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50 Chapter books every girl should read by age 15

Mary Fetzer is a freelance writer and marketing consultant with a marketing degree from Penn State University and 15 years of international business experience. Mary specializes in writing about parenting, children, pregnancy, college, h...

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Classic books for voracious readers

#1/52:

Classic books for voracious readers

Think back to your own childhood... What books had the biggest impact on you? Did you laugh and cry with Little Women? Come of age with Sheila the Great? Enter a world of mystery with Nancy Drew

The books your daughter reads as a child will stay with her forever. She'll fall in love with literary heroes and become best friends with memorable heroines. 

The 50 books featured in our list of classic and modern-day reads will introduce your young reader to an abundance of humor, love, drama and history. Have you read them all?

#3/52:

Caddie Woodlawn

#3/52:

Caddie Woodlawn

Since 1935, the story of Caddie Woodlawn has been captivating young readers. Caddie is a young prankster who doesn't act very ladylike. She spends her days on the Wisconsin frontier rafting on the lake, visiting Indian camps and getting into all sorts of scrapes with her brothers. By Carol Ryrie Brink for ages 8-10. (Walmart, $7)

#4/52:

Charlotte's Web

#4/52:

Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web is a tale of talking animals, a kind spider and a little girl's unconditional love, making this a necessary read for every child. By E.B. White for ages 8-10. (Walmart, $5)

#5/52:

The Penderwicks

#5/52:

The Penderwicks

The Penderwicks are sisters who are privileged to stay at the beautiful Adrundel Estate for the summer. But they find they're not so well received, and trouble soon abounds. Ages 8 and up. (Barnes and Noble, $8)

#6/52:

Little Women

#6/52:

Little Women

Marmee's Little Women are the March sisters: beautiful Meg, wild Jo, gentle Beth and artistic Amy. Louisa May Alcott's semi-autobiographical story follows the New England family during the Civil War. By Louisa May Alcott for ages 10-17. (Biblio, $4)

#7/52:

The Secret Garden

#7/52:

The Secret Garden

Mary Lennox is a rude little girl who spends more time with her servants than with her parents. When she loses them to all to cholera, she is sent to live with her uncle. There she discovers The Secret Garden and all of the secrets it holds. By Frances Hodgson Burnett for ages 6-10. (Amazon, $6)

#8/52:

The Wednesday Witch

#8/52:

The Wednesday Witch

The Wednesday Witch is the wonderful story of a girl named Mary Jane, a witch named Hilda, a cat named Cinders and a special perfume called "Mischief." By Ruth Chew for ages 8-12. (ThriftBooks, $5)

#9/52:

The BFG

#9/52:

The BFG

The BFG is a Big Friendly Giant who doesn't seem all that friendly… at first. He kidnaps a young orphan named Sophie and takes her from London to his own land. The BFG means no harm — every kid who reads this book will wish she had a giant of her own. By Roald Dahl for ages 7 and up. (ThriftBooks, $4)

#10/52:

Sarah, Plain and Tall

#10/52:

Sarah, Plain and Tall

After Jacob Whitting's wife dies during childbirth, he is left with the overwhelming task of caring for his family and farm. Needing help, Jacob advertises for a bride. Sarah, Plain and Tall, responds. By Patricia MacLachlan for ages 8-10 (Barnes and Noble, $2)

#11/52:

Judy Moody

#11/52:

Judy Moody

Judy Moody is in no mood for the third grade. But, somehow, she and her friend Rocky figure out a way to make it through. By Megan McDonald for ages 6-9. (Scholastic Store, $5)

#12/52:

The Secret of the Old Clock

#12/52:

The Secret of the Old Clock

The Secret of the Old Clock is the first Nancy Drew mystery. Nancy is just 16 years old, but she is a super-sleuth who comes to the aid of a family who desperately needs help locating a will. By Carolyn Keene for ages 10 and up. ($6, Jet.com)

#13/52:

Mary Poppins

#13/52:

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins is the coolest nanny ever. She flies in on the east wind and instantly changes the lives of Jane and Michael Banks. (BookDepository, $26)

#14/52:

Out of the Dust

#14/52:

Out of the Dust

It's 1934, and 14-year-old Billie Jo wants out of Oklahoma and Out of the Dust. When tragedy strikes her loving family, she must pick up the pieces of her life. (Amazon, $5)

#15/52:

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

#15/52:

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Inspired by the wonderful tales her father tells, young Minli sets off from the valley of the Fruitless Mountain to find the Old Man on the Moon. Where the Mountains Meet the Moon is by Grace Lin for ages 7 and up. (Barnes and Noble, $10)

#16/52:

A Wrinkle in Time

#16/52:

A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time tells the story of awkward high schooler Meg Murry's adventure through space and time with her brother Charles and friend Calvin. The trio must overcome major challenges and face evil forces to rescue their scientist father, who's being held prisoner on another planet. By Madeleine L'Engle for ages 9-12. (Jet, $6)

#17/52:

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

#17/52:

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

When Claudia Kincaid and her brother Jamie run away from home, they find themselves living in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There, they meet the woman who sold a priceless statue to the museum. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is the mystery that surrounds the statue (and its seller). By E.L. Konigsburg for ages 8-12 (Jet, $6)

#18/52:

Anne of Green Gables

#18/52:

Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables is Anne Shirley, an orphan who is sent to work on the farm of Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. The Cuthberts wanted a boy, but find that Anne is smart, strong and energetic. The story follows Anne through her hardships to her ultimate success. By L.M. Montgomery for ages 9-11. (Amazon, $4)

#19/52:

Because of Winn-Dixie

#19/52:

Because of Winn-Dixie

Because of Winn-Dixie follows India Opal Buloni's life in a Florida trailer park, where she lives with her father, a preacher. While exploring the Winn-Dixie supermarket, India meets a scruffy dog, claims it as her own, and names it Winn-Dixie. By Kate DiCamillo for ages 8 and up. (Walmart, $4)

#20/52:

Alice in Wonderland

#20/52:

Alice in Wonderland

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland include a white rabbit, a great hallway filled with doors, funny talking creatures and a terrifying Queen of Hearts. By Lewis Carroll for ages 7 and up. (ThriftBooks, $3)

#21/52:

Island of the Blue Dolphins

#21/52:

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Island of the Blue Dolphins is based on a true story from the 1800s. When young Karana's village is attacked by the Aleuts, her father and many others are killed. Her tribe sets out for a new land, but Karana stays behind and survives — completely on her own — for 18 years. By Scott O'Dell for ages 11 and up. (Barnes and Noble, $8)

#22/52:

The Golden Compass

#22/52:

The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass is the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. In a parallel universe, Lyra sets off with her daemon — the external form of her soul—to find her missing father. By Phillip Pullman for ages 12 and up. (Amazon, $6)

#23/52:

Number the Stars

#23/52:

Number the Stars

Number the Stars takes place when WWII's German troops begin relocating Denmark's Jews. The Johansen family takes in their 10-year-old daughter's best friend and conceals her by pretending she is part of their family. Written by The Giver author Lois Lowry for ages 9-11. (Scholastic Store, $7)

#24/52:

Harriet the Spy

#24/52:

Harriet the Spy

Harriet the Spy is an expert little eavesdropper. She walks her daily spy route and writes down everything she sees and hears about people in a notebook. It's all good until her classmates discover the notebook — along with every nasty thing she's ever written about them. By Louise Fitzhugh for ages 9 and up. (Barnes and Noble, $8)

#25/52:

Coraline

#25/52:

Coraline

Coraline isn't very excited when her family moves into a new flat, until she discovers a locked door in the drawing room. When she's finally able to get into the forbidden room, she finds herself in a parallel universe — except for her terrifying "Other Mother." To return to the real world, with her real parents, Coraline will need the help of a mysterious cat. By Neil Gaiman for ages 5-9. ($10, Barnes and Noble)

#26/52:

Julie of the Wolves

#26/52:

Julie of the Wolves

Julie of the Wolves is the story of Miyax, a 13-year-old Alaskan Native girl. Bound to marry a man she detests, Miyax runs away to find her father, who went missing on a hunting trip. When she becomes lost in the wilderness, Miyax's survival is dependent on a pack of wolves. By Jean Craighead George for ages 11 and up. (Target, $7)

#27/52:

Matilda

#27/52:

