20 Books For Kids Before They Turn 12 Years Old

thoughtful kids books

Inside: List of 20 thoughtfully written Children’s books for kids before they turn 12; these books carry beautiful and insightful messages. Read to know why these books are loved by kids from different generations.

Books are the best investment we do for our kids than any other piece of toys. It helps them learn things and improves their imaginative skills.

There are some classic, nostalgia-inducing books that your child will never get tired of reading again and again. We are going to see some of those books in this article and how it creates a magical impact in children.

These books are great toddler books and also good for school going kids.

The 20 mentioned books are chosen with the intent to inspire thoughtfulness, kindness, emotional intelligence, the importance of hard work, diversity, and benovelance.

It’s never too late for your kids to start building their own library.

Here are the best books for your kids before they turn 12. It conveys some concepts beautifully and helps your child in creating precious childhood memories.

20 Thoughtfully Written Books for kids Before 12

#1.Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum, a nice little mouse, loves her name and thinks that is ‘perfect’ until she gets bullied at school. The hurt she faces because of these and how she blooms again is what the rest of the story is about.

The book gracefully captures the dramas of childhood in simple words and elegant pictures making it easy for kids to understand.

A wit and wisdom-filled book perfect for letting kids know of their self-worth.

#2. My father’s shop by Satomi Ichikawa

My father’s shop is a tale, about a little boy who works in his father’s carpet shop set in a middle-east market area, illustrating how some things are universal. 

A go-to book for starting conversations with the kids about the diverse cultures in the world. And they can learn and practice how rooster sounds differ in different regions of the world! Something that toddlers can never get tired of!

#3. What To Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada

Want to raise a child who is not afraid to voice out their ideas? Then, sow the seeds with this book!

‘What to do with an idea’ describes how one shouldn’t be afraid to bring their idea to this world, no matter how silly it may seem. It is illustrated diligently by indicating ‘idea’ as a lifelike creature making it understandable for little kids.

#4. Somewhere Else: A Picture Book by Gus Gordon

The book ‘Somewhere Else’ narrates how George, the duck, who doesn’t know how to fly, finds a way to travel with the help of a kind bear friend.

The tale is beautifully illustrated at a kid’s level about how procrastination should be avoided and no matter what the problem is, there will always be a solution for it.

A charming tale that gives a funny and warm-hearted feel.

#5. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

The Story of Ferdinand is a classic book, read and loved by many influential people around the world because of its message of non-violence.

The book revolves around a young bull, who doesn’t like to fight and even gets himself out of difficult situations just by remaining calm and content.

A perfect book for having conversations on non-violence and pacifism.

#6. This Is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe

This is how we do it‘ follows the lives of seven kids from different countries showing how some lifestyles and traditions differ. 

It also states how some common experiences unite us all together in this one world that we share. 

An apt book providing insights on the concept of universality.

#7. A Bad Case Of Stripes by David Shannon

A Bad Case of Stripes offers a great opportunity to open discussion about self-perception, self-love, and bullying to kids. 

The book is about a girl, Camilla, who tries to blend in with people giving up what she actually loves. As a result, she faces some hilarious problems which get worse and worse until she decides to be herself.

A great book to let kids know it’s ok to be different and not always worry about what others think.

#8. Our Tree Named Steve by David Cattrow

The book, Our Tree Named Steve, tells about a family which loves an old tree in their backyard and how they overcome the sadness of losing it in a storm by reusing its remains.

The book depicts the beautiful emotional bond that exists between the tree and the family.

Having a little nature lover at home? Then, this is the best board book for you.

#9. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree is an interesting book, that initially didn’t grow well on me, because its illustration has a twist. But when my 3 yr old loved it I started liking the book myself.

It’s a story about how a boy and a tree, where the boy and the tree had deep connections when the boy was young. But as he grew older, the man kept asking favors from the tree again and again, and the tree very generously kept giving to the boy whatever he had.

A very heart-touching story, which awkwardly gives a lesson on selfishness and selflessness at the same time!

#10. Alfie : (The Turtle That Disappeared) by Thyra Heder

Alfie: The Turtle That Disappeared is a book about a little girl, Nia, and her silent pet turtle, Alfie who disappears on her birthday eve. 

The story becomes more interesting when we start to hear Alfie’s side of the story about how he didn’t disappear but is on a hunt to get Alfie a birthday present. What follows is how and when he gets back to Alfie with a gift.

The best book for pet lovers, which teaches kids the fun of exploring surroundings to score gifts. .

