Book reviews and recommendations, Children 10-12, Children 6-10, Children Ages 0 - 5

Rua’s December Recommended Reads

December is chock-a-block with important days to mark, from famous birthdays to days that are made for embracing Migrants, Minorities and people with Disabilities. Not to mention of course the big days, like the December Solstice, Hanukkah and Christmas Day. Rua thought he should share his favourite BorrowBox picks marking all these interesting dates with you. In particular, he is focusing on Ninjas, more important women from history, and one special man called Walt Disney. He of course couldn’t wait to pick out some reading for Christmas!

Ninja Day (December 5th) Pick

Title: Ninja Librarians 1 : The Accidental Keyhand – by  Jen Swann Downey

Available to borrow on Bolinda Borrowbox here.

For ages 8+

Title: Ninja Librarians 2: Sword in the Stacks – by Jen Swann Downey

Available to borrow on Bolinda Borrowbox here.

For ages 8+

For ages approximately 9-10 and up, this book series is on BorrowBox. Rua is a sucker for anything with a library in it, plus ninjas are always fun. There are also a few other books including ninjas available on BorrowBox if this series gives you a new obsession. Rua loved these books so much he’s recommending both books in the series! The Ninja Librarians series follows Dorrie as she discovers the ninja librarians in book one, who time travel to save people whose words have gotten them into trouble. In the second book, Dorrie has become an apprentice who’s first mission is to travel to England in 1912 which sounds straightforward until she runs into the Librarians biggest enemy – The Stronghold! Not only does this book series have super cool and brave characters, but there is no need for a tragic backstory to drive the characters to battles and adventure. The ninja librarian curriculum  includes learning about how to be a Librarian, including lessons on cataloguing, research skills, book repair and of course sword skills! Rua’s favourite bits of the book however are the action and humorous antics, including Moe the mongoose! You can read more about Librarians on Britannica here and more on  ninjas here .

Walt Disney’s Birthday (December 5th) Picks

Title: Aladdin and his Magic Lamp by Paddy Mounter and Katie Daynes

Title: Sleeping Beauty by Kate Knighton and Jana Costa

Both for Ages 6+

While not able to find any Disney books on BorrowBox, Rua did find some interesting facts about Walt Disney on Britannica, which is also free with your library membership . What Rua did find on BorrowBox was some of his favourite stories written many many years ago that just so happen to be his favourite stories that the Disney Company made into movies! One of these is ‘Aladdin & His Magic Lamp’, which is available to borrow right now.  It is in the wonderful Usbourne series, which even younger squirrels from age 6+ can read. This story follows a young boy named Aladdin as he meets his long-lost uncle, finds a magic lamp with three wishes and goes on an adventure. The age level for the reading ability is about 6, but Rua did think some more sensitive young ones might find some of the older fairytale bits of the story a bit too violent – for example, Aladdin poisons his uncle at one point and there is talk of him being starving. In the Usbourne collection there is also ‘Sleeping Beauty’ which you might know is about a young princess who is cursed to prick her finger and die unless her prince comes to kiss her. In this version her name is Rose. Full of magic and romance, Rua also liked how easy this book was to read.

Rua adores Disney and has done a read-along story video or two with Niamh from Leixlip Library, so keep an eye out for those over the holidays!

Ada Lovelace and Emily Dickinson’s birthday (10th December)

Ada Lovelace was a mathematician who was born in 1815 in England to the poet Lord Byron and his wife. She was involved in the creation of the first computer and was said to be the first computer programmer. Find out more about Ada Lovelace here.

Emily Dickinson was a famous american poet who wrote moving  poems about nature, love and death. She used unusual rhymes and rhythms for her time. To learn more about her go here

For any grown-ups reading this post who’d like to read some of Emily Dickinson’s poetry you can borrow a book of poetry here , or listen to it  here.

Title: 101 Awesome Women Who Changed Our World by Julia Adams

For Ages 8+

Available to borrow on Bolinda Borrowbox here.

