Coming-of-Age Books

Few kids' books are as powerful as stories about characters coming of age. Whether they're learning hard truths about loss and prejudice or finding out what it really means to grow up and be independent, the kids in these books are the kind of memorable characters your own children are sure to relate to.

Browse Coming-of-Age Books

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Move over, Ramona -- here comes Clementine.
By Sara Pennypacker
(2007)
 
Rich, authentic characters are heart of thoughtful novel.
By Peter Johnson
(2014)
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Delightful page-turner with rock-solid values.
By Andrew Clements
(2005)
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Sweet coming-of-age story teaches empathy, kindness.
By Kevin Henkes
(2011)
 
Unforgettable 12-year-old girl battles the Great Depression.
By Christopher Paul Curtis
(2012)
 
Terrific tale of misfit taking bold step to remake his life.
By Tim Federle
(2013)
 
A heartwarming story of hope triumphing over pain.
By Kimberly Willis Holt
(2015)
 
Gripping story of three sibs fending for themselves in 1974.
By Sheila O'Connor
(2012)
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Brave misfit tames fears in inspiring, surprising novel.
By Rebecca Stead
(2012)
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National Book Award winner imparts importance of empathy.
By Kathryn Erskine
(2010)
 
Gripping story, great intro to China's Cultural Revolution.
By Ying Chang Compestine
(2008)
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Tales of injustice masterfully blend with a dash of magic.
By Pam Munoz Ryan
(2015)
 
Sympathetic, realistic portrait of boy with ADHD.
By Jack Gantos
(2003)
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Moving, uplifting tale of disfigured boy with inner beauty.
By R.J. Palacio
(2012)
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Heartbreaking, powerful tale amid diamond mines of Zimbabwe.
By Michael Williams
(2015)
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Poignant story of race, identity, and doing the right thing.
By Jacqueline Woodson
(2014)
 
Stunning classic examines racism -- and justice.
By Harper Lee
(2004)
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A troubled boy discovers his self-worth through art.
By Gary D. Schmidt
(2011)
 
Popular series start shows positive girl friendships.
By Ann Brashares
(2003)
 
Challenging ideas, big issues buoy story of Harlem teen.
By Walter Dean Myers
(2012)
 
A poetic -- and classic -- coming-of-age story.
By Sandra Cisneros
(2005)
 
Sweet, funny coming-of-age story about all kinds of love.
By Margo Rabb
(2015)
 
Funny, gritty, and powerful novel of growing up on the rez.
By Sherman Alexie
(2007)
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Orphan refugee finds new family in beautifully bizarre tale.
By Andrew Smith
(2015)
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Orphan refugee finds new family in beautifully bizarre tale.
By Andrew Smith
(2015)
 
One of the greatest novels of the 20th century.
By J. D. Salinger
(2005)
 
Heartwrenching love story told by teen dying of cancer.
By John Green
(2012)
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Unforgettable story of a girl's 1,000-mile journey home.
By David Arnold
(2015)
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Luminous story of pregnant teen's summer in Spain.
By Beth Kephart
(2012)
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Dark, funny coming-of-age with lots of mature content.
By Frank Portman
(2006)
 
Controversial coming-of-age classic with sex, drugs, abuse.
By Stephen Chbosky
(2011)

Other great lists from our editors