22 Best Books for 2 to 12 Year Old Kids

Reading books with children and getting them into the habit of reading is one of the best gifts a parent can give to their child(ren). Reading books stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world. It develops myriad skills and has innumerable benefits. From building their vocabulary and making them independent and confident to enhanced imagination and improved writing skills, with these benefits just being the tip of the iceberg. But even after children learn to read by themselves, it’s still important for you to read aloud together. By reading stories that are on their interest level, but beyond their reading level, you can stretch young readers’ understanding and motivate them to improve their skills. With that being said, check out this list of 22 books for kids aged two to twelve years old and let us know in the comment box below which one you loved the most or if you want us to add more to the list!

1. GIRAFFES CAN’T DANCE BY GILES ANDREAE 

Age: 2 and above

A funny yet touching picture book about Gerald the giraffe who takes a while but finds his own confidence. This book is a must-try for all parents!

It’s a story about Gerald who cannot waltz, tango, hip-hop or cha-cha like other animals on the Jungle dance day. All the others make fun of him because he cannot dance which results in him being sad and useless. This leads him to leave the dance and goes towards a clearing in the jungle where he can see the moon clearly. A cricket sees him and talks to him, making him realise that he can dance but he just needs to find his own song! When he finds his song he realises that he knows how to dance but he is a bit different and not useless.

A simple story with a great moral. It’s important to find one’s comfort zone! It might take a while but that doesn’t mean that one will give up.

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2. THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR BY ERIC CARLE

Age: 2 and above

The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been captivating toddlers for over four decades now and it doesn’t seem to stop!  It’s never too early to teach your kids the importance of healthy eating. In this book, we meet the caterpillar while he’s still in an egg. He hatches from the egg feeling very hungry and looks for something to eat. All week he eats fruits but on Saturday, he eats unhealthy foods and gets a stomach ache. On Sunday, the caterpillar eats some leaves, feels better and is now set to become a cocoon. The story ends as the caterpillar emerges as a beautiful butterfly.

This book not only teaches kids that eating healthy is necessary but it’s also teaching kids to nurture their dreams. Life keeps changing but it’s on us how we perceive and adapt according to those changes.

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3. THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE BY EMILY WINFIELD MARTIN 

Age: 3 and above

This one’s a heart-warming story from the point of view of a parent who wonders about all the wonderful things her daughter could be. It uses simple rhymes and illustrations of superheroes, animals and plants, to explore everything a child can do. This picture book is written in the form of a poem and talks about the countless possibilities that a child’s future holds and a reminder that their parents will always love them – no matter which direction they choose. It emphasizes on the fact that their inner qualities matter the most and they are worthy of love.

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4. LLAMA LLAMA RED PAJAMA BY ANNA DEWDNEY

Age: 3 and above

Llama Llama Red Pajama is a real charmer that will get the kids laughing for sure! This book tells us that being alone can be scary and if you cry loud enough, parents will come and give kids the attention.

What’s to emphasize is the number of times the word mama has been used in the book. The more number of times your child reads the word or hears the word, the more it will help your child remember the word and register. It’s a book that talks about a child’s psychology but in a subtle way.

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5. THE VELVETEEN RABBIT BY MARGERY WILLIAMS

Age: 4 and above

The Velveteen Rabbit is a metaphor for our flaws and our imperfections. When these flaws and imperfections are accepted we become more real and vulnerable. It tries to teach the reader that we become more real through vulnerabilities and connections.

The Velveteen Rabbit has stood the test of time and been read by readers for almost 8 decades now!

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6. OSWALD BY DAN YACCARINO

Age: 4 and above

Oswald needs no introduction at all! It’s one of the most beloved cartoons for every 90’s kid who watched it when they were kids and since then has been loved by every kid out there!

When Oswald and his dog, Weenie, go to Henry’s for a sleepover, they find that Henry does everything differently, and while Oswald thinks that the change might be fun, Weenie needs to be reassured.