Both of these wonderful people from history are included in this book along with many great women of the past and present. Each person gets a small section of the book (with some getting more page space than others) so you learn a little bit about each person. The people in the book have jobs in everything from Science to Sport, Politics to Exploration and it really showed Rua that he could do any job he liked if he dreamed big enough and worked hard. There were four categories: leaders and activists, artists and writers, scientists and inventors and athletes and adventurers. The women featured are from places all around the world and changed the world at different times in their lives. Some of the other more recent people included in the book are the actress Laverne Cox and Malala Yousafzai. For more BorrowBox titles that are biographies, click here .


Title: My Basmati Bat Mitzvah By Paula J. Freedman

For ages 10-14

Available to borrow on Bolinda Borrowbox here.

While there are sadly no books on BorrowBox directly about Hanukkah, he did go have a look at what Britannica said here. Hanukkah or the Festival of lights is celebrated by Jewish people this year between the 10th and 18th December and remembers the victory of the people over foreign rulers. Rua thinks it’s important to see stories from people who have different traditions to him as not everyone celebrates Christmas.  While looking on BorrowBox he did find this book from the point of view of a Jewish girl. He wasn’t old enough to read this book as this is gauged at ages 10-14 but he got his older cousin to read it for him so he could tell you about it. Tara Feinstein is a twelve year old Indian girl preparing to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah, a jewish coming of age celebration, but she has all the same problems as any tween on top of that, friends, boys and class projects.  This book is very funny and Tara is so charming and likeable that the reader wants everything to work out for Tara as she tries to come to grips with her mixed heritage and life as a teenager.


Rua has found lots of Christmas books on BorrowBox but is reviewing just two of them, with a few links to extra ones you can read.

Title: A Boy called Christmas by Matt Haig

For ages 7+

Available to borrow on Bolinda Borrowbox here.

Matt Haig has several christmas books available now on BorrowBox and  this is just one of them. Eleven year old Nikolas believes in impossible things – do you? He will later become the world’s most famous toy maker and bearded man Father Christmas but right now he is just eleven. His mother has died and his father left to prove elves exist, so Nikolas is left in care of his awful aunt in the middle of nowhere in Finland with nothing but a doll made out of Turnip for a friend – but things are about to change for him and his life will be full of adventure, snow, magic and kidnapping. While some parts of the book are a bit dark and one of the pixies is a bit creepy, Rua really enjoyed this book at it was full of hope and magic and the mythology it creates of his favourite person Santa is really interesting.

A book on audio for smallies – Title: Clifford’s Christmas by Norman Bridwell


Available to borrow on Bolinda Borrowbox here.

Clifford counts down the days to Christmas with Emily Elizabeth and gets ready with a tree, some mistletoe and by putting up his stocking ready for Santa! He also loves making snowmen and playing ice-hockey. This book is full of fun and a lovely red dog who just wants to help out.

Other books for Children ages 5 and 6:

Christmas With Princess Mirror-Belle by Julia Donaldson

Step into Reading: The Cat in the Hat: Home for Christmas by Tish Rabe

The classic: 

TITLE: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

For ages 8+

Available to borrow on Bolinda Borrowbox here.

Full of ghosts and good messages about being nice to others, Rua loves reading this short novel at Christmas, right before he watches the Muppets version on DVD! The story is about Ebenezer Scrooge, who has had a hard life and no good memories of Christmas. He hates the holidays and is mean to his staff members, especially Bob Cratchitt. When Scrooge goes to bed one night, he is visited by the ghost of his old work partner Jacob Marley and is taken on an adventure with three different ghosts who try to teach him about kindness and the joy of Christmas. Rua for one loves the ghosts, especially the ghost of Christmas present and although some parts are a bit scary for younger or more sensitive squirrels, the scarieness soon passes in exchange for festive cheer and the ending is really happy as well.  

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