weird is it?,” Scholastic, ages 9-12, 48 pages, $15.99. Ben Hillman, author of the dynamic and eye-catching How Big Is It series, now explores HOW WEIRD IS IT? Just how weird is a mushroom, a toad, or a Neanderthal? With full-color photographs that make you say, “Wow!” Ben Hillman is king of comparison making. Buy it here.
Tracy Mack (aka Trixie Belle) and Michael Citrin, Ashley Falls
- “Les Petit Fairy Tales: Cinderella” by Trixie Belle and Allysa Caruso-Scott, Henry Holt and Co.(2012), ages 1 to 3, 26 pages (board book), $7.19. Discover the magic of Cinderella in this petite edition of the classic fairytale, created especially for little readers with just a handful of words and bright, enchanting illustrations. Buy it an others in the Les Petit Fairy Tales collection here.
- “Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars: The Fall of the Amazing Zalindas,” Scholastic, Inc. (2009), ages 8-12, 272 pages, $6.99. If you have not heard about the world’s most brilliant crime solver of all time, the consulting detective, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, you have undoubtedly spent your years beneath a large rock — for much has been written about him. Those familiar with Mr. Holmes know that a gang of homelss boys, called the Baker Street Irregulars, assisted him in his crime solving. When a murder at the circus unravels another, far more treacherous crime, the master detective and the boys of the BSI must pursue terrifying villians to solve this mystery, dodging danger at every turn. Buy it here.
Jana Laiz, North Egremont
- “The Twelfth Stone,” by Jana Laiz (Crow Flies Press, Oct. 2011); 400 pages, $15.26. The faerie world is fading. Human greed is giving rise to the evilest of faeries. Only Rionnag’s marriage will prevent earth s doom. But she will have none of it. The Twelfth Stone is a Celtic American fantasy, adventure, romance and cautionary faerie tale for young adults & adults. Led by Fiona and Rionnag, the cast of characters runs the gamut from evil faeries to captured mortals, from destructive developers to secret lovers who meet only when the borders between the worlds open. Buy it here.
- Weeping Under this Same Moon, (Crow Flies Press, May 2008); 271 pages, $11.52. Weeping Under This Same Moon is based on a true story of two teenage girls from different cultures, whose paths intertwine, dramatically altering the course of their lives. Mei is an artist whose life has been disrupted by the Vietnam War. Her anguished parents send her away on a perilous escape during the exodus of thousands of Vietnamese refugees known as Boat People. In Mei’s words we learn of the dangers she faces caring for her two younger siblings on a sea journey fraught with hunger, thirst and deprivation, leaving behind everything she loves to find refuge for her family. But it here.
Ty Allan Jackson, Pittsfield
- “When I Close My Eyes,” Big Head Books; original edition (June 25, 2011) 32 pages $8.95; $12.95 customized. Dot is a little girl with a very vivid imagination. Wait until you see where her imagination takes her when she closes her eyes. Buy it here.
- The Supadupa Kid Big Head Books (July 12, 2012) 168 pages, $9.95. Javon Williams was a normal kid living a normal life, until a freak accident gave him and Hoody, the neighborhood bully amazing superpowers. As Hoody bullying skyrockets, Javon attempts to save the city from destruction by becoming The Supadupa Kid. Buy it here.
Hester Velmans, Sheffield
- “Isabel of the Whales” by Hester Velmans (Yearling an imprint of Random House, 2005); for ages 8-12, 192 pages, $6.99. Eleven-year-old Isabel has an affinity for the sea. From her ocean-themed room decor and glass whale and dolphin collection to her incredible knowledge of ocean life, she has a connection to the marine world she cannot explain. So when she finally gets the opportunity to get up close and personal with the whales via the annual fifth-grade class whale watching trip, she is beside herself with excitement. But when a strange phenomenon occurs during the trip, and dozens of species of whale surround the boat, Isabel get’s a lot closer to the whales she has admired for so long from the confines of herbooks, than she could have ever bargained for. Buy it here.
- “Jessaloup’s Song” by Hester Velmans (van Horton Books, Oct. 2011), 218 pages, $9.95.Three years after returning to land, Isabel cannot forget the year she spent living among the whales. So when her best friend from the ocean, Jessaloup, comes to her in human form she cannot contain her excitement at seeing him again nor continue to hide her growing feelings for this young man. But with the threat of danger looming and the conflict and confusion caused by Jessaloup’s inability to understand the differences between human ritual and the whales, Isabel finds her time with Jessaloup on land, much different and more difficult than their time spent together in the sea. Buy it here.
Mary Pope Osborne
“Night of the Ninth Dragon” by Mary Pope Osborne (Children’s Books Random House a division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2016), ages 7-10, 144 pages, $7.73. “Dragons and Mythical Creatures” by Mary Pope Osborne (Children’s Books Random House a division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2016), ages 7-10, 128 pages, $12.99 library binding, $3.72 paperback. When Jack and Annie came back from their adventure in Magic Tree House #55: Night of the Ninth Dragon, they had lots of questions. What do tales about dragons have in common? Are mermaids real? How do unicorns use their horns? Find out the answers to these questions and more as Jack and Annie track the facts about their favorite creatures from myths and legends. And just what might some of those creature sightings really be?