Christmas Holidays!
Chatterbooks Activity Pack

Reading and activity ideas for your Chatterbooks group
About this pack

It’s the Christmas Holidays!

In this Christmas Holidays Chatterbooks pack you’ll find a selection of boo...
Christmassy Books and great gifts for Christmas
Rebecca Cobb Aunt Amelia Macmillan 9780230764811 A lovely present for youn...
Julia Donaldson/Lydia Monks Sugarlump and the
Unicorn Macmillan 978-0230769885
For younger children
When Sugarlump the roc...
Gaby Morgan (ed) Christmas Poems Macmillan
978-1447227762 For all the family to enjoy
This festive collection of classic a...
Rebecca Patterson The Christmas Show Macmillan
978-0230767201 For younger children
It's Christmas and the children have be...
More Christmassy stories, and ideas for presents !
** especially for younger children; all the other titles are for famili...
Ideas for your Chatterbooks sessions
1.Best Reads of 2013!
Make a display in the library of your group’s favourite books o...
5.Have a Special Christmas Session, with Christmas stories (ideas in the list
above), poems, jokes and songs.
Make party h...
be the first to place all of their potatoes in the basket using only a spoon. The players
are not allowed to use their fin...
Which of these books would you give to the book characters below?
And why? This would work well as a group activity: talk ...
And here are some more books and book characters for you to match up.
Have a go at these yourself, then check out with you...
7.Letters to Santa from different book characters
Ask the children each to imagine they are a character from a book they h...
9.Poetry : The Twelve Days of Christmas!
Here’s another list of presents, this time in a traditional Christmas song.
Here’...
10.Design your own Monster Snowman – or make it a Friendly Snowman!

Here’s the front cover of The Monster Snowman with
a ...
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  1. 1. Christmas Holidays! Chatterbooks Activity Pack Reading and activity ideas for your Chatterbooks group
  2. 2. About this pack It’s the Christmas Holidays! In this Christmas Holidays Chatterbooks pack you’ll find a selection of books for your Chatterbooks groups to read and discuss – plus further book suggestions, useful website addresses, and lots of activity and discussion ideas for your Chatterbooks group’s Christmas get-together. Several of the books have a Christmas theme – and others would make great Christmas presents for friends, brothers and sisters. The pack is brought to you by The Reading Agency and their publisher partnership Children’s Reading Partners Chatterbooks [ www.readinggroups.org/chatterbooks] is a reading group programme for children aged 4 to 14 years. It is coordinated by The Reading Agency and its patron is author Dame Jacqueline Wilson. Chatterbooks groups run in libraries and schools, supporting and inspiring children’s literacy development by encouraging them to have a really good time reading and talking about books. The Reading Agency is an independent charity working to inspire more people to read more through programmes for adults, young people and Children – including the Summer Reading Challenge, and Chatterbooks. See www.readingagency.org.uk Children’s Reading Partners is a national partnership of children’s publishers and libraries working together to bring reading promotions and author events to as many children and young people as possible. Contents 3 Christmassy Books & great gifts for Christmas 7 More Christmassy stories & ideas for presents 8 Ideas for your Chatterbooks sessions: 2013 Best Reads! Christmas Card Reviews; Peg out your Poetry Christmas style! Christmas Book Tree 9 Special Christmas Chatterbooks session, with Victorian party games 10 Books as Christmas presents 12 Letters to Santa 12 Poetry: What’s in your Christmas Stocking? 13 Poetry: The Twelve Days of Christmas 14 Design your own Monster Snowman For help in planning your Chatterbooks meeting, have a look at these Top Tips for a Successful Session 2 Christmas Holidays Chatterbooks Activity Pack
  3. 3. Christmassy Books and great gifts for Christmas Rebecca Cobb Aunt Amelia Macmillan 9780230764811 A lovely present for younger children We were in a bad mood. Aunt Amelia was coming to look after us…..When Mum and Dad went away for the night, Aunt Amelia comes to look after one very cross little girl and boy. They do NOT want ot be looked after and, even worse, Mum has left a list of boring instructions. But Aunt Amelia turns out to be rather different from expected…and a LOT more fun! About the author: Rebecca Cobb has collaborated on two picture storybooks with the Orange-Prize winner Helen Dunmore, and her debut solo project was Missing Mummy. This was followed by Lunchtime, and Rebecca also illustrated Julia Donaldson’s The Paper Dolls. She lives in Cornwall. We have two Aunt Amelia activity sheets for you to download: One and Two. Gillian Cross The Monster Snowman Barrington Stoke 987-178112-009-5 For older children Jack wakes up on his birthday to find an extra special present - everything is covered in fluffy, white snow! He and two friends Sam and Ryan decide to build the biggest, scariest snowman in the world. But when they all receive a mysterious text in the middle of the night, the last thing they expect is to be chased up a tree by the monster snowman! Is the snowman as scary as he seems? A delightfully crafted story with beautiful illustrations from award-winning Ross Collins. With a reading age of 8, it's also suitable for reluctant, struggling and dyslexic readers. About the author: Gillian Cross has been writing children's books for over thirty years. She is married with four children and lives in Dorset. She won the Carnegie Medal for Wolf and the Smarties Prize and the Whitbread Children's Novel Award for The Great Elephant Chase. A taste: A huge shape came marching round the corner of the house. Ryan screamed when he saw it. Jack couldn’t believe his eyes. ‘That’s impossible!’ he shouted. ‘It can’t be true!’ yelled Sam. But it was! The snowman was striding towards them, with its huge glove-hands held out as if it wanted to grab them. Its light bulb eyes flashed ON OFF ON OFF and its sharp glass teeth glittered horribly. ‘Let’s get out of here!’ shouted Jack. 3 Christmas Holidays Chatterbooks Activity Pack
  4. 4. Julia Donaldson/Lydia Monks Sugarlump and the Unicorn Macmillan 978-0230769885 For younger children When Sugarlump the rocking horse wishes to see the world, a magical unicorn with a silver horn and sparkling blue eyes turns him into a real horse. But after trotting around the farm, galloping around a racetrack and even dancing at the circus, Sugarlump learns to be careful what he wishes for and realises how much he misses the children he left behind. Luckily the unicorn has one more wish to grant . . . About the author and illustrator: Julia Donaldson was the 2011-13 UK Children's Laureate and the prize-winning author of much-loved picture books. Julia also writes fiction as well as poems, plays and songs -- and her brilliant live children's shows are always in demand. Lydia Monks is one of the most original picture book artists working today. Her distinctive use of colour and collage has won her critical acclaim and several awards, including the Smarties Prize. A taste: …time went by and the hills grew hard Sugarlump hung his head. ‘Oh to be free of this heavy load I wish I could gallop!’ he said. ‘Done!’ came the voice of the unicorn And she flashed her eyes of blue Seven times she turned around And the horse’s wish came true. Here are three fun Sugarlump activity sheets for you to download: One, Two and Three. Layne Marlow You Make Me Smile OUP 978-0192794734 For younger children It's the first snowfall of winter and the little girl in this story is filled with that sense of wonder we all experience when the world turns white. She builds a snowman and gives him a twig smile so that they may share a moment of happiness and know the promise of a friendship that will be renewed each year. Very simply told, this story focuses on the bonds of love and friendship - the pleasure we can give to each other with just a smile About the author: Layn Marlow is a children's picture book author and illustrator who lives and works in the South of England. Her work has a sympathetic warmth and humour, and her titles have sold over a million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 20 different languages. Hurry up and Slow down won several book awards, and A Very Strange Creature (written by Ronda Armitage and illustrated by Layn Marlow) was short-listed for the Red House Book Award in 2010, and will also be in the shortlist for the Coventry Inspirations book award for 2013. A taste: ‘You’ll be cold, cold, cold, with a radish-red nose. Your arms may be stiff, but your eyes are going to shine.’ 4 Christmas Holidays Chatterbooks Activity Pack
  5. 5. Gaby Morgan (ed) Christmas Poems Macmillan 978-1447227762 For all the family to enjoy This festive collection of classic and brand-new poems celebrates all the best things about Christmas from the Nativity to Father Christmas, including snow, angels, reindeer, Christmas trees and, of course, Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. 'Celebrates everything from snow and stockings to the Nativity story and its associated wonder' (Times Ed) Decorated in full-colour by Axel Scheffler.. TES About the editor and illustrator: Gaby Morgan is the Editorial Director for Non-fiction, Poetry and Licensing at Macmillan Children’s Books. She has compiled many best-selling anthologies including A First Poetry Book, with Pie Corbett, and Fairy Poems, which was short-listed for the CLPE Award. Axel Scheffler's award-winning books include Room on the Broom, The Snail and the Whale and The Gruffalo. His illustrations have been published in more than thirty countries. He lives in London. A taste: little tree little silent Christmas tree you are so little you are more like a flower Who found you in the green forest and were you very sorry to come away? see i will comfort you because you smell so sweetly i will kiss your smooth bark and hug you safe ant tight just as your mother would, only don’t be afraid… e.e.cummings little tree Jenny Overton The Thirteen Days of Christmas OUP 978-0192735430 Illustr. Shirley Hughes For children aged 7+, and all the family to share ‘On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree ...’ We all know this classic Christmas song, but what if someone really did send you all of those gifts? Where would you put all the geese a-laying? Not to mention the lords a-leaping! This is what happens to Annaple, being courted by her sweetheart Francis, in this charming story which is perfect for all the days of Christmas. About the author and illustrator: Jenny Overton grew up in a Surrey village that is still her home today. She has spent most of her working life as an editor and wrote several books for children. She wrote The Thirteen Days of Christmas as a story for her younger sister. Shirley Hughes is one of the nation's best-loved illustrators for children. She has created some of the most enduring characters in children's literature and was honoured with an O.B.E. in 1999. She has received many prestigious awards, including twice winning the Kate Greenaway Medal. A taste: The noise was tremendous: the drums, the honking geese, strange shouts from the leapfrogging lords, the mooing cows, the whistling birds, the choir still singing, the musicians still playing, and the voices asking ceaselessly, ‘What is it? What has he sent today? Can you see? What is it?’ 5 Christmas Holidays Chatterbooks Activity Pack
  6. 6. Rebecca Patterson The Christmas Show Macmillan 978-0230767201 For younger children It's Christmas and the children have been practising very hard for their nativity play. The narrators are word-perfect, the Important Angel has brushed her hair and the audience are in their seats. But when the curtain rises, no one's expecting a spare shepherd to steal the show ... A bright, bold, brilliantly observed book that's full of festive fun -- with a gorgeously glittery cover that makes it the perfect stocking filler! About the author: Rebecca Patterson graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2009 with an MA in Children's Book Illustration and came third in the Macmillan Prize for Illustration in the same year. She won the 2012 Roald Dahl Funny Prize for her book, My Big Shouting Day (Jonathan Cape). The Christmas Show as charming, fresh and funny as her previous titles, The Deep End, Not on a School Night and The Pirate House. Rebecca lives in Cambridge. A taste: I wasn’t listening when Miss Bright gave out the parts, so I don’t know who I am Ashton and Claudia are the BIG parts, and Connor is the triangle. Maggie Pearson Short Christmas Stories OUP 978-0192794703 For everybody to share and enjoy Over forty stories in one book - all of them very, very short! None of the stories is more than two pages long, but each of them is special and thought-provoking. Drawn from a range of sources, including stories from around the world about Christmas gift-givers, Christmas legends and Christmas traditions, as well as folk tales, scary tales, narrative jokes, true Christmas stories, and original stories too, these are ideal for use in the classroom, for sleepovers, Advent bedtime stories, and just for dipping into. About the author: After studying French at King's College London, Maggie Pearson spent two years working in the Guildhall library in London, before settling down to be a full-time mum. Her father was a bookbinder and invented brilliant stories to pass the time during his job. Maggie began writing with retelling lesser-known traditional stories and has since written over thirty books for every age group. She especially finds herself being drawn back to folk tales and legends. A taste: ‘Well, that’s it!’ said the servants as they carried the Christmas tree out to the rubbish heap next morning. ‘That’s Christmas over for another year.’ Was that it? thought the fir tree. Was that all? Surely there must be something more. ‘Wait a minute!’ cried the cook. ‘I knew it!’ thought the fir tree. ‘My story’s not ended yet. But all stories must end. The little fir tree’s ended in one last blaze of glory on the kitchen fire. 6 Christmas Holidays Chatterbooks Activity Pack
  7. 7. More Christmassy stories, and ideas for presents ! ** especially for younger children; all the other titles are for families & everybody! Christmas Collections Wendy Cooling The Puffin Book of Christmas Stories Puffin 9780141306612 Terry Deary & Martin Brown Horrible Christmas Scholastic 9781407136264 Michael Morpurgo Michael Morpurgo Christmas Stories Egmont 9781405268950 Christmassy Stories Janet & Allan Ahlberg The Jolly Christmas Postman ** Puffin 9780141340111 Richard Curtis The Empty Stocking ** Puffin 9780141336251 Claire Freedman & Ben Cort Aliens Love Panta Claus ** Simon & Schuster 9781847385703 Jennifer Gray Guinea Pigs Online: Christmas Quest Quercus 9781780878454 Francesca Simon Horrid Henry’s Christmas Cracker ** Orion 9781842555460 Jeremy Strong Christmas Chaos for the Hundred-Milean-Hour Dog Puffin 9780141325002 Ideas for presents – some new titles from 2013 Darren Shan Hagurosan Barrington Stoke 9781781122068 Yasmain Ismail Time for Bed, Fred ** Bloomsbury 9781408837016 Jessie Williams Emily and Patch ** Curious Fox 9781782020202 Jennifer Gray Atticus Claw Lends a Paw Faber 9780571284474 Jackie Morris East of the Sun, West of the Moon Frances Lincoln 9781847802941 John Hegley I am a Poetato FrancesLincoln 9781847803979 H.L.Dennis The Knights of Neustria (Secret Breakers) Hodder 9780340999639 Tom Jackson Stop the Clock! Red Lemon 9781783420056 Gemma Merino The Crocodile who Didn’t Like Water Macmillan 9781447214717 Dave Cousins Waiting for Gonzo OUP 9780192745460 Charlotte Guillain Super Spiders Raintree 9781406260816 7 Christmas Holidays Chatterbooks Activity Pack
