37 Best Classic Books For 12 Year Olds (7th Grade)

In classic books, kids meet characters dealing with friendship, bravery, and growing up. These stories guide young minds through life’s challenges in a fun and enriching way.

In this blog post, we’ll explore 37 Best Classic Books For 12 Year Olds.

In fact:

The classic books mentioned in this post are based on comprehensive research and reviews and are considered some of the Classic Books For 12 Year Olds.

Are You In a Hurry?

If you’re in a hurry, your search is over! We have selected three highly recommended Classic books.

Overview Of The 37 Best Classic Books For 12 Year Olds

Let’s begin…

Note: You can purchase these books by clicking on the title link. Please note that the links to purchase these books are affiliate links from Amazon.

The Secret Garden

“The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett is about a girl named Mary who goes to live with her uncle after her parents die. She finds a locked garden and, with the help of her new friends, she begins on an adventure to find the secrets of this garden. Join Mary on her journey of discovery as she unlocks the magic of a hidden world.

New Kid

In “New Kid” by Jerry Craft, Jordan is passionate about drawing cartoons. However, instead of attending an art school, he is enrolled in a private school. Join Jordan on his journey as he navigates the challenges of his new school while working on his passion and maintaining his connections with his friends.


“Sounder” by William H. Armstrong tells the story of a young boy and his family struggling to survive in tough times. His father starts hunting with their dog, but life remains difficult. The boy must face a harsh life. Amidst these challenges, the bond between the boy and the dog becomes his source of strength.


In “Eleven” by Tom Rogers, Alex, a young boy, dreams of being a hero, yet his life lacks any heroic moments. However, everything changes on his eleventh birthday when he saves a lost dog. Their bond grows, and this day becomes the start of something special.

Anne of Green Gables

“Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery. It’s about a girl named Anne who goes to live with Matthew and Marilla in a town called Avonlea. Even though they were expecting a boy to help on the farm, but they love Anne’s spirit. The story follows Anne as she makes friends and explores her new home.

Claudia and the New Girl

In “Claudia and the New Girl” by Ann M. Martin, Claudia meets a new girl named Ashley who is a great artist. As Claudia spends more time with Ashley and ignores club meetings, she faces a difficult decision, choosing between her friendship with Ashley and her dedication to the club.

The Porcupine Year

In “The Porcupine Year” by Louise Erdrich, meets Omakayas, a young girl, embarking on a challenging journey with her family to find a new home. Facing tough conditions, Omakayas discovers her inner strength. This book shows the journey of the Omakayas family in America.

Out of the Dust

“Out of the Dust” by Karen Hesse, tells the story of Billie Jo, a girl whose life takes a turn after an accident. With her mother gone and her father disabled, Billie Jo struggles with physical faults, due to her injured hands. Billie Jo navigates a world filled with problems. Amid the challenges, she never lost hope.

My Louisiana Sky 

“My Louisiana Sky” by Kimberly Willis Holt follows Ann Parker, a young girl. Tired of her challenging life, Ann dreams of escaping her family’s struggles. An opportunity arises when her Aunt invites her to spend the summer in Baton Rouge. This book explores themes of family and personal growth.

Prairie School

“Prairie School” by Lois Lenski tells the story of Delores, a girl, who is stuck in a winter storm. It’s freezing and there’s not much fuel. Delores and her teacher work hard. But Delores gets very sick, they need to find a way to get to the doctor in the deep snow. The story shows how they stay strong during a tough winter.

Black Beauty

“Black Beauty” by Anna Sewell. The story follows Black Beauty as he moves through various owners, facing both kindness and cruelty. From his early days to his later struggles, Black Beauty’s narrative shows the mistreatment of horses during the 19th century. This book teaches the lesson of kindness towards animals.


In “Sugar” by Jewell Parker Rhodes, Sugar lives on a sugar plantation. Even though, life is tough. But Sugar finds joy with her friend Billy. When Chinese workers arrive to help, Sugar takes the chance to learn about their culture. She becomes friends, and they share their traditions. Through their friendships, Sugar learns to bridge differences and bring her community together. 

Gold Rush Girl

“Gold Rush Girl” by Avi. Victoria secretly gets on a ship to California’s gold rush. She feels free and makes friends. However, when her brother is kidnapped, she begins a difficult search in San Francisco. This book explores the themes of hope and determination.

Call It Courage

In “Call It Courage” by Armstrong Sperry, a young boy named Mafatu is very scared of the sea. Even though his people call him a coward because of his fear. Mafatu decides to prove himself by going on a journey alone with his dog and pet bird. He faces a big storm and gets stuck on a deserted island. To survive, he learns to be strong and smart.

Turtle in Paradise

In “Turtle in Paradise” by Jennifer L. Holm, follow Turtle’s journey to Key West. She faces challenges and leaves her mom for a new life. In Key West, she meets strange friends and discovers a new world.


In “Believe” by Julie Mathison, Melanie makes beautiful things by using her creativity. But she’s lonely and has no friends. Then she meets Sabrina, who’s different and helps Melanie believe in herself. With Sabrina’s help, Melanie’s dreams come true. This story is about friendship and believing in yourself.

Adam of the Road

In “Adam of the Road” by Elizabeth Gray Vining, Adam enjoys traveling with his father and his dog. However, tragedy strikes when Nick is stolen, and Adam’s father goes missing. Left alone, Adam begins on a journey to find them. The story follows Adam’s determined search for his father and dog.

Two Roads

In “Two Roads” by Joseph Bruchac, Cal and his father have been traveling as homeless travelers. Cal is sent to a government boarding school. Despite harsh circumstances, Cal forms a bond with other Creek boys, learning about his culture and language.

