This list of Best Children’s Novels from the School Library Journal was selected in 2010. There are classics from 100 years ago as well as contemporary favorites. The list is chock full of Newbery Award-winning favorites that have stood the test of time. Some of these selections are also available FREE through the Borders Summer Reading Program. Enjoy!
Top 100 Best Books for Kids
#1 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
#2 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
#3 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
#4 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
#5 From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
#6 Holes by Louis Sachar
#7 The Giver by Lois Lowry
#8 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
#9 Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
#10 The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
#11 The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
#12 The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
#13 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
#14 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
#15 Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
#16 Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
#17 Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
#18 Matilda by Roald Dahl
#19 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
#20 Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
#21 Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
#22 The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo
#23 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
#24 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
#25 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
#26 Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
#27 A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett
#28 Winnie-the Pooh by A.A. Milne
#29 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland /Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
#30 The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
#31 Half Magic by Edward Eager
#32 Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
#33 James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
#34 Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
#35 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire JK Rowling
#36 Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
#37 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
#38 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
#39 When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
#40 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
#41 The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
#42 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
#43 Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
#44 Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
#45 The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
#46 Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
#47 Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
#48 The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
#49 Frindle by Andrew Clements
#50 Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
#51 The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright
#52 The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
#53 Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
#54 The BFG by Roald Dahl
#55 The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
#56 Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
#57 Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
#58 The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
#59 Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
#60 The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
#61 Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
#62 The Secret of the Old Clock (The Nancy Drew mysteries) by Caroline Keene
#63 Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright
#64 A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
#65 Ballet Shoes by Noah Streatfeild
#66 Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary
#67 Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville
#68 Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
#69 The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
#70 Betsy Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
#71 A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
#72 My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
#73 My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
#74 The Borrowers by Mary Norton
#75 Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
#76 Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
#77 City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
#78 Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
#79 All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
#81 Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
#82 The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
#83 The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
#84 Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
#85 On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
#86 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
#87 The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg
#88 The High King by Lloyd Alexander
#89 Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary
#90 Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
#91 Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
#92 Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
#93 Caddie Woodlawn by C. R. Brink
#94 Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
#95 Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
#96 The Witches by Roald Dahl
#97: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
#98 Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston
#99 The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
#100 The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Best Middle School Summer Reading Lists
Please click on any title heading to see the complete post which includes book reviews. You can also click on any book to purchase at Amazon. I compiled all the book lists I have made for Middle School.
I hope these middle school summer reading lists help you find some great books to keep your child reading happily this summer and all year long.
My oldest (12-year-old girl) loved Hunger Games so much that she read the series 5 times. She liked Twilight also but was less devoted. When she ran out of “good books to read,” I thought it would be easy to find a similar series for her.
Alas, no. It turns out that she has very specific requirements. The vampires have to be in a MODERN SETTING was a big one. C. C. Hunter’s Born at Midnight series fits the bill perfectly and it skews a tad younger than Twilight.
Born at Midnight series by C. C. Hunter is the winner!
Picks from Our Middle School Librarian (by Genre)
Our middle school librarian created a wonderful book list by genre including Adventure/Mystery, Realistic Fiction, Humorous, Historical Fiction, Graphic Novels, Fantasy, Horror/ Supernatural, Science Fiction, Biographies & Non-Fiction, and Poetry.
This great list is from the Newton Free Library system. It has great detailed book reviews if you click on the title. I found many of our favorite new books there that are middle school approved by my daughter and her friends.
When wandering the halls of my daughter’s middle school at Parent Visiting Day, I spotted two bulletin boards with a first-day assignment each new 6th grader did in which they listed their favorite book or books. I wrote them all down in my iPhone and posted them here. It’s from the horse’s mouth!
I have become a great fan of graphic novels and these are some new favorites of ours. I could use more ideas. What graphic novels do you like?
The Fourth Musketeer is a bloggy friend of mine who is a librarian with a great blog focusing on Historical Fiction for kids and teens. I asked her to guest post for me on her favorite books of the year — she only posts on newly published books — and this is her list.
This post got tons of traffic and complimentary comments. My oldest, then in 5th grade, blogs on her favorite chapter books of the year.
There seems to be a real scarcity of great Young Adult books for boys which is a real shame because research shows that reading drops off for boys starting in 7th grade! Try these books if you are noticing your son is reading less.
My mother’s helper said that there was a Go To boy at her summer camp who read EVERYTHING and anyone who wanted a great book recommendation went to him. He posted this list in her summer camp newsletter and I copied it.
One strategy to get kids — tweens and teens included — reading more is to match books with things they are interested in. These were the sports chapter books that stood out. What are your favorites and I’ll add to the list. Not every sport is covered so please give your suggestions!
The Final Four is perfect for March Madness and skews young such that it’s fine for middle school.
I would hand this chapter book to any kid who worries about making the cut.
Mudville is a new classic to me. And anything about Fenway Park is popular here in Boston!
If children, teens, and tweens could pick their own books to confer an award, it would be these books because KIDS are actually the judges and vote for their favorites. I’d start with this list for summer reading fun!
I’m always on the lookout for new series and these two remind me of two other favorites with both interesting character development and fast-paced adventure.
A bloggy friend who is also a teacher requested this list and it took me several iterations to get it right, at least in terms of my kids approving. In finding books for 12-15-year-olds who read two to three grades below, I thought about the book is interesting for that age group but also fun and easy to read.
Text broken up by graphics, shorter pages, and larger font were all carefully considered. And of course, the book has to grab the reader by the first chapter.
Worst Case Scenario Adventure Books: You Decide How the Book Ends
Choose Your Ending … or rather choose how the book goes down. Using a short reference chapter at the end of the book, the reader gets to decide at each decision point what to do when faced with danger. It’s a fun and exciting format that is particularly great for boys who want to learn as they read.
Recommendations from peers is another great way to “sell” a book to a kid. Josh in 6th grade shares two posts of his favorite books and he has great taste!
Our 5th graders are challenged to read the entire list.
Her life reads like an action adventure book but it’s all the more fascinating because she is a real person! And she actually makes Amelia Earhart look like a girly-girl wimp.
Books4YourKids knows her stuff as an indy bookstore owner. She reviews a pile of newly published books and presents her favorites here.
Top 100 Best Young Adult Books by Persnickety Snark’s Poll
This is from a few years ago, but it’s another way to see what other people like. After months of polling about YA books, these are the books in the order of how many votes they received. A fun list to check out to see if you agree or not.
Some ideas for middle school readers who may be good at reading but just don’t like to read.
If kids need to read about someone like them, try these multicultural books.
My 12-year-old posted on her favorite chapter book action-adventure series and it’s a very popular post for me.
To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on the image of the book.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.