Books make great gifts at any age, and giving a tween a book they love can truly be the gift that keeps on giving, especially if it ignites a love of reading, introduces them to new friends, or gives them a fantastic new world to inhabit.
Gifting books also reinforces that reading can be fun, not a chore. Here are some suggestions of fun books for tweens that make great gifts. They all came out this year, making it less likely that the tween you’re giving them to has already read them. (If you’re looking for books for teens, click here.)
If your tween loves adventure or magic, they’ll enjoy The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris
This book, the first in a series, is by the Neil Patrick Harris and his voice shines through in the story of six young friends who are all illusionists who must save the town of Mineral Wells from the evil B.B. Bosso. It comes out right before Thanksgiving. Unsurprisingly, the early reviews of it are glowing.
School Library Journal says it is “[a] rollicking ride of a magical tale that’s wholesomely suspenseful, values friendship, and applauds courage.”
For tweens who love food and/or laughter, order up Slider by Pete Hautman
If a way to teen’s heart is through their stomach, a book about competitive eating should do just the trick, too. The hero enters the the world’s greatest pizza-eating contest because he really needs the prize money. Consider pairing this with a note that you’ll take the recipient out for pizza to talk about the book when they’re done.
“With crystalline prose, delectable detail, rip-roaring humor, and larger-than-life characters, Hautman gracefully examines what it means to be a friend, a family member, and, through it all, a kid trying to do the right thing. Readers will race to devour it, but like Papa Pigorino’s colossal BDT pizzas, this infectious tale is a thing to be savored,” says Booklist.
For tweens who love animals, give them The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City by Jodi Kendall
I saw this at my local bookstore and was drawn to the adorable cover image. I may have been judging a book by its cover, but what’s inside this book is just as charming as the outside. Described on Amazon as a “modern day homage to Charlotte’s Web,” this is the story of Josie Shilling’s close connection with Hamlet, a pig her older brother brings to the crowded family home on Thanksgiving.
Publishers Weekly predicts that the book will “charm a broad range of readers.”
If your tween feels pressure to succeed or hates standardized testing, check out The Perfect Score by Rob Buyea
Because of Mr. Terupt is a popular novel for tweens by Rob Buyea, a former teacher, and he’s back again with a new book that tackles the pressure many tweens feel to be perfect, both when it comes to standardized testing as well as their activities outside of the classroom.
“Readers will be drawn in by the lively voices and eventful lives of these likable and engaging students,” according to Kirkus Reviews.
For tweens who enjoy science, history or biographies, go with Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton Revealed by Mary Losure
This nonfiction book for middle schoolers explores Isaac Newton’s life, with a large focus on his childhood. In addition to being a page-turner, it’s great example of how primary sources can be used to tell a compelling story. There’s also a lot of visual interest in this book, including illustrations, engravings from the time and pages from his notes.
“Much about Newton’s life has to be conjecture, but the author adds details from history and from her understanding of human behavior that make this splendid story both convincing and accessible to her readers,” says Kirkus Reviews.
If you have a kid who loves mystery and suspense, pick up Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
Set on an island off Massachusetts in the 1920’s, this riveting novel follows Crow, an orphan, as she discovers her history and learns about the definition of family. This tale best for kids age 10 and older.
School Library Journal says this is “[a] stellar story full of heart, action, and emotion that will make readers feel like they are a part of Crow’s family.”
For tweens who love fantasy (or who were fans of Harry Potter), consider Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
This book was released on October 31, 2017, and it became an instant New York Times best seller. Time Magazine calls this story of a girl whisked away to a magical world has drawn many comparisons to Harry Potter, with some thinking this first book in the series could be just as successful. It’s good for kids 8 and older.
And Publishers Weekly offers a ringing endorsement, stating, “Whimsical worldbuilding, humorous dialogue, and colorful supporting characters compliment an adventurous, magic-filled plot that champions bravery, self-confidence, and hope.”
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