My bairns are aged 5 and 3 so I tend to focus on books for toddlers and little kids on the blog and on social media, but occasionally I come...

Fiction for Kids aged 7+ Christmas Gift Guide

Tuesday, December 01, 2020 BookBairn 1 Comments

My bairns are aged 5 and 3 so I tend to focus on books for toddlers and little kids on the blog and on social media, but occasionally I come across books for BookBairn to grow in to or books to save for later. I also really enjoy reading children's book for my own enjoyment and often find I like them more than adult fiction. So every year I compile these into a list of books for 'older readers'. The age range of these varies so I recommend you double-check the recommended ages over on the publisher website or on amazon because you know your young readers best as to what is appropriate for their reading.

Before I share, I just want to say that there are many many great books out there for young readers but these are some of our favourites that we have discovered this year. It would be impossible to compile a fully comprehensive list so this is more of a highlights guide. If you want to see our gift guides from last year, or any of our other gift guides from this year you can find them all linked here. I've tried to include a variety of books so that there is something for everyone.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll illustrated by Chris Riddell

You can tell when a book has been reissued if the people who created it truly love the story and it's obvious that illustrator Chris Riddell is an ardent Wonderland lover from the glorious artwork he has created. I'm sure I don't need to tell you about the story after all Lewis Carroll's magical adventure is a classic and has be told and retold many times but this new edition really will captivate children and adult's imaginations in a new way. Adored across the world curious and quick-witted Alice is a true heroine and this version is utterly enchanting!

Magical Creatures & Mythical Beasts by Emily Hawkins & Victo Ngai

This is a book to immerse yourself in a world of myths and legends. Travel the globe, visiting it's natural and man-made wonders, on the trail of more than 30 mythical beasts. As you turn each page all is not quite what it seems and with the use of the UV torch provided a whole new world is revealed. See the Loch Ness monster on a stormy night, discover Pegasus at the Parthenon and find unicorns in the Harz Mountains or search for dragons on the Great Wall of Chine. Packed with histroy and mythology, this book will enchant readers and have them looking for magic wherever they might find it - in the pages and beyond! The illustrations are glorious and the adventure bewitching but it's so full of information too - there's a lot packed in the pages of the book, you'll need more than just a UV torch to reveal it's wonders - you need an imaginative kid too! And who doesn't have one of those!

Delightfully Different Fairy Tales by Lynn Roberts Maloney & David Roberts

It’s not often you put the phrase ‘sophisticated and stylish’ with ‘fairytale’ but that’s exactly what I want to say! This book isn’t exactly new - in fact the stories were published individually 10 years ago - but is now available in this beautiful new large format hardback gift edition making it a wonderful gift or special treat! With spellbinding storytelling and detailed illustrations, these are utterly original in their portrayals of heroines (we think) we know so well. Journey back to the glamorous 1920s Art Deco era to meet Cinderella in a frenzy of flapper girls and the most glamourise fairy godmother your likely to come across! Take a trip to the 1950s to follow the story of Sleeping beauty which spans 1000 years giving you a glimpse of a futuristic world and featuring only female characters - no princes to the rescue for these damsels! And then rediscover Rapunzel in the 1970s, with some fantastic music references and epic platform shoes. They are the fairytales you love but these retellings will completely transport you in time and place. Full of retro charm, these fresh retellings will be adored by new generations and their (dare-I-say, yes I think I will) retro (at least in the kids eyes) parents!

Everybody Counts by Kristin Roskifte

Much more than a counting book, much more than a seek and find book, and somehow it’s even more than the characters’ stories told through this book. There are lots of secrets to be covered within these pages.
So first it is actually a counting book. With numbers increasing in single increments to begin with and then jumping to larger numbers all the way from 0 to 7.5 billion. It also an unusual seek and find book. With characters reappearing on each page. And questions at the back to help you spot them. You might even see that from the images I’ve shared here. The father and son who appear on the first few pages reappear over and over again. In fact their are 2768 different characters. And it’s through that clever use of characters reappearing in different scenes that you start to see their stories unfold. The couple who meet in the library who go on to get married. The man who is glued to his phone on every scene (even when everyone else is gazing upon the wonders of the sky to see a comet streak across the sky). The pregnant lady whose bump gets bigger on each page and who turns or to be a twin who has twin babies!There’s even a character who collects cushions! This book is a test in observation (it also has a little guide at the back to help you get started). But more than all that this books shows that everyone has their own lives and even more importantly everyone counts. This books is truly extraordinary and one of the most unique and incredible feats of illustration and storytelling that I have ever seen! It’s ingenious.

Dragon Ark by Emma Roberts & Tomislav Tomic

Would you like to go an adventure of the most magical and mythical kind?! Welcome aboard the Dragon Ark! Join the Dragon Protector and meet the incredible beasts aboard her ark, then travel the world to seek out the secretive creatures in their natural habitats. Dragons (like other non-mythical creatures) all over the world are found in their habitats and hiding places plundered and destroyed for natural resources. Time is running out to ensure the survival of the these species so the Dragon Protector has been entrusted to care for them and above all find the most secretive and spectacular dragon there is... the Celestial Dragon. And your young readers are offered an apprenticeship to help this all important quest and make the difference to deciding the clues and finding the last of its kind. I adore this book! I know it’s a book I would revisit over and over, gently running my fingers over the delicate and detailed artwork and drinking in the magical and mystical tales of the dragons and the world they live. The crew and ark would no doubt become familiar to me as I joined them on their quest. Such an engaging concept and beautifully executed this book should be top of young fantasists and fantasy lovers reading list! It’s truly stunning!

