I recently re-read Jim Trelease’s book, The Read Aloud Handbook, and it inspired me to share some of our favorite read aloud books with you! Through the past twelve years, reading aloud with my girls has been one of my absolute favorite things to do. There is something about reading aloud a story that knits you together as a family. Listening to books together builds memories and gives you a shared language, and I can’t tell you how many times someone will quote a line from a book that fits into the moment…and we all know exactly what they mean.
Reading aloud is extremely important for children (and teens). In addition to the bonding I shared about above, it:
- Increases vocabulary
- Builds background knowledge
- Helps make reading fun and interesting
- Piques curiosity
All three of my daughters love to read, and I am convinced reading aloud, reading side-by-side, and having a wide variety of books available in our home made all the difference. (You can see more about that in my post on Raising a Reader here.)
Unfortunately, one thing I often see is that as children grow, books are no longer read aloud to them.
I get it.
Life gets busy. Plus, preteens and teens are involved in more activities and utilizing more technology, but all of the benefits I listed above still apply to older kids! Please, please, please keep reading aloud to your teens!
100 Best Books to Read Aloud to Kids and Teens
Below, you’ll find 100 of our favorite classic (and not-so-classic) read aloud books. All of these are books we’ve read aloud or are books I’ve read aloud to a class I taught. Please note these are by no means an exhaustive list of our favorites!
There are so many more ideas I could share, and I want to make a huge list of picture books eventually. Plus, there are many books I have not listed that are definitely classics everyone should read (but not all classics make good read alouds, so I’ve only included those I feel are excellent to read aloud…or to listen to on audiobook).
My hope is this will give you a helpful list of read aloud books, and I’ve also included a free printable checklist in case you’d like to check them out from the library.
I will give a disclaimer that my taste in read alouds might be different than yours, so please do your due diligence before taking my recommendations to heart. For example, I don’t have any issues with magic in books, but you might. I also like to open up challenging conversations using books as a springboard, so there may be a few titles you wouldn’t feel comfortable reading aloud. I did try to include an asterisk for books I thought shouldn’t be read aloud until kids are developmentally able to deal with difficult themes.
Finally, I have a giveaway of two copies of The Read-Aloud Handbook all the way at the end of the post, so be sure to enter! If you don’t have that book, I HIGHLY recommend it. There is so much great information on the why and how of reading aloud.
(You’ll also find the printable checklist you can take with you to the library at the end of the post.)
Best Read Aloud Picture Books:
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – Judith Viorst
“The perennially popular tale of Alexander’s worst day is a storybook that belongs on every child’s bookshelf.
Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in this hair. And it got worse… His best friend deserted him. There was no dessert in his lunch bag. And, on top of all that, there were lima beans for dinner and kissing on TV!
Amelia Bedelia – Peggy Parrish
“When Mrs. Rogers leaves Amelia Bedelia alone in the house on her first day of work, anything can happen. And it does!
With a list of what is to be done before her, Amelia Bedelia sets about her duties. And no one could possibly accuse her of not following directions—for that is precisely what she does. But when Amelia Bedelia draws the drapes or dresses a chicken, the results are hilariously different than might be expected!”
The Bear that Heard Crying – Natalie Kinsey-Warnock
“A fictionalized retelling of the true story of three-year-old Sarah Whitcher, who, in 1783, became lost in the woods of New Hampshire and was protected by a bear until her rescue four days later.”
Blueberries for Sal – Robert McCloskey
“Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! Sal and her mother a picking blueberries to can for the winter. But when Sal wanders to the other side of Blueberry Hill, she discovers a mama bear preparing for her own long winter. Meanwhile Sal’s mother is being followed by a small bear with a big appetite for berries! Will each mother go home with the right little one?
With its expressive line drawings and charming story, Blueberries for Sal has won readers’ hearts since its first publication in 1948.”
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? – Bill Martin, Jr.
“A big happy frog, a plump purple cat, a handsome blue horse, and a soft yellow duck–all parade across the pages of this delightful book. Children will immediately respond to Eric Carle’s flat, boldly colored collages. Combined with Bill Martin’s singsong text, they create unforgettable images of these endearing animals.”
A Chair for My Mother – Vera B. Williams
“After their home is destroyed by a fire, Rosa, her mother, and grandmother save their coins to buy a really comfortable chair for all to enjoy.”
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – Judi Barrett
“The beloved, bestselling tale of edible weather is brought to life!
If food dropped like rain from the sky, wouldn’t it be marvelous! Or would it? It could, after all, be messy. And you’d have no choice. What if you didn’t like what fell? Or what if too much came? Have you ever thought of what it might be like to be squashed flat by a pancake?”
Corduroy – Don Freeman
“Don Freeman’s classic character, Corduroy, is even more popular today then he was when he first came on the scene in 1968. This story of a small teddy bear waiting on a department store shelf for a child’s friendship has appealed to young readers generation after generation.
Green Eggs and Ham – Dr. Seuss
“’Do you like green eggs and ham?” asks Sam-I-am in this Beginner Book by Dr. Seuss. In a house or with a mouse? In a boat or with a goat? On a train or in a tree? Sam keeps asking persistently. With unmistakable characters and signature rhymes, Dr. Seuss’s beloved favorite has cemented its place as a children’s classic. In this most famous of cumulative tales, the list of places to enjoy green eggs and ham, and friends to enjoy them with, gets longer and longer. Follow Sam-I-am as he insists that this unusual treat is indeed a delectable snack to be savored everywhere and in every way.”
Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown
“In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon.” And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room—to the picture of the three little bears sitting on chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens, to everything one by one—the little bunny says goodnight.
In this classic of children’s literature, beloved by generations of readers and listeners, the quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the end of the day.”
Harold and the Purple Crayon – Crockett Johnson
“‘One evening, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight.”
Armed only with an oversized purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of wonder and excitement.
Full of funny twists and surprises, this joyful story shows just how far your imagination can take you. Harold and the Purple Crayon has delighted readers of all ages since 1955.”
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World – Marjorie Priceman
“An apple pie is easy to make…if the market is open. But if the market is closed, the world becomes your grocery store. This deliciously silly recipe for apple pie takes readers around the globe to gather ingredients. First hop a steamboat to Italy for the finest semolina wheat. Then hitch a ride to England and hijack a cow for the freshest possible milk. And, oh yes! Don’t forget to go apple picking in Vermont! A simple recipe for apple pie is included.”
Ish – Peter Reynolds
“Ramon loved to draw. Anytime. Anything. Anywhere.
Drawing is what Ramon does. It’s what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon’s older brother, Leon, turns Ramon’s carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily for Ramon, though, his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently. She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just “right.” Combining the spareness of fable with the potency of parable, Peter Reynolds shines a bright beam of light on the need to kindle and tend our creative flames with care.”
The Little House – Virginia Lee Burton
“Virginia Lee Burton won the Caldecott Medal in 1943 for her memorable picture book The Little House, a poignant story of a cute country cottage that becomes engulfed by the city that grows up around it. The house has an expressive face of windows and doors, and even the feelings of a person, so she’s sad when she’s surrounded by the dirty, noisy city’s hustle and bustle: “She missed the field of daisies / and the apple trees dancing in the moonlight.” Fortunately, there’s a happy ending, as the house is taken back to the country where she belongs. A classic!”
Love You Forever – Robert Munsch
“A young woman holds her newborn son
And looks at him lovingly.
Softly she sings to him:
“I’ll love you forever
I’ll like you for always
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be.”
So begins the story that has touched the hearts of millions worldwide.”
Miss Rumphius – Barbara Cooney
“Barbara Cooney’s story of Alice Rumphius, who longed to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful, has a timeless quality that resonates with each new generation. The countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine are the legacy of the real Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, who scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went.”
The Mitten – Jan Brett
“When Nicki drops his white mitten in the snow, he goes on without realizing that it is missing.
One by one, woodland animals find it and crawl in; first, a curious mole, then a rabbit, a badger and others, each one larger than the last. Finally, a big brown bear is followed in by a tiny brown mouse and what happens next makes for a wonderfully funny climax.
As the story of the animals in the mitten unfolds, the reader can see Nicki in the boarders of each page, walking through the woods unaware of what is going on.
Once again Jan Brett has created a dramatic and beautiful picture book in her distinctive style. She brings the animals to life with warmth and humor, and her illustrations are full of visual delights and details faithful to the Ukrainian tradition from which the story comes.”
Moo, Baa, La, La, La – Sandra Boynton
“This raucous story about the sounds animals make—including three pigs who say “la la la!”—is just right for reading aloud.
Serious silliness for all ages. Artist Sandra Boynton is back and better than ever with completely redrawn versions of her multi-million selling board books. These whimsical and hilarious books, featuring nontraditional texts and her famous animal characters, have been printed on thick board pages, and are sure to educate and entertain children of all ages.”
My Great Aunt Arizona – Gloria Houston
“Reminiscent of the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder, My Great-Aunt Arizona is an inspiring tale rich with history, family, and artistry. Based on a true story, author Gloria Houston’s joyous recounting of her great-aunt Arizona’s quiet yet meaningful life reminds us of the special place a great teacher can hold in our hearts—even after we’ve grown up.
Arizona was born in a log cabin her papa built in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She grew into a tall girl who liked to sing, square-dance, and—most of all—read and dream of the faraway places she would visit one day. Arizona never did make it to those places. Instead she became a teacher, helping generations of children in the one-room schoolhouse which she herself had attended.”
Owen – Kevin Henkes
“Owen had a fuzzy yellow blanket. “Fuzzy goes where I go,” said Owen. But Mrs. Tweezers disagreed. She thought Owen was too old for a blanket. Owen disagreed. No matter what Mrs. Tweezers came up with, Blanket Fairies or vinegar, Owen had the answer. But when school started, Owen’t mother knew just what to do, and everyone — Owen, Fuzzy, and even Mrs. Tweezers — was happy.”
Roxaboxen – Alice McLerran
“Marian called it Roxaboxen. (She always knew the name of everything.) There across the road, it looked like any rocky hill — nothing but sand and rocks, some old wooden boxes, cactus and greasewood and thorny ocotillo — but it was a special place: a sparkling world of jeweled homes, streets edged with the whitest stones, and two ice cream shops. Come with us there, where all you need to gallop fast and free is a long stick and a soaring imagination.
In glowing desert hues, artist Barbara Cooney has caught the magic of Alice McLerran’s treasured land of Roxaboxen — a place that really was, and, once you’ve been there, always is.”
