Holiday Gift Guide: Older Kid Book Edition

A Dangerous Boy

The Dangerous Book for Boys.

I wrote a review of this book a while back. It is still just as well loved as ever in my house.

The Daring Book for Girls, by Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz. I haven’t written a full review of this book yet. Probably because my sons took the book and ran off with it. They didn’t seem to care that the title has “girl” in it. They thought it was a cool book regardless.

Most of the sections are pretty gender neutral. I was worried that it was going to be filled with things like “Getting a Perfect Manicure” or “Sewing Your Own Menstrual Pads” or “How to Make the Boy Notice You” But I needn’t have worried. It is the perfect mix of things that might not appeal to boys, like “Putting Your Hair Up With a Pencil,” “Modern Women Leaders” or “Princesses,” but at the same time the book is just chock-full of cool fun things to do and trivia.

I say buy both of these books for the kids in your life, whether they are boys or girls. Kids like to have things at this age that are “special” to their sex. That is why this is the age when kids gravitate toward clubs like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. But they will also love the book for the opposite sex, I mean what boy doesn’t want to know how to build a campfire or make the perfect cootie catcher?

The Inheritance Trilogy by Christopher Paolini

Only the first two books of the series have been published and both have become instant bestsellers. I believe the final book is due out this spring. My oldest two sons have loved these books. Just a few days ago my 13 year old said he can’t wait for the third book. Don’t base your opinion of this book on the movie, the movie was disappointing.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

My 11.5 yr old son just finished reading this book last night and loved it. He already has Book 2 and 3 on his bedside table. The main character is a 21st century kid in NYC with ADHD who is a social outcast and learns that he is really the son of Poseidon and a mortal woman. It is a new modern twist on the adventure quest type of series.

Chew On This: Everything You Don’t Want To Know About Fast Food by Eric Schlosser.

This is the young adult version of the book Fast Food Nation by the same author. After reading this book two of my children have sworn off fast food. They absolutely refuse to eat any and all fast food and have for over a year now. A great informational read.

The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke

This was Cornelia Funke’s first novel. It is about two bys who run away from their mean aunt to the city of Venice. My older kids immediately fell in love with the book and went searching for other books by the same author.

Inkheart and Inkspell are two more books by author. Originally Inkheart was supposed to be a stand alone book, but the popularity of it encouraged the author to write a second book in what will now be a trilogy. The main character in these books is a girl, if you have a daughter who would like a girl as a main character.

My children are all voracious readers, so this is really just a small sample of books they remember that they enjoyed. When pressed I got the, “I liked all the books I read, otherwise I would not have read them,” as a response.

Feel free to leave some suggestions in the comments below. We are always on the look out for more books.

19 Responses to “Holiday Gift Guide: Older Kid Book Edition”

  1. Linsey Says:

    Thanks you so much for this list! My oldest child is 5 and just learning to read, but two of his cousins are 8 year old boys who love to read. I’m the auntie that hands out books for all holidays, and I am so excited to give them the Dangerous Book for Boys! I think they are going to love it.

    Thanks again!

  2. Sasha Says:

    I have both the Dangerous Book for Boys and the Daring Book for Girls. I was worried about the same things with the girl’s book but they did a great job.

    I have the Inheritance books but haven’t read them yet. Hubs has and really liked them.

    I have read the Inkheart and Inkspell books and absolutely adored them. I’m waiting for my oldest to get a little older before she reads them. I can’t wait until the third one comes out. I ran out and got the Thief Lord and some of the shorter stories she has written just because I loved the Ink— books so much.

    I’ll have to look into the Lightning Thief. Right now I’m reading the Sister’s Grimm…so far it’s ok.

    I have 4 girls and a boy. The boy is the youngest and still learning to read.

  3. mel Says:

    Oh goodness, how I love kid lit! Here are a some of the series that have been enjoyed at my house…

    The Spiderwick Chronicles (Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi)
    A Series of Unfortunate Events (Lemony Snicket)
    The Gideon Trilogy (Linda Buckley-Archer)
    The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis)
    The Time Quartet (Madeleine L’Engle)
    The Chronicles of Prydain (Lloyd Alexander)

    (If anyone is looking for more suggestions, check out this post at The Happiness Project and be sure to scroll down through the comments…

  4. Jen Says:

    Have your boys read the Philip Pullman trilogy ‘His Dark Materials’? It is a fantastic read, far better than Harry Potter IMHO. Apparently it has come under a lot of flak in the US (,0,5277523.story?coll=cl-books-features) for being anti-religion, but to be honest (and call me naive) I didn’t really pick up on that (though with hindsight I can see their point), so I would doubt that a 13 year old boy (or younger) would. It had me gripped for days, and I’ve since lent the books to my friend’s son (now 15) who hasn’t given them back as he keeps re-reading them!!

    Thanks for your recommendations. My son isn’t quite at that stage but I like storing up ideas for when he’s older. I still have all the books I read until I was about 11, but I think they may be a bit old-fashioned by the time he reads them!

  5. Lori Says:

    There’s some overlap with your suggestions, but I listed my boys (ages 8 and 11) favorites in this post:

  6. Jen Says:

    My kids (two girls and a boy) love the Dangerous and Daring books, too!

