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13 Books Kids Should Read Before Turning 13

With so many books to choose from, it can be tough to find the best of the best. Here are 13 books we think every kid should read before age 13.
Cover image for Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web
by E. B. White Illustrated by Garth Williams

American prose stylist E.B. White presents one of the best-loved stories of all time. And a heartwarming portrait of one of the best-loved pigs of all time.

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Cover image for Matilda
by Roald Dahl Illustrated by Quentin Blake

"The Trunchbull" is no match for Matilda!

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Cover image for Holes
by Louis Sachar

This winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award features Stanley Yelnats, a kid who is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats.

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Cover image for Wonder
by R. J. Palacio

August Pullman is not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. Sure, he's a huge Star Wars fan, he loves his dog, and he's got a pretty good sense of humor. But August was born with a craniofacial abnormality, a genetic defect that caused his facial features to be severely deformed. His life has never been "normal."

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Cover image for Number the Stars
Number the Stars
by Lois Lowry

As German troops begin their campaign to "relocate" all the Jews of Denmark, 10-year-old Annemarie Johansen's family takes in Annemarie's best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her by pretending she's part of the family.

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Cover image for Maniac Magee
Maniac Magee
by Jerry Spinelli

He wasn't born with the name Maniac Magee. He came into this world named Jeffrey Lionel Magee, but when his parents died and his life changed, so did his name. And Maniac Magee became a legend.

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Cover image for Westing Game, The
Westing Game, The
by Ellen Raskin

When sixteen people are called together for the reading of wealthy Sam Westing's will, they are surprised to learn that the will is actually a contest in which they are all to participate.

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Cover image for Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Series: Fudge
by Judy Blume

Life with his little brother, two-year-old Fudge, makes Peter Hatcher feel like a fourth grade nothing. Fudge is actually a tiny terror in disguise, causing mischief everywhere he goes.

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Cover image for Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Series: Ramona Quimby
by Beverly Cleary Illustrated by Alan Tiegreen
With Mr. Quimby going to college and Mrs. Quimby going to work, it's a good thing Ramona is big enough to ride the bus to her new school all by herself. Unfortunately, after school she has to stay with Grandmother Kemp until her moody big sister Beezus comes to pick her up.
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Cover image for A Bear Called Paddington
A Bear Called Paddington
Series: Paddington Bear
by Michael Bond Illustrated by Peggy Fortnum

Paddington, the most endearing bear from Darkest Peru, first charmed American audiences forty years ago. Now a new generation will surely be won over by Paddington's particular brand of preposterous humor and gentle satire.

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Cover image for Tuck Everlasting
Tuck Everlasting
by Natalie Babbitt

Time drags by for Winnie Foster, an eleven-year-old girl who lives in a house bordering the woods owned by her family. Winnie spends her summer days under the watchful eye of her grandmother.

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Cover image for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Series: Chronicles of Narnia, Book #2
by C. S. Lewis Illustrated by Pauline Baynes

Air-raids over London during WWII compel four siblings — Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy — to be sent away from the city to the house of a kindly but remote Professor "who lived in the heart of the country." There is much to discover in the country: woods, mountains, owls, eagles, maybe even hawks and snakes.

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