The Snowy Day – Ezra Jack Keats
“No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snowy Day. Universal in its appeal, the story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child’s wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever.“
The Story of Ferdinand – Munro Leaf
“Ferdinand is the world’s most peaceful–and–beloved little bull. While all of the other bulls snort, leap, and butt their heads, Ferdinand is content to just sit and smell the flowers under his favorite cork tree. Leaf’s simple storytelling paired with Lawson’s pen-and-ink drawings make The Story of Ferdinand a true classic.”
Thunder Cake – Patricia Polacco
“A loud clap of thunder booms, and rattles the windows of Grandma’s old farmhouse. “This is Thunder Cake baking weather,” calls Grandma, as she and her granddaughter hurry to gather the ingredients around the farm. A real Thunder Cake must reach the oven before the storm arrives. But the list of ingredients is long and not easy to find . . . and the storm is coming closer all the time!
Reaching once again into her rich childhood experience, Patricia Polacco tells the memorable story of how her grandma–her Babushka–helped her overcome her fear of thunder when she was a little girl.”
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Michael Rosen
“Have you ever gone on a bear hunt? Come along on this one with a brave young family — four children (including the baby) and their father. They’re not scared. With them you will cross a field of tall, wavy grass (“Swishy swashy!”), wade through a deep, cold river (“Splash splosh!”), struggle through swampy mud (“Squelch squerch!”), find your way through a big, dark forest (“Stumble trip!”), fight through a whirling snowstorm (“Hoooo woooo!”), and enter a narrow, gloomy cave. WHAT’S THAT? You’ll soon learn just what to do to escape from a big, furry bear!
With tremendous pace, humor, and verve, Michael Rosen has retold a favorite tractional story. The pictures by Helen Oxenbury, one of the most widely loved contemporary artists, are full of masterly characterizations, delightful comedy, and high drama, set in lovely sweeping landscapes. This is a book not to be missed, one to be chanted aloud and acted out, to be enjoyed over and over again. It is a picture book on the grand scale.”
Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
“Where the Wild Things Are is one of those truly rare books that can be enjoyed equally by a child and a grown-up. If you disagree, then it’s been too long since you’ve attended a wild rumpus. Max dons his wolf suit in pursuit of some mischief and gets sent to bed without supper. Fortuitously, a forest grows in his room, allowing his wild rampage to continue unimpaired. Sendak’s color illustrations (perhaps his finest) are beautiful, and each turn of the page brings the discovery of a new wonder.”
Best Read Aloud Chapter Books:
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll
“In 1862 Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a shy Oxford mathematician with a stammer, created a story about a little girl tumbling down a rabbit hole. Thus began the immortal adventures of Alice, perhaps the most popular heroine in English literature. Countless scholars have tried to define the charm of the Alice books–with those wonderfully eccentric characters the Queen of Hearts, Tweedledum, and Tweedledee, the Cheshire Cat, Mock Turtle, the Mad Hatter et al.–by proclaiming that they really comprise a satire on language, a political allegory, a parody of Victorian children’s literature, even a reflection of contemporary ecclesiastical history. Perhaps, as Dodgson might have said, Alice is no more than a dream, a fairy tale about the trials and tribulations of growing up–or down, or all turned round–as seen through the expert eyes of a child.”
All Creatures Great and Small – James Herriot (series)
“The stories of a young veterinarian making his way in the rugged English countryside—and of the people and animals he met along the way. In the rolling dales of Yorkshire, a simple, rural region of northern England, a young veterinarian from Sunderland joins a new practice. A stranger in a strange land, he must quickly learn the odd dialect and humorous ways of the locals, master outdated equipment, and do his best to mend, treat, and heal pets and livestock alike. This witty and heartwarming collection, based on the author’s own experiences, became an international success, spawning sequels and winning over animal lovers everywhere. Perhaps better than any other writer, James Herriot reveals the ties that bind us to the creatures in our lives.”
All-of-a-Kind Family – Sydney Taylor
“Meet the All-of-a-Kind Family — Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie — who live with their parents in New York City at the turn of the century. Together they share adventures that find them searching for hidden buttons while dusting Mama’s front parlor and visiting with the peddlers in Papa’s shop on rainy days. The girls enjoy doing everything together, especially when it involves holidays and surprises. But no one could have prepared them for the biggest surprise of all!”
Anne of Green Gables – Lucy Maud Montgomery (series)
“Favorites for nearly 100 years, these classic novels follow the adventures of the spirited redhead Anne Shirley, who comes to stay at Green Gables and wins the hearts of everyone she meets.”
A Bear Called Paddington – Michael Bond
“Paddington Bear had traveled all the way from Peru when the Browns first met him in Paddington Station. Since then, their lives have never been quite the same . . . for ordinary things become extraordinary when a bear called Paddington is involved.”
Because of Winn-Dixie – Kate DiCamillo
“One summer’s day, ten-year-old India Opal Buloni goes down to the local supermarket for some groceries – and comes home with a dog. But Winn-Dixie is no ordinary dog. It’s because of Winn-Dixie that Opal begins to make friends. And it’s because of Winn-Dixie that she finally dares to ask her father about her mother, who left when Opal was three. In fact, as Opal admits, just about everything that happens that summer is because of Winn-Dixie.”
