I’m a Middle School Librarian. Here’s What Books Kids Want for Christmas

Books make the perfect present for, well, everyone, but especially for the little ones in your life.

There are three key reasons why that’s the case:

  1. They’re expensive, but not too expensive, making them the ideal indulgence.
  2. The more you read, the better you read, and the better you read, the better you do in school. Simply put, getting your kids to read is a battle well worth fighting.
  3. Books open us to possibilities. They facilitate dreams and teach empathy. Kids in the COVID era need the power of imagination.

Wouldn’t It Be Cool…

If you could buy a kid a book and know it’s a super-duper popular book, they totally want to read? And who wants to be the dorky uncle with the dorky gifts that just get tossed under the bed.

So, don’t be a dork! Read this article and protect your hard-earned status as the cool adult in your family.

I Have Your Back

I work in a school library. My school is for kids aged12 to 14, which is grades 6 to 8 in the States.

I have the perfect job. I interact with the kids checking books in and out all day. It’s my job to be in a good mood. Cool, right? I spend my free time building book displays and dreaming up new ways to get kids to check out more books.

And I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. For instance, everything is on computers, and lucky for you, I’m good at creating reports.

The information I’m about to provide comes straight from the maws of the computer and is hot off the presses.

When I talk about lists, I am talking about the books with the most check-outs over the last 90 days, one year, and two years.

This Is Where I Make Recommendations

The Top Book: ‘Ghosts’ by Raina Telgemeier

This is the top book in the library over the last 90 days, the previous year, and the last two years.

She’s written several other books that are extremely successful: Smile, Guts and Drama.

In fact, Smile has been the second most popular book over the last two years.

Guts deals with anxiety, and my daughter enjoyed it immensely.

You’ve been warned

We have multiple copies of her books, which will skew numbers, but that also means your kids may have read her books already.

Alternatives

These writers are all popular, and all are on the top 50 list of check-outs as measured over the last 90 days. The library owns one copy of most of these works, and my hypothesis is that they would earn circulation numbers comparable to Raina Telgemeier if we had more copies.

  1. Jennifer Holm: # 3

2. Shannon Hale: # 9

3. Victoria Jamieson: # 12

4. Terri Libenson: # 29

5. Hope Larson # 35

Finally

Don’t forget about the Baby-Sitters Club. They are popular year in and year out and have been turned into a Netflix show.

Book # 2: ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ by Jeff Kinney

There are a million titles in the series, okay, maybe just 12. Three ranked in the top ten over the last two years, the previous year, and the preceding 90 days.

I’m not going to list the books; use Google. It’s almost 2022. Trust me when I say your littles will like any of the books.

Besides that, our numbers lie, as we can’t keep a complete collection in stock.

Warning

These books are more than super-duper, out of this world, incredibly popular. So make sure you are buying something your kid hasn’t read.

I don’t have hard statistics, but my gut tells me they are more popular with boys than girls.

Alternatives:

  1. Dav Pilkey — Dogman
  2. Lincoln Peirce — Big Nate
  3. Janet Tashjian — My Life as A…. series
  4. Rachel Renee Russell — Dork Diaries series. (This is about a girl and is indeed popular with girls.)
  5. James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

Book # 3: Anime and Manga

Oh my goodness, these books are so trendy. If I could run reports by category, these would by far be the most popular. They are not higher on the lists because we have so many series with lots of books in each series.

These are the books that you read backward. They are primarily in black and white. These books were first popular in Japan, and you can see that in the artwork.

I’ll be frank — I have yet to try one. I get a headache from trying to understand what’s going on. Maybe that’s why kids love them so much; adults struggle to read them.

The following are all wildly successful and highly sought after.

  1. Naruto
  2. Bleach
  3. Dragon Ball Z — We just added this series this fall. In the span of two days, all 18 books we purchased were checked out. There is also a TV series.
  4. Black Knight

5. Fairy Tails — “Tails” is not a typo.

Warning

Anime and Manga can be like opening the proverbial can of worms. Littles that like it, love it, which leaves you supporting the habit.

Book # 4: Actual Books

I know right, actual books are 4th on the list? What’s that all about? We have a great fiction section in the library, so I’m not sure what’s happening.

All I know is that the computer doesn’t lie.

  1. Stephenie Meyer:

Breaking Dawn # 19

Eclipse # 42

New Moon # 48

I know, I know. Whenever someone checks one of these books, I keep wanting to tell them about how he breaks into her bedroom and watches her sleep and ask if they don’t find that a little creepy. (He and her being main characters.)

It goes without saying that these are aimed at romance fans. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a boy check one out.

2. Jason Reynolds:

Any book by Jason Reynolds is a good book, but he has a series of 4 particularly great books. They follow four kids that run for a track team.

Lu

Sunny

Patina

Ghost

3. Kwame Alexander

Crossover checks in at # 26 on our list. We just purchased a graphic novel version of the book. Everyone seems to love this book. We have a teacher using the book in class, making all her kids read it.

4. Rick Riordan

Ever heard of a little series called Percy Jackson and the Olympians? The books did so well that they made a movie and then several other series.

If your kids like Fantasy, they may very well like these books. Only one checked in at #42 — on our top 50 list. I do think that’s because he has several series with several books in each series, all aimed at young teens.

5. Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan is the very last book on our list. It’s only been checked out eight times during the previous 90 days, but that’s a whole lot better than a lot of other books. She’s a talented writer, and you will find her work in most libraries.

So…

That’s it. Post if you have questions. Follow me for more book suggestions.

Most importantly, enjoy the Winter Holidays!

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