Adams, Richard, Watership Down (10-up). Epic adventure about wild rabbits seeking a new home that explores the themes of freedom, leadership, ethics, and human nature; very well-written.
Alcott, Louisa May, Little Women (10-up). Classic novel about family life and human relations.
Anderson, C. W., Afraid to Ride (8-12). After an accident Judy is too afraid to ride again, but recovers after a wise horseman gives her a horse to care for that has been ruined by over-training; beautifully illustrated.
Atwater, Richard and Florence, Mr. Popper's Penguins (6-10). Delightful story of the absurd consequences of a man's love for the Antarctic.
Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice (14-up). Witty novel about a man and woman overcoming misunderstanding, self-deception, and human foibles (their own and others'). Also Emma (14-up), Sense and Sensibility (14-up).
Avi, Crispin: The Cross of Lead (12-15). In this suspense novel set in medieval England, a 13-year-old boy flees false charges, finds an unexpected protector, and undergoes many adventures.
Bach, Richard, Jonathan Livingston Seagull (7-up). Symbolic story of aspiration and compassion.
Bailey, Carolyn Sherwin, Miss Hickory (6-up). Whimsical fantasy about a person with an apple-wood twig body and a hickory head, and her life with the animals of the New Hampshire countryside.
Barrett, William E., The Lilies of the Field (12-up). After stopping to help four German nuns working in a field, a young black man ends up building them a church.
Baudouy, Michel-Airne, The Boy Who Belonged to No One (12-up). An independent boy raised by construction workers learns that no one can be judged by appearances.
Baum, L. Frank, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (5-up). First of the imaginative stories about Dorothy and the inhabitants of Oz. Also notable are The Land of Oz, Ozma of Oz, and The Lost Princess of Oz.
Becerra de Jenkins, Lyll, The Honorable Prison (12-15). A Latin American family held as political prisoners illustrates the vital importance of holding to individual values in attempting to overcome oppression, while not overlooking its cost; derived from the author's experience.
Bellamy, Edward, Looking Backward (15-up). Thought-provoking 19th-century Utopian novel with many interesting predictions and ideas about the future.
Benary-Isbert, Margot, The Ark (9-up). Happy story of a German refugee family that tries to find a place in their own country after WWII; a tribute to human will and spirit that overcomes misery and hardship. Continued in Rowan Farm (11-up).
—— Castle on the Border (12-up). In post-WWII Germany, a self-absorbed teenager learns to care for others while performing in a repertory company based at her aunt and uncle's country house.
Benchley, Nathaniel, Bright Candles: A Novel of the Danish Resistance (12-up). How the Danish people saved Jews in their country from the Nazis.
Bond, Michael, A Bear Called Paddington (4-8). Whimsical tales of a Peruvian bear living with a London family; first in a series.
Bosse, Malcolm J., The Examination (12-up). Adventures and trials of two brothers on their journey through 16th-century China to the capital so the elder can take the advanced government examination.
—— Ordinary Magic (12-up). A 14-year-old American, raised in India as a Hindu, comes to live in the Midwest after his father's death (formerly titled Ganseh).
Bothwell, Jean, Little Flute Player (8-12). How a Hindu boy saves his family in a time of famine.
Bridges, Sue Ellen, Home Before Dark (12-up). Teenage girl in a migrant worker family longs to hold on to her first permanent home; through her reactions to hardship, joy, sorrow, and new circumstances, she comes to realize the value of change.
Brink, Carol Ryrie, Caddie Woodlawn (9-up). Warm, adventurous tale of a tomboy growing up in a pioneer family.
Bronte, Charlotte, Jane Eyre (14-up). The life of an orphan, who overcomes a harsh childhood and discovers self-respect, independence, and love.
Buck, Pearl S., The Big Wave (9-14). After the destruction of his village, an orphan is cared for by his friend's family and comes to accept life again.
Bunting, Eve, The Empty Window (8-12). By doing something for his dying friend, a boy conquers fear and uncertainty.
Burnett, Frances Hodgson, Little Lord Fauntleroy (6-12). A New York boy finds himself heir to an English earl and wins his grandfather's love.
—— A Little Princess (8-12). A wealthy girl reduced to poverty wins out through goodness and strong character.
—— The Secret Garden (6-12). Well-loved story of an unpleasant orphan and her hypochondriac cousin transformed by the magic of love, positive thinking, and wholesome activity.
Burnford, Sheila, The Incredible Journey (9-up). The friendship among two dogs and a cat, and their will to survive, on a 250-mile trek through the Canadian wilderness.
