Is it just us, or do you also remember the books you read in middle school and high school so much more clearly than that best-seller from last month? Tucked under the covers with a flashlight, or spending a whole Saturday inside turning pages, we were sponges, soaking up every last word of classic coming-of-age novels, thrilling mysteries and funny contemporary middle grade books. If you’ve got a daughter of your own now, you’re in luck: You get to relive that thrill through her eyes all over again.
Now she can laugh and cry with Little Women, enter a world of mystery with Nancy Drew or experience the hardships of others in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, the way you may have once, not quite so long ago. She can also discover the new books that have been written since then, from Judy Moody to Brown Girl Dreaming — and you might decide to discover them right along with her.
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.
In honor of World Book Day, we’ve rounded up 56 classic and modern-day reads that 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.