  8. 8. Ideas for your Chatterbooks sessions 1.Best Reads of 2013! Make a display in the library of your group’s favourite books of the year. *Competition on the website – Your Fave Book of the Year & why – prize, a parcel of books *Also on the website: Christmas reading challenge to run from 12th Dec to 6th Jan – log the books you are reading in the Christmas holiday – 3 books to get a badge 2.Christmas card reviews Collect some Christmas cards. Get your group to write reviews of their favourite books inside the cards and hang them up in the library as decorations. 3.Peg out your poetry Christmas style! Create a Christmas tree out of card or use a real or plastic tree. Draw and cut out some decorations out of paper and on the back, get the children to write a Christmassy poem. The children could make up their own poems or choose them from books – see Christmas Poems in the list above. 4.Christmas Book Tree Choose a selection of books from the library. Write a set of clues to go with the books. These clues could be about the characters or what happens in the story for example. Create a Christmas tree either out of card, or you could use a real or plastic tree. Hang the clues all over the tree. Then wrap the books up as presents and place them under the tree. Each child can choose a present to open. Read the story together and then look at the clues on the tree and try to find the clue that matches the book. 8 Christmas Holidays Chatterbooks Activity Pack
  9. 9. 5.Have a Special Christmas Session, with Christmas stories (ideas in the list above), poems, jokes and songs. Make party hats and crackers – here are some tips for making crackers: http://www.dltk-holidays.com/xmas/christmas_crackers.htm Think up some good jokes and riddles to put in the crackers. Or you could get some ideas from joke books, like What happens when the Queen burps? (OUP) Each person in the group (or in twos and threes) then reads, recites, sings, or tells a joke – it doesn’t have to be very long! Choose presents from the Christmas book tree (see above) and together match the books with the clues. And you could have a go at some of these Victorian children’s party games! Oh, Great Queen - The queen sits on a “throne” and her subjects, the children in the group, come up one at a time and stand before her. The subject says without laughing, “Oh, great queen, I worship thee and bow down before thee”. The queen then makes silly faces and goofy poses in an attempt to get her subject to laugh. When a subject laughs, he or she then becomes the new king or queen. Potato Race - Two rows of 12 potatoes are put on the ground three feet apart. A basket is placed at the end of the rows. Two players compete against each other to 9 Christmas Holidays Chatterbooks Activity Pack
  10. 10. be the first to place all of their potatoes in the basket using only a spoon. The players are not allowed to use their fingers to pick up the potatoes. Name the Nursery Rhyme - A person says a line from a nursery rhyme without giving the name of the rhyme. The group then tries to guess the name of the rhyme. Blindman's wand - One child is blindfolded and then holds out a stick called a wand. The other players take turns holding the opposite end. The child with the blindfold asks a certain number of questions, (it was typically three), and then tries to guess who the other person (holding the wand) is, based on the sound of their voice. When Victorian children played this game, they were allowed to answer questions with animal sounds to make the game harder. The Name Game was played by older children. Every player wrote down anywhere from five to 10 famous people's names on pieces of paper. The papers were then put in a basket and the guests sat in a circle. One child pulled out a name and gave the child sitting to their right three guesses about the character they had chosen. Their friend had to guess the identity. Once they did, the basket was passed around to the next player. If one guessed incorrectly, they had to sit out until the next game commenced. 6.Books: the perfect Christmas present! *Look round the library and choose a book to borrow for each member of your family to read at Christmas. You could wrap them up as presents: explain that they are a special Christmas read. *The picture books in the list above would make great Christmas presents for younger children. Have a look through the picture books in the library and pick out the ones which you think would make good presents for little ones. Tell each other about the books you have chosen, and why you picked them. 10 Christmas Holidays Chatterbooks Activity Pack
  11. 11. Which of these books would you give to the book characters below? And why? This would work well as a group activity: talk together about each of the book characters – some may be new to people so it’s a chance to introduce them to those books. Then decide together which would be the best gift for each character. And people can add in their own ideas for more titles as book presents! **Deadly Diaries **Which Witch? **Trust Me, I’m a Troublemaker **Back Home **Kaspar Prince of Cats **Genius Ideas (Tom Gates) **Tamara the Tooth Fairy **Starting Gardening Character Which book for a gift? Artemis Fowl Hermione Granger Horrid Henry Matilda Wimpy Kid Mary Lennox Atticus Claw Tracy Beaker 11 Christmas Holidays Chatterbooks Activity Pack Why?