Butler, Beverly, Light a Single Candle (13-up). Experiences of a 14-year-old girl on becoming blind: loneliness, sadness, and disbelief offset by courage and determination; the author is blind.
Byars, Betsy, The Pinballs (8-12). Three very different children change their attitudes with understanding foster parents, offering a promising future for all of them in this witty, happy book.
—— The Summer of the Swans (12-up). The problems of growing up, centering on a teenager's love for her retarded brother.
Cameron, Ann, The Secret Life of Amanda K. Woods (7-12). Girls will identify with this individualistic fifth-grader on the road to self-discovery in a flawed family.
Carlson, Natalie Savage, The Family Under the Bridge (8-up). A Parisian hobo befriends a homeless family at Christmas and grows to care about them in spite of himself. Also the Christmas story Surprise in the Mountains (4-10).
Carrighar, Sally, One Day on Beetle Rock (12-up). Fictionalized but scientifically accurate account of a June day in the life of various members of the animal community in the High Sierras.
Caudill, Rebecca, The Happy Little Family (4-7). Five adventures of a four-year-old girl living in a log cabin with her sisters and brother.
Choi, Sook Nyul, Year of Impossible Goodbyes (12-up). Harrowing, exciting story of a family in occupied Korea which survives the Japanese occupation and flees to the South after WWII; based on the author's experiences. First of a series.
Clark, Ann Nolan, Secret of the Andes (9-up). A modern Inca llama herder learns about himself and his heritage on a journey to Cusco. Also To Stand Against the Wind (12-up).
Cleary, Beverly, Henry Huggins and Ramona series (7-12). Well-observed, humorous incidents in the lives of children, their friends and families; excellent family reading.
Clifton, Mark, Eight Keys to Eden (12-up). Top scientist, sent to investigate inexplicable happenings on an Eden-like planet, finds an unexpected key to consciousness.
Coatsworth, Elizabeth, The Cat Who Went to Heaven (7-up). A Japanese painter, a cat, and a miracle in a Buddhist setting.
Cole, Brock, Celine (12-up). Amusing story of a high-school junior to whom things seem to happen out of the blue, one after another. How she meets and solves all these events will cause readers to smile and root all the way for this heroine.
Collodi, C., The Adventures of Pinocchio (7-10). Classic about a live puppet's struggle to become a real boy.
Cooper, Susan, The Dark Is Rising series (10-up). This excellent fantasy series, blending realism and Celtic mythological themes, includes Over Sea, Under Stone; The Dark Is Rising; Greenwitch; The Grey King; and Silver on the Tree.
Coutant, Helen, First Snow (6-up). A Vietnamese girl learns the meaning of death and change.
Craik, Dinah Maria Mulock, The Little Lame Prince (5-11). A boy overcomes injustice and hardship to become a wise king.
Crane, Stephen, The Red Badge of Courage (14-up). Portrait of one young soldier's fear and bravery during a Civil War battle.
Craven, Margaret, I Heard the Owl Call My Name (12-up). A young clergyman's last years spent among the Indians of the Pacific Coast yield rich lessons.
Cronin, A. J., The Stars Look Down (15-up). A family of English miners experience poverty, ill-health, and needless accidents; finally the owners are forced to pay higher wages and follow safety rules.
Degens, T., Transport 7-41-R (12-up). A 13-year-old undergoes a risky journey from East to West Germany after WWII, and the decency, trust, and kindness of an old man give her new expectations.
De Jong, Meindert, The House of Sixty Fathers (10-up). A Chinese boy's bravery and ingenuity during his journey through enemy territory to find his family.
Dickens, Charles, A Christmas Carol (8-up). Miserly, selfish Scrooge is transformed by the ghosts of Christmas. Also David Copperfield (14-up).
Dickinson, Peter, Tulku (12-up). During the Boxer Rebellion the son of an American missionary in China flees to Tibet with an eccentric English botanist and her Chinese servant, meeting with unusual adventures.
Druon, Maurice, Tistou of the Green Thumbs (4-up). Whimsical fantasy about a little boy who solves society's problems with his "green thumbs."
Dumas, Alexandre, The Count of Monte Cristo (14-up). Rousing tale of betrayal and vengeance, where the wronged hero in the end becomes self-regenerated, but only after destroying his false accusers. Also The Three Musketeers (12-up).
Eliot, George, Silas Marner (14-up). Reclusive weaver's life is transformed as he raises an orphaned girl.
Ende, Michael, The Neverending Story (10-15). Fantasy-adventure about a boy who seeks to save Fantastica, then returns to his ordinary world with the ability to love.
Enright, Elizabeth, Thimble Summer (7-12). A Minnesota farm girl's experiences with her family and friends one summer in the 1930s.
Estes, Eleanor, The Hundred Dresses (8-12). Powerful treatment of intolerance, dignity, and compassion.
—— The Moffats (7-12). Warm, humorous episodes concerning a family which finds enjoyment although times are hard during WWI; first of a series. Also in the same setting, Gynger Pye and Pinkie Pye (7-12).
—— The Witch Family (6-11). Charming Halloween story interweaving the lives of two little girls and of Old Witch on the glass mountain.
Etherington, Frank, The General (6-12). The relationship of an eccentric Canadian crossing guard to his community reveals the importance of every person to the whole.
Fife, Dale, North of Danger (10-15). A boy undertakes a 200-mile ski trip to warn his father of the German invasion of Norway in WWII; exciting tale of courage, survival, and trust, based on a true story.
Fine, Anne, The Chicken Gave It to Me (6-10). Humorous fantasy with a message, concerning a chicken who alerts two children on earth and a planet of aliens to the inhumane treatment of farm animals.
Fisher, Dorothy Canfield, Day of Glory (14-up). Thought-provoking story emphasizing how we survive and triumph over adversity, through courage and self-forgetfulness.
—— Understood Betsy (7-12). An overprotected girl finds confidence, self-reliance, love, and understanding living with her cousins in Vermont.
Fisher, Robert, The Knight in Rusty Armor (12-up). Lighthearted allegory of a desperate knight trapped in his rusty armor, which takes the reader through the ups and downs of the struggle to understand life's meaning and come to self-realization.
Flory, Jane, One Hundred and Eight Bells (10-13). Portrait of an artistic girl in a traditional Japanese family; rich with descriptions of Asian beauty, customs, and values.
Forbes, Kathryn, Mama's Bank Account (12-up). Anecdotes about a Norwegian immigrant family full of warmth and self-forgetfulness.
Gannett, Ruth, My Father's Dragon (5-9). Elmer Elevator goes to rescue a baby dragon held captive by the animals on Wild Island; continued in Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland.
Gardiner, John Reynolds, Stone Fox (6-10). When his grandfather falls ill, a young boy tries to keep up the farm and enters the annual dog race to pay the back taxes; unexpected tragedy brings tears as well as thankfulness; easy reader.
Garfield, Leon, The December Rose (14-up). A young chimney sweep in Victorian London falls into a situation filled with murder, infamy, and espionage, and in the course of solving the mystery matures as a human being.
Gates, Doris, Blue Willow (9-up). Realistic story of a migrant worker family in the Depression, and the daughter's longing for a permanent home.
George, Jean Craighead, Julie of the Wolves (11-14). An Eskimo girl, protected by wolves while lost on the tundra, gains appreciation of her heritage and her oneness with nature.
—— My Side of the Mountain (10-up). A city boy survives in the wilderness, learning about the plants and animals.
—— Who Really Killed Cock Robin (9-14). An ecological detective story, where young investigators discover how interrelated seemingly separate or trivial environmental factors are.
Godden, Rumer, The Mousewife (7-12). A house mouse befriends and frees a dove who widens her horizons.
Grahame, Kenneth, The Wind in the Willows (7-up). Timeless tale of friendship among the riverbank animals; beautifully written.
Grant, Joan, Winged Pharoah (13-up). Life of a royal woman of ancient Egypt, with many mystical aspects. Also Life as Carola (14-up).
Griese, Arnold A., The Wind Is Not a River (12-up). Sister and brother survive by themselves on the Aleutian Islands after the Japanese invasion, helping a wounded enemy soldier before escaping.
Guest, Elissa Haden, Iris and Walter (4-7). A city girl is sad when her family moves to the country until she finds a new friend; beginning reader.
Harnden, Ruth, The High Pasture (12-up). City boy staying on his aunt's high-country ranch gradually accepts his beloved mother's death, and comes to appreciate his father.
Hartling, Peter, Crutches (12-15). Exciting tale of a 12-year-old Austrian boy separated from his mother after WWII and his relationship with a one-legged soldier; they support each other through hunger and real danger on the long journey to find the boy's mother; based on the author's life.
Haugaard, Erik Christian, The Little Fishes (12-up). Story of three Italian waifs during WWII reveals courage and the endurance of the human spirit. Also, the historical novel Hakon of Rogen's Saga (8-12).
Hautzig, Esther, The Endless Steppe (12-up). Based on the author's experience as a Jewish girl deported from Poland to Siberia during WWII, reflecting the optimism and resilience of the human spirit.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, The Scarlet Letter (15-up). Examination of hypocrisy and evil in old New England.
Hemingway, Ernest, The Old Man and the Sea (13-up). Classic written from the heart, depicts strength, endurance, and the questioning of conviction toward one's life's work.
Herriot, James, James Herriot's Treasury for Children (4-12). A collection of Herriot's animal-story picture books in one volume.
Hodges, Margaret, The Wave (5-12). An old man burns his rice fields to warn villagers of a tidal wave; based on a tale of Lafcadio Hearn.
Holling, Holling Clancy, Paddle-to the-Sea (8-12). A carved wooden Indian and canoe travel through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic.
—— Pagoo (6-9). The life story of a hermit crab, beautifully illustrated.
Hughes, Monica, The Keeper of the Isis Light (11-15). A human girl lives joyously on a far planet with her Guardian until settlers from earth arrive; thought-provoking examination of prejudice, acceptance, and rejection.
Hughs, Ted, The Iron Giant: A Story in Five Nights (5-9). A mechanical giant, pacified by a group of farmers, saves earth from a huge star-monster; notable drawings.
Hunt, Irene, Up a Road Slowly (11-14). A girl growing up learns that a life without kindness and love has little meaning.
Hurwitz, Johanna, Busybody Nora (4-8). Everyday adventures of a charming, inquisitive little girl who lives in a large apartment building in New York with her parents and little brother; one of a series, easy chapter book.
Jarrell, Randall, The Animal Family (6-up). Exceptional story of a hunter and a mermaid, who live with a bear, a lynx, and a little boy. Also The Bat Poet (8-up).
Juster, Norton, The Phantom Tollbooth (8-up). A bored boy is swept into adventure in a fantasy kingdom; imaginative wordplay.
Kaplan, Bess, The Empty Chair (10-13). A 10-year-old Jewish girl loses her mother, then adjusts to her step-mother, sharing her thoughts, feelings, and schemes with readers in a sprightly way.
Kipling, Rudyard, The Jungle Book (5-up). Adventures of a boy raised by wolves in the Indian jungle, along with other animal tales such as "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi."
—— Just So Stories (4-up). Well-written, witty tales; many also available as individual picture books.
—— Kim (11-up). Anglo-Irish orphan's adventures in India with a Lama and the Secret Service.
Kline, Suzy, Horrible Harry in Room 2B (5-10). Harry is a good friend, even though he can be provoking and sometimes misbehaves; easy chapter book, first of a series.
Konigsburg, E. L., Journey to an 800 Number (12-up). A bright, snobbish boy is transformed by spending a month with his father, a camel-keeper.
Korner, Wolfgang, The Green Frontier (12-up). Fictionalized autobiography of an East German teenager whose parents crossed into West Berlin nine years before the Wall was built, telling of the confusion, resentment, and adaptability of youthful political refugees.
Krumgold, Joseph, Onion John (11-up). A small-town boy's friendship with a wise eccentric reveals to him and others that in trying to help another one must allow for individual freedom.
Lagerlof, Selma, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils (9-14). A cruel and lazy boy learns compassion and love of animals traveling around Sweden with a flock of geese while enchanted as a tomte.
Lampman, Evelyn Sibley, The City under the Back Steps (7-12). Two children become tiny and are forced to take an active role in the life of a colony of ants, whom they come to respect.
Lawson, Robert, Rabbit Hill (6-12). Warm, humorous fantasy about the small animals living around a country house, and the owners' kindness.
Lee, Harper, To Kill a Mockingbird (12-up). Coming of age story set against racial injustice in the South.
L'Engle, Madeleine, A Wrinkle in Time (9-14). Thought-provoking science fiction about remarkable children fighting the evil holding their father captive on a far planet. Continued in A Wind in the Door (9-14).
Lewis, C. S., The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (7-up). Four children enter a frozen world and participate in a battle between good and evil in this Christian allegory; first of the Chronicles of Narnia series.
—— Out of the Silent Planet (13-up). Allegorical science fiction concerning an Englishman's fight against evil on Venus, and its strange races of inhabitants. Continued in Perelandra and That Hideous Strength.
Lewis, Elizabeth Foreman, Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze (10-14). A widow and her son move to the city, where he has adventures, dreams, and accomplishments; a beautiful description of old China.
Lewis, Sinclair, Babbitt (15-up). Satire about a small-town businessman trying to break out of his empty life.
—— Main Street (15-up). In the early 20th century, a city girl fails in transforming the narrow outlooks and interests of her husband's small Midwestern town.
Lifton, Betty Jean, The Dwarf Pine Tree (6-12). Set in Japan, this story tells of a tree's self-sacrifice.
Lowry, Lois, Anastasia Krupnik (9-12). Humorous events, at home and in school, in the life of a precocious and individualistic 10-year-old; first in a series.
—— The Giver (12-up). In a painfree "utopia" a boy must receive mankind's memories from their elderly keeper; brings out the dehumanizing effect of seeking to abolish all pain, conflict, unhappiness, and personal choice.
—— Number the Stars (10-14). Suspenseful story of a Danish family hiding a Jewish girl during WWII.
Lyon, George Ella, Borrowed Children (12-15). Tender story of a poor, discontented 12-year-old in 1930s Kentucky who must care for her family after her mother nearly dies in childbirth.
MacDonald, Betty, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (5-12). A humorous look at children's behavior problems which are solved by a somewhat magical old woman; first of a series. Also Nancy and Plum (7-11).
Macdonald, George, At the Back of the North Wind (9-12). Young Diamond learns much in his nightly adventures with the North Wind.
—— The Lost Princess: A Double Story (7-11). An unappealing princess is swept into strange adventures, and returns home transformed.
—— The Princess and the Goblin (7-10). A princess and a miner boy defeat the designs of wicked goblins in this mystical tale.
MacLachlan, Patricia, Sarah, Plain and Tall (8-12). Well-told story of a mail-order bride brings out self-sacrifice, self-esteem, and family.
—— Through Grandpa's Eyes (4-10). A boy's visit to his blind grandfather gives insight into how the blind perceive the world.
Mahy, Margaret, The Catalogue of the Universe (11-up). Unlikely friendship between a high school boy and girl in this fascinating book.
Magorian, Michelle, Good Night, Mr. Tom (10-up). Abused boy evacuated to the countryside blossoms under the care of an old man in this moving story.
Malot, Hector Henri, Nobody's Girl (10-up). An orphan in France keeps her identity secret until she wins her grandfather's love through goodness, courage, and intelligence.
Mathis, Sharon Bell, The Hundred Penny Box (8-up). The love between a young boy and his very old great-great-aunt.
McKinley, Robin, The Hero and the Crown (11-up). Riveting tale of a kingdom where dragons still live and of the heroine-princess who slays them.
Miles, Miska, Annie and the Old One (7-11). A Navaho girl learns to accept death as part of the cycle of life.
Miller, Sara Swan, Three Stories You Can Read to Your Dog (4-10). Unusual, amusing stories written from a dog's point of view, concerning burglars, bones, and running free.
Millman, Dan, Secret of the Peaceful Warrior (6-10). An old man teaches a boy how to handle a bully through courage and love.
Milne, A. A., Winnie-the-Pooh (5-up). Classic tale of Christopher Robin and his escapades with Edward Bear, Eeyore, Piglet, and other forest friends.
Moe, Barbara, Pickles and Prunes (12-up). A sensitive and unusual examination of the effects of dying and of death itself.
Montgomery, L. M., Anne of Green Gables (8-12). The relationship of an imaginative Canadian orphan with the elderly brother and sister who adopt her; first of a series.
Morey, Walt, Canyon Winter (11-up). A city boy, stranded in the wild for six months with an old prospector, gains strength, understanding, and a true friend; plea for environmental responsibility and appreciation of nature.
Mowat, Farley, Owls in the Family (9-12). Humorous story of a boy's love of nature — especially animals — while growing up in Canada.
Mundy, Talbot, Om: The Secret of Ahbor Valley (12-up). Stirring adventure story with mystical overtones set in 1920s India, involving a mysterious lama, his chela, and a British operative determined to uncover their secret. Also The Devil's Guard (14-up).
Naidoo, Beverly, Journey to Jo'burg (7-12). Story of the problems of native South African family life, rural and urban, under apartheid.
Namoika, Lensey, April and the Dragon Lady (12-up). Chinese-American high school girl copes with her manipulative, old-fashioned grandmother.
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds, The Keeper (12-up). As his father becomes increasingly violent and delusional, a boy and his mother become fearful and isolated, and despair of having him involuntarily committed until the situation is resolved. Suspenseful but not depressing, the book encourages readers to ask others for help when it is needed.
—— To Walk the Sky Path (10-up). A young Florida Indian is torn between the traditional culture of his family and the demands of a modern public school.
Nesbit, E. S., The Railway Children (7-12). Riches to rags to riches tale of three Edwardian children who help in clearing their father of a false charge. Also The Enchanted Garden (7-12).
Neville, Emily Cheney, Berries Goodman (11-up). Explores friendship, anti-Semitism, and city vs. suburb.
Newton, Suzanne, I Will Call It Georgie's Blues (12-up). A troubled minister learns from his children the effects of his hypocrisy; a story of hope and regeneration.
O'Dell, Scott, Island of the Blue Dolphins (10-14). Historical novel about the resourcefulness of an Indian girl left behind to survive alone on an island off Southern California.
Ogiwara, Noriko, Dragon Sword and Wind Child (10-15). Using motifs from Japanese mythology, a story of the battle between the forces of heaven and earth.
Orgel, Doris, The Devil in Vienna (12-up). The close friendship of the daughter of a Nazi storm trooper and a Jew; based on the author's experiences.
Orwell, George, Animal Farm (13-up). Fable, using farm animals, about totalitarianism and the corruption of idealism by power. Also 1984 (14-up).
Park, Linda Sue, Single Shard (12-up). Young boy in 12th-century Korea makes a long, dangerous journey which unexpectedly changes his life, promising to make his dreams come true.
Paterson, Katherine, Of Nightingales That Weep (12-up). Daughter of a Samurai learns the emptiness of appearances and the importance of integrity, set in turbulent 12th-century Japan.
—— The Great Gilly Hopkins (10-14). A rough, witty girl who has been shifted from one foster home to the next, learns to love and to accept her responsibilities from the unconditional love of her last foster-parent.
Pfeffer, Susan Beth, What Do You Do When Your Mouth Won't Open (12-up). Trials of a young girl who eventually masters her great fear of public speaking.
Potok, Chaim, The Chosen (14-up). Two brilliant young Jews, sons of a Hasidic rabbi and a Zionist, begin with hate and finally achieve enduring friendship despite conflicts between their fathers; illuminates Jewish history and tradition.
Preussler, Otfried, The Satanic Mill (12-up). Beggar boy in 17th-century Germany, lured to an isolated mill, finds the miller a magician running a black arts school; points out the value of love and courage.
Raskin, Ellen, The Westing Game (13-up). Unusual mystery in which the will of an unpopular rich man challenges people to find his murderer; full of puzzles.
Reaver, Chap, Bill (12-up). Teenage girl lives with her alcoholic moonshiner father and her wonderful dog; one day a door of opportunity begins to open for them.
Reiss, Johanna, The Upstairs Room (11-up). Story of two Jewish sisters hidden by a farm family in Holland, told by the younger, with fine characterizations and realistic reactions that come from life-experience. Her family's post-war experiences are told in The Journey Back (11-up).
Robertson, Keith, In Search of a Sandhill Crane (10-14). A teenager from the city matures while staying with his aunt in the country.
Robinson, Veronica, David in Silence (10-13). Perceptive story of a deaf boy, new in town, and the relationships he forms with hearing children.
Rodgers, Mary, Freaky Friday (10-up). A 13-year-old switches bodies with her mother for a day in this amusing story.
Rostkowski, Margaret I., After the Dancing Days (12-15). The friendship of a teenager with a badly-deformed WWI veteran erases the young man's bitterness, clarifies her conflicts between service, honesty, and loyalty, and awakens deeper understanding and compassion in the hearts of her extended family. Also, Moon Dancer (12-14).
Rounds, Glen, The Blind Colt (5-11). Tells how a blind wild colt survives his first year in the Badlands of Montana, finally to be befriended by a young boy; fine nature descriptions.
Rushdie, Salman, Haroon and the Sea of Stories (11-up). Exuberant wordplay highlights this fantasy about a boy's journey to give his father back the ability to tell stories.
Ruskin, John, The King of the Golden River (6-12). Allegory of greed and cruelty vs. kindness and goodness, centering on three brothers.
Saint-Exupery, Antoine de, The Little Prince (10-up). Mystical tale of a small visitor from another planet.
Salinger, J. D., Franny and Zooey (14-up). Youngest children in an unusual family, now grown up, help each other come to some realization of the meaning of life.
Salten, Felix, Bambi: A Life in the Woods (6-10). Classic story of a deer, and of man's impact on the forest.
Sandoz, Mari, The Horse Catcher (12-up). The young hero, hating killing but loving to catch horses, eventually earns a position of honor and respect; describes Indian life and at-oneness with the earth, its bounty, and living things.
Saroyan, William, The Human Comedy (13-up). Warm, sad, funny tale of a family in California's central valley during WWII, with a feeling for the unity of all people and of all life.
Saunders, Marshall, Beautiful Joe (6-up). Warm "autobiography" of a mistreated dog at last leading a dignified, contented life; emphasizing the importance of loving care, this classic based on an actual dog helped change public attitudes toward animals.
Schami, Rafik, A Hand Full of Stars (12-15). Four years from the diary of a Christian teen in Damascus seeking to be a journalist despite repression, giving insight into family life, religion, love, and political and social conditions.
Schlee, Ann, The Vandal (13-up). Surrealistic view of the future — controlled by computers, without memory from day to day, without violence or emotion — and the few who dare to break out; a tribute to the humanness of present mankind.
Sebestyen, Ouida, Words by Heart (12-up). A universal story of the risks of rising above prejudice, fear, and tragedy to grasp and affirm life.
Seredy, Kate, The Good Master (7-11). Adventures of a lively girl who goes to live in the Hungarian countryside with her uncle's family; continued in The Singing Tree.
—— Philomena (5-9). An orphan follows her intuition in order to find her aunt in the city.
Seton, Ernest Thompson, Lives of the Hunted (10-up) and Wild Animals I Have Known (10-up). Beautifully told, but often sad, stories of animals by a master nature author.
Sewell, Anna, Black Beauty (7-11). Classic animal story of the ups and downs in a horse's life, told from the horse's viewpoint.
Shaw, George Bernard, Pygmalion (14-up). Witty play about a linguistic professor's molding of a Cockney flowergirl comments on class and human relations.
Shelley, Mary W., Frankenstein (13-up). Thought-provoking classic about a scientist's overweening ambition and his refusal to accept and love his creation.
Shriver, Maria, What's Wrong with Timmy (4-10). Story may help parents discuss questions about children with developmental disabilities.
Shute, Nevil, Pied Piper (13-up). A man fleeing the Nazi occupation of France finds himself helping a group of children reach England.
Shyer, Marlene Fanta, Welcome Home, Jellybean (10-up). The ups and downs when a mentally retarded teenager returns to live with her parents and younger brother; surprisingly humorous.
Sidney, Margaret, Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (6-10). Classic story about a poor but close family who unexpectedly find prosperity and happiness; first of a series.
Singer, Isaac Bashevis, The Power of Light (5-12). Eight beautifully told stories, set in Europe and America, convey something of the miraculous quality of the Hanukkah festival.
Skurzynski, Gloria, Good-bye, Billy Radish (11-15). Friendship between Irish-American and immigrant Ukrainian boys in a WWI steel mill town, telling of the happiness and hardships of those days before labor laws.
Smith, E. Boyd, The Farm Book (4-9). Simple story of two city children spending time on a farm, as well as beautiful, accurate illustrations, reveal New England rural life and values in 1910.
Snyder, Zilpha Keatley, The Egypt Game (10-12). A young girl's adventures and friendships show the need for people to reach out to each other.
Sommerfelt, Aimee, The Road to Agra (12-up). A poor boy takes his young sister on a long, dangerous walk through India to get an eye operation; full of atmosphere, excitement, and Eastern wisdom.
Sperry, Armstrong, Call It Courage (8-10). Polynesian boy sails alone to a distant island on a quest to conquer his fear of the sea.
Spinelli, Jerry, Maniac Magee (12-up). Amusing yet serious story of a runaway boy, the fastest runner in the world, who comes to the city and accepts help wherever he finds it, among blacks and whites, eventually helping to avert racial conflict.
Spyri, Johanna, Heidi (8-10). Swiss orphan transforms the life of her grandfather and others around her, and overcomes adversity to return to her mountain home.
Staples, Suzanne Fisher, Shabandu, Daughter of the Wind (11-up). Story of the independent 11-year-old daughter of a camel trader, written with great empathy for the desert dwellers of Pakistan; continued in Haveli.
Steig, William, Dominic (9-12). A joyous journey with a most unusual dog as hero, illustrated by the author and filled with humor, generosity, and adventure.
Steinbeck, John, The Grapes of Wrath (14-up). The plight of the homeless fleeing the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, stressing the humanity of the poor and displaced.
Stevenson, Robert Louis, The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde (13-up). Dramatization of the duality of human nature. Also Treasure Island (8-up) and Kidnapped (8-15).
