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.

01
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Age 2+

The silliness appeals to preschoolers.

02
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

Age 2+

This charming bedtime book is magical for truck lovers.

03
Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon

Age 2+

The ultimate going-to-bed book.

04
The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Age 2+

Eric Carle brings humor to a caterpillar's development.

05
Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are

Age 2+

This classic all-ages masterpiece has a wild imagination.

06
Harold and the Purple Crayon

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Age 3+

The imagination reigns in the timeless classic about a drawing boy.

08
The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat

Age 4+

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

09
Frog and Toad Are Friends

Frog and Toad Are Friends

Age 4+

These engaging stories spotlight charming, relatable characters.

10
Madeline

Madeline

Age 4+

The rhyming classic is a sure winner with kids.

11
The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh

The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh

Age 5+

Beloved, classic stories and poems in one volume.

12
Mercy Watson to the Rescue

Mercy Watson to the Rescue

Age 5+

The funny, silly pig story is great for early readers.

13
Ramona the Pest

Ramona the Pest

Age 7+

This Ramona tale helps young kids build empathy.

14
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Age 6+

This classic morality tale is highly entertaining.

15
Ivy and Bean

Ivy and Bean

Age 6+

A sure hit with kids starting chapter books.

16
Stuart Little

Stuart Little

Age 6+

This is an excellent bridge from chapter books to novels.

17
Where the Sidewalk Ends

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Age 6+

An irresistible collection of clever, hilarious poems.

18
Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web

Age 7+

The gentle, much-loved classic delights all ages.

19
Coraline

Coraline

Age 8+

This strange, surreal tale is sure to creep kids out.

20
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Age 8+

This is the magical start of the bestselling Harry Potter phenomenon.

22
The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread

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

Age 8+

The brave mouse adventure is a modern classic and a great read-aloud.

23
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Age 9+

A classic that both kids and adults love.

24
Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables

Age 9+

The beloved classic features a lovable, imaginative heroine.

25
The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events

The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events

Age 9+

A cliffhanging adventure wrapped in black humor.

26
Big Nate: In a Class by Himself

Big Nate: In a Class by Himself

Age 9+

Milder than Diary of a Wimpy Kid, this will be a sure hit with boys.

27
Bridge to Terabithia

Bridge to Terabithia

Age 9+

This honest, moving story explores friendship and loss.

29
Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Age 9+

The laugh-out-loud funny series tucks lessons into its stories.

30
The Hobbit

The Hobbit

Age 9+

Brilliantly written, this inventive tale unfolds before The Lord of the Rings.

31
The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians

The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Age 9+

Modernized Greek myths meet fast-paced adventure.

32
Little House in the Big Woods

Little House in the Big Woods

Age 9+

This classic view of pioneer life is seen through a little girl's eyes.

33
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Age 9+

Toddler antics bug a brother and amuse readers in the first Fudge book.

34
A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time

Age 9+

The classic sci-fi story still inspires and gets kids thinking.

35
Esperanza Rising

Esperanza Rising

Age 10+

Historical fiction is at its best in this book on '30s farmworkers.

36
Hold Fast

Hold Fast

Age 10+

In this touching story, a resourceful girl solves a family mystery.

37
I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up For Education and Changed the World

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

Age 10+

Get inspired by the memoir of the teen Nobel Laureate who was shot by the Taliban.

38
Inside Out and Back Again

Inside Out and Back Again

Age 10+

The inspiring, educational immigrant story is told in free verse.

39
My Side of the Mountain

My Side of the Mountain

Age 10+

The wilderness-survival adventure grips and inspires.

40
Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party

Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party

Age 10+

The gripping story offers a great intro to China's Cultural Revolution.

41
Walk Two Moons

Walk Two Moons

Age 10+

The dramatic, complex tale has rich characters and emotional depth.

42
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Age 11+

The inspiring wartime journal reveals the teen's inner life.

43
Wonder

Wonder

Age 11+

The moving, uplifting tale follows a disfigured boy with inner beauty.

44
Ender's Game

Ender's Game

Age 12+

A boy genius trains to crush an alien invasion in this sci-fi classic.

45
The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring

Age 12+

The spectacular fantasy classic is where Frodo's journey begins.

46
The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

Age 12+

The exciting, provocative tale concerns a lethal reality show.

47
Legend

Legend

Age 12+

The stylish dystopian thriller is set in a not-so-future Los Angeles.

48
March: Book One

March: Book One

Age 12+

The powerful graphic novel captures the spirit of desegregation.

49
The Outsiders

The Outsiders

Age 12+

The story of an ostracized kid is a timeless fave among teens and preteens.

50
To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

Age 12+

The stunning classic examines racism — and justice.