Response to NPR 100 Must Reads for Ages 9 – 14 — Part 1

I don’t know whether I’ll have time to finish this since we’re getting ready to travel and I have too many chores (including shopping.. ugh! my least favorite thing to do.) But, some initial reactions:

1st Reaction: I wish that they had indicated ages for each title — a 9-year-old probably should wait a few years to read An Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian; and a 14-year-old probably will not be the ideal reader to be introduced to Bunnicula for the first time.

2nd Reaction: WHAT? No, Nonfiction???? Really? Are we saying that there are no worthy, must reads for kids ages 9 to 14? Or are we saying that they do not have to read Nonfiction. Period? Actually.. there is a Biography, Memoir, and History section — just no general knowledge or science. So they go on my short wish list here IF they had included a Nonfiction section:

Swords: An Artist’s Devotion (9-14)

Scientists in the Field series (9-12)

The Race to Save the Lord God Bird (10-14)

Fossil Fish: Found Alive (10-14)

3rd Reaction: WHAT? Only ONE book in POETRY???? And Linda Sue has that amazing Soji poetry collection that’s so worth reading by EVERY school child! So, her book gets on this wish list:


Inside Out and Back Again (9, 10, 11)


Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems): (8-12)

Blue Lipstick (12-14)

Diamond Willow (9-12)

Keeping the Night Watch (11-14)

God Went to Beauty School (11-14)

Peace, Locomotion (10, 11, 12)

4th Reaction: WHERE ARE THE FUNNY BOOKS? Doesn’t it deserve its own category? Oh, well.. probably not — but that’s what the kids constantly ask for by APPEAL TERM. There are enough humor sprinkled throughout the list I guess… (It is pointed out to me that there IS a Good for a Laugh Section. My bad!)

I also went through the first few sections and marked down which ones I strongly agree that they belong on MY list of top 100, tagged them with recommended ages, and added my own WISH LISTS:

American Stories


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian — (14+)

Caddie Woodlawn — (8, 9, 10)

The House on Mango Street — (12, 13, 14)

The Birchbark House — (11, 12, 13)

To Kill a Mockingbird — (13, 14, +)

The Witch of Blackbird Pond — (10, 11, 12)

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry — (11, 12, 13)


Weedflower (11, 12, 13)

Out of the Dust (11, 12, 13)

Count Down (11, 12, 13)

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy (12, 13, 14)


Animal Kingdom


The One And Only Ivan (8, 9, 10)

Poppy (8, 9, 10)

Because of Winn-dixie (8 , 9, 10)

Redwall (9, 10, 11, 12)

The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh (10, 11)

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (9, 10, 11, 12 — should be in SciFi)

Charlotte’s Web (8, 9, 10)


Little Gentleman (10, 11, 12)

The Tale of Despereaux (9, 10, 11)

Babe, the Gallant Pig (9, 10, 11)

I Was a Rat (9, 10, 11)


Biography, Memoir And History


Anne Frank the Diary of a Young Girl (13, 14)

Eleanor Roosevelt (11, 12, 13)

Bomb (11, 12, 13, 14)


This Land Was Made for You and Me (12, 13, 14)

Bill Peet (9, 10, 11)

Guts: The True Story Behind Hatchet and the Brian Books (9, 10, 11, 12)

True Notebooks: A Writer’s Year at Juvenile Hall (13, 14, older)

Maus (13, 14, older)

Horrible Histories series (9, 10, 11)

We Are the Ship (11, 12, 13)

Good Masters, Sweet Ladies (10, 11, 12, 13)


Everyday Magic


Tuck Everlasting (10, 11, 12)

James and the Giant Peach (8, 9, 10)

Half Magic (8, 9, 10)

The Graveyard Book (10, 11, 12, 13)

Harry Potter series (9, 10, 11, 12)

A Series of Unfortunate Events books (9, 10, 11, 12)


The Spiderwick Chronicles (9, 10)

Savvy (9, 10, 11, 12)

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat (9, 10, 11)


Filed under Book Notes, Field Reports, Views

5 responses to “Response to NPR 100 Must Reads for Ages 9 – 14 — Part 1

  1. Amy

    There’s a section of funny books called “Good for a Laugh”.


  2. fairrosa

    Ah.. my bad… will revise :)


  3. fairrosa

    That section has four books :)


  4. DaNae

    I like that you included age recommendations. Aside from the first few years of life there is no greater swing in developmental change than the early adolescent years. I see this reflected in reading choices. It is hard to comfortably pigeonhole.

    I like your non-fiction choices, but it reminds me that my copy of SWORDS bit the dust this year and I need to look into replacing it, although the students who are drawn to it make me a little nervous with their devotion.


    • fairrosa

      Swords is simply too beautiful to worry about those who are into it! It also contains a lot of information and I have multiple copies for the enthusiastic bunch.


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