2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Elementary and Middle School Books & Craft Kits ~ Dallas Mom Blog and Fort Worth Mom Blogger: Trendy Mom Reviews
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Monday, November 16, 2020

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Elementary and Middle School Books & Craft Kits

2020 Holiday Gift Guide - The Best Books for Middle School Age Children

If you follow regularly, you know that my children read for at least one hour before bedtime. I think that it's good for their development and is a peaceful way to relax before falling asleep. In today's post, I'll share some of my middle schooler's favorite books that we highly recommend for middle school children.

DOG MAN: THE SUPA EPIC COLLECTION (Dog Man #1-6 Box Set) by DavPilkey(Graphix; $59.94; 2020; Ages 7+)
A paw-some box set of the first six Dog Man books by worldwide bestselling author and artist DavPilkey. Dog Man is the crime-biting canine who is part dog, part man, and ALL HERO! This deluxe boxed set includes the first six books in the Dog Man series:Dog Man,Dog Man Unleashed,Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties,Dog Man and Cat Kid,Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas, andDog Man: Brawl of the Wild. DavPilkey'swildly popular Dog Man series appeals to readers of all ages and explores universally positive themes, including empathy, kindness, persistence, and the importance of being true to one's self.

Amulet #1-8 Box Set by KazuKibushi(Graphix; $103.92; 2018; Ages 8-12)

A collection of the first eight books in Kazu Kibuishi's #1 New York Times best selling series! After tragedy strikes their family, Emily and Navin move with their mother into the old, mysterious home of their great-grandfather. On their first night in the strange house, Emily and Navin's mom is kidnapped by a tentacled creature. Determined to rescue her, Emily and Navinare led into a world of robots, talking animals, flying ships, new friends... and enemies. Emily learns that she is a Stonekeeper and essential to the survival of this world, and that her incredible story is only just beginning.

Diary of an 8-Bit Warrior Diamond Box Set ($59; 2019; Ages 7 - 12)
This award winning book series makes reading fun! It's basically Minecraft meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid in this unofficial Minecraft adventure for middle-grade readers. With over 1 million copies sold, Diary of an 8-Bit Warrior has captivated countless fans around the world. With the Diamond Box Set, readers can enjoy all six installments in this tale of friendship, bravery, and blocks: Diary of an 8-Bit Warrior, Diary of an 8-Bit Warrior: From Seeds to Swords, Diary of an 8-Bit Warrior: Crafting Alliances, Diary of an 8-Bit Warrior: Path of the Diamond, Diary of an 8-Bit Warrior: Quest Mode, and Diary of an 8-Bit Warrior: Forging Destiny. This will provide hours and hours of screen-free time.

Getting sucked into a video game is not as much fun as you'd think. Sure, there are jetpacks, hover tanks, and infinite lives, but what happens when the game starts to turn on you? In this best-selling series, 12-year-old Jesse Rigsby finds out just how dangerous video games-and the people making those games – can be. This series contains five books that are true page turners for little ones. My son couldn't put these books down. He read them all within a single weekend. I love that he was so engaged and that reading was fun for him!

Unicorn Graphic Novel: Grumpy Unicorn Hits the Road by Joey Spiotto($8.99; 2020; Ages 7-10)

In this hilarious collection of comic stories, Grumpy Unicorn goes on a road trip in search of an escape from his boring life.What's a Unicorn to do when the town he lives in has nothing fun to do? Hit the road in search of adventure, of course! In this laugh-out-loud original story, everyone's favorite magical grouch sets off to find something or someone that doesn't totally annoy him. And sort of succeeds.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Mina Lima Edition by JK Rowling, illustrated by MinalimaDesign ($37.99; 2020; Ages 8+) 

This book is a dazzling new edition of J.K. Rowling'sHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, fully illustrated in brilliant color and featuring exclusive interactive paper craft elements, including a foldout Hogwarts letter and more! Designed and illustrated by award-winning design studio MinaLima--best known for establishing the visual graphic style of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films --this edition is sure to be a keepsake for Harry Potter fans, a beautiful addition to any collector's bookshelf, and an enchanting way to introduce the first book in this beloved series to a new generation of readers. The fabulous illustrations in this book add to the magic of the story!

QUIDDITCH THROUGH THE AGES: THE ILLUSTRATED EDITION by JK Rowling, illustrated by Emily Gravett (Scholastic Inc.; $34.99; 2020; Ages 8+) 
The definitive guide to the most popular sport in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, now fully illustrated by award-winning artist Emily Gravett. Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Comic Relief and Lumos, who will use your money to continue improving and changing lives --work that is even more important and astonishing than the three and a half second capture of the Golden Snitchby Roderick Plumptonin 1921. Now fully illustrated in brilliant color by award-winning artist Emily Gravett, this special new edition is a beautiful gift for Harry Potter fans and Quidditchenthusiasts alike

HOGWARTS LIBRARY: THE ILLUSTRATED COLLECTION by JK Rowling illustrated by Olivia LomenechGill; Emily Gravett, Lisbeth Zwerger (Scholastic Inc.; $104.97; 2020; Ages 8+)
An essential trio of books from the Hogwarts Library, now lavishly illustrated and collected in a giftableboxed set!This beautifully designed boxed set contains three essential volumes consulted by generations of students at Hogwarts:Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,QuidditchThrough the Ages, andThe Tales of Beedlethe Bard. Written by J.K. Rowling in aid of Comic Relief and Lumos, these companion volumes to the Harry Potter series have now been fully illustrated in brilliant color by award-winning artists Olivia LomenechGill, Lisbeth Zwerger, and Emily Gravett. This special edition boxed set is a beautiful gift for Harry Potter fans of all ages and a chance to explore the incrediblerichness of the wizarding world.

THE ICKABOG by JK Rowling (Scholastic Inc.; $26.99; 2020; Ages 8+) 
From J.K. Rowling, a warm, fast-paced, funny fairy tale of a fearsome monster, thrilling adventure, and hope against all odds. Once upon a time there was a tiny kingdom called Cornucopia, as rich in happiness as it was in gold, and famous for its food.From the delicate cream cheeses of Kurdsburgto the Hopes-of-Heaven pastries of Chouxville, each was so delicious that people wept with joy as they ate them. But even in this happy kingdom, a monster lurks. Legend tells of a fearsome creature living far to the north in the Marshlands... the Ickabog. Some say it breathes fire, spits poison, and roars through the mist as it carries off wayward sheep and children alike. Some say it's just a myth...And when that myth takes on a life of its own, casting a shadow over the kingdom, two children -best friends Bert and Daisy -embark on a great adventure to untangle the truth and find out where the real monster lies, bringing hope and happiness to Cornucopia once more. Featuring full color illustrations by children from across the United States and Canada, thisoriginal fairy tale from one of the world's most celebrated storytellers will captivate readers of all ages.

The Escape Book: The Cursed Temple ($9.99; 2020; Ages 7 - 12
Join fan-favorite Minecraft hero Runt on an interactive adventure! Inspired by the hit game and popular escape rooms, this first activity book in an all-new series puts readers at the helm of the story. This book is captivating to little ones and keeps their minds active!

Escape from a Video Game: The Secret of Phantom Island ($11.99; 2020; Ages 7 - 12)
Young gamers control the action in this interactive new series from the bestselling author of Trapped in a Video Game. With more than 30 endings and an unlockable bonus adventure, The Secret of Phantom Island promises hours of screen-free fun. I love that this book made my son ask for more time to read instead of more screen time!

Tales of an 8-Bit Kitten: A Call to Arms ($9.99; 2020; Ages 7 - 12)
This book comes from bestselling author Cube Kid and continues the story of Eeebs the Kitten. This action-packed book made my son ask to stay up late to continue reading!

Herobrine's Legacy ($14.99; 2020
; Ages 7 - 12
This is an exciting book to overcome the villainous Herobrine's challenges, solve puzzles, decipher secret codes, and prove your Minecraft mastery. This activity book is perfect for young gamers! My little Minecraft fan loved this book. I love that he spent many hours with it and shared his excitement with us!

