50+ Best Books That Make Great Gifts for Kids Ages 7-12!

Books make fantastic gifts! Here is our list for some of the best books that make great gifts! Entertaining and enchanting, suspenseful and funny, there's something for every young reader on our list!

50 Best Books that Make Great Gifts Pinterest Pin with Bookcover The Vanderbeekers

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1. The Seraphina Series

by Robert Beatty

Lead Character: Girl (with strong supporting boy character)



This elegant series combines nature, magic and suspense with a unique cast of characters that takes place at the Biltmore Estate and area surrounding Asheville, North Carolina.

The Gothic feel of the writing along with the setting combined with the voice that author, Robert Beatty gives to the characters in the Seraphina Series will make you feel like you are walking alongside and bearing witness to every suspenseful moment as these captivating and magical stories unfold!


2. Theodore Boone: The Accomplice

by John Grisham

Lead Character: Boy



Theo's parents are both lawyers and that's all he wants to be! In the small city where he lives, Theo sees himself as the next big courtroom attorney and finds himself with plenty of clients and cases!

The Accomplice by John Grisham is the latest in this series of legal thrillers for kids where Theo must help his good friend Woody, who's been accused of robbery. Plenty of page-turning suspense makes this a great pick!

3. Greenglass House

by Kate Milford

Lead Character: Boy + Female friend (my daughter and I loved this book!)



Quirky characters, a captivating mystery, hot cocoa and stained glass at a smuggler's inn!

The son of Greenglass House inn's owners, twelve-year-old Milo and his new found friend, Meddy decide to uncover the mysteries behind missing objects and mysterious guests alike in this clever tale set in an enigmatic and intriguing house!

A great story combined with fabulous illustrations make Greenglass House the perfect read to cozy up with!

4. The Mysterious Benedict Society

by Trenton Lee Stewart

Lead Character: Ensemble - two boys / two girls

Trilogy + Follow-ups


Four kids pass a series of challenging tests and puzzles that bring them to the next step - to go undercover on a secret mission!

Arriving as students at an educational institute located on an island, Reynie, Sticky, Kate and Constance must work together to thwart the attempts of a criminal mastermind!

Far from your average kids' book, The Mysterious Benedict Society's intricately woven plot has clever twists, fantastic characters and worthy surprises that will capture and hold your attention to the very end!

5. The School for Good and Evil

by Soman Chainani

Lead Character: Girls



At The School for Good and Evil, students are trained to become the heroes and villains of fairy tales and fables.

Best friends and total opposites Sophie and Agatha are sure they know which school each will be in- glamorous Sophie has made it her lifelong mission to enter the School for Good, and negative Agatha will be in Evil.

When Sophie gets dropped in Evil's halls, and Agatha is the one placed in Good's hands, the girls are surprised and determined to find out why in this memorable, magical series, The School for Good and Evil!

6. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid

by Jeff Kinney

Lead Character: Boy



This series features fun illustrations, a handwritten font and an easy conversational style of writing that makes it a great series to pour through!

A cross between a comic book and a journal, Diary of a Wimpy Kid will have even kids who don't normally love reading turning page after page and laughing along with Greg Heffley's adventures!

7. Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series

by Rick Riordan

(The Lightning Thief is the first installment)

Lead Character: Narrated by a boy but ensemble cast - we both loved this series!



Great cast of characters led by 12-year-old Percy Jackson brings Greek mythology to life in the most entertaining way possible!

Overflowing with funny scenes, fantasy, action and adventure, The Lightning Thief is a fantastic first book to an amazing series! Once you've finished The Lightning Thief, the other books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series will be there to entertain!

8. The Princess Academy

by Shannon Hale

Lead Character: Girl



Every girl from this mountain quarry town must attend the academy to be trained in the ways of royalty. In one year, one will be chosen to be the next princess.

The opposite of fluff, this book has great characters, competition, thrilling moments and terrific emotion!

If you're fans of The Princess Academy, you'll definitely want to read The Goose Girl! Another fantastic ready by New York Times Bestseller, Shannon Hale!

9. Lost in a Book

by Jennifer Donnelly

Lead Character: Girl


A fantasy within a fantasy! When Belle discovers a book in the Beast's castle library, she is transported to another place that promises all that she wishes for. Is it for real? Should she give up her friends from her castle?

Fans of the Disney's princess looking for a more in-depth book will love Lost in a Book by bestselling author Jennifer Donnelly!

10. My Side of the Mountain

by Jean Craighead George

Lead Character: Boy



Tired of city life, Sam runs away to the Catskill Mountains in search of land owned by his grandfather. My Side of the Mountain is an excellent coming of age and adventure story!

11. When You Reach Me

by Rebecca Stead

Lead Character: Girl


A quickly paced novel filled with twists and turns, When You Reach Me centers around Miranda, a sixth-grader living in New York City whose life has always been predictable- until now!

A great companion book to the timeless classic, A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline D'Engle, When You Reach Me is one of those great books you can't stop thinking about long after you've finished the last page!

12. The Missing Series

by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Lead Character: Boy, but ensemble cast



Mysterious letters start showing up in mailboxes. Always a good start to a mystery!

Sic-Fi thriller and mystery centering around the plot of famous babies that have accidentally been taken from their homes and times and brought to families in modern day!

The Missing books are great reads for fans of history, mystery and suspense!

13. Three Times Lucky

by Sheila Turnage

Lead Character: Girl, but with hysterical friends (boys included) and townspeople



Feisty and witty Mo LoBeau has an enjoyable summer laid out for herself. However, plans go awry when a detective shows up with questions, a murder occurs, and Mo takes it upon herself to figure it all out!

Mo and her best friend, Dale, along with a mystery- filled plot, witty one-liner dialogue, and a town like no other, make Three Times Lucky a book you'll want to read again and again!

14. The BFG

by Roald Dahl

Lead Character: Girl


You may have read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but have you enjoyed The BFG?

When ten-year-old Sophie is whisked away by a friendly giant, their whimsical and daring adventures will keep the pages turning and the reader enjoying every minute of this fun-fantasy read!

15. American Girl Stories

Mysteries and/or the Books that go along with each of the American Girl dolls!

Lead Character: Girls


A variety of stories are available to go along with each of the American Girl Dolls.

Historical stories like the Mary Ellen book pictured here really show the reader how girls lived during different time periods and are an amazing way to enjoy and learn about various eras throughout American history!

There are also mystery stories for each American Girl character for those craving a good mystery to round out the experience!

16. Harry Potter Series

by J.K. Rowling

Lead Character: Boy, ensemble cast



And now we've arrived at the series that we all knew would be part of this post!

It is rare that we bump into someone that isn't a Harry Potter fan and it's usually the first answer we get when we ask for a fave book or recommendation!

Harry Potter is the quintessential 'rise above it all' hero that inspires! This series gives every one of us a hero to cheer for, characters that we absolutely adore (my fave is Luna!) and a well-planned and detailed storyline that weaves it all together in a perfect tapestry of writing that will last for a very long time!

17. The Sisters Grimm - The Fairy-Tale Detectives

by Michael Buckley

Lead Character: Girls



Sisters Daphne and Sabrina have gone to live with their Granny Relda in Ferryport Landing and are in for the shock of their lives!

Discovering that they are the descendants of the Grimms brothers is surprising enough, but to realize that those stories and magic are based in reality is more than they bargained for!

Laugh-out-loud funny, clever writing and best-ever characters will have you on a mission to read every book in The Sisters Grimm Series from beginning to end and anxious to share and recommend this unforgettable series!!

18. Holes

by Louis Sachar

Lead Character: Boy


A multilayered mystery, quirky characters and a family curse make this a book that is impossible to put down until you've reached the last page!

Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake for a crime he didn't commit, and once there, is set to work digging holes to build character.

Soon though, Stanley realizes that's not all they're digging for! Holes is a great read and is has been read more than once in our household!

19. Nancy Drew

by Carolyn Keene

Lead Character: Girl



A series worth introducing to your daughter that will whisk her away into that wonderful world of mystery, adventure and the pinnacle of great detectives: Nancy Drew!

The iconic sleuth never goes out of style! Choose from the classic Nancy Drew titles, updated Nancy Drew Diaries or for the youngest detective lovers, Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew books!

20. The Heroes of Olympus Series

by Rick Riordan

Lead Character: Boys and Girls take turns narrating - Ensemble



The Heroes of Olympus series is great if you loved the Percy Jackson books, or are in search of an entertaining and action-packed saga to enjoy over winter break!

Greek mythology is brought into the modern day with quests, characters and magic and wit! Each of the The Heroes of Olympus books are winners and so fun to dive into-whether you've never read them before or have memorized every line!!

21. Savvy

by Ingrid Law

Lead Character: Girl



In Mibs' family, once you turn thirteen, you get a Savvy, a magical power that's could be anything from causing storms to catching music in a jar!

Mibs Beaumont has been looking forward to her 13th birthday her whole life, but when her turn comes to discover her Savvy, her life goes down an entirely different road then she planned!

Quirky, funny, heartwarming and unforgettable, this book is writing at its best!

22. Scumble (Companion to Savvy)

by Ingrid Law

Lead Character: Boy



A companion to Savvy (above), Scumble is just as fun and enticing, chronicling the magical misadventures of what happens in a family when reaching your 13th birthday means acquiring a magical power!

23. The Westing Game

by Ellen Raskin

Lead Character: Ensemble -equal boy/girl


A mystery that is truly one of the best I've ever read! Sam Westing has created a scavenger hunt for his heirs to complete-and whoever wins, wins a fortune! The stakes are high in this intricate and twist-filled mystery and The Westing Game will keep you guessing till the final page!

24. The Little Princess

by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Lead Character: Girl


A much loved classic, A Little Princess will enchant and delight you no matter how many times you read it!

Always looking on the bright side, Sara Crewe shows the true meaning of being a princess with her grace, strength and kindness, and you'll love every chapter of this timeless tale!

25. The Invention of Hugo Cabret

by Brian Selznick

Lead Character: Boy


This phenomenally illustrated book tells the tale of a young boy whose anonymous life in a Parisian train station is turned upside down by a secret, an encounter with an odd girl and more in this riveting mystery you won't be able to put down!

Set in 1930's Paris, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a fabulous gift for anyone who enjoys history, art, or a fantastic mystery with memorable characters!

26. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

by C. S. Lewis

Lead Character: Ensemble equal- boy/girl



Four curious siblings discover a magical wardrobe that leads them to the fantasy land of Narnia-a place under the spell of an evil witch. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has been a favorite for years and continues to put readers of all ages under it's spell!

27. Ella Enchanted

by Gail Carson Levine

Lead Character: girl


What if you had to do whatever you were told, no matter what? Not all fairies are kind, and given the 'gift' of obedience at birth by a mischievous one, Ella must obey every order, however outrageous!

Not willing to give up, however, Ella sets out to undo the curse, encountering fairy godmothers, ogres and princes along the way! This spin on a classic is a spellbinding read, and Gail Carson Levine has others like it once you've finished Ella Enchanted!

28. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

by Roald Dahl

Lead Character: Boy with boy/girl ensemble


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a Roald Dahl classic that is adored and beloved by many!

When Charlie wins one of the rare tickets to tour Willy Wonka's famous chocolate factory, he's happy and excited to enter behind the closed doors of this sought-after destination!

Between meeting his fellow winners, seeing the inside of the mysterious and magical factory and testing delectable sweets, there's a surprise around every corner in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!

29. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

by Avi

*Middle grades

Lead Character: Girl but a ship with lots of sailors, so plenty of boys in the story.


Thirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle sails from Liverpool, England to Providence, Rhode Island alone and is the only passenger on a ship filled with secrets, mutiny, and murder!

Excellent coming-of-age story that will thrill the reader with fantastic nautical descriptions and an action-filled plot! The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is a fantastic addition to the bookshelf!

30. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

by L. Frank Baum

Lead Character: Ensemble

Series - 14 Books


I remember every year watching The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with my brothers on TV back before video stores, DVDs and online streaming!

Those monkeys scared the heck out of me and Glinda was the prettiest witch ever! Loved the Lollipop Guild and hid my eyes whenever the witch cackled! Good times!


For those of you who didn't already know, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the first in the 14 book Oz series! Perfect gift for any fan of Oz or someone who you know will love these wacky, fun stories!

31. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

by E. L. Konigsburg

Lead Character: Girl and Boy (brother/sister)


When brother and sister Claudia and Jamie decide to get away from it all, they pack their few belongings and head to the Metropolitan Museum in New York City to find their new home and adventure!

Still in search of that feeling of excitement and adventure, Claudia and Jamie embark on a mystery centered around a small statue on display at the museum! A classic for good reason, From the Mixed-Up Files has stood the test of time and will make a beloved addition to your reader's shelf!

32. Because of Winn Dixie

by Kate Dicamillo

Lead Character: Girl and dog

A modern classic about a girl and her very special dog! When Opal finds Winn-Dixie at the local grocery store, the two become best friends from that day on.

With quirky characters and a wonderful pup taking center stage, Because of Winn Dixie is a wonderful read, filled with friendship, family, and of course, fur!

33. Hatchet

by Gary Paulsen

Lead Character: boy

Recommended Age: 10+

13-year-old Brian Robeson survives a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness and has only his wits and a simple hatchet to survive!

Hatchet is an award-winning survival adventure which has been thrilling readers since its first release in 1987! A modern classic!

34. The Little House Books

by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Lead Character: Girl


These classic books center around pioneer Laura Ingalls and her family as they experience day-to-day life in both 1860's Wisconsin and the western prairies. Inspired by her own childhood, Laura Ingalls Wilder gives you an absolutely fascinating tale enhanced by the wonderful illustrations in The Little House Books series!

35. Alex Rider - Stormbreaker

by Anthony Horowitz

Lead Character: boy


Alex Rider is a terrific book series for all those who love spies and adventure!

A quick-paced read great for reluctant readers with hold-your-breath moments that will have you staying glued to the book and turning the pages. Think a young Tom Cruise - Mission Impossible, but British!

36. The Time-Traveling Fashionista

by Bianca Turetsky

Lead Character: girl


This chic and stylish series is a must read for any couture lover! The stories whisk the reader to different times and places with style and suspense through the eyes of modern-day junior high student Louise, whose visit to a vintage sale turns upside down when she discovers she's traveled to another era!

Effortlessly combining history with high heels, The Time Traveling Fashionista features beautiful, full color illustrations that, along with the breathtaking descriptions of outfits, will have you wishing you could come along for the trip!

37. Under Their Skin

by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Lead Character: Boy & Girl (brother/sister)


When twins Nick and Eyrn's mom announces she's getting married, they're surprised but not as shocked as when she tells them they'll have step-siblings they've never met!

Curious, the siblings do a little investigating to find out what's really going on! Under Their Skin is a suspenseful page turner you'll be racing to finish!

38. Matilda

by Roald Dahl

Lead Character: Girl

Meet Matilda- a wickedly smart and sweet young girl whose parents unfortunately aren't the best at noticing her existence other than as a pest.

When she starts school, Matilda is delighted to meet Miss Honey, her sweet new teacher, but not so pleased to encounter her hateful headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, whose awful ways provoke Matilda into discovering she's capable of an astonishing power she never guessed she had!

With a little planning, Matilda decides to turn the tables! This whimsical, witty and magical tale has delightful illustrations and a wonderful heroine to root for!

39. The Kane Chronicles

by Rick Riordan

Lead Character: Equal - Boy & Girl (Sister/Brother)


Ever since their mother died six years ago, siblings Carter and Sadie Kane haven't seen much of each other. When their father brings them to the British Museum attempting to right a past mistake, he winds up unleashing powerful Egyptian gods, resulting in Carter and Sadie's discovery of their own powerful roots.

Join Carter and Sadie in The Kane Chronicles as they receive a crash course in Egyptian mythology and embark on a quest overflowing with action, humor and magic at every turn!

40. Little Women

by Louisa May Alcott

Lead Character: Ensemble-Girls (sisters+)


Little Women is a classic that gives us a look into the lives and hearts of four very different sisters growing up amid the Civil War.

Tomboy Jo, Sweet Beth, artsy Amy and ladylike Meg are opposites in personality, but couldn't be closer regardless as they plan scheme and dream in a quintessential coming of age story with an unforgettable quartet of starring sisters!

41. Spy School

by Stuart Gibbs

Lead Character: Boy