#11. The Selfish Crocodile by Faustin Charles

 The Selfish Crocodile is a tale about a grumpy crocodile who keeps a whole river for himself without allowing any animals to use it. 

With glorious pictures and interesting illustrations, this story tells how a brave little mouse shows the best side of the world to the crocodile with his unselfish act.

A wonderful book to read together and discuss being kind and unselfish to others.

#12. Maxi, the Little Taxi by Elizabeth Upton

Maxi, the Little Taxi, is an exciting little taxi who zooms around the town making himself very dirty. The first bad impression of being a dirty car makes him lose customers – until a smart little boy helps him to go to a car wash. 

A dashy book for car lovers about a high-spirited little taxi.

#13. Telling the Time (Usborne Farmyard Tales)

Telling the Time is one of the best board books for toddlers because of its engaging illustration. Kindergarteners will love learning to tell time as they join Sam and Poppy visiting their farm animals and doing their daily chores.

An interesting book to learn time as it also has an in-built clock model with movable hands.

#14. Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin

Diary of a worm is a warm enjoyable book that has a funny, relatable worm as the lead. This book is about how the journal that the young worm has written about its day-to-day life and activities.

It’s funny to read the witty perspectives of the worm about its life and how it never takes bath yet has friends and goes to school. You can also find some good, easy-to-grasp science facts about this creature here and there.

A must-read for science and nature lovers with mind-blowing facts and eye-catching illustrations!

#15. What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry

What do people do all day is an engaging book with realistic illustrations is what you need to show your kids the lives of different professionals. It offers a virtual city tour to your kids while showing busy people spending their day on their works like building homes, treating patients, putting off fire, etc.

The importance given to detailing is what blew me away. A must-have book on every child’s collection to observe and learn social and environmental concepts.

#16. Giraffe Can’t Dance

A best-selling book from an international bestseller Giles Andreae has a heart-warming story of a Giraffe that loved to dance. Giraffe can’t dance is an inspiring book that shows how giraffe never quits but finally learns to dance after multiple failed attempts. Kids will also learn how to create positive energy through encouraging and motivating words.

There are some rhyming texts that will forever be etched in your kid’s memory. A compelling story with an awe-inspiring finishing that will push your kids to dream big and work hard for it.

#17. Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman

The Halloween-themed book ‘Big Pumpkin‘ attempts incredible storytelling that can even have the adults hooked till the end of the book. It’s a book about the story of a big pumpkin which a witch wanted to cook on Halloween. No one from her tribe is able to break the pumpkin as it’s very large except for one small yet brainy bat.

This story proves how cleverness is more important than physical strength and appearance. A new, interesting, routine for the upcoming Halloween where your kids can read this book and roleplay!

#18. All by Myself (Little Critter) by Mercer Mayer

This thought-provoking book is all your child needs to learn how to be independent. All by myself is a story of a girl called Little Critter who is trying to do everything by herself. From combing her hair to tying shoelaces, she does it on her own.

What I liked the most about this book is how it embraces imperfections. We can never do something perfect during the first attempt itself. Teaching this to kids is also necessary as they can get disheartened with the outcome when they try to do something independently.

#19. The Little Engine That Could by George Hauman

Make your kids roar the motto ‘I think I can’ by gifting them this international bestseller The little engine that could.

This inspiring book has the story of a blue-colored engine that tries with all of its might to climb up a hill while helping the passengers to reach the other side.

It also has funny elements here and there that will make them smile. With the help of rhyming mottos, this book teaches that if we are deterministic about something, we will achieve that for sure.

A memorable gift for train lovers and young explorers!

#20. Bird Hugs by Ged Adamson

While children try hard to achieve something, what they should also know is the concept of acceptance. Bird hugs is a lighthearted tale of a bird that has large wings yet couldn’t fly.

This story attempts to explain how a person can focus on something else they are good at instead of persevering to achieve what they couldn’t do. At the younger stage, almost every child learns and tries the same thing. This story can tell them that even if they cannot make it big, they are still good enough.

It conveys this complex message effortlessly with amazing characters. Great read to show your children what acceptance is.

To conclude the 20 Best children’s books —

Every children’s book is created to leave an impact on young readers’ minds. These books provide us with solutions to having difficult conversations around tough and complicated topics, like kindness, diversity, independence, and hardwork.

When such deep messages are conveyed through books, it gets embedded in our children’s hearts forever which makes them better people.

Which is why such thoughtfully written books become an essential investment as all-time classic books for kids before they turn 12 yrs old.

Your child would love and cherish these books in their memory forever!


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