Betsy-Tacy – Maud Lovelace
“Best Friends Forever
There are lots of children on Hill Street, but no little girls Betsy’s age. So when a new family moves into the house across the street, Betsy hopes they will have a little girl she can play with. Sure enough, they do—a little girl named Tacy. And from the moment they meet at Betsy’s fifth birthday party, Betsy and Tacy becoms such good friends that everyone starts to think of them as one person—Betsy-Tacy.
Betsy and Tacy have lots of fun together. They make a playhouse from a piano box, have a sand store, and dress up and go calling. And one day, they come home to a wonderful surprise—a new friend named Tib.”
Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
“Perhaps the most celebrated animal story of the nineteenth century, Black Beauty is the suspenseful and deeply moving account of a horse’s experiences at the hands of many owners — some, sensitive riders who treated him gently; others, cruel drivers who thoughtlessly inflicted lasting damage.
Written as the animal’s autobiography, and as an appeal for the humane treatment of horses, Anna Sewell’s beloved classic reveals as much about human conduct and the social ills of the time as it does about the treatment of animals. Scenes from the lives of both the landed gentry and the impoverished working class offer a subtle but well-rounded perspective of social conditions in England during the late nineteenth century.”
The Borrowers – Mary Norton
“The Borrowers, the Clock family: Homily, Pod, and their fourteen-year-old daughter, Arrietty, to be precise, are tiny people who live underneath the kitchen floor of an old English country manor. All their minuscule home furnishings, from postage stamp paintings to champagne cork chairs, are borrowed from the human beings who tromp around loudly above them. All is well until Pod is spotted upstairs by a human boy! Can the Clocks stay nested safely in their beloved hidden home, or will they be forced to flee?”
The Boxcar Children – Gertrude Chandler Warner
“The Alden children—Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny—are on their own. Brave and resourceful, they find a rusty, abandoned railroad boxcar in the woods, make it their home, and start a life of adventure.”
*Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Patterson
“This Newbery Medal-winning novel by bestselling author Katherine Paterson is a modern classic of friendship and loss. Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie’s house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief.”
*For middle school and up
Caddie Woodlawn – Carol Ryrie Brink
“Caddie Woodlawn, which has been captivating young readers since 1935, was awarded the John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Now it is in a brand-new edition with lively illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman. In her new foreword, Carol Ryrie Brink lovingly recalls the real Caddie, who was her grandmother, and tells how she often “sat spellbound, listening, listening!” as Caddie told stories of her pioneer childhood. Children everywhere will love redheaded Caddie with her penchant for pranks. Scarcely out of one scrape before she is into another, she refuses to be a “lady,” preferring instead to run the woods with her brothers. Whether she is crossing the lake on a raft, visiting an Indian camp, or listening to the tales of the circuit rider, Caddie’s adventures provide an exciting and authentic picture of life on the Wisconsin frontier in the 1860s. And readers will discover, as Caddie learns what growing up truly means, that it is not so very different today.”
The Call of the Wild – Jack London
“Considered to be Jack London’s masterpiece, this story features Buck, a dog shipped to the Klondike to be trained as a sled dog. Buck eventually reverts to his primitive ancestry, and learns about the savage world of man and beast in the wilderness.”
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch – Jean Lee Latham
“Readers today are still fascinated by an eighteenth-century nautical wonder and mathematical wizard. Nathaniel Bowditch grew up in a sailors world in the early days, when tall-masted ships from foreign ports crowded the wharves. But Nat didn’t promise to have the makings of a sailor; he was too physically small. Nat may have been slight of build, but no one guessed that he had the persistence and determination to master sea navigation in the days when men sailed only by log, lead, and lookout. Nat’s long hours of study and observation, collected in his famous work, The American Practical Navigator (also known as the Sailors Bible), stunned the sailing community and made him a New England hero.”
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
“Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.”
Cheaper by the Dozen – Frank B. Gilbreth
“Cheaper by the Dozen is the unforgettable story of the Gilbreth clan as told by two of its members. In this endearing, amusing memoir, siblings Frank Jr. and Ernestine capture the hilarity and heart of growing up in an oversized family.
Mother and Dad are world-renowned efficiency experts, helping factories fine-tune their assembly lines for maximum output at minimum cost. At home, the Gilbreths themselves have cranked out twelve kids, and Dad is out to prove that efficiency principles can apply to family as well as the workplace.
The heartwarming and comic stories of the jumbo-size Gilbreth clan have delighted generations of readers, and will keep you and yours laughing for years.”
Christian Heroes Series – YWAM Publishing
“Written specifically to challenge readers with the powerful lives of Christians who have profoundly shaped history, these books answer today’s call for positive role models and for opportunities to see how God works through the lives of those who follow Him. These exciting true stories inspire readers as they witness the amazing lives of these heroes unfold.”
The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis (series)
“Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie— step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.”
The Courage of Sarah Noble – Alice Dagliesh
“In 1707, young Sarah Noble and her father traveled through the wilderness to build a new home for their family. “Keep up your courage, Sarah Noble,” her mother had said, but Sarah found that it was not always easy to feel brave inside. The dark woods were full of animals and Indians, too, and Sarah was only eight!
The true story of Sarah’s journey is inspiring. And as she cares for her father and befriends her Indian neighbors, she learns that to be afraid and to be brave is the greatest courage of all.”
