50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They're 12


 

From picture books to graphic novels, fantasy to family fun, these must-read books have the power to hook both boys and girls. Some are cultural touchstones that belong in every kid's library. Others open kids' minds to cultures beyond their own. And some are modern releases that have the timeless quality of classics -- the kinds that get handed down to siblings and passed around classrooms. Whether you have a reluctant reader or budding bookworm, check out these sure-fire, kid-tested titles. (We've included a few rated best for 12 and up for the precocious readers out there!)

 

Want more? Check out the Essential Books Guide to build your kid's personal library.

 

Browse 50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They're 12

Silliness that appeals to preschoolers.
By Mo Willems
(2004)
Read More
Charming bedtime book is magic for truck lovers.
By Sherri Duskey Rinker
(2012)
Read More
csm_book
The ultimate going-to-bed book.
By Margaret Wise Brown
(2004)
Read More
Carle brings humor to caterpillar's development.
By Eric Carle
(2003)
Read More
Classic all-ages masterpiece has a wild imagination.
By Maurice Sendak
(2001)
Read More
Imagination reigns in timeless classic about drawing boy.
By Crockett Johnson
(2012)
Read More
Beatrix Potter's first and one of her best.
By Beatrix Potter
(2003)
Read More
A kids' classic that put Dr. Seuss on the map.
By Dr. Seuss
(2003)
Read More
Engaging stories spotlight charming, relatable characters.
By Arnold Lobel
(2003)
Read More
csm_book
Rhyming classic is a sure winner with kids.
By Ludwig Bemelmans
(2003)
Read More
Beloved, classic stories and poems in one volume.
By A. A. Milne
(2007)
Read More
Funny, silly pig story great for early readers.
By Kate DiCamillo
(2006)
Read More
csm_book
Ramona tale helps young kids build empathy.
By Beverly Cleary
(2003)
Read More
Classic morality tale is highly entertaining.
By Roald Dahl
(2005)
Read More
A sure hit with kids starting chapter books.
By Annie Barrows
(2007)
Read More
csm_book
Excellent bridge from chapter books to novels.
By E.B. White
(2003)
Read More
Irresistible collection of clever, hilarious poems.
By Shel Silverstein
(2012)
Read More
csm_book
Gentle, much-loved classic delights all ages.
By E.B. White
(2006)
Read More
csm_book
Strange, surreal tale sure to creep kids out.
By Neil Gaiman
(2004)
Read More
Magical start of bestselling Potter phenomenon.
By J. K. Rowling
(2005)
Read More
Classic Narnia tale has exciting battles, Christian themes.
By C.S. Lewis
(2005)
Read More
Brave mouse adventure a modern classic; great read-aloud.
By Kate DiCamillo
(2004)
Read More
A classic that both adults and kids love.
By Lewis Carroll
(2003)
Read More
Beloved classic features lovable, imaginative heroine.
By L.M. Montgomery
(2011)
Read More
A cliff-hanging adventure wrapped in black humor.
By Lemony Snicket
(2004)
Read More
Milder than Wimpy Kid, and a sure hit with boys.
By Lincoln Peirce
(2010)
Read More
Honest, moving story of friendship and loss.
By Katherine Paterson
(2006)
Read More
csm_book
Well-crafted tale of an orphan's search for home.
By Christopher Paul Curtis
(2004)
Read More
Laugh-out-loud-funny series start tucks lessons in stories.
By Jeff Kinney
(2007)
Read More
csm_book
Brilliantly written, inventive pre-LOTR tale.
By J.R.R. Tolkien
(2011)
Read More
Modernized Greek myths meet fast-paced adventure.
By Rick Riordan
(2005)
Read More
Classic view of pioneer life through a little girl's eyes.
By Laura Ingalls Wilder
(2007)
Read More
Toddler antics bug brother, amuse readers in 1st Fudge book.
By Judy Blume
(2011)
Read More
Classic sci-fi story still inspires and gets kids thinking.
By Madeleine L'Engle
(2003)
Read More
csm_book
Historical fiction at its best in book on '30s farmworkers.
By Pam Munoz Ryan
(2011)
Read More
csm_book
Touching story of resourceful girl solving a family mystery.
By Blue Balliett
(2013)
Read More
Inspiring memoir of teen Nobel laureate shot by Taliban.
By Malala Yousafzai, Patricia McCormick
(2014)
Read More
Inspiring, educational immigrant story told in free verse.
By Thanhha Lai
(2011)
Read More
Gripping, inspiring wilderness-survival adventure.
By Jean Craighead George
(2012)
Read More
Gripping story, great intro to China's Cultural Revolution.
By Ying Chang Compestine
(2008)
Read More
csm_book
Dramatic, complex tale has rich characters, emotional depth.
By Sharon Creech
(2010)
Read More
Inspiring wartime journal reveals teen's inner life.
By Anne Frank
(2011)
Read More
csm_book
Moving, uplifting tale of disfigured boy with inner beauty.
By R.J. Palacio
(2012)
Read More
csm_book
Boy genius trains to crush alien invasion in sci-fi classic.
By Orson Scott Card
(2005)
Read More
Spectacular fantasy classic is where Frodo's journey begins.
By J.R.R. Tolkien
(2003)
Read More
Exciting, provocative tale of lethal reality show.
By Suzanne Collins
(2008)
Read More
csm_book
Stylish dystopian thriller in a not-so-future Los Angeles.
By Marie Lu
(2012)
Read More
csm_book
Powerful graphic novel captures spirit of desegregation.
By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
(2013)
Read More
csm_book
Story of ostracized kid a timeless fave of teens, preteens.
By S. E. Hinton
(2003)
Read More
Stunning classic examines racism -- and justice.
By Harper Lee
(2004)
Read More