Stevenson, William, The Bushbabies (10-up). A young girl travels on foot through East Africa with an African herdsman and her beloved bushbaby; exciting and historical.
Strete, Craig Kee, When Grandfather Journeys into Winter (8-12). The bond of love between a wise old Indian and his young grandson in a world where ancient traditions are hard to maintain.
Taylor, Mildred, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (10-15). Intense story of a black farm family surviving in 1930s Mississippi; first of a series.
Taylor, Sydney, All-of-a-Kind Family (8-12). Five sisters in a poor but happy Jewish family in turn-of-the-century New York; first of a series.
Terlouw, Jan, How to Become King (10-14). A 17-year-old boy undergoes seven tests to become king in this satirical fantasy.
Titchenell, Elsa-Brita, Once Round the Sun (5-9). Combining science with fun, Peter's "Big Year" provides many lessons about natural rhythms and phenomena.
Tolkien, J. R. R., The Hobbit (7-10). Written especially for children, this book introduces Middle Earth and its inhabitants with an adventure of dwarves, a dragon, and stolen treasure.
—— The Lord of the Rings (11-up). The stirring, mythic adventure of the inhabitants of Middle Earth battling to prevent the triumph of the forces of evil; includes The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King.
Travers, P. L., Mary Poppins (6-10). A mysterious nanny transforms the lives of the Banks family; first of a series.
Trevino, Elizabeth Borton de, I, Juan de Parejo (11-up). Story centering on Velazquez' African slave, who wins his freedom, throws light on the Spanish painter.
Uchida, Yoshiko, A Jar of Dreams (12-up). Japanese-Americans during the Depression deal with prejudice; set against a warm family background.
—— Journey Home (8-12). Based on the author's experiences, a Japanese-American girl and her family return from internment camp to begin from scratch, meeting prejudice, hard times, and happiness. The story is begun with the family's internment in Journey to Topaz (8-12).
Warner, Gertrude Chandler, The Boxcar Children (6-10). The adventures of four orphans left almost penniless, whose daring and resourcefulness lead to a delightful ending; easy-reader, first of a series.
Watkins, Yoko Kawashima, So Far from the Bamboo Grove (11-up). Gripping, exceptional story of the hardships involved in a Japanese family's escape from Korea and their struggles in Japan after WWII; based on the author's life. Continued in My Brother, My Sister, and I (11-up).
Weiman, Eiveen, Which Way Courage (12-up). An Amish teenager, who does not fit into the patterns family and community demand, finds strength and courage; introduction to Amish beliefs and way of life.
Wells, H. G., The Island of Dr. Moreau (13-up). Suspenseful science fiction brings out the horror of vivisection and of scientific research divorced from ethics. Also The Time Machine (13-up).
Whelen, Gloria, Chu Ju's House (13-up). Chinese girl runs away from home to save her little sister, and by sheer will power and hard work at last finds success and serenity.
—— Homeless Bird (13-up). Hindu girl becomes a teenage virgin widow, and overcomes many obstacles before finding contentment; offers a deep understanding of India.
White, E. B., Charlotte's Web (7-up). Friendship between a pig and a remarkable spider who saves his life.
Wier, Ester, The Loner (10-up). The evolution of an outcast orphan, who learns that people do need each other.
Wilder, Laura Ingalls, The Little House in the Big Woods (5-10). First of the autobiographical stories about a pioneer family; full of worthwhile human values. Later books in the series are written for progressively older children.
Wilder, Thornton, The Bridge of San Luis Rey (15-up). Examination of the lives of the several people killed when a bridge collapses, asking the question: why these people?
Williams [Bianco], Margery, The Velveteen Rabbit (4-8). Right before it must be destroyed, a beloved toy is saved by becoming real.
Williams, Vera B., Scooter (7-12). Particularly well-told story of a spunky girl who moves to New York City with her mother and makes new friends.
Wojciechowska, Maia, A Single Light (12-up). In this touching tale of renewal, a deaf and speechless girl in rural Spain, rejected by those around her, eventually leads others to change their lives by allowing them to see themselves for what they really are.
Wyss, Johann, Swiss Family Robinson (9-up). Through ingenuity, humor, and optimism, a shipwrecked family survive their adventures on a deserted tropical island.
Yep, Laurence, Dragonwings (11-up). A boy growing up in San Francisco's Chinatown in the early 1900s comes to understand his father's obsession with flight, while the father realizes the importance of human relationships.
Yumoto, Kazumi, The Friends (11-14). Curious about death, three schoolmates observe an old man, which unexpectedly changes the lives of all four for the better.