A good book series is just the thing to keep kids reading, and a box set is the perfect gift to open them up to a new world full of imagination, interesting characters and intriguing plot twists. When you’re searching for a gift for your tween pick up some of the titles on this diverse collection of book sets for kids and inspire them to stay up late reading! (But not too late, they do have school in the morning.)
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Book Series and Gift Sets for Ages 8-12
Most of the following book series are sold as box sets, but not all. Where a book series needs to be purchased individually, I’ve listed the titles separately. You can also find this book list curated on Bookshop, where purchases support independent booksellers.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
by Grace Lin
(Fantasy) I’ve said a million times that Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is one of my all time favorite middle grade novels. The original novel follows Minli’s quest to find the Old Man on the Moon and change her family’s fortune. The second two books are companion novels, rather than traditional sequels and all three draw heavily upon Chinese folklore and include Lin’s stunning illustrations.
by Stuart Gibbs
(Imaginative Realism) Both my sons have loved the Spy School series. These hilarious adventure stories follow the fortunes of Ben Ripley, a kid who has been recruited to the CIA’s Academy of Espionage. Ben is not exactly spy material and his many narrow escapes, fumbles, and sheer determination will surely delight any reader.
MORE: Spy books for kids
Bowser and Birdie Series
by Spencer Quinn
Canine Bowser and his human companion, Birdie, solve mysteries. Bowser narrates their adventures, adding much humor to the story. This is a great choice for readers who love mysteries as well as for animal fans.
- Bow Wow
The Birchbark House Series
by Louise Erdrich
(Historical Fiction) I’ve mentioned this series on so many book lists and it never fails to enchant. Erdrich’s stories follow the life of Omakayas, a Ojibwa girl in the 19th century. Erdrich imbues her books with humor and warmth but does not shy away from the difficult realities of life as an indigenous person in North America. I often recommend Erdrich’s epic adventure to families who like, or want an alternative to, Little House on the Prairie.
- The Birchbark House
- The Game of Silence
- The Porcupine Year
One Crazy Summer
by Rita Garcia-Williams
(Historical Fiction) Garcia-Williams’ stories of life in the 1960s follow the adventures of sisters, Delphine, Vonetta and Fern in three locations. First they visit their mother in Oakland. Next, they hang out in their home in Brooklyn. In the final book, they visit relatives in Alabama. Each book will open your child’s eyes to a variety of experiences, all with humor, wit and wisdom. A truly great series.
Better Nate than Ever
by Tim Federle
(Realism) Nate Foster has always dreamed of making it on Broadway and in the first book of this hilarious trilogy he heads out of his small town to audition for E.T.: The Musical. The subsequent tales follow Nate as he performs on stage and makes his next move after a successful show. Also, can we just agree that the titles of these books are terrific?
The Brixton Brothers
by Mac Barnett
(Mystery) I love to recommend this quirky mystery series to fans of Encyclopedia Brown or Nancy Drew. 12 year old Steve dreams of being a detective and has studiously read and re-read The Baily Brothers Detective Handbook. He knows everything about solving crimes, which comes in handy when he finds himself thrown into the middle of an exciting mystery. Every book in the series has tons of adventure, twist and turns, loads of intelligent humor and a satisfying ending.
More: Mystery books for tweens
Sal and Gabi
by Carlos Hernandez
This two-book series is full of fast-paced action and crazy humor. Salvador Vidón is the new kid, but is also an unusual kid because he is able to open portals into alternate universes with his mind. He meets Gabi Reál who is a bit suspicious of his explanation about the mysterious things that happen when he is around. Together they break–and then fix–the universe! Highly recommended!
- Sal and Gabi Break the Universe
- Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe
by Kazu Kibuishi
(Fantasy – graphic novel) My sons adore this highly imaginative graphic novel series. Mixing high fantasy and science fiction elements, Amulet has become a favorite of many. After their mother disappears, Emily and Navin set out to rescue her. Emily discovers a magical Amulet and learns she is the Stonekeeper, with the responsibility to save the world. This is a great choice for kids who may be reluctant readers.
Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream
by Hena Khan
(Realism – Sports) Khan’s series about Zayd Saleem, a fourth grader who dreams of being a basketball star includes three titles: Power Forward, On Point, and Bounce Back. He struggles to excel in the game. His parents want him to play the violin and his sister is great at sports. So he turns to extended family members who offer their advice and help. A very funny and charming trilogy, best for kids ages 7-10.
MORE: Sports novels for kids
Don’t see the exact book set you want? Check out this other lists for more: