Reading Grade Level given is according to the Unabridged Version
Alternate reading levels/versions are acceptable and available for many of these books!
(Plot summaries and reviews compiled from various sources online)
A Boat to Nowhere By Maureen Crane Wartski – 5th
This is the story of two Vietnamese children, their ailing grandfather, and the orphan who attempts to save them in a small fishing boat. Historical Fiction Across Five Aprils
By Irene Hunt – 6.6 Reading Grade Level
The Newbery Award winning authorpresents the unforgettable story of Jethro Creighton—a brave boy who comes of age during the turbulent years of the Civil War.
Historical Fiction The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
By Mark Twain – 8.1
Award-winning classic. Tom Sawyer, a mischievous 19th-century boy in a Mississippi River town, and his friends, Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher, run away from home, witness a murder, and find treasure in a cave. Classic novelabout a clever young boy growing up along theMississippi River. It is set in the fictionaltownof St. Petersburg, inspired byHannibal, Missouri, where Twain lived. Tom Sawyerlives with hisAunt Pollyand his half-brotherSid. He skips school to swim and is made to whitewash the fence the next day as punishment. He cleverly persuades his friends to trade him small treasures for the “privilege” of doing his work.
Fiction All Creatures Great and Small
By James Harriot – 6.8
Award-winning English veterinarian Harriot reminisces about his animal patients in a small village in the Yorkshire dales.
“Since I want to become a vet, I thought that this would be a great book to read. From the first sentence to the last I was enthralled. The words James Herriot uses in his books make you feel like you are standing right beside him when he is talking. This book will make you literally laugh out loud and also will make you cry.”
Nonfiction Autobiography Aladdin and Other Tales from The Arabian Nights (or, Sindbad the Sailor and Other Tales from The Arabian Nights – Unabridged)
By N.J. Dawood – 6th/7th
These classic folktales, translated from A THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS, tell how Shahrazad saves herself from execution by distracting King Shahryar with stories. This book contains Arabian, Indian and Persian tales full of magic and excitement.
Folktales Fiction. Anne of Green Gables
By L.M. Montgomery – 7.3
The best-seller classic has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 20 languages. Follow the adventures of the free-spirited redhead Anne Shirley, an 11-year old orphan who is sent by mistake to live on a Canadian farm with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister and makes an indelible impression on everyone around her as she wins the hearts of everyone she meets.
Fiction Ask Me No Questions By Marina Budhos – 5th Fourteen-year-old Muslim Nadira, her sister, and their parents leave Bangladesh for New York City, but the expiration of their visas and the events of September 11, 2001, bring frustration, sorrow, and terror for the whole family.
Historical Fiction The Birchbark House Erdrich, Louise Erdrich – 6.1
Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847.
Historical Fiction The Black Stallion By Walter Farley – 6th The understanding and love between Alec Ramsay and a magnificent wild horse endure through shared adventures and dangers.
By Jean Fritz – 6th
Newbery Award winning author Fritz has written an exciting, yet tender, historical chronicle of a boy, his home, and his times. Brady has never been trusted with secrets, until now. When he discovers an Underground Railroad station near his family's farm, he is forced to make his own decision about the slavery controversy. Whatever his decision may be, he knows that this is one secret that must be kept.
Historical Fiction The Bronze Bow
By Elizabeth George Speare – 6th
This gripping, Newbery Medal action-packed novel tells the story of eighteen-year-old Daniel bar Jamin—a fierce, hotheaded Israeli young man bent on forcing the Romans from his land. Daniel’s palpable hatred for Romans wanes only when he hears the gentle lessons of the traveling carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth. A fast-paced, suspenseful, vividly wrought tale of friendship, loyalty, the idea of home, community . . . and ultimately: “Can’t you see, Daniel, it is hate that is the enemy? Not men. Hate does not die with killing. It only springs up a hundredfold. The only thing stronger than hate is love.” A powerful, relevant read in turbulent times.
By Carol Ryrie Brink – 6.0
Awarded the John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. A spirited pioneer girl relates her adventures on the Wisconsin frontier.Caddie Woodlawn is a real adventurer. She'd rather hunt than sew and plow than bake, and no one understands why she is friends with the Native Indians.
Historical Fiction Call Me Maria By Judith Ortiz Cofer – 6th
Fifteen-year-old Maria leaves her mother and their Puerto Rican home to live in the barrio of New York with her father, and feels torn between the two cultures in which she has been raised.
Historical Fiction Carry on, Mr. Bowditch
By Jean Lee Latham - 5th
“No better book can be given to a young person who shows real intellectual potential, especially in math and science.” This Newbery award winner is a fictionalized biography of the early life and career of Nathanial Bowditch of Salem. Set in a proud Massachusetts sailing village and on the high seas, remarkable true story tells how a small, bright young boy who seemed to have all his dreams dashed as he grew up show perseverance in the face of adversity… and literally rewrite the book on 18th century navigation, thus making the ocean safer for all. By pursuing his intellectual passions whenever he had a spare moment, he became one of the most famous marine navigation experts of all time and saved countless lives.
Historical Fiction Biography Cheaper by the Dozen
By Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth – 6.0
This best-selling memoir recounts the lives Frank Bunker Gilbreth and Lillian Moller Gilbreth, discussing the adventures they encountered raising a family with twelve children.
Award-winning novel on Oprah’s Book Club. This book is a beautifully told and profoundly compassionate, amzing story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom, set in the troubled and changing South Africa of the 1940s.
This is the award-winning, world-famous timeless story of Pilgrim's Progress told again for another generation. “John Bunyan has created a story that will, regardless of your religious affiliation, profoundly move your heart. The author has created settings and characters that boldly reflect the best and worst of all things experienced within a lifetime, for all time. Bunyan's book is as relevant and necessary today as at any point since being written in 1676. If you read only one version of Pilgrim's Progress, make sure that ‘Dangerous Journey,’ is it. The poetic flow and wonderful illustrations grab and hold onto to you at word one and never let go.”
By Pam Muñoz Ryan – 6th
Winner of Smithsonian Best Books 2000 and other awards. Esperanza thought she'd always live with her fancy dresses and servants on her family’s ranch in Mexico. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances--Mama's life, and her own, depend on it.
Historical Fiction Extra Credit
By Andrew Clements – 6th
Abby Carson is a sixth grade student in rural Illinois whose head is everywhere but her schoolwork. In order to be spared the embarrassment of being left behind a grade, she agrees to an extra credit assignment involving writing to a pen pal in another country and so she meets 11-yr. old Sadeed Bayat and his sister in rural Afghanistan. As their friendship flourishes, problems arise on both sides. However, as letters flow back and forth between the prairies of Illinois and the mountains of Afghanistan, across cultural and religious divides, they learn to speak and listen to each other.
Farewell to Manzanar
By Jeanne Houston – 6.7
Award-winning true story of a spirited Japanese-American family's attempt to survive the indignities of forced detention, and of a native-born American child who discovered what it was like to grow up behind barbed wire in the United States. Jeanne Wakatsuki was seven years old in 1942 when her family was uprooted from their home and sent to live at Manzanar internment camp--with 10,000 other Japanese Americans. Along with searchlight towers and armed guards, Manzanar ludicrously featured cheerleaders, Boy Scouts, sock hops, baton twirling lessons and a dance band called the “Jive Bombers.” Nonfiction
Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America By Firoozeh Dumas – 7.3
In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father’s glowing memories of his graduate school years here.
Nonfiction autobiography George Washington Carver: From Slave to Scientist By Janet Benge – 7.3
George Washington Carver was a weak young boy, kidnapped from his family, not allowed to go to school… yet he taught himself wonderful skills that saved the whole South! He overcame many disadvantages and prejudices to become a brilliant scientist and a gifted professor.
George's mother panicked when she heard the thunder of horses and the whooping of men. Bushwhackers! She pulled her baby close to her chest and stood rooted to the dirt floor in fear. A man stumbled through her doorway. "We got us one, boys!" he yelled, waving his rifle in the air and dragging his captives into the cold night.
Once a kidnapped slave baby, George Washington Carver found freedom in learning everything he could about the world around him. Overcoming poverty and racism, George became a brilliant scientist and a gifted professor who dedicated his expertise to helping farmers escape the devastating grip of poverty. George's scientific creativity knew no limits. Still remembered for his far-reaching and diverse achievements, Dr. Carver generously shared his talent simply for the reward of helping others.
Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story By Gregg Lewis – 6.7 He was in trouble at school for not doing his homework and getting into fights. Now he is a life-saving doctor and running for President of the United States! This book tells the story of Ben Carson, providing an account of how he went from a rebellious child of poverty in Detroit, labeled the class dummy, to become one of the world's leading pediatric neurosurgeons.
