Best Read-Aloud Books For Bedtime

A collection of our best loved read-aloud books, perfect for bedtime and any time! For ages 8-12, these books are filled with many kinds of adventure and discovery.

There’s always a stack of books on my nightstand that I can’t wait to dive into. Adventure is found in books, and the options are endless. Reading out loud is a wonderful way to share the adventure with your kids. While not all of my kids love reading on their own, they all enjoy listening to books as I read aloud.

Favorite Chapter Books for Reading Aloud

Many of these titles are from my own childhood — they are classics that kids love and will be around for many generations to enjoy. I often prefer books that are not of our most modern time, and quite a few of these will fall into that category. Other’s are favorite fantasy and other fiction books and series that have captured our hearts in more recent years. Included are several genres, each one is perfect for snuggling up at bedtime, a daily reading time, on a rainy summer day, or any time at all. I’ve also included a printable list at the end of the post!

Best Read Aloud Books Ages 8-12

Affiliate links to books we read and love are included below for your convenience. Please see my full disclosure.

All-of-a-Kind Family

This book introduces readers to the Taylor family. There are five girls in the family, and they live with their parents on the Lower East Side of New York City in the early 1900’s. Follow along with their adventures…you’ll laugh, cry, and thoroughly enjoy these five sisters. There are several more books in the series, and we love each one. Hands down one of my favorite series ever. Great for elementary and middle school.

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew

Widowed Mrs. Pepper and her five children don’t have much money, but they do have each other. Their bravery, cheerfulness, and courage shine through as they work together to support their family. Full of adventure and fun too, it’s sure to spark imagination!

A Little Princess

Sara Crewe’s father leaves her at a boarding school while he is away. When she discovers that she may never see him again, her life is completely transformed. As a result, she is forced to transform from princess into pauper, and her new life is much different than it was before. A classic tale that has been delighting children for many years, this is a perfect book for reading aloud!

The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson is a 12-year-old boy who discovers that he is half-god, and that his father is Poseidon. His quest to prevent a war amongst the gods is a brilliant way to introduce Greek myths to a whole new generation. It’s exciting, adventurous, and captures the attention of listeners!

Land of Stories

A combination of the modern day and classic fairy tales, the author weaves a spellbinding story that is sure to enchant readers and listeners alike. Even better, there are additional books in the series, so you can continue past the first It’s a favorite at our house!

Anne of Green Gables

This book has been a favorite since I was a small girl, and I couldn’t wait to read it to my own children. It’s a beloved tale of a precocious orphan who finds an unexpected family at Green Gables with two people who need her as much as she needs them. Her adventures are delightful, and it’s a heartwarming and funny book that the whole family will love.

Little Women

With their father away fighting in the war, the four March sisters are at home with their mother, who is working hard to support them. Growing up, relying on each other, and discovering what’s truly important are the main themes of this story. It’s a heartwarming tale that magnificently describes each sister’s personality as they find their place in the world and with each ther.

The Moffats

Even ordinary days in the Moffat household is fill of mischief, adventure, and the most extraordinary fun. Sylvie, Janey, and Rufus will keep everyone entertained with their one-of-a-kind escapades.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

A game of hide-and-seek reveals a wardrobe that leads to a world of eternal winter in the land of Narnia. Four siblings tumble into this world, and quickly get into trouble with the White Witch, ruler of this magical land. Their quest to set things right gets help from Aslan, the Great Lion. It’s a beautiful book of adventure and hope.

Little House on the Prairie

A read-aloud list would not be complete without this book! It’s a beloved and timeless story that has spanned many years and captivated the attention of many readers. Based on the real-life childhood of Laura Ingalls Wilder, it tells the tale of a move from the Big Woods to the rolling hills and prairies of Kansas.

The Boxcar Children

Four siblings are on their own, and make their home in a boxcar. Survival means working together, and along the way they’ll make discoveries that will change their lives. It’s a heartwarming tale that has you cheering for them, as they navigate life without any parents.


Mystical creatures, hidden refuges, and two siblings are at the center of this fantastical adventure. Kendra and her brother Seth discover that their grandfather is the caretaker of one of these refuges, and their life is never the same. Ancient laws, powerful forces, and plotting creatures require them to work diligently and bravely to save their family. It’s a captivating story that has four more books in the series!

Princess Academy

Miri, a simple village girl, is given the opportunity to be designated the future princess. She joins a group of other girls from her village at an academy in the mountains, where they are to learn how to become a princess. Soon she runs into problems with the headmistress and other girls, and eventually begins to wonder if becoming the princess is worth leaving her family.

Pippi Longstocking

Pippi Longstocking has a horse on the front porch, a pet monkey, and red pigtails that stick straight out. She lives alone, with no parents to tell her what to do. The result is lots of crazy adventures with her friends Tommy and Annika, and her indomitable spirit shines through.

The Penderwicks

A charming story of four sisters spend the summer in a home that’s on the grounds of a beautiful estate. After meeting the boy that lives there, he becomes their companion in adventure, discovering summertime magic in the process.

Caddie Woodlawn

Based on the real life experiences of her grandmother, the author pens the adventures of the invincible Caddie Woodlawn. She’s brave, loves to hunt, and listeners are sure to wonder what she’ll be up to next!

Peppermints in the Parlor

After Emily’s parents pass away, she goes to live with her aunt and uncle in their mansion called Sugar Hill. She has always loved them, and is looking forward to being with them. Very soon she finds that things are not as they should be, or once were. Her uncle is missing, and her aunt is not herself. It’s a mystery that must be solved, and she must find out why everything has changed before it’s too late. This is one of my favorites from my childhood years, and I still read it now! S

Betsy, Tacy, and Tib

These three are best friends and neighbors, and this book is full of their adventures together–including learning to fly, cutting each other’s hair, and making messes in the kitchen. Generations of readers have loved this book (and the entire series), and it’s easy to see why!

SEcret Garden

After the death of her parents, Mary is sent to live with her uncle. In the beginning, she is rude and selfish. After discovering a secret garden on the property, she begins to transform. Finding two friends along the way, they ultimately find magic as they work to bring the garden back to life.

Treasure Island

A true pirate and buried treasure novel, it’s a story told through the eyes of Jim Hawkins, who sets off on a fascinating adventure. High drama, treachery and betrayal, and enthralling characters like one-legged John Silver all contribute to the brilliance of the book that has captivated generations of readers.

The Call of the Wild

Buck is thrown into the harsh life of of being a sled-dog after being taken from his owner and comfortable home. Many consider this to be the best work of author Jack London, and it is a “gripping survival story of a heroic dog who is thrust in the brutal life of the Alaska Gold Rush.” It’s exciting, harrowing and adventurous, and you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat cheering Buck on.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry is living with his awful aunt & uncle, tortured by their treatment of him, along with their son, Dudley. He received an invitation to attend The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He will discover more about his parents, who they were and what happened to them, make wonderful friends, and fight off the evil that comes for him.

Download a printable list:

Best Read Aloud Books Ages 8-12

More great book ideas for kids:

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