A THIRD of the UK's under-16s do not own a book, according to a new National Literacy Trust survey.
So almost four million kids are growing up without knowing the joy of reading.
Here ex-Children's Laureate Michael Rosen tells why literature is so vital to youngsters – and why books make the ideal gift.
"MANY families are pulling in their belts this year and not spending as much on presents. The wonderful thing with books is they make great gifts — you can get one for under a tenner and they can be made personal to the child.
Call ... Michael Rosen
"When I was little I had lots of books bought for me and it's been wonderful to pass some of them down through the family.
"I've still got some of my mum's original Beatrix Potter stories. The Tale Of Squirrel Nutkin has "Love, Mum" in the front of it — from hermum. This personal touch shows you've really thought about the recipient.
"To understand the world, it's vital to understand writing.
"We know that if a child has lots of books, magazines and comics, they will succeed at school and for the rest of their lives.
"The University of Nevada found that by reading to your kids regularly you are giving them the equivalent of an extra two or three years of school.
"A child should have loads of books to choose from. It is vital that kids get to browse material. By doing so they are making their own selections and forming opinions which will help them at school.
"Parents must remember it's not their job to teach kids to read, it is to encourage them to love books. Teachers will do the teaching.
"When your child wants to talk about a book, treasure that moment. Your child is talking about something that matters to them. By talking to them about it, you're helping to expand their brain even more.
And when you give a child a book at Christmas, it's a gift they can open again and again."
Read the whole article at thesun.co.uk