    I would like to add, for older “chapter book” readers:
    “Keys to the Kingdom” series (Garth Nix)
    “Twilight” series (Stephenie Meyer) - especially for teen girls
    “Leven Thumps” series (Obert Skye)
    “Anne” series (L.M. Montgomery)
    and, of course “The Black Stallion” (my 8-year old daughter found my old stash of these, and is starting to read them!)

  7. Sara Says:

    My two oldest (11 and 9)are enthralled with “The Lightning Thief”. I still have a read aloud time with them and that is the book we are doing. Often read aloud time goes beyond our scheduled time because they HAVE to hear more. Like your other suggestions as well.

  8. Brigitte Says:

    I still love the books by Edward Eager (”Half Magic”, etc.) and books by E. Nesbit. For newer stuff, I like Tamora Pierce and Cecilia Dart Thornton, but it’s fantasy with a female protagonist, I don’t know if the boys would be into that.

  9. Carolyn Says:

    My oldest daughter (11) is completely enthralled with the Magyk series (Angie Sage). She has Magyk, Flyte, and Physik. My son (13) has whipped thru the Guardian of Ga’Hool series for the second time. Is ANXIOUSLY awaiting the third in the inheritance series (my understanding is that it was supposed to be a trilogy and he has broken it off into 4 books because there was too much to add to the 3rd…I had heard is was called Empire) We got him the Dangerous book for his b-day this past year and he LOVES it. He also loved the Deltora Quest series by Emily Radda. She also has another series Fairy Realm for younger readers (my 7 yo loved those).

  10. Trish Says:

    I’m in my 30’s and still can’t put up my hair with a pencil - would it be wrong to buy the book for myself? Maybe I’ll just buy it and say I’m saving it for my 3yo.

  11. Megan Says:

    Terry Pratchett trilogy: The Wee Free Men, Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith. We read the first aloud when my kids were in the 9-14 range and they still love them (plus they’re now happily reading their way through the other books he’s written which is always a bonus).

    Another well received read-aloud has been the All Creatures Great and Small series (James Herriot of course). The format works very well - short stories in each chapter so if you feel one will be too boring/incomprehensible etc you can skip it without losing the thread of the plot.

    I would second E. Nesbitt - mine really enjoyed The Treasure Seekers and The Wouldbegoods - Lloyd Alexander and C.S. Lewis because I think they work well for boys as well as girls (sometimes not easy!)

  12. Maddy Says:

    The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

    We are reading it to my son (age 8). He can read it on his own, also, but it is a big book. It’s about a group of gifted (but different) children who accept the challenge to defeat a mastermind who is trying to control the world. My 11 year old daughter wants to read it also. I know she’ll like it as well. The amazon reviews explain it better than I can. Highly recommended!

    My daughter loves the “Twilight” series that someone else mentioned.

  13. Lisa Says:

    Long time lurker, first time commenter here! Love your list, we have a lot of those - the Eric Schlosser book along with the film ‘Supersize Me’ had the same effect on my older daughter.
    Can I also suggest the following books for older kids that have been popular in our house:
    The Arthur Trilogy by Kevin Crossley-Holland
    The Wind on Fire Trilogy by William Nicholson
    The ‘Fire’ series of books by Chris d’Lacey
    The ‘Tales of the Otori’ series by Lian Hearn (older kids to young adult, check you are happy with content according to child’s age)
    Anything by Michael Morpurgo who writes for children of all ages.

  14. Lori Says:

    All the readers in our family just loved the Redwall series by Brian Jacques.

  15. Celine Says:

    By far the best-loved book at my house is “The Good Master” by Kate Seredy. My husband and I took turns reading this book aloud to the kids, and we enjoyed it as much as they did. It’s one of those stories that you want to read again and again.

  16. Brigitte Says:

    HOW could I forget Terry Pratchett!? I luuuurve Terry.

    Arthurian tales are cool for both too, I’m specifically remembering Mary Stewart’s series, but many other authors have good takes on it too.

  17. Kristina White Says:

    We have the Dangerous book for boys, and LOVE IT!! I bought it for my 5 year old and my husband. They have had a lot of fun reading it and doing the things in it.

    I have been wanting to get the girls one, my daughter is only 3. I still think I will buy it.

  18. Meg's Mom Says:

    Kate Seredy is fabulous as is Caddie Woodlawn. And, for ALL ages, the picture books by Peter Collington are timeless - they may be picture books but they aren’t just children’s books. I began reading Tolkien when I was 12-13, starting with The Hobbit, and I don’t think the movie versions have spoiled the books at all. The Abhorsen Trilogy (Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen) by Garth Nix are great, too.

  19. Kellie Says:

    The daring and dangerouse books are wrapped and will be under the tree come Tuesday, As much as the frugal me wanted to get one of each ( 2 girls 2 boys) I could not do it and bought them each one of their gender. I left them each a message in the cover and see this as a book that will possibly travel to my someday, far far away grandchildren. I also picked up the “how to be the best at everything” boys edition…and sat reading them as I pretended to wrap ( I needed a break ) I am proud to say I can now whistle by sticking my fingers in my mouth!

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