a peek inside the fishbowl

10 Nov, 2010

Fishbowl gift guide: this time we’re talkin’ books for tweens

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|Oh! Things!

I went to the Pinecrest Chapters last night to take advantage of a “mom’s night out” event. There’s another one tonight too (November 10). Everything was 15% off and 25% for iRewards members. (Let’s just say I became a member on the spot.)

After I was done I treated myself to a decaf-skinny-halfsweet-peppermint-mocha; the most hyphenated beverage I have ever consumed. I ogled Starbucks array of mugs. I am their target market. I love their stuff. (Look at this cute mug. I will buy two next time I am out.)

In terms of books I may or may not have bought the girls:

Other books we’ve really enjoyed for this age range (9-12) include:

(BTW, links above go to Chapters.ca for the sake of convenience, but do support your local bookstore!)

Other suggestions from the Interwebs:

  • @denielsen: “…. My kids 10, 9, 7 like Bone, Narnia, Lord of Rings, Magic Thief, Eragon, Anne of GG, Little House, Black Cauldron/Taran, Sword of Shannara, Magic Tree House, Inkheart, Star Wars. And Calvin & Hobbs.”
  • From my friend Katherine, mother of former tween: An Episode of Sparrows

Have you noticed that almost every single book out there right now is part of a series? I find this a bit annoying. It gets so expensive!

Anything to add? What are your tweens enjoying right now? What are you eyeballing for Christmas? Please share! I need to know what great books I’m missing. And if I don’t pick them up for Christmas I will put them on reserve at the library and save myself a bit of money.

Speaking of which, although it doesn’t fall into either book or toy category, have you heard of the Moonjar? I love this idea. It’s a unique way of teaching kids how to manage their money by giving them a place to divvy their little allowances into Saving, Spending, and Sharing. A pretty good lesson to learn, especially around Christmas, isn’t it?

16 Responses to "Fishbowl gift guide: this time we’re talkin’ books for tweens"

1 | Ange

November 10th, 2010 at 10:16 am


If they enjoy the Amulet graphic novel series, have you checked out the Bone series? It was very popular at our house, and is up to 13(?) books now! Fun illustrations, interesting story line.

2 | sassymonkey

November 10th, 2010 at 10:17 am


Have you done the Mysterious Benedict Society books? It’s a trilogy. Also Cybils.com has children’s chapters books and middle grade fiction categories. They choose really good books. (I’m not just saying that because I’m a judge for the YA category this year.)

3 | Kaitlin

November 10th, 2010 at 10:21 am


I think it’s a bit dependent on the child and their reading desires and abilities. To be honest, I know a six year old who would want those books read to her and a 10 year old who would want nothing of it. The six year old has asked me to bring back my copies of Little House from my parents’ place for her to borrow.

Anyway, I thought I would pass along another great link, to a lovely guest blog, that features books for children, mostly in the 7-10 age range, but again, depending on their interests…


4 | andrea

November 10th, 2010 at 10:47 am


Ange – we haven’t checked out the Bone series, but I’ve certainly noticed it. I will pick up a copy and see!

Sassy: I haven’t! Thanks for the suggestion!

Kailtin – this list is totally loosey-goosey. All of these books are definitely suitable to be read out loud to younger children. The Land of Elyon series was one we actually listened to on CD during a roadtrip to the Maritimes a couple of summers ago. It was fantastic.

As I wrote out this list I was really thinking of books my own kids like to read on their own, you know what I mean?

5 | Josee DesRosiers

November 10th, 2010 at 10:56 am


My son enjoyed very much the Alvin Ho
Series .

6 | Kerry

November 10th, 2010 at 11:02 am


I love the Ken Oppel “Airborn” series (http://kennethoppel.com/airborn/airborn.shtml). My kids are a bit young for it yet, but I’m looking forward to sharing it with them in a few years. They are fun, action-based, and Canadian too!

7 | Johnny Waite

November 10th, 2010 at 1:38 pm


One of my favorite young-adult fiction series was the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull (http://brandonmull.com/site/). They are very inventive and put a fun twist on the fantasy realm in a contemporary setting (much like the Rick Riordan Last Olympian series but in a completely different way). Another book by the same author (that is not yet a series, although the author is working on it) is Candy Shop War.

The books are meant to be a read together, as the author always lists discussion prompts at the end of the book. The writing is fantastic, the plots are quite inventive (which can be hard to find these days), and the books are really family- and kid-friendly. The author has a few tweens, so he writes quite well for them, in my opinion.

8 | Elizabeth

November 10th, 2010 at 2:05 pm


My 7-year-old has a Moonjar, and she loves using it to divvy up her allowance. She takes the Spend/Share/Save idea very seriously; I like that it plants the seed right away, from the moment of receiving her weekly allowance, of the need to share her good fortune, save for a rainy day or a big future desire, and manage her spending money wisely. I highly recommend it.

9 | Vanessa Smart

November 10th, 2010 at 2:40 pm


The Hunger Games series is fantastic!

10 | Mark Clatney

November 10th, 2010 at 4:00 pm


Anything by Carl Hiassen or Malorie Blackman and for my 10 year old a WWE magazine keeps him busy for 3-4 hours.

11 | Kathleen

November 10th, 2010 at 5:47 pm


Louise Erdrich has a series of 3 or 4 books that starts with The Birchbark House. The hero of these stories is Omakayas, is a young Ojibwe girl. I think Erdrich wrote these amazing novels in response to the Little House on the Prarie books.

12 | Marianne

November 11th, 2010 at 10:51 am


I suggest pre-reading the Breadwinner series books, particularly if you’re thinking of them for a younger child, so you’re prepared to talk about some of the things that come up in the books. In fact, for younger kids I’d suggest reading them together rather than for independent reading. They’re fabulous books … but not all sunshine and roses.

13 | Sheila D.

November 11th, 2010 at 5:16 pm


Try the library for any of the books about the Mennyms by Sylvia Waugh or Mary Norton’s books about the Borrowers. Or Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. Also, any novels by Sharon Creech: Bloomability, Ruby Holler, Chasing Redbird, Absolutely Normal Chaos, the Wanderer, Walk Two Moons. Or by Tim Wynne-Jones (check age range). Or by Ottawa’s Brian Doyle. The Book Market on Merivale sells most of their kids’ books for $1 each. So many wonderful books, so little time.

14 | Smart_Spaces (Heather)

November 15th, 2010 at 12:03 am


The 10yr old is deavouring (sp) the Dear Canada Series and we have taken her to many of the places in Canada.

Great list of books

15 | Gifting books to children >> a peek inside the fishbowl

November 30th, 2010 at 10:34 am


[…] back I posted a list of great book ideas for kids of middling age. (I hesitate to say tween, because so many of the books mentioned in the post and in the comments […]

16 | Tried and true Christmas gifts for tweens and young teens >> a peek inside the fishbowl

December 1st, 2012 at 8:06 am


[…] to buy. In case you’re also thinking about buying books for your tweens and teens, here are a few past posts regarding some of our favourite books… with lots of reader suggestions […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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