It's true that books make good gifts, but an even more accurate statement is that great books make great gifts. If you're looking for a book that would make a great gift, have something on hand for when winter break drags on a little too long, or just want to entice your tween reader, this list is for you.
For fabulous suggestions sure to win over even a reluctant reader, I called in a professional. Amanda Blau is a children's librarian at the award-winning Naperville Public Library and she's also my friend. Every recommendation she's ever given me for my daughter has been spot on. She's good. Really good. She knows what kids like to read, and here are her suggestions of five books tweens will love.
For kids who love fantasy and fans of the Fablehaven series:
Frostborn (Throne and Bones) by Lou Anders
This is the first in an adventure-filled, Viking-inspired series. Amanda said that she appreciated that the story is told from two perspectives, one male and one female, and they are both equally well-rounded.
For the kid who loves to be scared:
Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud
For the kid who really doesn't want a book gift:
Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwald
You all know I'm a fan of ReadKiddoRead.com, and that site wholeheartedly agrees with Amanda's recommendation, describing it as the "perfect book for the non-reader or reluctant reader in your life...Laugh-out-loud funny, clever, and relevant, I believe Tommy Greenwald has written a book that will appeal to kids of all reading tastes." This is a whole series, so if you want to give several books, this is a great option.
Related content: Teen and Tween Gift Guide 2014
For the Middle School Girl:
Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes
This book is tells the story of 12-year-old tomboy Joylin in short poems. It's a quick read that packs a big punch with lots understanding of what it means to be an adolescent and the changes they experience.
For the kid who loves humor, a great character and/or Broadway:
Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Publishers' Weekly Best Book of the Year, and a Slate Favorite Book of the Year, Amanda wasn't the only fan of this book that tells the story of a boy who hops a bus from his dull hometown of Jankburg, Pennsylvania to New York City to audition for a Broadway show.
Amanda explained that this book features a protagonist who wonders if he might be gay. He is too young to be thinking about sex and pretty innocent, but is developing crushes that lean him that direction. He also meets his first openly gay man, a friend of his aunt, and starts to think of it as a possibility. Amanda says she feels it's presented in a very tween appropriate way, but cautions that not all parents might see it that way.
Hope you found some suggestions that work for you. If you want additional titles, including some classics, click here. Happy gifting and happy reading!
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