Posted in Tweens (9-12)

5 Hilarious Books Your 9-12 Year Old Will Absolutely Love!

We really enjoyed putting together this review of absolutely hilarious books for pre-teens. While there are loads more out there that are sure to make your pre-teen laugh, these five books caught our attention by making us laugh in several places and each of them comes with its very own heartwarming message. We are sure your pre-teen will enjoy these books as much as we did!


how-to-not-be-weirdHow Not TO BE WEIRD by Dawn McNiff

Rule 1: Don’t wear old lady clothes.

Our rating: 5/5 gold star

Woody is a bit weird, or at least he and the school bullies think so. It doesn’t help that his mum dresses up as a sheep for a living, he has to wear the occasional granny jumper or that his dog, Gooner, gets him in the most sticky situations. With secondary school about to start, Woody makes a plan to get un-weird and fast. His plan involves a few simple rules, and a momento from his father. His plan works -sort of-, but will this new Woody be everything he’s ever wanted? This book is very relatable and all of Woody’s wacky mishaps make you want to give him a hug. By the end of the book, you don’t just love Woody and Gooner, you fall in love with his neighbour Lu too. There are also a few things that you pick up along the way like people may seem confident on the outside but they are probably just as scared as you on the inside. The biggest takeaway for us though is that it’s okay to be a little different!

Where to find it: Amazon UK                 Book Depository



Diary of a Wimpy Kid ‘Cabin Fever’ by Jeff Kinney

“I’ve started wearing sweatpants to bed because I really don’t need Santa seeing me in my underwear.” -Greg Heffley

Our rating 4/5 gold star

Cabin Fever is the sixth book in the popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Like other books in the series, this book is written in the style of a journal with cartoon-style illustrations that brings the text to life. Greg Heffley (star of the series) is in trouble. He’s the prime suspect when some school property gets damaged. With the authorities closing in, Greg breathes a sigh of relief when a surprise blizzard hits. After a few days stuck indoors with his family, Greg can’t help but think prison may be a better alternative after all. This book is hilarious (see quote above), and kids between the ages of 8 and 12 will be able to appreciate the troubles Greg seems to get himself in without ever meaning to. At 212 pages and with loads of illustrations, it’s a quick read and if your kid happens to fall in love, you know there are 10 other books he/ she just might love too!

Where to find it:     Sytris Books (Ghana)           Amazon UK               Book Depository



Baby Aliens Got My Teacher! by Pamela Butchart

“Because that’s what I would want someone to do if they found a crisp shaped like me (also known as a crisp twin).”

Our rating: 5/5 gold star

Izzy and her friends are convinced their teacher has been taken over by aliens.  For one thing, she’s suddenly being nice, but even more telling, there’s a teddy bear on her desk and everyone knows Miss Jones isn’t a teddy bear kind of person. With hard evidence (a KIT KAT) that the office ladies are aliens too, it’s really up to Izzy and her friends to find a solution before they all get turned into aliens! This book is laugh-out-loud funny throughout and will be enjoyed by children of all ages. It is a hilarious portrayal of what happens when you couple an overactive imagination with eavesdropping (on conversations you do not understand). The language is wonderfully descriptive and this together with the illustrations peppered throughout the book makes it easy to picture each and every scene. It’s a short read (164 pages) which means more able readers will probably finish it in one sitting. This book is generally recommended for 5-8-year-olds but we recommend it for 9-12-year-olds too!

Where to find it: Book Depository                      Amazon UK



 Disgusting Dave and the Bucketful of Vomit by Jim Eldridge

Our rating: 4/5 gold star

There’s a barfing epidemic at school and Dave has got to get on the case to save his best friend’s mum from food poisoning charges. Fortunately, Dave doesn’t mind a bit of vomit. His sister, Krystal, thinks he’s disgusting but really, Dave just likes to know how things work, even burping and farting. With the help of his farting dog, his friends Paul and Suki and his clueless ‘detective’ cousin Kevin, Dave sets out to solve the mystery of who is behind the barfing epidemic once and for all. This book really had us in stitches in several places. We also loved the ‘factoids’ generously included throughout the book and the illustrations are a nice bonus. Sure to catch the interest of both boys and girls, we recommend this book for 9-13-year-olds!

Where to find it: Book Depository                     Amazon UK


mr-stink Mr Stink by David Walliams

Illustrated by Quentin Blake

Our rating: 4/5 gold star

“Mr Stink stank. He also stunk. And if it is correct English to say he stinked, then he stinked as well.”

With this charming introduction, needless to say, we were hooked from line one! In this hilarious David Walliams book, we meet Chloe, a lonely 12-year-old who does not feel like she fits in at home or at school. Her life changes when she meets the local tramp, Mr Stink. He does smell a bit, but he’s nice to Chloe and there is a bit of mystery to him that has her intrigued. There are definitely a lot of parts in this book that children will find laugh-out-loud funny. As adults, some of Mr Stink’s habits had us go ‘eww’, although those bits are more than likely to elicit a laugh from younger readers. We liked the marvellous illustrations by Quentin Blake, especially the one of what stink looks like. Even more, we liked that David Walliams weaved in salient issues like bullying and kindness, without losing any of the humour. We recommend this book for 8 – 12-year-olds!

Where to find it: Book Depository             Amazon UK

Note: For books without a Sytris Ghana link, the book was not have been available on the Sytris website at the time of publishing this post. It is still worth checking their bookshop or on their website to see if they now have those books in stock. Contact us at for help with purchasing books.

