52 Books Every Girl Should Read Before High School

Jan 2, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. ET
Image: Teresa Short/Getty Images

Do you have fond memories of reading as a little girl? Maybe you'd be curled up under a blanket, fighting to keep your eyes open so you could just get to the end of the chapter — no, the sentence. We definitely remember sneaking in pages after bedtime or even during class.

Think back to your own childhood and how important your favorite books — and their strong female characters — were to you. Which ones had the biggest impact? 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 will stay with her forever. She'll make friends with literary characters, learn empathy for others and discover places she's never been. 

The 52 books featured in our list of classic and modern-day reads will introduce your Little Woman to an abundance of humor, love, drama and herstory. And, if you missed any of these growing up, now's your chance to dive into some of the best middle-grade kid-lit ever.

 A version of this article was originally published in November 2015.

1 /53: 'The True Meaning of Smekday'

1/53 :'The True Meaning of Smekday'

2 /53: 'The Egypt Game'

2/53 :'The Egypt Game'

3 /53: 'Pippi Longstocking'

3/53 :'Pippi Longstocking'

4 /53: 'Caddie Woodlawn'

4/53 :'Caddie Woodlawn'

5 /53: 'Charlotte's Web'

5/53 :'Charlotte's Web'

6 /53: 'The Penderwicks'

6/53 :'The Penderwicks'

7 /53: 'Little Women'

7/53 :'Little Women'

8 /53: 'The Secret Garden'

8/53 :'The Secret Garden'

9 /53: 'The Wednesday Witch'

9/53 :'The Wednesday Witch'

10 /53: 'The BFG'

10/53 :'The BFG'

11 /53: 'Sarah, Plain and Tall'

11/53 :'Sarah, Plain and Tall'

12 /53: 'Judy Moody'

12/53 :'Judy Moody'

13 /53: 'The Secret of the Old Clock'

13/53 :'The Secret of the Old Clock'

14 /53: 'Mary Poppins'

14/53 :'Mary Poppins'

15 /53: 'Out of the Dust'

15/53 :'Out of the Dust'

16 /53: 'Where the Mountain Meets the Moon'

16/53 :'Where the Mountain Meets the Moon'

17 /53: 'A Wrinkle in Time'

17/53 :'A Wrinkle in Time'

18 /53: 'From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler'

18/53 :'From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler'

19 /53: 'Anne of Green Gables'

19/53 :'Anne of Green Gables'

20 /53: 'Because of Winn-Dixie'

20/53 :'Because of Winn-Dixie'

21 /53: 'Alice in Wonderland'

21/53 :'Alice in Wonderland'

22 /53: 'Island of the Blue Dolphins'

22/53 :'Island of the Blue Dolphins'

23 /53: 'The Golden Compass'

23/53 :'The Golden Compass'

24 /53: 'Number the Stars'

24/53 :'Number the Stars'

25 /53: 'Harriet the Spy'

25/53 :'Harriet the Spy'

26 /53: 'Coraline'

26/53 :'Coraline'

27 /53: 'Julie of the Wolves'

27/53 :'Julie of the Wolves'

28 /53: 'Matilda'

28/53 :'Matilda'

29 /53: 'Little House on the Prairie'

29/53 :'Little House on the Prairie'

30 /53: 'Inkheart'

30/53 :'Inkheart'

31 /53: 'The Witch of Blackbird Pond'

31/53 :'The Witch of Blackbird Pond'

32 /53: 'The Westing Game'

32/53 :'The Westing Game'

33 /53: 'Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret'

33/53 :'Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret'

34 /53: 'Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry'

34/53 :'Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry'

35 /53: 'When You Reach Me'

35/53 :'When You Reach Me'

36 /53: 'The Book Thief'

36/53 :'The Book Thief'

37 /53: 'Heidi'

37/53 :'Heidi'

38 /53: 'Ramona the Pest'

38/53 :'Ramona the Pest'

39 /53: 'Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great'

39/53 :'Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great'

40 /53: 'Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus'

40/53 :'Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus'

41 /53: 'The Secret of the Mansion'

41/53 :'The Secret of the Mansion'

42 /53: 'Smile'

42/53 :'Smile'

43 /53: 'The Doll People'

43/53 :'The Doll People'

44 /53: 'Dork Diaries 1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life'

44/53 :'Dork Diaries 1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life'

45 /53: 'Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist'

45/53 :'Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist'

46 /53: 'Nancy Clancy: Super Sleuth'

46/53 :'Nancy Clancy: Super Sleuth'

47 /53: 'Whatever After #1: Fairest of All'

47/53 :'Whatever After #1: Fairest of All'

48 /53: 'Magic Tree House #1: Dinosaurs Before Dark'

48/53 :'Magic Tree House #1: Dinosaurs Before Dark'

49 /53: 'Tuck Everlasting'

49/53 :'Tuck Everlasting'

50 /53: 'Culloo'

50/53 :'Culloo'

51 /53: 'Ella Enchanted'

51/53 :'Ella Enchanted'

52 /53: 'Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic'

52/53 :'Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic'

53 /53: Pin it!

Pin it! Must-read books for little girls
Image: Yvonna Groom/SheKnows

53/53 :Pin it!