Books for older kids this Christmas

Dan and I have just finished reading a book together (one of my most favourite before bedtime things we do that still lingers into his 12th year) and it stopped us both in our tracks.
We’ve talked about it, we’ve recommended it, we’ve run home to download the extra chapter we realised the author has written when we saw the book while browsing in Waterstones.

If you’re hunting for some last-minute presents to buy this Christmas, books books books.
If you get your children reading it will help them in school no end. Grammar, punctuation, how to form sentences, different sorts of sentence form, speech, spellings, how to think a little differently.
I’m convinced the reason Dan does so well in English at school is because he reads so much.
So give the gift of books; to your kids, to other people’s kids.

Here are Dan’s top 7 in no particular order:

GWR book

Guinness World Records
If you’re buying for someone who isn’t a fan of books or novels, this is the perfect way to get them reading without them actually realising they’re doing it!
Every year Dan spends hours in a quiet corner with his head buried in it, taking it all in.
Whether they love sport, astronomy, celebrity, music, or just the downright bizarre there is something here for them!




Wonder by RJ Palacio
‘My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.’
This is the perfect book to read together.
It’s about a boy called August who is born with a facial disfigurement that scares people and it’s about how he goes to school for the first time in his pre-teens. He’s always been homeschooled, but now he’s going to school and all he wants to be is accepted and to fit in.
It explores themes of bullying, tolerance, friendship and fear and is beautifully written. Also, I challenge you not to get all emotional every time to read a chapter.



Does My Goldfish Know Who I Am?
You know how children ask the darnest questions? Well this book answers them.
Do spiders speak? How does the lady in the satnav know where to go?
Not only that they’ve asked some fabulous experts to answer them – from Brian Cox and Sir David Attenborough to Heston Blumenthal, Tony Robinson and Miranda Hart (she answers ‘why are farts funny?’)
The questions were taken from primary schools across the UK and was released last year to raise money for the NSPCC. And it’s brilliant.
You will become engrossed and you will think you are the Font of All Knowledge after reading it.


Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
When Dan started reading this series I was very dubious. I mean look at the cover!
The titular character is a wise-cracking skeleton detective, and it features magic, murder and mystery.
It’s a real page-turner and full of action and adventure. And his sidekick is a 12-year-old girl called Stephanie.
Well written, witty, and a real page turner.
Dan finished reading it and begged for the second book which he currently has his head buried in right now!




The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
As is usually the case, the book is way better than the movie.
The dark story of teenager Katniss who enters the Hunger Games arena to fight for her life in a battle where 12 boys and 12 girls are forced to kill or be killed.
There is so much more characterisation, background and little nuggets they don’t include in the movie, it’s definitely worth adding to your reading list.
It’s a lot grimmer than the film – there are some quite disturbing descriptions which I actually skipped over when Dan and I read it together a couple of years ago.
Another great book to talk about the themes afterwards too.



The Spiderwick Chronicles by Toni DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
If your young one likes fantastical stories of fairies and goblins – but with a dark twist – they will love this.
A family move into an old abandoned mansion and the children discover a field journal which seemingly points to there being a fantastical and bizarre mystical world, right outside the house in the woods beyond.
Gripping, slightly scary and full of adventure.
The movie version is also good too!




The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
This is the next book on our list to read together.
So I can’t actually tell you much about it other than it’s about a boy who can hear everything the men around him think and he realises he doesn’t fit in with their plans.
It also comes very highly recommended by many when I asked what books we should think about reading next.

So happy reading all.
And if you have any other recommendations, please share in the comments below.

This entry was posted in Books, Christmas, Lists, Shopping and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Books for older kids this Christmas

  1. libprice says:

    Thanks so much for these – always looking for different stuff for D. I loved Wonder – never thought about her reading it too. Will see what she thinks of the others (although obvs won't tell her they were Dan's favourites!!!) xx

  2. becky says:

    Frankie had everyone of those books Tara except the last one which the lovely Dortkymum has sent him form Tasmania for Christmas. Great minds
    My recent post Never lose your insurance policy again

  3. Griselda heppel says:

    Great recommendations, thanks. Does anyone read Leon Garfield any more? Wonderful writer of adventures, historically accurate, exciting, moving eg Smith, Jack Holborn, Devil-in-the-fog.

  4. Glenda says:

    Great post Tara – The boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a great book too

  5. Mrs Worthington says:

    With a 20 year old son who once loved reading I can definitely relate to some of these titles especially the Guinness book of World Records. Still a fave even now. He also liked The Cherub Series by Robert Muchamore (which I also liked) and would even queue up for the latest one well into his teens.
    Daughter loved Darren Shan and anything else gory.
    And you are right, a love of reading is good foundation for being good at English.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge