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12 Books Every Kid Should Read Before They’re 12

Here’s a list of 12 books every kid should read before they’re 12. These books are not only helpful but important for today’s kids.


1. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

Paddington has charmed readers for generations with his earnest good intentions and humorous misadventures. Paddington had traveled all the way from Peru when the Browns first met him in Paddington Station. Since then, their lives have never been quite the same…for ordinary things become extraordinary when a bear called Paddington is involved.

2. The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Climb aboard the raft with Huck and Jim and drift away from the “civilized” life and into a world of adventure, excitement, danger, and self-discovery. Huck’s shrewd and humorous narrative is complemented by lyrical descriptions of the Mississippi valley and a sparkling cast of memorable characters.

3. A Kids Book About Failure by Dr. Laymon Hicks

It’s not only likely that kids will experience failure at some time in their life, but it’s a 100% certainty. Grownups, it’s up to you to teach them how to embrace it. This book doesn’t paint a pretty face on failure. It rethinks what it means and how to help kids live their lives not trying to avoid it. Kids will learn how to embrace failure as a way to learn.

4. The BFG by Roald Dahl

This is a warmhearted tall tale that artfully whisks readers away on a magical journey. The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. When Sophie hears that the giants are flush-bunking off to England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!

5. A Kids Book About Anxiety by Ross Szabo

This is a book about anxiety. Having anxiety doesn’t just mean you feel nervous sometimes or need to calm down. It means having an uncontrollable feeling that gets in the way of what you normally do. This book explores what anxiety is like and what life can look like when you’re able to manage to live with anxiety. This book is an honest exploration of the symptoms of anxiety and what learning to manage it can look like.

6. No Matter What: A Foster Care Tale by Josh Shipp

Admittedly, this is my book. It’s a mostly autobiographical tale about my journey growing up in foster care. Josh was a squirrel without a squirrel family, so other families tried to take him in. He did everything he could to scare those families away first, but the elephants weren’t like other families. The elephants were very large and very patient, and they wanted Josh to be part of their no matter what.

7. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie—step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change…and a great sacrifice.

8. A Kids Book About Change by David Kim

Change is impossible to avoid because it happens ALL the time! In this book, the author speaks on how to cope with and embrace life’s changes by recounting personal stories and asking kids pointed questions. Empathetic and encouraging, this book emphasizes talking through life’s many changes with the people you care about and trust.

9. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

A rousing tale of treachery, greed, and daring, Treasure Island continues to enthrall readers of all ages. From young Jim Hawkins’s first encounter with the sinister beggar Pew to the climactic battle with the most memorable villain in literature, Long John Silver, this novel has fired readers’ imaginations for generations.

10. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

The book focuses on the adventures of a teddy bear called Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends Piglet, a small toy pig; Eeyore, a toy donkey; Owl, a live owl; and Rabbit, a live rabbit. The characters of Kanga, a toy kangaroo, and her son Roo are introduced later in the book, in the chapter entitled “In Which Kanga and Baby Roo Come to the Forest and Piglet has a Bath”.

11. A Kids Book About Money by Adam Stramwasser

Money is one of those things that EVERYONE has to deal with in their life, but not many of us learned much about it. There may be no topic more important for grownups to teach kids about than money. This book is a perfect way to introduce the topic to kids. It covers what money is, how to earn it, and how to use it wisely.

12. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

When Max dresses in his wolf suit and causes havoc in the house, his mother sends him to bed. From there, Max sets sail to an island inhabited by the Wild Things, who name him king and share a wild rumpus with him. But then from far away across the world, Max smells good things to eat..


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