middle reader christmas


The middle/tween years are difficult ages to buy for – I’ve been living this predicament for a while! The spectrum of taste and capability really comes into play on an individual level. For example, one child of mine almost exclusively reads nonfiction, the other is very… shall we say… selective… about choice. Sometimes they will listen to suggestions, other times they will run a mile the other way to avoid them. Still! I persist!

How to Outsmart a Billion Robot Bees ($10.90) is by Paul Tobin, writer of comics including Angry Birds, Plants Vs. Zombies and others for Marvel, Dark Horse and DC Comics. His name alone will be a drawcard for some readers and those new to his work will enjoy the story: a genius sixth-grader needs to save his town held to ransom by a baddie threatening to unleash sting-happy bees upon them all. Science and adventure together!

The Wayward Witch and the Feelings Monster by Sally Rippin ($16.75 – hardcover), the first in the ‘Polly and Buster’ series. You can listen to chapter one in this video:

Rippin is an incredibly prolific and successful author and I’ve no doubt that this new book will be no exception.

Keeping to a similar theme as the above, our house does not lack in monster books. Reference books, mostly, which catalogue different kinds from different cultures around the world. If you’re buying for a child with similar interests, A Field Guide to Fantastical Beasts by Olento Salaperainen ($18.75 – hardcover) could be a good pick. The illustrations are lovely.

Another idea for the nonfiction-loving, perhaps slightly younger (6-8-year-old) in your life is The Curious Guide to Things That Aren’t: Things You Can’t Always Touch, See, or Hear. Can You Guess What They are? by John Fixx and Abby Carter ($14.95 – hardcover). Comprised of 26 riddles to foster deductive reasoning skills and creative responsiveness, this will be a good option for those readers who like to test themselves.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend ($12.50) is taking over a lot of the social media feeds and groups I follow – touted as a successor-of-sorts to the Harry Potter series, it is the story of a “cursed girl who escapes death and finds herself in a magical world – but is then tested beyond her wildest imagination”.

Jessica can be seen reading from the book in the video below:

I can definitely see this as a book my two kids (not to mention me!) would sit down with to read.


Do you find this a difficult age group to buy for? What are the children in your life reading at the moment? Do you have any hot picks for me?

The prices quoted in this post were found on Booktopia and were correct at the time of writing. The Christmas cut-off date for non-stocked items (those advertised with shipping times long than 1-2 days) is the 1st of December and the cut-off for stocked items will be the 14th of December. Full disclosure: I am an affiliate of Booktopia, which means I earn a small commission if you click through from this site and make a purchase.

Karen Andrews is the creator of this website, one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Her latest book is Trust the Process: 101 Tips on Writing and Creativity