Great Reads

50 Books Kids Should Read Before They're 12

Ages 2-4+

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

Description: Silliness that appeals to preschoolers.

By Mo Willems 

(2004)

 

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

Description: Charming bedtime book is magic for truck lovers.

By Sherri Duskey Rinker 

(2011)

 

Goodnight Moon

Description: Ultimate going-to-bed book has stood the test of time.

By Margaret Wise Brown 

(1947)

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Description: Carle brings humor to caterpillar's development.

By Eric Carle 

(1970)

 

Where the Wild Things Are

Description: Classic all-ages masterpiece has a wild imagination.

By Maurice Sendak 

(1969)

 

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Description: Imagination reigns in timeless classic about drawing boy.

By Crockett Johnson 

(1955)

 

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Description: Beatrix Potter's first and one of her best.

By Beatrix Potter 

(1902)

 

The Cat in the Hat

Description: A kids' classic that put Dr. Seuss on the map.

By Dr. Seuss 

(1957)

 

Frog and Toad Are Friends

Description: Engaging stories spotlight charming, relatable characters.

By Arnold Lobel 

(1970)

 

Madeline

Description: Rhyming classic is a sure winner with kids.

By Ludwig Bemelmans 

(1977)

 

Ages 5-7+

The Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh

Description: Beloved, classic stories and poems in one volume.

By A. A. Milne 

(1996)

 

Mercy Watson to the Rescue: Mercy Watson, Book 1

Description: Funny, silly pig story great for early readers.

By Kate DiCamillo 

(2005)

 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Description: Classic morality tale is wildly entertaining.

By Roald Dahl 

(1964)

 

Ivy + Bean, Book 1

Description: Friendship tale a sure hit with kids starting chapter books.

By Annie Barrows 

(2007)

 

Stuart Little

Description: Excellent bridge from chapter books to novels.

By E.B. White 

(1945)

 

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Description: Irresistible collection of clever, hilarious poems.

By Shel Silverstein 

(2004)

 

Charlotte's Web

Description: Gentle, much-loved barnyard classic delights all ages.

By E.B. White 

(1952)

 

Little House in the Big Woods

Description: Classic view of pioneer life through a little girl's eyes.

By Laura Ingalls Wilder 

(1932)

 

Ramona the Pest 

Description: Ramona tale helps young kids build empathy.

By Beverly Cleary 

(1992)

 

Ages 8-9+

Coraline

Description: Strange, surreal tale sure to creep kids out.

By Neil Gaiman 

(2004)

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Description: Magical start of the fantastic boy-wizard series.

By J. K. Rowling 

(1998)

 

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 1

Description: Classic Narnia tale has exciting battles, Christian themes.

By C.S. Lewis 

(1950)

 

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread

Description: Brave mouse adventure a modern classic; great read-aloud.

By Kate DiCamillo 

(2004)

 

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Description: A classic that both adults and kids love.

By Lewis Carroll 

(1865)

 

Anne of Green Gables

Description: Beloved classic features lovable, imaginative heroine.

By L.M. Montgomery 

(1908)

 

The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1

Description: A cliff-hanging orphan adventure wrapped in black humor.

By Lemony Snicket 

(1999)

 

Big Nate: In a Class by Himself: Big Nate, Book 1

Description: Milder than Wimpy Kid and a sure hit with boys.

By Lincoln Peirce 

(2010)

 

Bridge to Terabithia

Description: Honest, moving story of friendship and loss.

By Katherine Paterson 

(1977)

 

Bud, Not Buddy

Description: Well-crafted tale of an orphan's search for home.

By Christopher Paul Curtis 

(1999)

 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Description: Laugh-out-loud-funny series start tucks lessons in stories.

By Jeff Kinney 

(2007)

 

The Hobbit

Description: Brilliantly written, inventive pre-LOTR tale.

By J.R.R. Tolkien 

(1937)

 

The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1

Description: Greek myths meet fast-paced adventure in boy-demigod tale.

By Rick Riordan 

(2005)

 

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Description: Toddler antics bug brother, amuse readers in 1st Fudge book.

By Judy Blume 

(1972)

 

A Wrinkle in Time

Description: Classic sci-fi story still inspires and gets kids thinking.

By Madeleine L'Engle 

(1962)

 

Ages 10-12+

Esperanza Rising

Description: Historical fiction at its best in story of '30s farmworkers.

By Pam Munoz Ryan 

(2000)

 

Hold Fast

Description: Touching story of resourceful girl solving a family mystery.

By Blue Balliett 

(2013)

 

I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World

Description: Inspiring memoir of teen Nobel laureate shot by Taliban.

By Malala Yousafzai, Patricia McCormick 

(2014)

 

Inside Out and Back Again

Description: Inspiring, educational immigrant story told in free verse.

By Thanhha Lai 

(2011)

 

My Side of the Mountain

Description: Gripping, inspiring wilderness-survival adventure.

By Jean Craighead George 

(1959)

 

Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party

Description: Gripping story, great intro to China's Cultural Revolution.

By Ying Chang Compestine 

(2007)

 

Walk Two Moons

Description: Dramatic, complex tale has rich characters, emotional depth.

By Sharon Creech 

(1994)

 

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Description: Inspiring wartime journal reveals teen's inner life.

By Anne Frank 

(1947)

 

Wonder

Description: Moving tale of facially different boy with inner beauty.

By R.J. Palacio 

(2012)

 

Ender's Game

Description: Boy genius trains to crush alien invasion in sci-fi classic.

By Orson Scott Card 

(2005)

 

The Fellowship of the Ring

Description: Spectacular fantasy classic is where Frodo's journey begins.

By J.R.R. Tolkien 

(1954)

 

The Hunger Games, Book 1

Description: Exciting, provocative tale of lethal reality show.

By Suzanne Collins 

(2008)

 

Legend, Book 1

Description: Stylish dystopian thriller in a not-so-future Los Angeles.

By Marie Lu 

(2011)

 

March: Book One

Description: Powerful graphic novel captures spirit of desegregation.

By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell 

(2013)

 

The Outsiders

Description: Story of ostracized kid a timeless fave of teens, preteens.

By S. E. Hinton 

(1967)

 

To Kill a Mockingbird

Description: Stunning classic examines racism -- and justice.

By Harper Lee 

(1960)

 

 We encourage all Wildcats to read at least 20 minutes each night in an effort to have all children reading by 3rd grade. Reading is a fun activity to do on your own or with family and friends!


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