Happy reading!

Posted in B'Twixt (6-8), Teens (13+), Tweens (9-12)

Children’s E-readers, 6 Reasons Why They Are A Fantastic Idea!

If you are a book lover like me, it might be pretty disheartening to see the kind of damage that can happen when kids and books collide. You want your children to read, but is there any way that they can without a resultant loss of (book) lives? Thankfully, the answer is yes! It is entirely possible to get children reading without the accompanying heartbreak from torn pages, wet pages, missing covers and the like. That’s not the only advantage, there are several others.

1. They can access their full library with one click!

Amazing right? Yes, you do lose the sensation of the book beneath your fingers as you turn each page but, isn’t being able to carry all their books with you whenever you leave home an ace compromise? Having all their books available in one place means no longer having to decide what book to take along in case they get bored. A lot of reading apps also have the page-flipping setting which means even if you don’t feel it, you do get to see the pages flip. Revisiting a favourite book is also very easy and you can re-read all your child’s favourites with just a few clicks!

2. They are way more hardy

Like I mentioned earlier, much as I love them, one of the disadvantages of paper books is how easy it is for them to get destroyed. Take your eye off things and it could be shredsville in a matter of minutes. Which is fine, the first or second time but after that doesn’t your heart (and your pocket) break a little each time? The amazing thing about e-readers is if you use apps like the kindle or nook you can access your books from any smart device :). This means in the unlikely event that anything happens to your e-reader your books are all there, ready to read.

3. It is easy to purchase a new book

Let’s face it, there are not a lot of places in Ghana where you can get a wide variety of children’s books to buy. The few available also may not be as close to you as is convenient. E-book readers mean no longer having to make time to drive to the bookstore. You can access a wide array of new books in minutes and save going to the shop for days when you are actually in the neighbourhood.

4. You can look up hard words while reading

No need to search for the dictionary (or fumble through explanations when you know the meaning but you just can’t put words to it)! Apps like the amazon kindle make it easy to look up words while reading. This means you can buy slightly advanced books for your child without worrying that they will be put off by the harder words. As an added bonus you can also increase or decrease the font to a size your child is more comfortable with.

5. Dum-Sor or No, You can Still Read

With the constant power cuts also known as dum sor, an E-reader is a fantastic way to keep the momentum going with your child’s reading. E-readers tend to have longer staying power than regular smartphones which means with a full charge you can get between 2 and 3 days (depending on what other apps you’re using, screen brightness etc.) of reading, dum-sor or not.

6. Free Books 😉

We saved the best for last! With e-readers, it is much easier to take advantage of free books and e-book deals offered by big book retailers. I have found that free books can be an amazing way to discover fantastic new authors you may otherwise never have tried. With sites like BookBub offering great deals for bestselling e-books, it’s a simple matter of entering your email address to find yourself in a whole new world of books. Not just for them (your child) but for Mummy and Daddy too!

That’s it, our top 6 reasons why an e-reader for your child is a terrific idea! This does not mean you should totally rule out paper books, they have their own advantages and you should definitely stock a few, whenever you get the chance. It’s just, why not make life a little easier if you can? 🙂

Watch out for the follow-up to this post What Type Of E-reader Is Best For My Child?

Posted in B'Twixt (6-8), Pre-tweens, Teens (13+), Tikes (3-5), Tots (0-2), Tweens (9-12)

Why Children Should Read

Reading has many benefits and yet even as adults, it is not an easy habit to maintain. From long, stressful hours at work to the demands of parenting it can become very easy to fall into the habit of going months without actually reading anything for leisure. Sadly, it is almost as easy for children to fall into this pattern too, often associating reading with boredom because of all the text they are required to read for school. In spite of this, it is absolutely essential for children to read and the points below outline some of the reasons why.

  1. It is useful in the classroom: reading at home exposes children to new ideas. This means your child gets to learn new information in a relaxed setting the more they read. Also, reading skills improve with practice. This means the more your child reads, the better they get at it! Finally, reading increases your child’s capacity to learn. This is indeed good news for their academic life because it means they read and learn better in class and also are equipped with all the extra information they learn while reading at home.
  2. It increases their vocabulary: the more your child reads, the more new words they encounter therefore expanding their vocabulary. Reading also teaches children the importance of language, helps them to better master language and develop better communication skills. This helps children to be more articulate and therefore better able to express their ideas.
  3. It helps to develop their imagination: reading paints pictures of other people and places in the mind. This is why book fans often feel let down when their favourite book is made into a movie- the movie often does not match up to their imagination. While reading, your mind creates a picture of what characters and the setting look like, helping you to better identify with the characters and the book. A good book can transport children (and everyone else) to new worlds where really anything is possible, stimulating their imagination. Reading also exercises the brain and has been found to increase cognitive abilities
  4. It strengthens your bond: Reading to your young child is a terrific way to bond with them. When children are younger and have not yet acquired skills to read on their own, snuggling together to read a book is a fantastic way to get closer. It, first of all, gives you time with them away from all the running around that is their day and also teaches them the basics of reading. As children grow older, it is still important to make time to read together. With their acquisition of reading skills, you can make reading even more fun by taking turns to read or each reading as your favourite character in the book. This has the added benefit of drawing your child even further into the book, making reading time an adventure each and every time.

Reading has many other benefits (for everyone) like better writing skills and memory improvement to name a few. Hopefully, the reasons above are enough to get you started on the journey to turning your children into bookworms.

(Header image Zoey reading by JennRene Owens)