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

 (Andrew Bannecker)
(Andrew Bannecker)

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.

And our final Backseat Book Club list 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.

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!

American Stories

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Caddie Woodlawn

The House on Mango Street

The Birchbark House

To Kill a Mockingbird

A Long Way from Chicago Series

Esperanza Rising

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

The Witch Of Blackbird Pond

Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry

All-Of-A-Kind Family Series

Little House Series

Animal Kingdom

Watership Down

The One and Only Ivan

Mr. Popper's Penguins


Because of Winn-Dixie

Misty of Chincoteague


The Redwall series

The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Where the Red Fern Grows

The Cricket in Times Square

Charlotte's Web

Biography, Memoir And History

The Lincolns

Anne Frank the Diary of a Young Girl

Eleanor Roosevelt


Everyday Magic

Tuck Everlasting

James and the Giant Peach

Half Magic

The Graveyard Book

The Borrowers

Harry Potter series

A Series of Unfortunate Events books

Mary Poppins

Family Life

Little Women

Ramona series

Walk Two Moons

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963

Catherine, Called Birdy

Danny the Champion of the World

The Saturdays

Sarah, Plain and Tall

Anne of Green Gables series

One Crazy Summer

Fantasy Worlds

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

Friendships And Finding Your Place

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda series

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

The Secret Garden

The Hundred Dresses

Harriet the Spy


Bridge to Terabithia


Okay for Now

Maniac Magee

Good For A Laugh

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing


The Phantom Tollbooth

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

Graphic Novels

The Bone Series

The Arrival

American Born Chinese

Mysteries And Thrillers

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

Myths And Fairy Tales

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

Science Fiction

Ender's Game

The House of the Scorpion

A Wrinkle in Time series

Survival And Adventure

My Side of the Mountain

Julie of the Wolves

Number the Stars

Island of the Blue Dolphins


The Twenty-one Balloons

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