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Even if there isn’t much to hide, there is certainly a novel (ahem) coolness with owning a Book Safe ($14) from Southwest Specialty Products. Made from a real hardback book (title would vary), it’s a pretty inconspicuous spot for the built-in hidden compartment. Likely kids wouldn’t hide anything at all, as it would be hard to resist showing it off to friends. And perhaps instill a desire for them to take a second look at their parent’s bookshelves!
Kids going through middle childhood are starting to grow a bit independent from their parents, and since parents are likely to be the ones encouraging kids to read, in many cases to a nagging degree (at least from the child’s point of view), there is a certain paradoxical humor that one can share by giving a book that isn’t really a book at all, but instead playfully encourages diversion.
A book safe is the kind of thing that entices the owner to want to know how it was put together, and perhaps see if they could do it themselves. If the child wants to take on such a craft, this should be encouraged! It can open the door to even more types of crafts. There are some great tutorials online for creating a book safe from scratch. In the meantime, this particular gift is a good starting point to see if it catches their attention.