After the kids have read the book, they can watch the episode on YouTube too! We bet you they’d want to read all the books available and all the episodes!

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7. LOST AND FOUND BY OLIVER JEFFERS

Age: 5 and above

There once was a boy… and one day a penguin arrives on his doorstep. The boy decides the penguin must be lost and tries to return him. But no one seems to be missing a penguin. So the boy decides to take the penguin home himself, and they set out in his rowboat on a journey to the South Pole.

But when they get there, the boy discovers that maybe home wasn’t what the penguin was looking for after all…

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8. NOTES FOR HEALTHY KIDS BY RUJUTA DIWAKAR

Age: 5 and above

This one’s for parents and children alike! Parents, if you think that you’re wasting money, think again!

This book tries it’s best to empower children to make the right food choices for themselves! The book combines foods that have stood the test of time and the wisdom of our grandmothers and advises the reader about all the aspects of a child’s life!

A must-read!

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9. THE BFG BY ROALD DAHL

Age: 6 and above

It’s a story about a big friendly giant who has lived around other giants all his life. But unlike the other giants, he’s against eating human beings, lives on snozzcumbers and frobscottles and spends his time catching dreams and blowing those dreams into children’s bedrooms with his trumpet. When he befriends Sophie, they take the help of the queen and punishes all the heartless giants and as a punishment make them live in an unknown area. This book teaches children all about teamwork.

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10. THE GIVING TREE BY SHEL SILVERSTEIN

Age: 6-year-olds

The story is about the kindness of a tree that keeps giving and giving to a boy and never expecting anything in return or asking for her due and most importantly never reminding the boy all that she has sacrificed. A classic example of altruism!

One of the best books on the list which every parent should read aloud to their children!

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11. MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN BY JEAN CRAIGHEAD GEORGE

Age: 7 and up

Terribly unhappy in his family’s crowded New York City apartment, Sam Gribley runs away to the solitude-and danger-of the mountains, where he finds a side of himself he never knew.

When a boy who is terribly unhappy in his family’s crowded New York Apartment, he runs away to the solitude and danger of mountains where he surprisingly finds a side of himself he never knew! It’s important to introduce such books and tell children such stories! It teaches children to be daring enough and take risks which in the end will help them find themselves. An inspiring book indeed!

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12. THE CHICKEN SQUAD BY DOREEN CRONIN

Age: 7 and up

They’re not the typical barn puffs pecking the feed and chasing bugs like you usually see! This daring squad is all about solving mysteries and fighting crime! It’s a fun read for the kids!

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13. BLACK BEAUTY BY MEG ROSOFF

Age: 8 and up

A story about a handsome black colt who in his initial years is free to gallop in the fresh meadows with his mother and master. Things take a drastic turn when his master is forced to sell him and his life goes from one full of comfort to one of hard labour and cruelty. But his undying spirit and will is what’s keeping him going.

This book should be an inspiration to all the kids and learn a lesson from Black Beauty that when life gets tough, mettle and positive attitude is the only thing that keeps one going!

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14. ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES BY SIR AUTHOR CONAN DOYLE

Age: 9 and up

Introduce your kids to the sharp, well-honed observatory skills detective Sherlock Holmes who solves cases only with his mind palace and Dr Watson who is absolutely impressed with his deducing skills. Indulge in a series of scintillating tales of pure factual genius.

A simplified version of the stories once introduced to the kids, they’ll get so hooked to it that they’ll want to read all the cases Sherlock takes! This is one book that has got to be the most interesting of them all and cannot be missed out on any cost!

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15. MATILDA BY ROALD DAHL

Age: 9 and up

Clever Matilda defies her rotten parents by teaching herself to read and getting herself to school. Here, her prodigious talent propels her beyond her mum, dad and nasty headmistress, supported by her teacher, Miss Honey. Matilda blossoms, but it’s not all easy. Roald Dahl’s larger-than-life novel is a triumph over bullying.

Through this book, Roald Dahl wants kids to be brave and strong-headed like Matilda. Matilda succeeds but it’s been a difficult journey for her.

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16. WISH BY BARBARA O’CONNOR

Age: 9 and up

Powerful stories like Wish are important for kids because it brings their compassionate and emotional side out! It’s a heart-warming and touching story!

Charlie, a young girl belongs to a broken family, spends all her energy wishing for one thing she wants the most. After a series of events, she realises that what she wants and what she needs are two different things and she must decide.

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17. NARNIA SERIES BY C.S. LEWIS

Age: 10 and up

Narrated in simple words so children can comprehend them without difficulty, this series teaches every reader about the triumph of good over evil! It’s a book series which also shows how children overcome their fears and should face difficulties with mettle. With talking dwarves, fauns, beavers, birds and a magnanimous lion, this is a series every kid must read!

Many of the books such as The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Traders have been created into movies so once they’ve completed these books, you can watch the films with them!

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18. PRAIRIE LOTUS BY LINDA SUE PARK

Age: 10 and up

Prairie Lotus is a poignant and powerful story of a half Asian girl who is determined to fit in but faces prejudices in a small town in the US. The author, through this book, is trying to send a message about the bigotry and hatred that people face everywhere around the world, especially if they come from a different place. The only way Hannah keeps going through everything is her mother’s lessons and tries to move on.

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19. THE LIGHTNING THIEF- PERCY JACKSON SERIES

Age: 11 and up

The Percy Jackson series is for all the suspense-thriller lovers out there. It’s like a bolt from the blue, leaving you stunned, surprised and splendidly satisfied! It’s a series about a 12-year-old boy’s quest of finding the lightning bolt and save the world from the wrath of gods. It’s an entertaining, exciting, adventurous, action-packed book for all the kids!

Buy it here!

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20. HARRY POTTER SERIES BY J.K. ROWLING

Age: 11 and up

If you’re not adding the Harry Potter series to the reading list, you need to work on that list! This is one enthralling series and they won’t dread reading those fat ones they’ll be so curious as to how it ends! In fact, it’s pretty much the other way round. They’ll be so into Goblet of Fire that they might actually finish it in 2 days if they stop eating, bathing and sleeping.

For those of you that didn’t know about this series, it’s about a boy’s journey from an ordinary childhood to a man who ends up saving the wizarding world with the help of his friends! Harry Potter series can be started at the age of 11 so that they can keep up age-wise!

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21. THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER BY MARK TWAIN

Age: 11 and up

Written by Mark Twain in 1876 but set in 1840, this one’s a story that showcases the life of a mischievous and messy boy, Tom, who lived with his aunt. He loved skipping classes for swimming and playing, which resulted him in being punished by his aunt. As punishment for this, his aunt made him paint the fence around the house. Tom being a clever boy would persuade the children in the neighbourhood to do the job. He would make the job sound exciting, and when they’d ask if they could do it, he’d take small trinkets and treasures from them in return for panting the fence. The book tells you about the unstoppable Tom and the several adventures he goes on.

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22. POSITIVELY TEENAGE: A POSITIVELY BRILLIANT GUIDE TO TEENAGE WELL-BEING BY NICOLA MORGAN

Age: 11 and up

This book is probably the most important one on the list. Positivity and optimism are two important attitudes that will help a person flourish and be in control. This book shows kids how to approach their teenage years far more positively which is the key to coping with challenges and achieving one’s potential. Positively Teenage gives you tools to approach your teenage years with optimism and provides simple strategies to develop a positive attitude, growth mindset, self-understanding, determination and resilience and not just mentally, but physically too! From looking after your diet, exercising, attitude to being healthy.

Buy the book here!

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Let us know which book did you like the most or if you want to add more to this list in the comment box below!

Also read: The Importance of Inculcating the Habit of Reading in Children from a Young Age by us

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