book stack

CHRISTMASSY :: GIFT GUIDE :: Junior/Newly Independent Readers

We have had such a wonderful reading year this year – my almost 7 year old has really got in the reading groove, and her independent reading skills (and love of reading!) seem to grow every day. We’re in the stage now where she has a book within arms reach at most times, whether its when she should be getting ready for school, on the 3 minute car trip, or under the blankets with a torch after lights out. I thought I’d share some of her favourite books from the year that I’d recommend if you’re looking for gifts for the little books worms in your life. I’ve got a few well known and well loved titles in here, as well as some newer ones that you might not have come across before. There’s also a bit of variety in the reading level/difficulty of these, although I think they all fit in that middle primary/6 to 9ish age group. I’ve split them by theme a bit – starting with books that have a real life school/family/friendship setting, then some that get a little bit more into fantasy, and finally some fairy abd princess books. I always love recommendations, so do pop them in the comments if you have any faves I’ve missed!

The books in my first group of recommendations all centre around school and friendships and real life issues.
Billie B Brown and her creator Sally Rippin really got us through that initial lockdown period this year, and Amelia chose to go to book week as Billie. This series is great for kids reading independently for the first time, with nice big font and short engaging chapters, plus some illustrations to help give visual clues to the text. Billie celebrated her 10th birthday this year, and three new books were released (including The Honey Bees, pictured above).
Ella Diaries have also been a hit recently. The reading level is a bit more advanced than Billie B Brown, although there are also books about Ella’s little sister – Olivia’s Secret Scribbles – that are a bit simpler (and another series in between with both girls). Apart from engaging her with their stories, I have also loved that these ones have inspired Amelia to start keeping her own diary, which has been excellent writing practice for her (something she hadn’t really been doing a lot of before).
Amelia Chamelia -we picked these up last year to read together, partly because Amelia was excited to have books where the character shared her name! These are mostly realistic and explore real life issues, but there is a little twist of fantasy too, as Amelia Chamelia has a secret power! After reading them together last year, my Amelia has just started picking them up to read on her own.

Two more great series with realistic settings are the Tilda Teaches books (these were kindly sent to us by the team at Five Mile Books) and Melina Marchetta’s What Zola Did series. Amelia really connected with the Tilda books – Tilda’s enthusiasm and word play really hit the spot for her and we had great fun making chatterboxes from the instructions in the back of the book!
We haven’t read What Zola Did yet – I’m actually putting these away to give Amelia for Christmas, but I have had a little peek and they look gorgeous (I mean, it’s Melina Marchetta after all!).

These three series are perfect if you’re after real world-ish, with a twist of magic/fantasy/silliness.
Amelia absolutely adored Evie and Pog. It is full of larger than life characters and super silly situations, that had her laughing out loud on almost every page.
Monty’s Island is also a lot of fun – it tells the adventures of a group of unlikely friends on an island, and has a really imaginative feel. Allen and Unwin actually sent me the first book in the series – you can check out our review here.
The final book in this group is also the first in a series that looks super fun – How to Make a Pet Monster. This is another one I haven’t actually read yet – I’ve bought a copy to give Amelia – but it looks fabulous and I have heard great things!

Finally, some Disney princesses and magic fairy books (because of course!). Now, there are LOADS of books about magic for this age group – we have magic woodland animals and mermaids and all kinds of things, but these Rainbow Magic fairy books have been Amelia’s favourites. There are literally hundreds of books in this series, with focuses on all kinds of things from colours and flowers and the arts and fashion to the environment (Greta the Earth Fairy) and STEM careers. This year we even have a few Christmassy ones (you might have seen them in my bookish advent post) The older books in the series are pretty easy to find secondhand.
The Disney Princess Beginnings series is one we discovered through the Scholastic Book Club catalogue at school and have loved (and the team at Scholastic were kind enough to send us a couple of these books, we have bought a bunch of them). I feel like these are good for your reluctant readers, who aren’t quite into reading yet but will give it a shot if Elsa is involved! The stories are sweet and have some great messages, and we have really enjoyed them (check out our review here).

I hope there’s something in here that helps you pick a new favourite for a little book worm in your life!

xo Bron

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