Nonfiction biography God King
By Joanne Williamson – 6th
Award-winning author carries the reader back to Ancient Egypt in 701 B.C, during the rule of the Kushite dynasty. Young Prince Taharka, a very minor royal son, succeeds unexpectedly to the throne of Kush and Egypt-a divine rulership. It's not long, however, before a treacherous plot pushes him into sudden exile and into the hands of Amos, an emissary of King Hezekiah seeking help against the Assyrians. Posing as a medical assistant, Taharka journeys with Amos to Judea where he encounters the two kings in conflict. His true identity suddenly uncovered, he must choose with whom he will fight-the mighty Assyrian, Sennacherib, promising alliance or Hezekiah, the Jew who trusts in Yahweh. “I particularly liked the fact that the book was set in a historical period that is not well studied by your typical 12 year old. Hopefully, it will spur some interest in ancient history among the young. The book is also notable because though Taharka is Black, race never becomes an issue as it often so tediously does in more contemporary fiction for young people. For this reason, I almost hesitate to bring up the subject at all. Let it suffice to say that if more fiction were written from this perspective--where a Black main character is portrayed positively and the other characters are good or evil not based on their race but on their actions--race relations in the real world might actually improve.”
The Golden Goblet
By Eloise Jarvis McGraw - 6th
Winner of a Newbery Honor, an exciting ancient Egyptian mystery! Ranofer wants only one thing in the world: to be a master goldsmith like his beloved father was. But how can he when he is all but imprisoned by his evil half brother, Gebu? Ranofer knows the only way he can escape Gebu's abuse is by changing his destiny. But can a poor boy with no skills survive on the cutthroat streets of ancient Thebes? Then Ranofer finds a priceless golden goblet in Gebu's room and he knows his luck−and his destiny−are about to change.
Historical Fiction Gone with the Wind By Margaret Mitchell – 7.1 After the Civil War sweeps away the genteel life to which she has been accustomed, Scarlett O'Hara sets about to salvage her plantation home. Mature readers only due to some violence, etc.
Historical Fiction Hans Brinker and The Silver Skates
By Mary Mapes Dodge – 6th Dutch brother and sister Hans and Gretel's dream of competing for the silver skates seems as remote as a cure for their invalid father, until a new friend comes into their lives.
Historical Fiction Heidi
By Johanna Spyri- 8.2
The classic best-seller is about an orphan girl, Heidi, who has been sent to live with her grandfather, a lonely, angry man at the top of a secluded mountain in the Swiss Alps. However, she builds a strong bond with him and when she is forced into town to attend school and be a friend to a wealthy man's invalid daughter, Heidi becomes homesick for her Grandfather and her home in the mountains. “The part of the book I enjoyed most is when Heidi makes a new friend called Clara. Her other friend, Peter, who is Heidi's grandfather's shepherd, starts to become jealous. Clara's stranded in a wheelchair and cannot travel anywhere without it. Peter knows this, so he decides to get rid of the chair; that way, he will be able to spend more time with Heidi. Unfortunately, this plan backfires completely. Instead of making Clara feel isolated, he makes her realize she can walk!”
Helen Keller: A Photographic Story of a Life Garrett, Leslie Garrett – 6.5
Photographs, illustrations, and text explore the life of Helen Keller, a woman who lost her vision and hearing at the age of two, but went on, with the help of her teacher Annie Sullivan, to become a world-famous speaker and writer.
Nonfiction The Hiding Place By Corrie TenBoom – 6.4
Only twenty minutes away from Anne Frank’s home, two Christian sisters were helping Jews escape. This is the autobiographical story of Corrie Ten Boom and how she and her family worked for the Dutch underground movement during World War II. The family were Christians and took a very strong stand against the Nazi persecution of the Jews. Corrie's father, a kindly, religious man, even wore a Jewish star to walk in solidarity with the Jews. Corrie and her sister, Betsie were two ladies aged 45 and 52 years of age, respectively. They are the unlikely heroines of this story. Never married and rather innocent of the world, they proved the old saying that "you can't tell a book by its cover." Both sisters risked everything they had including their lives to save people they didn't even know. “In today's world of "me first", it's so encouraging to read a story of a family that truly lived their faith and practiced the Golden Rule.”This book tells how their faith helped them to overcome its horrors.