DOG MAN: GRIME AND PUNISHMENT by DavPilkey (Graphix; $12.99; 2020; Ages 7+)
The next great Dog Man adventure from the worldwide bestselling author and artist DavPilkey. You'll howl with laughter!The SupaBuddies bamboozled the baddies, but all's not right in the world. Dog Man has a new problem to pound, and he's going to need hisentire pack to help him. Will he go barking up the wrong tree? DavPilkey'swildly popular Dog Man series appeals to readers of all ages and explores universally positive themes, including empathy, kindness, persistence, and the importance of doing good.

CAT KID COMIC CLUB: FROM THE CREATOR OF DOG MAN by DavPilkey (Graphix; $12.99; 2020; Ages 7+)
A pioneering new graphic novel series by DavPilkey, the author and illustrator of the internationally bestselling Dog Man and Captain Underpants series.InCat Kid Comic Club, Li'lPetey, Flippy, and Molly introduce twenty-one rambunctious, funny, and talented baby frogs to the art of comic making. As the story unwinds with mishaps and hilarity, readers get to see the progress, mistakes, and improvements that come with practice and persistence.

Mr. Wolfs Class #4: Field Trip by Aron Nels Steinke ($9.99; Ages 7-10)

Mr. Wolf's students are going on a field trip! Everyone gets to sleep in log cabins, come up with fun camp names, and journey through the great woods. Along

with all the fun that comes with camping this book tackles working through arguments with your friends and the fear of being left out.

The K'NEX London Eye  is a fun hands-on project. It is part of the K'NEX line of products that focus on the world's greatest architectural designs, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Eiffel Tower, and London Eye. I was thrilled to see this line because K'NEX is a brand that my son has loved since he was little. I bought a large preschooler set when he was younger and it entertained him for many hours. He used that set for years!  Now that he is older, K'NEX continues to be one of our favorite toy brands.  He enjoys snapping the rods and connectors together with satisfying "clicks" as he goes.  The K'NEX London Eye set is especially wonderful for him because it allows him to home his fine motor and dexterity skills while also learning about STEM subjects and London.  This project stands over 2' tall and includes a motor. It's an educational gift that will provide many hours of entertainment! This is is for ages 9+ and retails for $59.99.  The Golden Gate Bridge and Eiffel Tower are also available in this line and retail for $49.99.

My First Rock & Gem Collection (Klutz; $19.99; 2020; 4+)
Junior gemologists will "dig" learning about rocks and minerals with this beginner's collection. The kit includes 8 polished rock samples, such as turquoise, amethyst, rose quartz, lemon jade, and more PLUS a surprise rock that they will unearth in the dig kit. The field guide introduces easy-to-follow STEM content, including fun facts and jokes. Then go exploring to find rocks from home that you can decorate with the included paint and googly eyes. My children have a large age gap and both loved this set. The field guide and activities kept them busy and helped to seed a love for geology!

Sew Your Own Unicorn Bunny Slippers (Klutz; $21.99; 2020; $21.99)
A fresh twist on classic bunny slippers-now with unicorn magic! Lounge around in slippers you designed and made yourself. Precut pieces take care of the prep work for you, so you can start sewing right away! The projects are designed to be oh-sew-easy, even if you've never sewn a stitch before. Felt stickers make decorating your critter a breeze, and precut holes help you space your stitches perfectly. My oldest son made these for our preschooler. It was fun to watch him use the precut pieces and holes to guide his stitching. He had a lot of fun making them. Our preschooler was thrilled to be the recipient of these stylish slippers!

Clay Charm Bracelets - Super Sweet (Klutz; $12.99; 2020; Ages 8+)
This set contains supplies to make two BFF bracelets that children will love! In includes super clear instructions and all of the supplies that your children will need for open-ended creativity and hands-on learning.  My children had fun molding the charms. I helped them to bake them in the oven. I loved their excitement as I pulled them out of the oven. We let them cool off and then they added the charms to their gorgeous bracelets!

