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 



Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

Description: Charming bedtime book is magic for truck lovers.

By Sherri Duskey Rinker 



Goodnight Moon

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

By Margaret Wise Brown 



The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Description: Carle brings humor to caterpillar's development.

By Eric Carle 



Where the Wild Things Are

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

By Maurice Sendak 



Harold and the Purple Crayon

Description: Imagination reigns in timeless classic about drawing boy.

By Crockett Johnson 



The Tale of Peter Rabbit

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

By Beatrix Potter 



The Cat in the Hat

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

By Dr. Seuss 



Frog and Toad Are Friends

Description: Engaging stories spotlight charming, relatable characters.

By Arnold Lobel 




Description: Rhyming classic is a sure winner with kids.

By Ludwig Bemelmans 



Ages 5-7+

The Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh

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

By A. A. Milne 



Mercy Watson to the Rescue: Mercy Watson, Book 1

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

By Kate DiCamillo 



Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Description: Classic morality tale is wildly entertaining.

By Roald Dahl 



Ivy + Bean, Book 1

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

By Annie Barrows 



Stuart Little

Description: Excellent bridge from chapter books to novels.

By E.B. White 



Where the Sidewalk Ends

Description: Irresistible collection of clever, hilarious poems.

By Shel Silverstein 



Charlotte's Web

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

By E.B. White 



Little House in the Big Woods

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

By Laura Ingalls Wilder 



Ramona the Pest 

Description: Ramona tale helps young kids build empathy.

By Beverly Cleary 



Ages 8-9+


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

By Neil Gaiman 



Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

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

By J. K. Rowling 



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 



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 



Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Description: A classic that both adults and kids love.

By Lewis Carroll 



Anne of Green Gables

Description: Beloved classic features lovable, imaginative heroine.

By L.M. Montgomery 



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

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

By Lemony Snicket 



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 



Bridge to Terabithia

Description: Honest, moving story of friendship and loss.

By Katherine Paterson 



Bud, Not Buddy

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

By Christopher Paul Curtis 



Diary of a Wimpy Kid

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

By Jeff Kinney 



The Hobbit

Description: Brilliantly written, inventive pre-LOTR tale.

By J.R.R. Tolkien 



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

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

By Rick Riordan 



Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

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

By Judy Blume 



A Wrinkle in Time

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

By Madeleine L'Engle 



Ages 10-12+

Esperanza Rising

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

By Pam Munoz Ryan 



Hold Fast

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

By Blue Balliett 



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 



Inside Out and Back Again

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

By Thanhha Lai 



My Side of the Mountain

Description: Gripping, inspiring wilderness-survival adventure.

By Jean Craighead George 



Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party

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

By Ying Chang Compestine 



Walk Two Moons

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

By Sharon Creech 



Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

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

By Anne Frank 




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

By R.J. Palacio 



Ender's Game

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

By Orson Scott Card 



The Fellowship of the Ring

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

By J.R.R. Tolkien 



The Hunger Games, Book 1

Description: Exciting, provocative tale of lethal reality show.

By Suzanne Collins 



Legend, Book 1

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

By Marie Lu 



March: Book One

Description: Powerful graphic novel captures spirit of desegregation.

By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell 



The Outsiders

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

By S. E. Hinton 



To Kill a Mockingbird

Description: Stunning classic examines racism -- and justice.

By Harper Lee 



 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!