Fairy Tale Revolution Series

Blueblood by Malorie Blackman & Laura Barrett
Hansel and Greta by Janette Winterson & Laura Barrett
Duckling by Kamila Shamsie & Laura Barrett
Cinderella Liberator by Rebecca Solnit & Arthur Rackham

"A fairy tale revolution is here to remix and revive our favourite stories." And these books have certainly done just that! Taking fairy tales that we are all familiar with and remixing them with the expertise of some truly fantastic writers, this new series will surprise readers with their revolution of fairy tales. What if Cinderella doesn't just find a happy ending and marry a prince, what if instead she finds herself? What if Hansel and Greta(!) seek to rescue the forest in danger of destruction against the consumerist and greedy society they face? What if the ugly Duckling finds that being different is as valuable as fitting in? And if Bluebeard was in fact a woman? (I didn't really know the story of Bluebeard at all but this was my favourite of the retellings and now I'm going to have to read an 'original'.) Beautifully iluustrated with pops of colour against black silhouettes these are very stylish and grown-up looking books which I think will appeal to older children and adults alike. As each story has a different writer, they all vary in style but the concept of the revolutionised fairytale really holds true in all the narratives and I think these would make fantastic gifts for older readers.

Bloom by Nicola Skinner

I just loved this one, the characters were wonderful and I loved the mix of magical realism, environmental message and quirky storytelling in this. Sorrel Farrowfield is growing up in a very unusual way! Sorrel Fallowfield is so good at being good that teachers come to her when they need help remembering the school rules – and there are LOTS. Luckily, Sorrel doesn’t have any trouble following them, until the day she discovers a faded packet of Surprising Seeds buried under a tree in her backyard. Now she’s hearing voices, seeing things, experiencing an almost unstoppable urge to plant the Seeds in some very unusual places… and completely failing to win her school’s competition to find The Most Obedient Child of the School. And all that’s before flowers start growing out of her head… Some very clever place names, character names too - love those sorts of nuggets in a book! And this cover design is lush! Highly recommend this one for children and adults alike!

Where the World Turns Wild by Nicola Penfold

Juniper Greene lives in a walled city from which nature has been banished, following the outbreak of a deadly man-made disease many years earlier. While most people seem content to live in such a cage, she and her little brother Bear have always known about their resistance to the disease, and dream of escaping into the wild. The world-building of this felt particularly poignant as it followed the results of a virus that spread exponentially. A virus spread by eco-warriors who saw the only way to reverse climate change and the human effects on the planet was to eliminate the humans. Two quite strong messages that are at the forefront of mind this year (virus and climate change), it's a timely book. 

The Soup Movement by Ben Davis

An incredibly powerful children’s book that will appeal to readers of all ages, this is powerful, poignant, moving and funny! It has characters that are well drawn and relatable, going through challenging and emotional circumstances. To aid his recovery from a life-threatening illness, Jordan and his family move out of the city for a healthy new start. Jordan's getting enough funny looks as the new boy at school as it is, without his Mum giving him homemade soup every day for lunch! But when Ethan meets a homeless man called Harry, and gives him the soup, it is the start of an unlikely friendship. This story is an ever important reminder about the power to do good, and that often young people are better at that than grown ups. I loved the modern social media-ness in this too - so relatable for young people. And found the sections of Jordan’s cancer blog to be very visceral and moving without sugar coating but finding humour. 

October, October by Katya Balen

October and her dad live in the woods and they are wild. Until the year October turns eleven. That's the year October rescues a baby owl. It's the year Dad falls out of the biggest tree in their woods. The year the woman who calls herself October's mother comes back. The year everything changes! With whimsical weaving of imagination, storytelling and the joy of nature and the outdoors, this book offers so much depth. I found October's storytelling compelling and her views of the outside world fascinating but also enjoyed how she found herself in her new environment. Utterly enchanting!

When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson, Omar Mohamed & Iman Geddy

Omar and his brother, Hassan, two Somali boys, have spent a long time in the Dadaab refugee camp. Separated from their mother, life in the camp isn't easy. The hunger is constant. But there's football to look forwards to, and now there's a chance for Omar to go to school, but with a younger brother who has seizures and has suffered neurological problems caused by malnutrition and the long walk to safety, can Omar leave him every day to go to school and create a better future for them both? What a truly spectacular book! The artwork throughout was really moving and made the characters come alive and the storytelling was so really, and moving, and encompassing. A very powerful book!

I hope that helps you find something for older readers in your life! And if you want any specific recommendations please feel free to get in touch! All our social media links are in the header at the top of the blog - or you can just search 'bookbairn' to find us!

I have also added this list to my Amazon shop so you can find the links easily, just click on the section for  Big Kids or the list of Middle Grade Chapter Books where you'll find these books and many others.

This year I've also signed up to be an affiliate for where you can shop online whilst still supporting local independent bookshops! 

And of course you can always take a note of the books titles and go to a local bookshop or place an order with them.

Happy Christmas Shopping,

Kim and the elves xx

Disclaimer: We were sent some of these books free for review purposes by the publishers. Words and opinions are my own. If you click on the affiliate linked stores above and you choose to purchase on, or, I will receive a small sum (around 20p-£1.50 per book) from those sites at no extra cost to you. I understand that you may not want to use an affiliate link, but if you like reading our blog please just think of it as a small tip for a tip-off to an awesome book. And know that your support means I can buy more books! For more information check out our 'For Our Readers' section.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a great collection. I am familiar with “Everybody Counts” having read it with BookBairn. She loved it and so did I.