19 Holiday Gift Ideas for
9- to 12-Year-Old Readers

by Devon A. Corneal

Illustration: Penelope Dullaghan

Tweens can be notoriously hard to buy for. Not yet full-fledged teens, but no longer little kids, they occupy an unenviable middle ground between the magic and imagination of childhood and the more complex realities of adulthood. That can make holiday gift-giving challenging. If you’ve got readers on your list, however, we can make your holiday shopping a bit easier. We’ve collected some amazing books and book-related gifts for all kinds of 9- to 12-year-olds — whether they’re into computers, or animals, or magic, or cooking. So rather than fretting over what to get your favorite middle-grade readers for the holidays, you can relax and enjoy them!

Looking for Brightly’s 2018 Gift Guide?
Check out our list of The Best Holiday Gifts for Kids Ages 7 – 12!

  • Life As We Know It

  • Wonder Pouch

    Pair a copy of the book with this zippered Wonder pouch. It can carry anything from pencils to make-up to cell phones, and in addition to being practical, it reminds us to always choose to be kind.

  • My Brigadista Year

    by Katherine Paterson

    World events sometimes give rise to amazing works of historical fiction. In My Brigadista Year, bestselling author Katherine Paterson uses the upheaval of the 1960s to tell the story of 13-year-old Lora’s decision to become a teacher in Cuba. Paterson evokes a distant time that feels relevant to today’s world events in a book every bit as engaging as her classic A Bridge to Terabithia. A wonderful novel for tweens interested in history, world events, and being part of something bigger than themselves.

  • The Phantom Tollbooth T-Shirt

    Keep the memories of Milo’s adventures alive with this awesome t-shirt, picturing Milo and his companion Tock (a “watchdog” — get it?!).

  • Podkin One-Ear

    by Kieran Larwood, illustrated by David Wyatt

    Podkin is the son of a warrior rabbit, destined to protect his warren from enemies. Unfortunately, he’s also very lazy, and doesn’t have much interest in leadership. Until the day his warren is attacked by an evil tribe and Podkin must leave his home to protect the warren’s most valuable treasure. Don’t be fooled because the hero is a fluffy rabbit, this book is packed with enough action to satisfy even the most skeptical tween.

  • Murder on the Orient Express Pouch

    Kids today might not know who Agatha Christie is, but this year her classic Murder on the Orient Express is coming out in the theaters and I have my fingers crossed that a few older tweens and teens will discover this master of suspense. So get the book, toss it in this bag with some contraband popcorn and hit the theaters.

  • Books Turn Muggles into Wizards Sweatshirt

    The magical world of Harry Potter is the gift that keeps on giving. This holiday season, dress your favorite muggle in style by getting them this fun sweatshirt printed with a spell guaranteed to turn ordinary readers into great wizards.

  • The Joy of Cooking Apron

    Get your aspiring chef, and new cookbook owner, an apron worthy of holiday feasts. This way they can whip up a slew of delicious dishes without worrying about creating a pile of laundry for you.

For more great holiday gift ideas, head on over to Out of Print!