Nonfiction autobiography Hittite Warrior
By Joanne Williamson – 6th
In 1200 B.C., Uriah the Hittite leaves his conquered homeland and, following his father's instruction, seeks refuge with an old family friend, eventually finding himself in a battle between the Canaanite forces of Sisera and the Hebrew forces of Barak.
Historical Fiction The Hobbit (Lord of the Rings trilogy)
By J.R.R. Tolkien – 6th
Voted "The Greatest Book of the Millennium" on Amazon.com.
Frodo Baggins, a young hobbit, sets out on a perilous journey with a band of warriors from different kingdoms to the Cracks of Doom to destroy the Dark Lord's Ring of Power. Mild-mannered Oxford scholar John Ronald Reuel Tolkien had little inkling when he publishedThe Hobbit; Or, There and Back Again that, once hobbits were unleashed upon the world, there would be no turning back. Hobbits are, of course, small, furry creatures who love nothing better than a leisurely life quite free from adventure. But in that first novel and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the hobbits Bilbo and Frodo and their elfish friends get swept up into a mighty conflict with the dragon Smaug, the dark lord Sauron, the monstrous Gollum, the Cracks of Doom, and the awful power of the magical Ring. The four books' characters--good and evil--are recognizably human, and the realism is deepened by the magnificent detail of the vast parallel world Tolkien devised.
Fantasy Fiction Homer Price
By Robert McCloskey – 6.6
(Caldecott award-winning author McCloskey was declared a Living Legend by the Library of Congress.) Ingenious young Homer Price captures thieves, solves mysteries, and helps people in trouble. Homer Price lives two miles out of Centerburg, but most of his friends and relatives live in town. In six preposterous tales, Robert McCloskey takes a good look at the face of mid-western America with humorous and affectionate eyes. The strange skullduggery of the Sensational Scent, the extravagant affair of the Doughnuts, the breathtaking suspense of “Mystery Yarn”, the doleful defeat of The Super-Duper, the puzzling problem of Michael Murphy’s musical Mousetrap, and the Great Pageant of One Hundred and Fifty Years of Centerburg Progress Week, will reduce him/her to helpless laughter.
Fiction with Overt Literary Devices
The House of Sixty Fathers By Meindert DeJong – 6th Award-winning author writes this story of a young Chinese boy and his beloved pig, "Glory of the Republic", who get separated from his family and caught behind Japanese lines when Japan invaded China in the late 1930's. It has some scary moments. But the book will open your eyes as to what it might be like as a child to be caught in a war.
Tien Pao is all alone in enemy territory. Only a few days before, his family had escaped from the Japanese army, fleeing downriver by boat. Then came the terrible rainstorm. Tien Pao was fast asleep in the little sampan when the boat broke loose from its moorings and drifted right back to the Japanese soldiers. With only his lucky pig for company, Tien Pao must begin a long and dangerous journey in search of his home and family. Historical Fiction
I, Juan de Pareja By Elizabeth Borton de Treviño – 6.5 After the slave Juan de Pareja is willed to the great Spanish painter Velázquez, Juan teaches himself to paint and wins his freedom and the respect of his great master. Their relationship changes from one of master and slave to one friendship.
Jack Archer: Tale of Crimea
By G.A. Henty – 6th +
Best-selling author writes this interesting detailed historical story of a young English youth's survival and growth during the Crimean war (1850’s). There's no profane dialog or graphic bloody descriptions; instead, battle stats are provided. “Every young person needs to read this book! It's packed with adventure and a thrilling tale as only G.A. Henty can describe it. Where else does a 15-year-old boy get captured with his pal and save his country, learn Russian, sail through heavy storms, fight on the front lines, get the girl and it all end up well with a climactic ending?!” (Most Americans only know of this conflict through the Charge of the Light Brigade and Florence Nightingale). Our hero survives adventures at Gibraltar and the battles of Alma, Bacalava, and Inkerman, but is captured and is involved in the death of a Russian official. He escapes, goes through the fall of Sebastopol, and ultimately marries a wealthy Russian girl.
Jacob Have I Loved
By Katherine Paterson – 6th
Newbery Award. Feeling deprived all her life of schooling, friends, mother, and even her name by her twin sister, Louise finally begins to find her identity. Sara Louise Bradshaw is sick and tired of her beautiful twin Caroline. Ever since they were born, Caroline has been the pretty one, the talented one, the better sister. Even now, Caroline seems to take everything: Louise's friends, their parents' love, her dreams for the future. For once in her life, Louise wants to be the special one. But in order to do that, she must first figure out who she is . . . and find a way to make a place for herself outside her sister's shadow.