Little Women

“Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott, follows the lives of the March sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy during the Civil War era. As the sisters navigate the challenges of adolescence and personal growth. Each sister has her special personality and dreams.

Athena the Brain

“Athena the Brain” by Suzanne Williams. Join Athena as she navigates her new life at Olympus Academy, where she learns about her heritage and faces the challenges of fitting in. With the help of her newfound friends, Athena adopts her true self and faces the challenges with determination.

Echo Mountain

In “Echo Mountain” by Lauren Wolk, Ellie’s family starts a new life in the jungle of Echo Mountain. Ellie finds comfort and love for nature on the mountain, but tragedy strikes when her father is injured. Determined to help her father, Ellie begins on a journey to find healing from the mountain.


In “Crispin” by Avi, a boy named Crispin is in trouble in England. People think he did something wrong while he didn’t. He runs away from his home with only his mom’s special cross. The story is about determination and the fight for justice.

White Bird

“White Bird” by R. J. Palacio, follows the story of Grandmère. She is a young girl who goes to live in a village because of the war. She becomes friends with a boy there, and their friendship helps them both during difficult times.

Journey to Jo’burg

In “Journey to Jo’burg” by Beverley Naidoo, Naledi and her brother Tiro begin on a journey from their village to Johannesburg to find their mother, who could save their sick baby sister. Along the way, they must face the harsh realities of the city.

The Wind in the Willows

In “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame, the story begins with Mole who is feeling restless. With Rat’s help, Mole discovers the river, and they spend their days near the river. Toad also joins them for a road trip, and together, they work to take back Toad Hall from some bad visitors. The book celebrates friendship and the simple joys of life.

Just Jaime

In “Just Jaime” by Terri Libenson, Jaime and Maya are in middle school and dealing with friendship issues. As they approach the end of seventh grade, Jaime’s friends start leaving her out and making fun of her. She relies on her best friend Maya for support, but Maya starts getting irritated with Jaime’s behavior. The story explores the ups and downs of friendships during middle school.

The Midwife’s Apprentice

In “The Midwife’s Apprentice” by Karen Cushman, follows a girl named Brat, who is alone. But everything changes when she meets Jane the Midwife and becomes her helper. By helping her, Brat becomes more confident and finds purpose in her life.

The Blackbird Girls

In “The Blackbird Girls” by Anne Blankman, two girls, Valentina and Oksana, become friends when a nuclear disaster forces them to leave their homes and stay in a distant place. As they navigate their new lives, they learn about trust and friendship.


In “Clash” by Kayla Miller, Olive meets Natasha, the new cool kid in sixth grade. Olive wants to be friends with Natasha, but it’s not as easy. As Natasha gets closer to Olive’s friends, Olive worries that they may like Natasha more than her. Join Olive on her journey in middle school.

Don’t forget to check out Click Boxed Set.

The Phantom Tollbooth

In “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster, meet Milo, a bored boy whose life changes when a mysterious tollbooth appears in his room. Together, they enter a world full of wonders. Along the way, he discovers that life is an exciting adventure.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham

“The Watsons Go to Birmingham” by Christopher Paul Curtis follows the Watson family’s road trip to visit Grandma in Birmingham. Their journey suddenly strikes with a dark moment. Through their challenges, the Watsons show how the power of family can provide strength during tough times. 

The Hobbit

In “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien. Bilbo, a hobbit who prefers a quiet life, is suddenly thrust into a journey to help a group of dwarves reclaim their homeland from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Along the way, Bilbo faces various dangers. With his courage, Bilbo navigates challenges, discovers his inner strength, and plays a crucial role in an epic battle.

The Giver

“The Giver” by Lois Lowry. Jonas, a young boy, is assigned the rare role of Receiver of Memories. As he trains with The Giver, an elder who holds the community’s memories, Jonas discovers the painful truths hidden beneath. The story explores his journey as he discovers dark secrets and faces a moral dilemma to save someone he loves.

Peter Pan

“Peter Pan” by J. M. Barrie, follows the adventures of the young boy, Peter Pan. In the magical world, Peter refuses to grow up and shares his adventures with pirates. Teaming up with the Lost Boys, Peter faces the evil Captain Hook and his crew. This classic story of adventure and friendship continues to captivate readers.

The Call of the Wild

“The Call of the Wild” by Jack London. The story follows Buck, a dog stolen from his home and sold into the harsh life of an Alaskan sled dog. Buck must learn to survive and embrace his wild instincts. This story explores themes of survival and the rough nature of the wild.

The First Four Years

“The First Four Years” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, follows the author’s life as she begins on a new journey with her husband, Almanzo, in their small house on the prairie. As a young wife, Laura faces the challenges of farming and the realities of pioneer life. The arrival of their baby daughter, adds new joys to their young family.

Be sure to check out The Little House Box Set.

Bridge to Terabithia

“Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson tells the story of Jess, an isolated fifth-grader, who forms a friendship with Leslie, the new girl in town. As Jess and Leslie navigate the challenges of childhood, their friendship becomes a source of strength and comfort.


We hope that our list of classic books for 12 year olds has given you some great options to choose from and your 7th grader will have fun while exploring these classic books.

The classic books recommended in this list have been thoroughly researched and reviewed, and are considered some of the best Classic Books For 12 Year Olds. While I may not have personally read all of these classic books, they have been highly recommended by other readers.

We would love to hear from you about which classic book your 7th grader enjoyed the most, or if there is a favorite classic book that we missed.

Best wishes and happy reading!

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