The Top 10 Crying Books

My Nerdy Book Club friends and I were talking about our favorite books and how they all required tissues. We felt books should come with a Kleenex index to prepare us for all those tears. Here are the top 10 books that made us cry the most.

1. See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles


I read a lot of crying books last year. It seems that 2012 was a banner year for books that bring on the tears. However, See You at Harry’s wins hands down for the sheer volume of Kleenex used while I was reading it. I cried for at least 150 pages. I was a blubbering mess when tragedy struck Fern and her family. My suggestion: Do not leave the house while you are reading this book. – Niki Barnes

Kleenex Index: 5 Kleenex boxes out of 5 Kleenex boxes


2. Endangered by Eliot Schrefer


The premise of Endangered sets it up for being a crying book- there are children, animals, and war- a perfect setup for some tears. I definitely cried all of the times I have read Endangered but I will say that reading it aloud to my 8th grade class was the worst (best?) crying experience I’ve ever had with a book. As I was reading it to them, the last 15 or so pages took at least an hour to read because my tears kept on impeding my reading. Imagine me, sitting in front of 22 eighth graders as I try to read through my sniffles, breath-catches, and massive tears to share the amazing conclusion with my students. – Kellee Moye

Kleenex Index: 4 Kleenex boxes out of 5 Kleenex boxes

3. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green


I remember when I posted on Twitter that I was reading TFIOS, I was asked if I had tissues. I jokingly, posted a small box of tissues that I had and was quickly told to grab another box. The Fault In Our Stars is the story about the beautiful relationship that develops between Hazel Grace and Augustus after they meet at a cancer support group. As the story of Hazel Grace and Augustus moves along, you feel the depths of their love and appreciation for one another. You will cry along the way in TFIOS, but in the end, you need that second box of Kleenex as you cry your way through the last chapter. The Fault In Our Stars is worth the cry. – Kristin Becker

Kleenex Index: 5 Kleenex boxes out of 5 Kleenex boxes

4. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo


Edward, a self-centered, china bunny goes on a miraculous journey when he’s accidentally dropped from an ocean liner. He’s fished from the depths of the ocean and led from place to place, with each new character showing Edward how it feels to be loved. As a reader, your heart will be broken, and you will weep for the characters in this book. There is so much depth to this novel, and I find myself recommending it over and over again. – Melody Simons

Kleenex Index: 3 Kleenex boxes out of 5 Kleenex boxes

5.  If I Stay by Gayle Forman


When I picked up If I Stay, I was expecting an emotional story, and I had my Kleenex ready.  What I did not expect, was that I would be crying from page nineteen until the end of the story. Mia is a quirky seventeen year old, who loves her parents and little brother more than anything.  After a tragic accident, Mia must decide her own fate.   It seemed like, every time I thought I was finished crying, the tears returned stronger, louder and uglier than ever.  – Stephanie Shouldis

Kleenex Index:  5 Kleenex boxes out of 5 Kleenex boxes

6. Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner


More than anything else, Little Willy and his companion dog, Searchlight, need to win the prize money from the National Dogsled Race. At stake are the family farm and grandfather’s health. As I read this book aloud to my students, I found them holding their breaths and tensed up at the edge of the carpet dying to find out what happens next. And when an unexpected event turns the story in a new direction, one could hear the audible “pfoo, pfoo” of the Kleenexes being pulled from the box as students voluntarily brought them to me, knowing I’d need them in order to make it through the remainder of the story.- Dylan Teut

Kleenex Index: 5 Kleenex boxes out of 5 Kleenex boxes

7.  Eric by Doris Lund


When I was twelve, I plucked Eric off the shelves of my public library. I have no idea why I did; something about that book just called to me.  All I remember about reading it is sobbing hysterically through most of the book, the story of a talented athlete struck by leukemia just as he’s about to start college. At twelve, my life was kind of a mess, and I wonder if reading about Eric’s struggles helped me think of ways to deal with my own. As soon as I finished the book, I started right back at the beginning.  I know I checked it out from the library at least eight times, and I think eventually I claimed to have “lost” it so I could just keep it! – Mindi Rench

Kleenex Index:  5 Kleenex boxes out of 5 Kleenex boxes

8. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson


As a young tomboy, I loved reading Bridge to Terabithia in a fourth grade reading group and going down by our river, pretending to have a secret place to go to just like Jess and Leslie do in the book.  Just as they used their imaginations to escape things in their real life by going to Terabithia, I would escape to my own Terabithia. Jess and Leslie came from two entirely different home lives, yet become the best of friends, which *spoiler alert* ends unfortunately. I still shed a tear just at the sight of a student carrying this book around. – Jessica Johnson

Kleenex Index: 4 Kleenex boxes out of 5 Kleenex boxes

9. A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean


How many books about dogs do you know that aren’t weepy? Not too many, right? When you add a main character whose mom recently died it’s not surprising the book tugs at your heartstrings. Cally Fisher, a 5th grade girl, misses her mom more than anything; so much so that Cally says she sees her dead mother, but no one believes her. My heart literally ached for Cally. I cried throughout most of the book. I felt Cally’s pain and loss. She misses her mom and I miss mine every single day. – Allison Jackson

Kleenex Index: 5 Kleenex boxes out of 5 Kleenex boxes

10. One For The Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

An amazingly delicious book that I devoured in one day! Carley grabbed my heart right away. She’s one of those lost souls, caught up in the foster care system that you just want to wrap your arms around and save. I think I might have lost a couple of pounds from all the tears that I shed!! I’ve got to put this in the hands of my 6th graders! You MUST read this book! NOW! – Shannon Clark

Kleenex Index: 5 Kleenex boxes out of 5 Kleenex boxes


Niki Barnes is a 2nd grade teacher and proud member of the Nerdy Book Club.

Kellee Moye teaches middle school intensive reading and loves being a member of NBC (and being surrounded by those who aren’t afraid to admit that books make them weep).

Shannon Clark, an enthusiastic member of the Nerdy Book Club, teaches 6th grade.

Jessica Johnson, Elementary School Principal and member of the Nerdy Book Club.

Mindi Rench is a literacy coach at Northbrook Junior High and a life-long member of NBC.

Allison Jackson teaches 3rd grade and is a proud (library) card-carrying member of the Nerdy Book Club.

Stephanie Shouldis is a middle school intervention specialist and member of the Nerdy Book Club.

Dylan Teut is a first grade teacher at Immanuel Lutheran and new member of the Nerdy Book Club.

Kristin Becker is a beginning teacher mentor for the Lincoln County School District and a Nerdy Book Club newbie.

Melody Simons is an Elementary Reading Specialist for the Alta Loma School District, and Nerdy Book Club Member.