Johnny Tremain By Esther Forbes – 6th Newbery Medal-winning novel. The Year: 1773. The place: Boston. Johnny Tremain is fourteen and apprenticed to a silversmith. He is gifted and lords his skills over the other apprentices, until one day his hand is horribly burned by molten silver. Johnny’s dreams of silversmithing are over. A depressed Johnny finds work as a dispatch rider, a job that brings him in touch with Boston patriots—and the excitement that will lead to his dramatic involvement as a patriot in the days just before the American Revolution.
Historical Fiction King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table By Joshua E. Hanft – 6.2
In this retelling of the Howard Pyle classic tale, King Arthur, at the head of the Round Table, leads the most gallant men of the realm to fight to bring peace, to perform outstanding deeds of strength and bravery, and to win honor.
Fiction The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia)
By C.S. Lewis – 6th
This best-seller is on TIME’s 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005 and School Library Journal’s One Hundred Books that Shaped the Century, and presents the story of four English school children who find their way through the back of a wardrobe into the magic land of Narnia and assist Aslan, the golden lion, to triumph over the White Witch who has cursed the land with eternal winter. Journeys to the end of the world, fantastic creatures, and epic battles between good and evil—what more could any reader ask for in one book? For the past fifty years,The Chronicles of Narniahave transcended the fantasy genre to become part of the canon of classic literature. Each of the seven books is a masterpiece, drawing the reader into a land where magic meets reality, and the result is a fictional world whose scope has fascinated generations. Fantasy Fiction Little Women
By Louisa May Alcott – 7.9
Little Womenis one of the best loved books of all time. Lovely Meg, talented Jo, frail Beth, spoiled Amy: these girls go through hard lessons of poverty and of growing up in New England during the Civil War. Through their dreams, plays, pranks, letters, illnesses, and courtships, women of all ages have become a part of this remarkable family. Based on Louise May Alcott's childhood, this lively portrait of nineteenth-century family life possesses a lasting vitality that has endeared it to generations of readers.
By Eloise Jarvis McGraw - 6th
Jim Keath attempts to re-orient himself to life as a white man, after living for six years as a pioneer boy among Crow Indian. “If you like the outdoors, the ways of the Old West, and unmatched descriptions, this Newbery novel is one you should look into. The happenings of the book are so well described that you can see, hear, taste, feel and smell every detail possible throughout the book. Mrs. McGraw sends a vivid picture of setting into the reader's mind so well that you could feel the grizzly take a swipe at Jim's face. Readers of any age could fall in love with this adventure story.”
The Complete Mowgli of the Jungle Book Stories By Rudyard Kipling – 4th to 9thRaised by a pack of wolves, the little boy known as Mowgli forms the human heart of an animal community in the Indian wilderness. These selections fromThe Jungle Book, The Second Jungle Book,andMany Inventionsoffer a chronological presentation of every episode from Rudyard Kipling's beloved tales of a feral child, including the beloved poems. The adventures begin with "Mowgli's Brothers," in which the orphan is rescued from the wrath of Shere Khan, the man-eating tiger. Upon his adoption into the wolf pack, Mowgli is schooled in the Law of the Jungle by Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther. Eight additional tales trace the boy's growing knowledge of jungle lore as well as his moral development and return to human society. Kipling's powerfully original fables, recounted in richly evocative prose, continue to enchant readers of all ages. Fiction
My Side of the Mountain
By Jean Craighead George – 6th
Written in the form of a diary, this story relates the days of a young boy in the Catskill Mountains. This coming-of-age story about a boy and his falcon went on to win a Newbery Honor, and for the past forty years has enthralled and entertained generations of would-be Sam Gribleys.
(Companion book to the My Side of the Mountain: Pocket Guide to the Outdoors: Based on My Side of the Mountain George, Jean Craighead
This book offers an easy-to-follow guide on camping, building shelters, finding water, and cooking outdoors for fans of MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN, who want to live the adventure.
Number the Stars
By Lois Lowry – 5th
In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis. Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen's life.
Historical Fiction An Old Fashioned Girl
By Louisa May Alcott – 8.2
Award-winning author writes of Polly's friendship with the wealthy Shaws of Boston that helps them to build a new life and teaches her the truth about the relationship between happiness and riches.
Fiction Out of the Silent Planet (The Space Trilogy)
By C.S. Lewis – 7.4
Out of the Silent Planetwas reportedly inspired by a conversation between Lewis and his friend, also a famous author, J.R.R. Tolkien. The men lamented the state of modern fiction and agreed that each would write a science-fiction story of the type that they found ‘good’. Thus, award-winning first novel of C.S. Lewis's classic science fiction trilogy. Dr. Ransom, a Cambridge academic, is abducted and taken on a spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra, which he knows as Mars. His captors are plotting to plunder the planet's treasures and plan to offer Ransom as a sacrifice to the creatures who live there.
Fantasy Science Fiction
By John Steinbeck – 7.1
Kino, a poor Mexican pearl-diver, believes he has received the answer to his prayers when he finds a great pearl worth a fortune, but tragedy soon follows.
Historical Fiction The Phantom Tollbooth
By Norton Juster – 6.7
Parents’ Choice Classic Award, among others. As “Milo, a boy who is always bored, finds a mystery package and heads toward Dictionopolis, he meets with the Whether Man ("for after all it's more important to know whether there will be weather than what the weather will be"), passes through The Doldrums (populated by Lethargarians), and picks up a watchdog named Tock (who has a giant alarm clock for a body). The brilliant satire and double entendre intensifies in the Word Market, where after a brief scuffle with Officer Short Shrift, Milo and Tock set off toward the Mountains of Ignorance to rescue the twin Princesses, Rhyme and Reason. Anyone with an appreciation for language, irony, orAlice in Wonderland-style adventure will adore this book for years on end.”
By Eleanor Hodgson Burnett- 6th
Award-winning classic. Orphaned eleven-year-old Pollyanna comes to live with stern and wealthy Aunt Polly, and her philosophy of gladness brings happiness to her aunt and other unhappy members of the community.
Fiction The Princess and Curdie
By George MacDonald – 8.4
The Princess and Curdie are back in this sequel to The Princess and the Goblin (see next entry on this list). Princess Irene and her male friend Curdie are a year or two older, and are sent on a task to save the kingdom from evil men with a monster called Lina to help him on his quest. A wonderful tale of adventure and courage.
Fantasy Fiction The Princess and the Goblin
By George MacDonald – 6.1
This best-seller classic was one of JRR Tolkien’s favorites. Princess Irene lives in a castle on a wild, lonely mountain. Can the ring the princess is given protect her against the lurking menace of the goblins from under the mountain? MacDonald blends Romantic literature with the greatest characteristics of fairy tales--then he turns convention on its head. Some examples: -Whereas in fairy tales wisdom is associated with the old and knowledgeable, wisdom is here associated with innocence. -While in traditional tales, it is the hero who saves the princess, here the princess must rescue the hero.
- -Fans of modern fantasy may be used to Providential Guidance being related to male literary figures such as Tolkien's Gandalf, Lewis' Aslan. Here the figure is Feminine--the Grandmother.
Fantasy Fiction The Railway Children
By E. Nesbit – 6th
Award-winning author writes that happiness of three children (Roberta, Phyllis, and Peter) ends overnight. The family moves to "Three Chimneys" after the father is falsely accused of spying and imprisoned. An Old Gentleman helps prove their father's innocence, the family is reunited, and takes care of a Russian exile, Mr. Szczepansky, who came to England looking for his family. The theme of an innocent man being falsely imprisoned for espionage might have been influenced by the Dreyfus Affair, a prominent news item a few years before the book was written. The Russian exile, persecuted by the Tsars for writing "a beautiful book about poor people and how to help them" and subsequently helped by the children, was most likely an amalgam of the real-life dissidents Sergius Stepniak and Peter Kropotkin, both friends of the author.
By Brian Jacques – 6th
This story promotes peace in the face of war and is an award-winning exciting fantasy frequently enjoyed by children who normally don’t want to read.Redwall Abbey, tranquil home to a community of loyal, brave, peace-loving mice is threatened by Cluny the Scourge - the evil-one-eyed rat warlord - and his battle-hardened horde of predators.
Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry
By Mildred Taylor – 6th
Winner of the Newbery Medal, this remarkably moving novel has impressed the hearts and minds of millions of readers. Set in Mississippi at the height of the Depression, this is the story of one family’s struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice. It is also Cassie’s story—an independent girl who discovers why having land of their own is so crucial to the Logan family, even as she learns to draw strength from her own sense of dignity and self-respect.
Historical Fiction The Secret Garden
By Frances Hodgson Burnett- 6.3
Mary moves to a huge estate to live with her mysterious uncle, his ailing son, the servants, and a secret garden.
Fiction The Sign of the Beaver
By Elizabeth George Speare – 4th
This Newbery Honor-winning survival story is filled with wonderful detail about living in the wilderness and the relationships that formed between settlers and natives in the 1700s. Matt, a 13-yr. old boy in Maine, is left alone to guard his family’s new cabin in the wilderness. When a renegade white stranger steals his gun, the boy is rescued by an Indian chief and his grandson but must decide whether to spend the winter alone in the woods waiting for his family, or move on to a new life with his new friends. When Matt meets Attean, a boy in the Beaver clan, he begins to better understand their way of life and their growing problem in adapting to the white man and the changing frontier.
The Snow Goose
By Paul Gallico – 6th
This award-winning classic short novel is a simple, short written parable on the regenerative power of friendship and love. Against the backdrop of World War II, friendship develops between a lonely crippled painter and a village girl when together they minister to an injured snow goose.
Historical Fiction Sounder By William H. Armstrong – 6th
Angry and humiliated when his sharecropper father is jailed for stealing food for his family, a young black boy grows in courage and understanding by learning to read and through his relation with his devoted dog, Sounder.
Historical Fiction Tasting the Sky
By Ibtisam Barakat - 6th
This memoir set in Ramallah during the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, captures what it is like for a child whose world is shattered by war: fear and confusion as bombs explode near her home and she is separated from her family; the harshness of life as a Palestinian refugee; her unexpected joy when she discovers Alef, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. This is the beginning of her passionate connection to words, and as language becomes her refuge, allowing her to piece together the fragments of her world, it becomes her true home. “A truly exquisite book. The words weave together experiences and feelings in amazingly beautiful ways. Hearing her story of humanity in the midst of harshness is very hopeful. She doesn't pull any punches, yet shares her story without blaming.”
Uncle Tom's Cabinwas a runaway best-seller, selling 10,000 copies in the United States in its first week; 300,000 in the first year; and in Great Britain, 1.5 million copies in one year. It changed the world! Even the international audience was affected by this protest novel and literary work. This is the story that awakened the conscience of the nation to life under the slave system and, as President Lincoln said, “caused the Big war” that freed the slaves.
Historical fiction based on real life – for mature children only; some violence, etc. Watership Down
By Richard Adams – 6.2
A phenomenal worldwide bestseller for more than forty years, thisis a timeless classic and one of the most beloved novels of all time. Set in England's Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage, and survival follows a band of very special rabbits on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society.
Fantasy Fiction The Wind in the Willows
By Kenneth Grahame – 8.2
Award-winning classic, favorite of President Theodore Roosevelt. Generations of children have roamed the English countryside in the company of Rat, Mole, Toad, and Badger, through timeless tales of friendship amid the natural world. The adventures begin when Mole, feeling all the restlessness that springtime brings, abandons his burrow to discover the magic of the great river.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
By Elizabeth George Speare – 6th
Newbery Medal, a moving portrayal of a heroine whom readers will admire for her unwavering sense of truth as well as her infinite capacity to love.
Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved home on the Caribbean island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Torn between her quest for belonging and her desire to be true to herself, Kit struggles to survive in a hostile place. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit. But Kit’s friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty. Historical Fiction
A Wrinkle in Time
By Madeleine L’Engle – 5th
Winner of the Newbery Medal... The story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, her small brother Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg's father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract (wrinkle in time) problem.
www.arbookfind.com/ - Accelerated Reader
http://www.pragmaticmom.com/category/my-best-book-lists/ - Specializes in Multicultural Children’s Books
http://www.theloveliesthour.com/great-books-for-children/ - Specializes in Books for Children Who Are Advanced Readers
https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews - Reviews for Parents
http://www.csames.illinois.edu/outreach/mideast/books/Middle_Books.pdf - Books Reflecting the Middle East for Children
http://www.teachersfirst.com/content/booklist-titles.cfm?id=15 – Children’s Books on Immigration