I need a gift recomendation for a nine year old

A friend’s 9 year old girl is going into the hospital on Monday for an operation on her knee. She has a growth that does not appear to be malignant, but they won’t be sure until they open her up and take a look. She’s going to have to be in the hospital for at least 24 hours, and will probably be in a bit of pain for several days afterwards.

I remember being 12 and getting my tonsils out. It’s no fun to be a kid and in pain and in a hospital without much to do. In light of this, I thought it would be good to get her a little something to open once she comes out of the anesthetic. I was thinking a book or some activity project that she could do while lying in bed. Of course, as I don’t have kids, I don’t know what a nine year old would really like. Any suggestions?

Ask the kid’s parents what kind of stuff she likes. Nine-year olds are like any other age group; each one is an individual. So, just as one would never presume to know what someone might like based merely on the fact that the person is 27 years old, it’s kind of hard to predict, based solely on age, what a 9-year-old girl would like.

I mean, I’m guessing that a porn video or a copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude are probably bad ideas. However, kids at age 9 have already started to develop distinct taste, so just because your 9-year-old niece might love Britney Spears, you can’t assume that this kid will.

Better yet, visit the girl yourself, in the hospital. Chat with her for awhile, and you’ll learn a lot. Worse comes to worse, just say “I want to bring you a present, but I don’t know what kind of stuff you like.”

This is a dilemma I face repeatedly, every time there’s a birthday party or whatever for one of my 11-year old daughter’s friends. This may seem unhelpful, but it always boils down to “whatever she’s into.” For example, at nine, my Bear was just getting into the whole Barbie thing, when most of her peers had outgrown it already. If I had bought one of her friends what Bear would have liked, it wouldn’t have gone over well. So I usually call the parents and ask their advice. Of course, it’s even better if I can talk to her friends themselves when they’re over at the house playing, but that’s not always practical.

One last thought, again only speaking for my Bear. If she were recuperating, she would prefer a fiction novel to an activity book, as it’s a slightly more passive activity. Many girls at that age are into juvenille series literature, and there are kazillions to choose from. Again, asking the parents might give you some ideas. Good luck, and make sure to let us know how the surgery turns out. Thank goodness we’ve never had to go through that.

Dadgummit, auntie em, do you always have to get in just ahead of me with a clearer statement of what I was trying to say? You’re deliberately trying to make me look like a “what she said” yutz!


I cannot agree enough with auntie em and Wisest Novel’s advice. Keeping that in mind, I always enjoy the chance to encourage a kid to read, and a hospital stay sounds like the perfect opportunity, since there’s not much else she can do. Don’t just get a book you think a 9-year-old girl should read, though; play to her interests. Call her parents and ask (1) how much does she already like reading & how advanced is she at it, (2) if she does like reading, what are some of her favorite books, and (3) what are her hobbies and interests. If she’s into horses, maybe a Saddle Club book or Misty of Chincoteague; if she plays soccer, maybe S.O.R. Losers, etc.

If she’s really, really not into reading fiction for fun and you decide to go the activity book route, might I suggest one of the fine products from Klutz Press? Can’t go wrong with a Klutz book. I adored them at that age. Still do, really.

While books are good, she might be a bit drugged up and not have the concentration to read.

One of my favorite (not-so-intellectual) activities when I was around her age was macrame. You could get her an insturction book and whole bunch of different colours of embroidery floss. It’s quite possible she already knows how to do it, it’s just a humble idea.

Actually, I was hoping to make you look like one of those freaky automated singing animals at Chuck E. Cheese, but since I don’t seem to be succeeding, I will stop co-opting your wisdom. :smiley: