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More Gift Suggestions: Chapter Books

November 29, 2010 by Reader's Connection

Action/Adventure – for kids who like Harry Potter & Percy Jackson:

The Lost HeroThe Lost Hero by Rick Riordan Series: The Heroes of OlympusTo say that Percy Jackson and the Olympians was popular would be an olympic sized under-statement. Now Rick Riordan has a new series called The Heroes of Olympus. You can see what kids are saying about this new series in the nearly 1,000 comments kids have left on this post in The IMCPL Book Blog for Kids. Book two comes out in May. Here’s my advice, give your favorite kid Book 1: The Lost Hero, and then pre-order book 2 for them too!
I Am Number Four by Pittacus LoreThis Tranformers-like action adventure stars a teenager much like your own…except that he’s an alien. He and his companion/guardian have lived on the run for years hoping to stay one step ahead of those who hunt them. When they settle in Paradise, Ohio John is determined to make this place last; the place he can finally blend in, make friends, rest. With his new friend Sam and his girlfriend Sarah, John finally has what he’s always wanted. His pursuers don’t want him to have it though. They want him dead. And when they come, they don’t care who they take out with him.

Tech Adventures – for kids who like computers and gadgets:

The Atlantis Complex Eion Colfer Series: Artemis Fowl Just as funny and adventure filled as ever, this 7th Artemis Fowl book delivers everything you’d expect; Artemis & his friends saving the world from an evil mastermind. The trouble is, the usually strategic Artemis – the criminal mastermind who can out-think and out-play the OTHER evil masterminds – has LOST his own mind! Artemis is suffering from Atlantis Complex, he is obsessed with numbers, paranoid & …NICE. Weird! Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex
Trackers Trackers by Patrick Carman Adam, Lewis, Finn & Emily (The Trackers) are four smart kids who spend their time inventing, building and testing technological gadgets. The kids are smart, but one particular day they aren’t quite smart enough. A hacker manages to infiltrate their carefully (they thought!) encrypted & secure computer files. The hacker wants something and is willing to blackmail the kids to get it. Should they go to the police? Should they tell Adam’s Dad? Or would it be better…a challenge…and more FUN to beat this guy at his own game?
Steel Trapp: The Academy by Ridley PearsonThis school year, Steel’s FBI agent dad has enrolled him in a fancy boarding school. Steel isn’t quite sure why his dad his picked this particular school, especially after he runs into his friend Kaileigh there also. Coincidence? I don’t think so! It doesn’t take Steel and Kaileigh long to discover there is something oddly secretive about some of the classes at the school…like classes in how to shoot darts with a blowgun. Find THAT in the course catalog! Steel Trapp: The Academy

Gothic Adventure – for kids who like A Series of Unfortunate Events:

The Mysterious Howling The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood Series: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place A funny look at the trouble one girl takes on when she tries to teach some little wild things how to hobnob in high society. If your reader liked A Series of Unfortunate Events give this one a try. The humor is very similar (not nearly as dark and mean as Count Olaf) but the characters just as outrageous. Ahwoooooooooooo!
The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter.Exciting things always happen when kids end up in a castle – especially one entered by crossing a moat on a suspended bicycle. No self-respecting kid would give up the chance to explore this castle that has secrets; trapdoors, tunnels, and a mysterious, possibly sinister, past. Otto, Lucia and Max might be strange themselves but the story of the Kneebone Boy is stranger still and they are determined to get to the bottom of it. The Kneebone Boy


The Danger Box The Danger Box by Blue Balliett A man dies after setting in motion an elaborate plan involving a box and something secret that is hidden in it. Because he’s dead, he isn’t there to see his careful plan fall apart…like the box being stolen, hunted down, hidden, and then stolen again. Zoomy and his Grandparents end up with the box and what’s in the box is worth something – worth so much that someone is still hunting for it. From the author of Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3 & The Calder Game.
The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye by Nancy Springer Series: An Enola Holmes Mystery Fourteen year-old Enola Holmes is lives in disguise, staying one step ahead of her older brothers Mycroft and Sherlock. Enola has been on her own for almost a year trying desperately to find her missing mother as well as stay away from her two brothers who think the best place for her is a girl’s boarding school. To support herself, she solves mysteries. Smart, stubborn, capable & able to give Sherlock a run for his money. The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye The Vanishing Girl by Shane Peacock Series: The Boy Sherlock Holmes Still stung by having Inspector Lestrade and Scotland Yard take credit for his sleuthing, young Sherlock is determined to find another case to make his name as a great detective. When a beautiful rich girl vanishes in broad daylight without a trace…no witnesses…no ransom note…no nothing, Sherlock knows this is the case that will prove his worth..

Historical Fiction

Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson Sequel to Chains Continues the story of young slaves Curzon and Isabel who began their escape together in Chains. Fifteen-year-old Curzon serves as a free man in the Continental Army at Valley Forge. His mind never strays too far from Isabel, though, until they are thrown together as slaves again. Forge
Countdown Countdown by Deborah Wiles Countdown takes place during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Even without the threat of missiles, a kid’s life can be tough. Franny feels ignored and left out — her teacher doesn’t call on her, her best friend doesn’t seem to want to hang out with her anymore, her sister is being secretive, her mom is short-tempered and her dad is gone – flying an airplane for the President. On top of that Franny’s Uncle wants to build a bomb shelter in her backyard and she has to do drills at school so that she knows what to do if a missile is coming – Franny is about over the edge!
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia Delphine is on an airplane with her little sisters Vonetta and Fern on her way to spend a few weeks in the summer with the Mother she barely remembers. From Brooklyn to Oakland is a long way to go to spend time with someone you don’t even know, even if she is your Mother. I liked watching Delphine get to know ”Cecile the person” and learn to accept who Cecile really is and not who Delphone wishes her to be. One Crazy Summer

Science Fiction

Boom! Boom! by Mark Haddon Jim and Charlie use a set of walkie talkies to spy on the teacher’s lounge. They overhear something odd. Something crazy. Something they just can’t leave alone. The thing is SO huge and SO not able to be ignored the two break into their teacher’s house to get to the bottom of it…and find out more than they ever wanted to know. Sometimes, teachers seems like they are from Mars…but what if your teacher really is an alien?
Cosmic by Frank Boyce Liam enters a contest to win a trip to a new amusement park. To claim the prize he wins, Liam has to impersonate his own father and takes along his friend Florida as his “kid.” When the ultimate thrill ride at the park turns out to be a real rocket, Liam is chosen to be the one adult chaperone allowed on the rocket. Why is Liam chosen? For his “kid-like qualities” of course! When an accident sends the rocket hurtling through space, the kids turn to the only grownup they’ve got, Liam, to lead them back to earth. Cosmic
The Search for Wondla The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi Eva Nine has lived inside an underground bunker her entire life with only her Muthr (Multi-Utility Task Help Robot) for company. Eva Nine is lonely. And bored. And she wants to go OUTSIDE. When the bunker is attacked by an alien Eva Nine gets exactly what she wants, and more. A Star Wars-like adventure with a likable hero who has a loyal robot and aliens for friends.

Kid Life

Mac Slater Hunts the Cool Mac Slater Hunts the Cool by Tristan Bancks Mac gets noticed by The Coolhunters, a website that tries to discover the next cool thing. Mac is identified as a kid who can spot what’s cool. Really? Mac the inventor geek? The Coolhunters think Mac is the best kind of cool – so cool he doesn’t even know it. The Coolhunters enter Mac in their online cool contest; they give him a cell phone and video camera and the assignment to post videos that show something cool…but does Mac really know what cool is?
Finally by Wendy Mass Rory’s parents make her crazy. They have a lot of rules, especially compared to the parents of other kids. Everytime Rory has asked for something over the last several years her parents have answered, “maybe when you’re twelve.” Rory has written down the requests and put them in a box under her bed. Today is the day. Rory is turning twelve. She gets the box out from under her bed and begins oganizing a list of requests for her parants. Some of her wishes turn out great, but have you ever wished for something and then it didn’t turn out to be quite as great as you expected? Finally
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger Tommy has a question that every kid asks himself eventually. Does that cute girl like me, or not? Tommy is looking for answers and he thinks he may have found a way to avoid total humiliation by asking Origami Yoda what to do. What is Origami Yoda? He’s Yoda. Made out of paper. A puppet. When Origami Yoda saves one of the boys from making a total fool of himself in front of a girl he likes, Tommy begins collecting evidence of Origami Yoda’s good advice. Because he really, really needs to know, does Sara like him. Or not?
Smile by Raina Telgemeier. Raina is in the sixth grade when she falls and knocks out her two front teeth. This incident sets in motion a series of dental visits that last for the next three years: molds, braces, headgear, brackets, wires, rubber bands, bonding, & a retainer. Raina has all this done between sixth grade and ninth grade…in Middle School…right when she’s getting worried about how she looks and what other people will think. Raina’s story isn’t just about braces though, it’s about Middle School. She makes and loses friends, discovers that some boys are cute (and nice) and figures out how to be confident in her own self. She earns her smile, and it isn’t just from the dental work. Smile
Big Nate in a Class By Himself Big Nate in a Class By Himself by Lincoln Peirce When a fortune cookie predicts “Today, you will surpass all others,” Nate is sure his time has come. Even after Mrs. Godfrey, his teacher, finds his checklist of nicknames he has for her (Godzilla, She Who Must Not Be Named, Queen Kong, Dullapalooza), that one little detention slip doesn’t trample Nate’s belief that his day will have greatness in it. He keeps his chin up even after the next detention slip, and the next… For fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney Series: Diary of a Wimpy Kid While trying to find a new best friend after fighting with Rowley, wimpy kid Greg Heffley is warned by his parents that it’s high time he act more responsibly and to think seriously about his future. Will Greg do it? Doubtful! The Ugly Truth


  1. Sandra Harris says:

    My grandchildren are teens. Recommendations for them?

  2. Glenn Halberstadt says:

    Hi, Sandra. You might want to look at our Teen Scene blog at There are lots of reviews of recent teen titles there. Also you can call Beth at the Nora Branch–her number there is 275-4472–and she’ll be glad to talk with you about some gift ideas.

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