Matilda

Matilda is sweet and bright — her family is not. As she struggles to deal with grumpy parents, a bratty brother and an unfair principal, Matilda will seek help from a kind teacher and some interesting special powers. By Roald Dahl for ages 8-10. (Walmart, $14)

#28/52:

Little House on the Prairie

#28/52:

Little House on the Prairie

Author Laura Ingalls Wilder shares the story of the Little House on the Prairie she shared with Pa, Ma, Mary, Carrie and Jack. Ages 8-12. (Jet, $11)

#29/52:

Inkheart

#29/52:

Inkheart

The first in a series by Cornelia Funke, Inkheart introduces the reader to Meggie and her father, a bookbinder who can read characters right out of a book. When he unwittingly releases an evil ruler, Capricorn, out of the bounds of fiction, the tyrant lands right in Meggie's own living room! Ages 9-12. ($10, Store.Scholastic.com)

#30/52:

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

#30/52:

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Orphan Kit Tyler hates her colony in Connecticut and desperately misses her sunny home in the Caribbean. She feels suffocated by her strict relatives, but finds a sense of freedom in the meadows, where she befriends The Witch of Blackbird Pond. But terrible things happen when their friendship is discovered… By Elizabeth George Speare for ages 9-12. ($6, Amazon.com)

#31/52:

The Westing Game

#31/52:

The Westing Game

Sixteen people assemble for the reading of millionaire Sam W. Westing's will and learn that they must compete to find out who murdered their benefactor. The winner of the contest, The Westing Game, will inherit $200 million and the Westing Paper Products company. By Ellen Raskin for ages 8 and up. ($6, Jet.com)

#32/52:

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

#32/52:

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume is a classic coming-of-age story. Tweens will relate to Margaret's curiosity and her confusing sense of self. Ages 11 and up. (Amazon, $7)

#33/52:

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

#33/52:

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Cassie and her large family live in Mississippi. Victims of the Great Depression, the family struggles to keep their farm. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry was inspired by author Mildred D. Taylor's own father and grandfather. Ages 8 and up. (Scholastic Store, $6)

#34/52:

When You Reach Me

#34/52:

When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me follows the relationship of Miranda and Sal. The best friends love living in and exploring New York City. When their friendship starts to go downhill, Miranda receives a mysterious letter with a very strange request. By Rebecca Stead for ages 8 and up. (Jet, $14)

#35/52:

The Book Thief

#35/52:

The Book Thief

The Book Thief is Liesel Meminger, a foster child living Germany during World War II. Surrounded by hate, she finds comfort in books. By Markus Zusak for ages 13 and up. (Biblio, $13)

#36/52:

Heidi

#36/52:

Heidi

An orphan named Heidi is sent to live with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps, where she transforms the lives of Peter, his grandmother and the sickly Klara. By Johanna Spyri for ages 10-12. (Barnes and Noble, $13)

#37/52:

Ramona the Pest

#37/52:

Ramona the Pest

Ramona the Pest can hardly wait to start kindergarten, but it turns out to be quite different than what she had expected. Hilariously written by Beverly Cleary for ages 7 and up. (Amazon, $7)

#38/52:

Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great

#38/52:

Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great

Sheila Tubman, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, is actually a coward who suffers a lot of phobias. When her family decides to spend the summer in Tarrytown, New York, Sheila finds herself faced with fears she didn't even know she had. By Judy Blume for ages 7 and up. (Walmart, $6)

#39/52:

Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus

#39/52:

Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus

Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus is the first in a series of 31 hilarious books for first- and second-grade readers. In book one, the "almost" 6-year-old starts kindergarten and narrates the experience as only spunky Junie B. can. By Barbara Park for ages 6-8. (Scholastic Store, $12)

#40/52:

The Secret of the Mansion

#40/52:

The Secret of the Mansion

First published in 1948, Trixie Belden and the Secret of the Mansionis the first in the Trixie Belden series of mysteries. When 13-year-old Trixie's friend moves into Manor House, they discover another friend, Jim, living inside. Together, they work to locate the fortune hidden in the mansion before Jim's evil stepfather finds it. (Biblio, $25)

 

#41/52:

Smile

#41/52:

Smile

When Raina trips and falls after a Girl Scouts meeting, she suffers major damage to her two front teeth. The sixth grader must undergo a long journey of embarrassing treatments, including braces, headgear and a retainer with fake teeth. And these are the least of her worries! The last thing Raina wants to do these days is Smile. By Raina Telgemeier for ages 8-12. (Barnes and Noble, $7)

