My children are lucky enough to have generous family members who give book tokens as gifts on a regular basis. Both children like to save these tokens up until they have a healthy stash to splurge. This allows them to spend hours in the warm, cosy bookshop leafing through the vast array of books piled high shelf upon the shelf. With every page turned there is the opportunity to meet new characters and explore strange worlds.

A good BOOKSHOP is just a genteel BLACK HOLE that knows how to READ – Terry Pratchett


Forget a trip to the zoo or an outing to the park, for my children a visit to the bookshop, together with their wadge of tokens, is a proper day out!
My eleven-year-old daughter always makes a beeline for the fantasy (and slightly creepy) section whilst my nine-year son enjoys adventure and laugh-out-loud reads. On our last outing, my daughter discovered three new series, the first called The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, the second, Time Riders by Alex Scarrow and finally the Cherub series by Robert Muchamore. She plumped for these on the recommendations of her friends and the promise that they will be a thrilling read.

However, the one book that she would really like me to recommend is The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend. This has made her laugh until she has cried! You may want to revisit this book before giving it to an older child to remind yourself of the slightly adult content!

Book Tokens

Photo by @anniespratt

My younger son, on the other hand, came away with a selection of the Young Bond collection by Charlie Higson and more Diary of a Wimpy Kid books which he can often be heard giggling away to even while in a different room! He enjoys the Charlie Higson books equally but for completely different reasons, explaining that he particularly likes the way Higson enables his stories to come together and that they bring a real-life link to British history set in the middle of the two wars. He also enjoys the way that the character Bond always manages to save the day!

After what can feel like days, as soon as my two children have made their selections, they once again cross paths as they join the queue to hand over their savings. I love watching them laden with a wobbling stack of books weighing their small arms down as they precariously approach the till desperate to get home to start their new adventures.

So if you would like to give your loved ones a gift that will export them to another world, challenge their perceptions, teach them a new skill or just make them laugh until they fall over my children’s advice would be to give them a good old book token and a special trip to the bookshop.

Here is a link from The National Book Tokens website that you might find helpful before you decide whether a book token is the right gift for you.

Book Token quote