  12. 12. And here are some more books and book characters for you to match up. Have a go at these yourself, then check out with your friends! Character Which book for a gift? Why? Cinderella Mr Stink Alice Spot Captain Underpants Paddington Bear Charlie Bucket Red Riding Hood Harry Potter **The Story of Chocolate **Fairy Tale Twists: The Un-Fairy Godmother **Winter Wonderland Sticker Book **The Giant Jam Sandwich **Love That Dog 12 **The Killer Underpants Christmas Holidays Chatterbooks Activity Pack **A Ball for Daisy **Wolves **Room on the Broom **The Scent of Magic
  13. 13. 7.Letters to Santa from different book characters Ask the children each to imagine they are a character from a book they have read. Then ask them to write a letter to Santa as that character. It would help to talk about the characters beforehand, and discuss the sorts of things that character might like and dislike. 8.Poetry: What’s in your Christmas stocking?! Have a look at this poem by Eleanor Farjeon from Macmillan’s Christmas Poems collection: Christmas Stocking What will go into the Christmas stocking While the clock on the mantelpiece goes tick-tocking? An orange, a penny, Some sweets, not too many, A trumpet, a dolly, A sprig of red holly…….. And there’s another poem called Christmas Morning by Stephen Bowkett, with an up-to-date take on Santa’s presents …pillow sacks of - crackly paper oranges and apples sweet and tangy chocolate money plastic made-in-Hong Kong rockets sheriff’s badge…. What might be in your Christmas stocking or pillow case? **Have a go at a Christmas stocking poem like these **You could do this using the alphabet: apples, a ball, a cricket bat, a doll….. **Or your group could play the Christmas Stocking memory game – where each person adds something to the list of things in the stocking – and has to remember all the things already there! Eg: the first person could say ‘In my Christmas Stocking I had a sugar mouse’; the second person says ‘In my Christmas stocking I had a sugar mouse – and a Lego man’……… and so on round the group. If someone forgets something then they’re out, and the winner is the last one to remember everything. Maybe you could then use this list for a Christmas Stocking poem! 13 Christmas Holidays Chatterbooks Activity Pack
  14. 14. 9.Poetry : The Twelve Days of Christmas! Here’s another list of presents, this time in a traditional Christmas song. Here’s a fun version of it on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQEOBZLx-Z8 The story The Thirteen Days of Christmas is about Francis who is trying to persuade his sweetheart to marry him by sending her a different gift (in multiples!) each day of the Christmas festival. If Francis were doing this today what presents might he send? Sports cars? Diamond rings?? Have a go at a 2013 Twelve Days of Christmas song – then sing it together! How many Traditional Gifts 2013 gifts…………………………. One Partridge in a pear tree Eg a budgie in a bird cage…………….. Two Turtle doves Three French hens Four Calling birds Five Gold rings Six Geese a-laying Seven Swans a-swimming Eight Maids a-milking Nine Ladies dancing Ten Lords a-leaping Eleven Pipers piping Twelve Drummers drumming 14 Pop stars singing……. Christmas Holidays Chatterbooks Activity Pack
  15. 15. 10.Design your own Monster Snowman – or make it a Friendly Snowman! Here’s the front cover of The Monster Snowman with a picture of what it (he? she?) looks like, with branches for arms; gloves for hands; light bulbs for eyes; a bottle neck for nose; broken glass for teeth. (WARNING – don’t make a snowman like this in real life! You need safe materials - not all that broken glass!) Design your own snowman here and label it to say what materials you would use. 15 Christmas Holidays Chatterbooks Activity Pack

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