#42/52:

The Doll People

#42/52:

The Doll People

In The Doll People, 8-year-old Annabelle Doll becomes fitful. She has been the same age and living in the same dollhouse for over 100 years. Ah, but how things change when the Funcrafts move in! (Jet, $6)

#43/52:

Dork Diaries 1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life

#43/52:

Dork Diaries 1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life

In Dork Diaries 1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life, our narrator shares all the deets about her new school, a new mean girl and a new crush. The diary entries feature fun sketches and doodles, too. Book 1 will set you up for the 11 books that follow. By Rachel Renée Russell for ages 9-12. (IndieBound, $14)

#44/52:

Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist

#44/52:

Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist

Franny K. Stein is an outcast. Her classmates don't know what to make of this girl who's always acting strangely and conducting experiments. Readers will laugh every time Franny finds herself in yet another impossible situation. The Complete Franny K. Stein includes Mad Scientist: Lunch Walks Among Us, Attack of the 50-Ft. Cupid, The Invisible Fran, The Fran That Time Forgot, Frantastic Voyage, The Fran with Four Brains and The Frandidate. By Jim Benton for ages 7-10. (Target, $25 for a set of 7)

 

#45/52:

Nancy Clancy: Super Sleuth

#45/52:

Nancy Clancy: Super Sleuth

Jane O'Connor's charming little Fancy Nancy has grown up a bit. Now known as Nancy Clancy, she's a super sleuth who takes her love of fashion into the world of mysteries. For ages 7 and up. (Amazon, $5)

#46/52:

Whatever After #1: Fairest of All

#46/52:

Whatever After #1: Fairest of All

When kids get sucked into a magic "mirror on the wall," they find themselves inside Snow White's fairy tale. The travelers meant well when they stopped Snow White from eating that poisoned apple, but now how will she ever meet her prince and live happily ever after? Whatever After #1: Fairest of All was written by Sarah Mlynowski for ages 8-12. (Amazon, $6)

#47/52:

Magic Tree House #1: Dinosaurs Before Dark

#47/52:

Magic Tree House #1: Dinosaurs Before Dark

Mary Pope Osborne has penned 51 Magic Tree House books, along with 28 Fact Trackers (the nonfiction complements to the fiction titles). Dinosaurs Before Dark was Osborne's very first, and it's a great way to introduce young readers to the exciting series that explores real events in history. Ages 6-8. (Walmart, $3)

#48/52:

Tuck Everlasting

#48/52:

Tuck Everlasting

Ten-year-old Winnie Foster is kidnapped, helps a murderer out of jail and is offered the ultimate gift: the fountain of youth. Will she accept this gift and all of the complications that accompany it? Tuck Everlasting was written by Natalie Babbitt for ages 9-12. (ThriftBooks, $4)

#49/52:

Culloo

#49/52:

Culloo

In Culloo, Tala's father is missing again, and the welfare officer is knocking at the door. The 13-year-old girl has just hours to find her father before she and her brother are placed in a foster home. Her search takes her to secluded woods where she has to get to her father before angry bear poachers beat her to it. Can the frog-like people and giant blackbird help? By Murielle Cyr for ages 8 and up. (Amazon, $2)

#50/52:

Ella Enchanted

#50/52:

Ella Enchanted

Ella just wants to be herself. Unfortunately, when she was born, a foolish fairy gave her the "gift" of obedience, and she must obey even the most ridiculous commands. The strong-willed girl sets off on a mission to break the silly curse — once and for all. Ella Enchanted was written by Gail Carson Levine for ages 7 and up. (Amazon, $3)

#51/52:

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic

#51/52:

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic

The loveable Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle knows kids. When parents send their kids to her upside-down house, she uses magic and humor to rid the children of all of their bad habits. She's the ultimate babysitter, and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic is the ultimate story for kids ages 8-12. (Target, $6)

#52/52:

Must-read books for girls

Design via Karen Cox/SheKnows; Image via Paul Bradbury/Getty Images
#52/52:

Must-read books for girls

From Caddie Woodlawn to Pippi Longstocking, all the books a little girl needs to read. 

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