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2016 Holiday Gifts for Tween Readers Ages 9 – 12

by Melissa Taylor

Holiday Gift Guide Tween image

Books make the best gifts, particularly books that hook kids from the first page. These 2016 favorites will grab your kids’ attention and keep them reading long after the last present is opened. Here you’ll find gift ideas for every type of tween reader on your holiday list whether she likes magical adventures or he loves humorous crime-solving dogs.

  • Lots of Laughs

  • Dog Man

    by Dav Pilkey

    From the creator of Captain Underpants comes a new graphic novel with a most unusual and hilarious hero. Half dog, half man, and all police crime fighter, he’s Dog Man! Kids who enjoy goofy drawings and silly adventures will love this book.

  • The Misadventures of Max Crumbly: Locker Hero

    by Rachel Renée Russell

    Max can’t get a break. He’s locked in his middle school locker for the second time of the day (after school on a three-day weekend)! While pondering his fate, he shares illustrations and stories of what led up to this not-very-superhero-like disaster. Of course, when Max finally escapes, there are even more funny Murphy’s Law moments to be had involving a trip to the bathroom, computer thieves, and pizza…

  • Welcome to Wonderland: Home Sweet Motel

    by Chris Grabenstein

    Also available from:

    P.T. Wilkie lives at the quirky Wonderland Motel, but with the motel’s financial troubles, it might not be home for long. P.T. teams up with motel guest Gloria Ortega, combining his creative storytelling skills with her marketing genius, to try to keep the hotel afloat. The friends use talking frog performances and a wild treasure hunt to earn the hotel enough money for the bank. Only it’s not enough. When they realize real buried treasure might be on the property, they enlist P.T.’s grandpa and face off against jewel thieves, a gun-wielding insurance agent, and a tiger.

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  • Life Lessons

  • Pax

    by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Jon Klassen

    When Peter’s soldier father abandons Pax, Peter’s fox, on the side of the road and drops Peter off at a distant grandfather’s, heartbroken Peter runs away to find his fox. Pax, who is in the wild for the first time, feels lost without his boy. Fortunately, both boy and fox experience the kindness of others even with the backdrop of imminent war.

  • The Seventh Wish

    by Kate Messner

    While ice-fishing, Charlie catches a magical wish-granting fish. She has a lot of wishes but starts out with just a few — getting a certain boy to like her, helping her mom get a job, helping her neighbor be good at basketball. When her wishes don’t turn out quite like she wanted, Charlie realizes that the fish can’t fix life’s struggles, including the biggest one breaking her heart, her college-aged sister’s heroin addiction.

  • Booked

    by Kwame Alexander

    Soccer is 12-year-old Nick’s favorite thing. Even when his parents separate, even when he’s too nervous to talk to his crush, and even when he’s harassed by thugs at school, Nick has soccer. Until he’s injured. Written in free verse, this is a fast-paced, realistic book filled with the angst and hope of growing up.

  • Ghosts

    by Raina Telgemeier

    Catrina’s family moves to a California ocean town filled with salty air and ghosts. She worries about her little sister Maya’s cystic fibrosis, feeling responsible for the incident that sent Maya to the hospital. With Maya’s prompting, Catrina attends a local Day of the Dead celebration and discovers that the ghosts are actually friendly spirits of loved ones, not something to fear.

  • Arts and Science

  • Maker Lab

    by Jack Challoner

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    Created with the Smithsonian Institution, this National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA)-winning book is filled with 28 science experiments and crafts for our next generation of makers. With difficulty rankings and time estimates, kids (and parents) will know what they’re diving into with each project. Better still, young inventors can construct a solar system, build an exploding volcano, and race balloon rocket cars — and do it all (and much more) using only household items.

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  • Doodle Games Activity Book

    by Joe Rhatigan, illustrated by Anthony Owsley

    Grab a pencil and paper, invite a friend or work by yourself, then use your doodle skills for fun. Create masterpieces from random shapes, combine two animals to make a mutant creature, or use only five dots to draw a person. Whatever activity you pick, you’ll be creating delightful, artistic experiences.