One of the challenges to introducing youth to watching birds is the lack of age appropriate reference materials, such as field guides. That has just changed with the release of The Young Birder's Guide: to the birds of eastern North America, the latest in the Peterson Field Guide series. Written by Bill Thompson III, he of Bill of the Birds, and illustrated by Julie Zickefoose, it is a Field Guide aimed at youths in the eight to twelve range.
The guide covers about 200 common or intriguing birds from Eastern North America, and is designed for the field with a compact size and tough plastic cover. Each bird receives a page treatment, with a picture, the basics to identify the bird and its voice, a range map and a "wow" factoid about the species. It keeps firmly to the K.I.S. (Keep It Simple) principle, with the idea that a regular guide will have too much detail and be overwhelming.
Thompson apparently consulted with his eleven year old daughter's class in coming up with the design of the book, so the book is really a family affair. I suspect that the book will work really well, especially at the lower age of the target audience. I think for an older child I'd supplement it with a regular field guide, to satisfy the thirst for additional details once the appetite has been whetted by this book.
All in all I think this would be an excellent gift for a youth, hopefully starting them down that path to observing nature in the wild.