Here Are the 50 Books Your Child Should Read Before They Turn 12
Reading is an influential and big part of a child's life. Well, our friends at Common Sense Media have got you covered with the 50 books your kids should read by the time they are 12. These are definitely some of the greats.
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 surefire, 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.
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
The silliness appeals to preschoolers.
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
This charming bedtime book is magical for truck lovers.
The ultimate going-to-bed book.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Eric Carle brings humor to a caterpillar's development.
Where the Wild Things Are
This classic all-ages masterpiece has a wild imagination.
Harold and the Purple Crayon
The imagination reigns in the timeless classic about a drawing boy.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Beatrix Potter's first and one of her best.
The Cat in the Hat
A kids' classic that put Dr. Seuss on the map.
Frog and Toad Are Friends
These engaging stories spotlight charming, relatable characters.
The rhyming classic is a sure winner with kids.
The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh
Beloved, classic stories and poems in one volume.
Mercy Watson to the Rescue
The funny, silly pig story is great for early readers.
Ramona the Pest
This Ramona tale helps young kids build empathy.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
This classic morality tale is highly entertaining.
Ivy and Bean
A sure hit with kids starting chapter books.
This is an excellent bridge from chapter books to novels.
Where the Sidewalk Ends
An irresistible collection of clever, hilarious poems.
The gentle, much-loved classic delights all ages.
This strange, surreal tale is sure to creep kids out.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
This is the magical start of the bestselling Harry Potter phenomenon.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The classic Narnia chronicle has Christian themes.
The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread
The brave mouse adventure is a modern classic and a great read-aloud.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
A classic that both kids and adults love.
Anne of Green Gables
The beloved classic features a lovable, imaginative heroine.
The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events
A cliffhanging adventure wrapped in black humor.
Big Nate: In a Class by Himself
Milder than Diary of a Wimpy Kid, this will be a sure hit with boys.
Bridge to Terabithia
This honest, moving story explores friendship and loss.
Bud, Not Buddy
This well-crafted tale looks at an orphan's search for home.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
The laugh-out-loud funny series tucks lessons into its stories.
Brilliantly written, this inventive tale unfolds before The Lord of the Rings.
The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Modernized Greek myths meet fast-paced adventure.
Little House in the Big Woods
This classic view of pioneer life is seen through a little girl's eyes.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Toddler antics bug a brother and amuse readers in the first Fudge book.
A Wrinkle in Time
The classic sci-fi story still inspires and gets kids thinking.
Historical fiction is at its best in this book on '30s farmworkers.
In this touching story, a resourceful girl solves a family mystery.
I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up For Education and Changed the World
Get inspired by the memoir of the teen Nobel Laureate who was shot by the Taliban.
Inside Out and Back Again
The inspiring, educational immigrant story is told in free verse.
My Side of the Mountain
The wilderness-survival adventure grips and inspires.
Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party
The gripping story offers a great intro to China's Cultural Revolution.
Walk Two Moons
The dramatic, complex tale has rich characters and emotional depth.
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
The inspiring wartime journal reveals the teen's inner life.
The moving, uplifting tale follows a disfigured boy with inner beauty.
A boy genius trains to crush an alien invasion in this sci-fi classic.
The Fellowship of the Ring
The spectacular fantasy classic is where Frodo's journey begins.
The Hunger Games
The exciting, provocative tale concerns a lethal reality show.
The stylish dystopian thriller is set in a not-so-future Los Angeles.
March: Book One
The powerful graphic novel captures the spirit of desegregation.
The story of an ostracized kid is a timeless fave among teens and preteens.
To Kill a Mockingbird
The stunning classic examines racism — and justice.