The Cricket in Times Square – George Selden
“Tucker is a streetwise city mouse. He thought he’d seen it all. But he’s never met a cricket before, which really isn’t surprising, because, along with his friend Harry Cat, Tucker lives in the very heart of New York City―the Times Square subway station. Chester Cricket never intended to leave his Connecticut meadow. He’d be there still if he hadn’t followed the entrancing aroma of liverwurst right into someone’s picnic basket. Now, like any tourist in the city, he wants to look around. And he could not have found two better guides―and friends―than Tucker and Harry. The trio have many adventures―from taking in the sights and sounds of Broadway to escaping a smoky fire.”
*A Family Apart – Joan Lowery Nixon (Orphan Train Adventures Series)
“Imagine being taken from your home. Imagine your mother is the one who lets it happen. This is the fate that befalls the Kelly children. It’s 1856, and their widowed mother has sent them west from New York City because she’s convinced that she can’t give them the life they deserve.
The Kellys board an “orphan train” and are taken to St. Joseph, Missouri, where their problems only grow worse. It was bad enough that they had to say goodbye to their mother, but now they’re forced to part ways with their fellow siblings as well. Thirteen-year-old Frances won’t stand for it. She’s going to protect her brothers and sisters, even if it means dressing up like a boy and putting herself in danger.
Will Frances be able to save her siblings? And what about her mom—was splitting up their family really her greatest act of love? Ride the rails with Frances and her siblings to find out!”
*Middle grades and up
The Family Under the Bridge – Natalie Carlson
“This is the delightfully warm and enjoyable story of an old Parisian named Armand, who relished his solitary life. Children, he said, were like starlings, and one was better off without them. But the children who lived under the bridge recognized a true friend when they met one, even if the friend seemed a trifle unwilling at the start. And it did not take Armand very long to realize that he had gotten himself ready-made family; one that he loved with all his heart, and one for whom he would have to find a better home than the bridge.”
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – E.L. Koninsburg
“When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere she wants to run to somewhere–to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and preferably elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing that her younger brother, Jamie, has money and thus can help her with the serious cash flow problem she invites him along.
Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie, find themselves caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the museum purchased at an auction for a bargain price of $250. The statue is possibly an early work of the Renaissance master Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Is it? Or isn’t it? Claudia is determined to find out. This quest leads Claudia to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the remarkable old woman who sold the statue and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself.”
Gentle Ben – Walt Morey
“The Alaskan wilderness is a lonely place for Mark Andersen, especially after the death of his brother. But Mark finds a friend named Ben, who happens to be an Alaskan brown bear. Ben and Mark form a special bond, but the townspeople are determined to destroy it. It is only through the strength of an enduring friendship that Ben—and Mark—have a chance of being saved.”
*The Giver – Lois Lowry (series)
“The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.”
*For middle school and up
Harriet the Spy – Louise Fitzhugh
“Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. In her notebook, she writes down everything she knows about everyone, even her classmates and her best friends. Then Harriet loses track of her notebook, and it ends up in the wrong hands. Before she can stop them, her friends have read the always truthful, sometimes awful things she’s written about each of them. Will Harriet find a way to put her life and her friendships back together?”
“‘Turning the envelope over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger and a snake surrounding a large letter ‘H’.”
Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!”
*Lots of magic and darker themes as the series progresses
*Hatchet – Gary Paulsen
“This award-winning contemporary classic is the survival story with which all others are compared—and a page-turning, heart-stopping adventure, recipient of the Newbery Honor. Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single-engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a tattered Windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present—and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parent’s divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self pity, or despair—it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.”
*For middle grades and up
“A great modern classic and the prelude to THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum. A glorious account of a magnificent adventure, filled with suspense and seasoned with a quiet humor that is irresistible.”
*Holes – Louis Sachar
“Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.
It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.”
*Some magic. I’ve read this with middle grades and up.
Homer Price – Robert McCloskey
“Welcome to Centerburg! Where you can win a hundred dollars by eating all the doughnuts you want; where houses are built in a day; and where a boy named Homer Price can foil four slick bandits using nothing but his wits and pet skunk.
The comic genius of Robert McCloskey and his wry look at small-town America has kept readers in stitches for generations.”
The Hundred Dresses – Eleanor Estes
“Eleanor Estes’s The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time it’s too late for apologies. Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is “never going to stand by and say nothing again.'”
Island of the Blue Dolphins – Scott O’Dell
“Far off the coast of California looms a harsh rock known as the island of San Nicholas. Dolphins flash in the blue waters around it, sea otter play in the vast kep beds, and sea elephants loll on the stony beaches. Here, in the early 1800s, according to history, an Indian girl spent eighteen years alone, and this beautifully written novel is her story. It is a romantic adventure filled with drama and heartache, for not only was mere subsistence on so desolate a spot a near miracle, but Karana had to contend with the ferocious pack of wild dogs that had killed her younger brother, constantly guard against the Aleutian sea otter hunters, and maintain a precarious food supply.
More than this, it is an adventure of the spirit that will haunt the reader long after the book has been put down. Karana’s quiet courage, her Indian self-reliance and acceptance of fate, transform what to many would have been a devastating ordeal into an uplifting experience. From loneliness and terror come strength and serenity in this Newbery Medal-winning classic.”
James and the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl
“After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. Inside, James meets a bunch of oversized friends—Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, and more. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the great adventure begins!”
Just David – Eleanor Porter
Originally published in 1916, this is “the story of a young boy, David, who must learn to adapt to living with others after the death of his recluse father; along the way, the villagers and his adoptive parents adapt as much or more to him.”
Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers – Ralph Moody
“Ralph Moody was eight years old in 1906 when his family moved from New Hampshire to a Colorado ranch. Through his eyes we experience the pleasures and perils of ranching there early in the twentieth century. Auctions and roundups, family picnics, irrigation wars, tornadoes and wind storms give authentic color to Little Britches. So do adventures, wonderfully told, that equip Ralph to take his father’s place when it becomes necessary.”
Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder (series)
“The adventures continue for Laura Ingalls and her family as they leave their little house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin and set out for Kansas. They travel for many days in their covered wagon until they find the best spot to build their little house on the prairie. Soon they are planting and plowing, hunting wild ducks and turkeys, and gathering grass for their cows. Sometimes pioneer life is hard, but Laura and her folks are always busy and happy in their new little house.”
“A poetic tale of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss, with watercolour illustrations by the author, in which a pilot stranded in the desert meets a young alien prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid.
The story, though ostensibly styled as a children’s book is philosophical and includes social criticism, making several observations about life and human nature and remarking on the strangeness of the adult world.”
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
“Little Women is one of the best loved books of all time. Lovely Meg, talented Jo, frail Beth, spoiled Amy: these are 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 and have felt the deep sadness when Meg leaves the circle of sisters to be married at the end of Part I. Part II, chronicles Meg’s joys and mishaps as a young wife and mother, Jo’s struggle to become a writer, Beth’s tragedy, and Amy’s artistic pursuits and unexpected romance. 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.”
Maniac Magee – Jerry Spinelli
“Jeffrey Lionel “Maniac” Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn’t made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run–and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.”
Mary Poppins – P.L. Travers
“From the moment Mary Poppins arrives at Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane, everyday life at the Banks house is forever changed. It all starts when Mary Poppins is blown by the east wind onto the doorstep of the Banks house. She becomes a most unusual nanny to Jane, Michael, and the twins. Who else but Mary Poppins can slide up banisters, pull an entire armchair out of an empty carpetbag, and make a dose of medicine taste like delicious lime-juice cordial? A day with Mary Poppins is a day of magic and make-believe come to life!”
The Mouse and the Motorcycle – Beverly Cleary (series)
“In this imaginative adventure from Newbery Medal–winning author Beverly Cleary, a young mouse named Ralph is thrown into a world of excitement when a boy and his shiny toy motorcycle check in to the Mountain View Inn.
When the ever-curious Ralph spots Keith’s red toy motorcycle, he vows to ride it. So when Keith leaves the bike unattended in his room one day, Ralph makes his move. But with all this freedom (and speed!) come a lot of obstacles. Whether dodging a rowdy terrier or keeping his nosy cousins away from his new wheels, Ralph has a lot going on! And with a pal like Keith always looking out for him, there’s nothing this little mouse can’t handle.”
Mr. Popper’s Penguins – Richard Atwater
“A classic of American humor, the adventures of a house painter and his brood of high-stepping penguins have delighted children for generations.”
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – Robert C. O’Brien
“Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, is faced with a terrible problem. She must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son, Timothy, lies ill with pneumonia and must not be moved. Fortunately, she encounters the rats of NIMH, an extraordinary breed of highly intelligent creatures, who come up with a brilliant solution to her dilemma. And Mrs. Frisby in turn renders them a great service.”
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle – Betty MacDonald
“Everyone loves Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives in an upside-down house ans smells like cookies. She was even married to a pirate once. Most of all, she knows everything about children. She can cure them of any ailment. Patsy hates baths. Hubert never puts anything away. Allen eats v-e-r-y slowly. Mrs Piggle-Wiggle has a treatment for all of them.
The incomparable Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle loves children good or bad and never scolds but has positive cures for Answer-Backers, Never-Want-to-Go-to-Bedders, and other boys and girls with strange habits.”
My Side of the Mountain – Jean Craighead George
“Terribly unhappy in his family’s crowded New York City apartment, Sam Gribley runs away to the solitude-and danger-of the mountains, where he finds a side of himself he never knew.”
Number the Stars – Lois Lowry
“As the German troops begin their campaign to “relocate” all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family.
Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.”
Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter (The Complete Tales)
“The quintessential cautionary tale, Peter Rabbit warns naughty children about the grave consequences of misbehaving. When Mrs. Rabbit beseeches her four furry children not to go into Mr. McGregor’s garden, the impish Peter naturally takes this as an open invitation to create mischief. He quickly gets in over his head, when he is spotted by farmer McGregor himself. Any child with a spark of sass will find Peter’s adventures remarkably familiar. And they’ll see in Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail that bane of their existence: the “good” sibling who always does the right thing. One earns bread and milk and blackberries for supper, while the obstinate folly of the other warrants medicine and an early bedtime.”
The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
“For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams.”
Pippi Longstocking – Astrid Lindgren
“Tommy and his sister Annika have a new neighbor, and her name is Pippi Longstocking. She has crazy red pigtails, no parents to tell her what to do, a horse that lives on her porch, and a flair for the outrageous that seems to lead to one adventure after another!”
Pollyanna – Eleanor Porter
“This is a timeless classic expressing the universal message that every aspect of life should be looked at in a positive way. It follows the actions of its protagonist, eleven-year old Pollyanna who goes to live with her stern Aunty Polly, where she faces many challenges with a smile on her face.”
Poppy – Avi (series)
“At the very edge of Dimwood Forest stood an old charred oak where, silhouetted by the moon, a great horned owl sat waiting. The owl’s name was Mr. Ocax, and he looked like death himself. With his piercing gaze, he surveyed the lands he called his own, watching for the creatures he considered his subjects. Not one of them ever dared to cross his path . . . until the terrible night when two little mice went dancing in the moonlight.”
The Railway Children – Edith Nesbit
“The Railway Children is the classic children’s story by E. Nesbit. When Father is taken away unexpectedly, Roberta, Peter, Phyllis and their mother have to leave their comfortable life in London to go and live in a small cottage in the country. The children seek solace in the nearby railway station, and make friends with Perks the Porter and the Station Master himself. Each day, Roberta, Peter and Phyllis run down the field to the railway track and wave at the passing London train, sending their love to Father. Little do they know that the kindly old gentleman passenger who waves back holds the key to their father’s disappearance.”
Ramona the Pest (series) – Beverly Cleary
“Ramona Quimby is excited to start kindergarten. No longer does she have to watch her older sister, Beezus, ride the bus to school with all the big kids. She’s finally old enough to do it too!
Then she gets into trouble for pulling her classmate’s boingy curls during recess. Even worse, her crush rejects her in front of everyone. Beezus says Ramona needs to quit being a pest, but how can she stop if she never was trying to be one in the first place?
Newbery Medal winning author Beverly Cleary expertly depicts the trials and triumphs of growing up through a relatable heroine in Ramona Quimby.”
Redwall – Brian Jacques (series)
“The question in this first volume is resoundingly clear: What can the peace-loving mice of Redwall Abbey do to defend themselves against Cluny the Scourge and his battle-seasoned army of rats? If only they had the sword of Martin the Warrior, they might have a chance. But the legendary weapon has long been forgotten-except, that is, by the bumbling young apprentice Matthias, who becomes the unlikeliest of heroes.”
*Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Mildred Taylor
“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. And it is also Cassie’s story—Cassie Logan, an independent girl who discovers over the course of an important year 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.”
The Secret Garden – Francis Hodgson Burnett
“When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle, everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen…
So begins the famous opening of one of the world’s best-loved children’s stories. First published in 1911, this is the poignant tale of a lonely little girl, orphaned and sent to a Yorkshire mansion at the edge of a vast lonely moor. At first, she is frightened by this gloomy place, but with the help of the local boy Dickon, who earns the trust of the moor’s wild animals with his honesty and love, the invalid Colin, a spoiled, unhappy boy terrified of life, and a mysterious, abandoned garden, Mary is eventually overcome by the mystery of life itself—its birth and renewal, its love and joy.”
A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket (series)
“Are you made fainthearted by death? Does fire unnerve you? Is a villain something that might crop up in future nightmares of yours? Are you thrilled by nefarious plots? Is cold porridge upsetting to you? Vicious threats? Hooks? Uncomfortable clothing?
It is likely that your answers will reveal A Series of Unfortunate Events to be ill-suited for your personal use. A librarian, bookseller, or acquaintance should be able to suggest books more appropriate for your fragile temperament. But to the rarest of readers we say, “Proceed, but cautiously.'”
*The Sign of the Beaver – Elizabeth George Speare
“Although he faces responsibility bravely, thirteen-year-old Matt is more than a little apprehensive when his father leaves him alone to guard their new cabin in the wilderness. When a renegade white stranger steals his gun, Matt realizes he has no way to shoot game or to protect himself. 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.
Elizabeth George Speare’s 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.”
*Middle grades and up
Stone Fox – John Reynolds Gardiner
“John Reynolds Gardiner’s action-packed canine adventure story of a thrilling dogsled race has captivated readers for more than thirty years.
Based on a Rocky Mountain legend, Stone Fox tells the story of Little Willy, who lives with his grandfather in Wyoming. When Grandfather falls ill, he is no longer able to work the farm, which is in danger of foreclosure. Little Willy is determined to win the National Dogsled Race—the prize money would save the farm and his grandfather. But he isn’t the only one who desperately wants to win. Willy and his brave dog Searchlight must face off against experienced racers, including a Native American man named Stone Fox, who has never lost a race.”
Story of the World (4 Volume Series) – Susan Wise Bauer
“Told in the straightforward, engaging style that has become Susan Wise Bauer’s trademark, The Story of the World covers the sweep of human history from ancient times until the present. Africa, China, Europe, the Americas â€” find out what happened around the world in the centuries before our own. This read-aloud series is designed for parents to share with elementary-school children, or for older readers to enjoy alone. Introduce your child to the marvelous story of the world’s civilizations!”
Summer of the Monkeys – Wilson Rawls
“The last thing a fourteen-year-old boy expects to find along an old Ozark river bottom is a tree full of monkeys. Jay Berry Lee’s grandpa had an explanation, of course–as he did for most things. The monkeys had escaped from a traveling circus, and there was a handsome reward in store for anyone who could catch them. Grandpa said there wasn’t any animal that couldn’t be caught somehow, and Jay Berry started out believing him. But by the end of the “summer of the monkeys,” Jay Berry Lee had learned a lot more than he ever bargained for–and not just about monkeys. He learned about faith, and wishes coming true, and knowing what it is you really want. He even learned a little about growing up.
This novel, set in rural Oklahoma around the turn of the century, is a heart-warming family story–full of rich detail and delightful characters–about a time and place when miracles were really the simplest of things.”
Tales of the Kingdom Trilogy – David Mains
“Award-winning allegories for children of all ages center on the adventures of two orphaned brothers who escape a polluted city ruled by an evil enchanter to seek their exiled king in Great Park – the place where trees grow. Action, intrigue, and danger follow Scarboy wherever he goes, especially in the Enchanted City, where the “imperfect” are cast away and orphans are enslaved. Scarboy manages to escape the evil Enchanter to safety in Great Park, but has yet to confront his greatest fear—and he’ll need enormous courage to conquer it!”
“Thirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle is excited to return home from her school in England to her family in Rhode Island in the summer of 1832.
But when the two families she was supposed to travel with mysteriously cancel their trips, Charlotte finds herself the lone passenger on a long sea voyage with a cruel captain and a mutinous crew. Worse yet, soon after stepping aboard the ship, she becomes enmeshed in a conflict between them! What begins as an eagerly anticipated ocean crossing turns into a harrowing journey, where Charlotte gains a villainous enemy . . . and is put on trial for murder!”
*Middle grades and up
Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbit
“Doomed to―or blessed with―eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.”
The Twenty-One Balloons – William Pene du Bois
“Professor William Waterman Sherman intends to fly across the Pacific Ocean. But through a twist of fate, he lands on Krakatoa, and discovers a world of unimaginable wealth, eccentric inhabitants, and incredible balloon inventions.Winner of the 1948 Newbery Medal.”
Understood Betsy – Dorothy Canfield
“Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s “Understood Betsy” is the story of a scrawny young 9-year-old orphan by the name of Elizabeth Ann who relocates from her city home to go and live with her cousins, the Putneys, on a farm in Vermont. In the country, Elizabeth begins to blossom as she is invigorated by her new surroundings, which bring new responsibilities and a growing sense of youthful independence. A delightful story of a young girl beginning to grow up, “Understood Betsy” will enchant readers both young and old.”
The Voyages of Dr. Doolittle – Hugh Lofting
“The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle was the second of Hugh Lofting’s Doctor Dolittle books to be published, coming out in 1922. Doctor Dolittle meets Tommy Stubbins, the young son of the local cobbler, who becomes his new assistant. Tommy learns how to speak animal languages and becomes involved in the Doctor’s quest to find Long Arrow, the greatest naturalist in the world. This novel takes us to the Mediterranean, South America, and even under the sea.”
*Walk Two Moons – Sharon Creech
“In her own singularly beautiful style, Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech intricately weaves together two tales, one funny, one bittersweet, to create a heartwarming, compelling, and utterly moving story of love, loss, and the complexity of human emotion.
Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle, proud of her country roots and the “Indian-ness in her blood,” travels from Ohio to Idaho with her eccentric grandparents. Along the way, she tells them of the story of Phoebe Winterbottom, who received mysterious messages, who met a “potential lunatic,” and whose mother disappeared.
As Sal entertains her grandparents with Phoebe’s outrageous story, her own story begins to unfold–the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose only wish is to be reunited with her missing mother.”
*Middle grades and up
*Where the Red Fern Grows – Wilson Rawls
“Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he’s finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own—Old Dan and Little Ann—he’s ecstatic. It doesn’t matter that times are tough; together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks.
Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan’s brawn, Little Ann’s brains, and Billy’s sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy awaits these determined hunters—now friends—and Billy learns that hope can grow out of despair, and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past.”
*Sensitive children may have a hard time with the death in this story.
The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
“For more than a century, The Wind in the Willows and its endearing protagonists–Mole, Mr. Toad, Badger, and Ratty–have enchanted children of all ages. Whether the four friends are setting forth on an exciting adventure, engaging in a comic caper, or simply relaxing by the River Thames, their stories are among the most charming in all English literature. This keepsake edition of Kenneth Grahame’s beloved novel features gorgeous art throughout, making it a must-have for every child’s library.”
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
“Since 1926, Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends—Piglet, Owl, Tigger, and the ever doleful Eeyore—have endured as the unforgettable creations of A.A. Milne, who wrote this book for his son, Christopher Robin, and Ernest H. Shepard, who lovingly gave Pooh and his companions shape.
These characters and their stories are timeless treasures of childhood that continue to speak to all of us with the kind of freshness and heart that distinguishes true storytelling.
“Winnie-the-Pooh is a joy; full of solemn idiocies and the sort of jokes one weeps over helplessly, not even knowing why they are so funny, and with it all the real wit and tenderness which alone could create a priceless little masterpiece.” Saturday Review, 1926″
*The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Elizabeth George Speare
“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 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.
Elizabeth George Speare won the 1959 Newbery Medal for this portrayal of a heroine whom readers will admire for her unwavering sense of truth as well as her infinite capacity to love.”
*Middle grades and up
A Wrinkle in Time – Madeline L’Engle
We read this book…and ended up reading the whole series!
“It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.
“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”
A tesseract (in case the reader doesn’t know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L’Engle’s unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, 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 problem.”
And there you have it…100 of our favorite read aloud books. We actually have many more, but this was a good start! If you’d like to check out some of these books from the library, feel free to download my 100 Best Read Alouds for Kids and Teens printable reading list.
If you’d like a chance to win one of two of The Read Aloud Handbook, please enter below: