The Ultimate Backseat Bookshelf: 100 Must-Reads For Kids 9-14

As we enter the last stretch of summer before school starts again, we present our big annual book list — and this year, we're focusing on great reads for kids.

Back in June, NPR's Backseat Book Club — our book club for young readers — asked you, the NPR audience, to nominate your favorite books for kids age 9-14. More than 2,000 of you replied, giving us hundreds and hundreds of titles to consider. So we turned to our expert panel (read more about them — and their Newbery honors! — here), who combined audience favorites with their own choices to come up with a curated list of 100 must-reads.

The final 100 has a little bit of everything: tales of trying to fit in, escaping to magical lands, facing prejudice, coming of age and fighting to survive. There are animal stories, pioneer sagas, science-fiction adventures and, of course, beloved classics.

Soman Chainani wrote his graduate thesis on why evil women make irresistible fairy-tale villains. His first novel, The School for Good and Evil, debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List and is currently being adapted into a film by Universal Pictures.

Travis Jonker is the elementary school librarian for Wayland Union Schools in Wayland, Mich. He reviews children's books for School Library Journal and writes about all things children's literature on his blog, 100 Scope Notes.

Gussie Lewis is an independent bookseller focusing on childrens' and YA titles. She has worked for Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C., and currently serves as the chair of the Children and YA Author Recruitment Committee for the Gaithersburg Book Festival in Gaithersburg, Md.

Linda Sue Park is the author of many books for young readers, including A Single Shard, winner of the 2002 Newbery Medal, and two books in "The 39 Clues" series. Her most recent novel is the New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water.

Margi Preus writes books for young people, including the novels Shadow on the Mountain and Heart of a Samurai, a 2011 Newbery Honor book and featured by NPR's Backseat Book Club. Margi also writes plays, hikes, skis, paddles, or sits quietly with a book in her lap.

Rita Williams-Garcia is an award-winning writer of books for young readers, and is known for her realistic portrayal of teens of color. Her books include Jumped, Every Time a Rainbow Dies, and One Crazy Summer, which won the Coretta Scott King award in 2011.

Produced by Justine Kenin, Petra Mayer, Michele Norris, Beth Novey, Annalisa Quinn and Matthew Weddig

So if you're looking for a new book for the young readers in your life — or you want to relive that age yourself — please stick around and browse our bookshelf. (Here's a printable version of the list, too.) And if your favorite book is missing, please tell us about it — nicely! — in the comments. Happy reading!

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Island of the Blue Dolphins

Julie of the Wolves

My Side of the Mountain

Number the Stars

The Twenty-one Balloons

A Long Way from Chicago Series

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

All-Of-A-Kind Family Series

The Birchbark House

Caddie Woodlawn

Esperanza Rising

The House on Mango Street

Little House Series

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

The Witch Of Blackbird Pond

Misty of Chincoteague

Because of Winn-Dixie


Charlotte's Web

Mr. Popper's Penguins

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH


The Redwall series

The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh

The Cricket in Times Square

The One and Only Ivan

Watership Down

Where the Red Fern Grows

The Lincolns

Anne Frank the Diary of a Young Girl

Eleanor Roosevelt


Tuck Everlasting

James and the Giant Peach

Half Magic

The Graveyard Book

The Borrowers

Harry Potter series

Mary Poppins

A Series of Unfortunate Events books

Anne of Green Gables series

Ramona series

Walk Two Moons

Little Women

Catherine, Called Birdy

Danny the Champion of the World

Sarah, Plain and Tall

The Saturdays

The Chronicles of Prydain series

Peter Pan

Oz series

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

The City of Ember

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

The Earthsea Cycle series

Chronicles of Narnia series

The Giver

The Wee Free Men

His Dark Materials series

The Hobbit

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda series

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

The Hundred Dresses

Harriet the Spy


Bridge to Terabithia


Okay for Now

Maniac Magee

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing


The Phantom Tollbooth

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

The Bone Series

The Arrival

American Born Chinese

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

The House With a Clock in Its Walls

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

When You Reach Me

The Egypt Game

The Dark Is Rising series

D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths

The Little Prince

Ella Enchanted

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Percy Jackson and the Olympians series

The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales

The Sword in the Stone

Inside Out & Back Again

Ender's Game

The House of the Scorpion

A Wrinkle in Time series

The Secret Garden

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963

One Crazy Summer

To Kill a Mockingbird

Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry

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