Tiny Art Studio (Klutz; $19.99; 2020; Ages 6+)
The art may be tiny, but the creativity is unlimited! This kits includes small-scale (yet still usable) versions of art supplies, including paint, colored pencils, and more. Sprinkled throughout are sidebars on the artists and art history behind the tongue-in-cheek takes on classics by famous artists including Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh, Piet Mondrian, Leonardo di Vinci, and more. Extra blank canvases let budding artists express themselves, and a display easel lets them show off their mini masterpieces! My children loved this set. It kept them busy while they used their creativity. I enjoyed that they learned about art history in a fun and child-friendly way thanks to the engaging sidebars! 

DIY Rainbow Catcher (Klutz; $24.99; 2020; Ages 8+)

Color your world with rainbows! This clever snap-together rainbow maker catches sunlight and projects tiny rainbows into your room like a disco ball. The included book is chockfull of information about how rainbows form: the science of sunlight, prisms, and the very special weather conditions under which rainbows might appear. Activities and experiments include different ways you can mimic rainbow effects, no matter what your weather conditions are, including rainbow slime, a rainbow volcano, a rainbow bubble snake, and much, much more. This set kept my children busy for hours. As a bonus, the experiments gave them a head start on material that they will cover in science classes at school.

LEGO Gear Bots: Create 8 Machines (Klutz; $24.99; 2020; Ages 8+)

Build STEM-driven models, such as DJ Bubbles (an octopus spinning records), a pterodactyl, a yeti, and much more! Kinetic sculptures, or automata, are mechanically engineering toys that move when you crank the handle on the side. They move through a series of axles, cams,and cranks that work like the pistons in an engine. Each model includes a paper craft character that you fold and link with LEGO elements. My children had a blast with this set. They are big LEGO fans and enjoy engineering projects. I won't spoil surprises for you, but I will share that this set kept them busy for hours on end.  It was a big hit!

The #HatNotHate Quick Knit Loom Kit from Faber-Castell USA is a lovely gift that gives back! Knitting and crocheting are trending again.  These are not easy skills to develop, but this kit helps as it contains simple tools, supplies, and instructions to get you started. The kit contains supplies to make two blue hats to support the 
#HatNotHate anti-bullying campaign. It's for ages 7+. We recommend ordering one for each family member so that you are able to spend time crafting together and then donate your hats to help others this holiday season!

National Geographic offers Science Magic Kits that will help your little ones to create happy childhood memories while they wear white gloves and use a magic wand to conduct their science experiments. I won't spoil the surprises for you, but I will tell you that my little scientists/magicians had a blast with these experiments and it was fun to watch them bubbling with curiosity. National Geographic Science Magic Kits are a must-have for little ones this holiday season! They come in two versions - the Science Magic Kit with 10 experiments and the Mega Science Series Science Magic Kit with 50 experiments

The Chocolate Pen is a family friendly product that makes the holiday season more fun! The kid-friendly design automatically loads the pen with chocolate while the warming tray keeps your chocolate candy melted and ready to go.  With a simple click of a button, your children are able to freestyle one-of-a-kind designs, write words, or even use molds.  They are able to add sweet touches to fruit, popcorn, cookies, cupcakes, and more.  Their creations harden within minutes.  My children are always enthusiastic to help in the kitchen, so this provides a fun opportunity for them! The kit includes one Chocolate Pen, Drawing Tip, Warming Tray with Lid, Chocolate (made in the USA) in 4 Tasty Colors, Stirring Stick, 40 Mold Designs, Charging Cable and Instructions. Their online resources are packed with inspirational ideas, including their websitevideo with tipsFacebook page, and Instagram page. The Chocolate Pen is tailored to ages 6+. The SRP  is $29.99 for the kit and $7.99 for refills. You'll find it nationwide at Target and Walmart. You'll also find it on Amazon.  Please check back soon because I plan write to post about how we use the Chocolate Pen to create holiday treats for teachers and neighbors!  

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