Fantastic gifts for kids aged 8-12

The Sapling is dedicated to bringing you the best books from Aotearoa for gifting this holidays. This week we’ve got some rad recommendations for the 8-12 year olds in your life.

The Inkberg Enigma, by Jonathon King (Gecko Press)

Miro collects antiquarian books, pawning old things from his attic to feed his addiction. On his way home one day, he sees mysterious tentacles – and an evil-faced man. He and his friend Zia have to get to the bottom of the town’s secrets in this fast-paced first graphic novel by Jonathon King.

Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea, by Tania Roxborogh, illustrated by Phoebe Morris (Huia Publishers)

Modern rangatahi meet ātua and creatures of legend in Tania Roxborogh’s latest novel, which makes for a powerful read for intermediate aged kids and up.

Mophead Tu: The Queen’s Poem, by Selina Tusitala Marsh (Auckland University Press)

We were obsessed with the first Mophead and its incomporable mix of poetry, giggles and possibility. Mophead Tu is more moppy mayhem, with our heroine Dr Mophead AKA Selina Tusitala Marsh tackling the intersection of creativity and colonialism.

Across the Risen Sea, by Bren MacDibble (Allen & Unwin)

Surprising alligators, mysterious energy sources, and a kick-ass heroine combine to make this book yet another fabulous read from Bren MacDibble. Set in a post-climate change/ocean rise world, Australia has been reduced to a series of small islands, but the story is one of hope.

Egg & Spoon, by Alexandra Tylee, illustrated by Giselle Clarkson (Gecko Press) Ever seen an illustrated cookbook before? Me neither! It is the character-filled illustrations that make this cookbook fantastic. It’s great to see consideration of kids with allergies and intolerances too!

Red Edge, by Des Hunt (Scholastic NZ)

Every new book by Des Hunt is a cause for celebration. This one takes us into present-day Christchurch, with the shadow of the quakes still looming large, and a dastardly array of characters making trouble. Great scene-setting, and edge-of-your-seat action scenes.

The Pōrangi Boy, by Shilo Kino (Huia Publishers)

A taniwha lies in the waters of Taupere, where the prison is set to be built. Twelve-year-old Niko has been called Pōrangi Boy his whole life, but he realises this might be the source of his strength as he bands with others to save their town and its taniwha.

Pasifika Coastwatchers, by David Riley, illustrated by Chad Robertson (Reading Warrior)

David Riley does amazing mahi sharing the stories of amazing people of the Pacific. Pasifika Coastwatchers is one of several new releases this year, and it explores the lives of some of the Coastwatchers throughout Te Moana Nui A Kiwa in WWII.

Mallory, Mallory: The Revenge of the Tooth Fairy, by James Norcliffe, illustrated by Emily Walker (Penguin NZ)

Mallory is definitely a contender for world’s worst child, but will she get her comeuppance when her plan to catch the tooth fairy is a little too successful? Go on a journey with the magical pen of James Norcliffe.