Key Terms:

Title/Author

Boy/Girl: If "boy" is listed first, the book is probably more interesting for boys.

Grade Level: 1st-2nd, 3rd-4th, etc.

Genre: Adventure, fantasy, mystery, humor, etc...

Summary: Brief synopsis

RATING:

A Classic!
Delicious
Tasty
Not So Good
A Bad Egg

373+ books
(and counting!)

_____________

Favorite Children's Authors

Lloyd Alexander
- The Rope Trick
- The Iron Ring
- Gypsy Rizka
- The Wizard in the Tree
- Time Cat

- The Remarkable Journey
of Prince Jen
- Golden Dream of Carlos Chuchio
- First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha
- Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian

THE PRYDAIN CHRONICLES:
- The Book of Three
- The Black Cauldron
- The Castle of Llyr
- Taran Wanderer
- The High King

Richard & Florence Atwater
- Mr. Popper's Penguins

Blue Balliett
- Chasing Vermeer

Lynn Reid Banks
- The Indian in the Cupboard
- The Return of the Indian
- The Key to the Indian
- The Mystery of the Indian

Dave Barry/Ridley Pearson
- Peter & the Starcatchers
- Peter & the Shadow Thieves

L. Frank Baum
- Wizard of Oz

Daniel Beard
- American Boy's Handy Book

Betty J. Birney
- 7 Wonders of Sassafras Springs

N.E Bode
- The Anybodies
- The Nobodies
- The Somebodies
- The Slippery Map

Christianna Brand
- Nurse Matilda
- Nurse Matilda Goes to Town
- Nurse Matilda Goes to Hospital

Patrick Carman
LAND OF ELYON SERIES
- The Dark Hills Divide
- Beyond the Valley of Thorns
- The Tenth City
- Into the Mist

Lewis Carroll
- Alice in Wonderland
- Through the Looking Glass

Patrick Skene Catling
- The Chocolate Touch

Michael Chabon
- Summerland

Peggy Christian
- The Bookstore Mouse

John Christopher
THE TRIPOD SERIES:
- The White Mountains
- The City of Gold & Lead
- The Pool of Fire
- When the Tripods Came

SWORD OF THE SPIRITS TRILOGY:
- The Prince in Waiting
- Beyond the Burning Lands
- The Sword of the Spirits

Roald Dahl
- Danny, the Champion of World
- The BFG
- Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
- Charlie & Great Glass Elevator
- James & the Giant Peach
- The Magic Finger
- George's Marvelous Medicine
- Esio Trot
- The Giraffe & the Pelly & Me
- The Twits

Kate DiCamillo
- The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
-The Tale of Despereaux
- Because of Winn-Dixie

Charles Dickens
- A Christmas Carol
- Oliver Twist
- A Tale of Two Cities

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
- Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
- Return of Sherlock Holmes
- Study in Scarlet
- The Sign of Four
- The Hounds of the Baskervilles

William Pene DuBois
- The 21 Balloons

Jeanne DuPrau
- The City of Ember
- The People of Sparks
- The Prophet of Yonwood

Michael Ende
- The Neverending Story

Eleanor Estes
- The Moffats
- The Middle Moffat
- Rufus M.
- The Moffat Museum

John Fitzgerald
- T
he Great Brain
- More Adventures of Great Brain
- Me and My Little Brain
- The Great Brain is Back
- The Great Brain at the Academy
- The Great Brain Does it Again
- The Great Brain Reforms
- The Return of the Great Brain

Kenneth Grahame
- T
he Wind in the Willows

Conn & Hal Iggulden
- Dangerous Book for Boys

Brian Jacques
THE REDWALL BOOKS
(20+ books and counting!)

Norton Juster
- The Phantom Tollbooth

Carolyn Keene
THE NANCY DREW MYSTERY STORIES (175 Books)

Dick King-Smith
- Babe the Gallant Pig

Madeleine L'Engle
THE TIME QUINTET:
- A Wrinkle in Time
- A Wind in the Door
- A Swiftly Tilting Planet
- Many Waters
- An Acceptable Time

C.S. Lewis
CHRONICLES OF NARNIA:
- The Lion, the Witch and
the Wardrobe
- The Magician's Nephew
- The Horse & His Boy
- Prince Caspian
- Voyage of the Dawn Treader
- The Silver Chair
- The Last Battle

Hugh Lofting
- The Story of Dr. Dolittle
- The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle
- Dr. Dolittle's Post Office
- Dr. Dolittle's Circus
- Dr. Dolittle's Zoo
- Dr. Dolittle's Caravan
- Dr. Dolittle's Garden
- Dr. Dolittle in the Moon
- Dr. Dolittle's Return
- Dr. Dolittle and the Secret Lake
- Dr. Dolittle and the Green Canary
- Dr. Dolittle's Puddleby Adventure

Ann Martin
- The Doll People
- The Meanest Doll in the World

M.I. McAllister
and Omar Rayyan

MISTMANTLE CHRONICLES:
- Urchin of the Riding Stars
- Urchin & the Heartstone
- The Heir of Mistmantle

Betty McDonald
- Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
- Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
- Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic
- Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm

Robert McKloskey
- Homer Price

A. A. Milne
- Winnie the Pooh
- The House on Pooh Corner

Mary Norton
- The Borrowers
- The Borrowers Afield
- The Borrowers Afloat
- The Borrowers Aloft
- The Borrowers Avenged

Philip Pullman
- I Was a Rat
- Clockwork
- The Scarecrow & His Servant
- Firework-Maker's Daughter

Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- The Little Prince

Brian Selznick
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Margery Sharp
- The Rescuers
- Miss Biana
- The Turret
- Miss Bianca in the Salt Mines
- Miss Bianca in the Orient
- Miss Bianca in the Antarctic
- Bernard into Battle
- Bernard the Brave
- Miss Bianca & the Bridesmaid

Donald Sobol
ENCYCLOPEDIA BROWN
(24 books in the series)

J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Hobbit
- Fellowship of the Ring
- The Two Towers
- The Return of the King

Mark Twain
- Adventures of Tom Sawyer
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

E.B. White
- Charlotte's Web
- Stuart Little

 

Here is a list of books
that are well-written
and fun to read, but not necessarily recommended for children...

Tony DiTerlizzi/Holly Black
- The Spiderwick Chronicles
(5 book series)

Cornelia Funke
- The Thief Lord
- Inkheart
- Inkspell

Jenny Nimmo
- The Charlie Bone Books
(9 book series)

Christopher Paolini
- Inheritance Trilogy
(Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr)

Philip Pullman
- His Dark Materials
(3 book series, incl. Golden Compass)

J.K. Rowling
- Harry Potter
(7 book series)

Lemony Snickett
- A Series of Unfortunate Events
(13 book series)

 

 

 


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Books that are best for children
ought to follow three simple guidelines:

1. They should be fun to read.

2. They should elevate a child's spirit.

3. They should be well written.

My list will continue to grow as I discover additional books that fit these criteria. Do you have a book to recommend? Send me an email: nowen@nowen-n-particular.com


AUTHORS A-L
GO TO AUTHORS M-Z

LLOYD ALEXANDER

The Rope Trick, Lloyd Alexander
Girl/Boy, 5th-7th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

Lidi the Gypsy Magician, Jericho and Daniella are pursued by a cast of villains - Zaccovelli, Scabbi and the "Baboon," Lidi is championed by Julian on her quest to find the greatest magician of all, Farramondo, and learn the secret to his most famous illusion, the Rope Trick.

The Iron Ring, Lloyd Alexander
Boy/Girl, 7th-9th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

Tamar, young king of Sundari, must go on a journey to free himself from bondage to a mysterious iron ring. To do so, he must travel with an array of faithful companions and talking animals and overcome the evil King Nahusha, until he pays his debt of honor. More suited for mature young readers (intense battle scenes), this is Lloyd Alexander at his best!

Gypsy Rizka, Lloyd Alexander
Girl/Boy, 5th-8th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

Rizka, who lives in a wagon on the outskirts of Greater Dunista, has her finger in everything: runaway lovers; floods; magical caves; and the dreaded Zipple, a relentless breeze that drives the citizens a little crazy. While she evokes either adoration or aggravation in the town, at the book's conclusion, everyone learns the meaning of true community. Very funny!

The Wizard in the Tree, Lloyd Alexander
Girl/Boy, 3rd-5th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

Arbican the Wizard has been trapped in an oak tree for thousands of years and so his powers are weak and upside-down. Can Mallory, the scullery maid, help Arbican regain his abilities before the greedy Squire Scrupner destroys her village? Some truly profound ideas about what it means to have "magic" of your own.

Time Cat, Lloyd Alexander
Boy/Girl, 3rd-5th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

The author blends the fantasy of Gareth, a time-traveling cat, and his owner, Jason, with cat-related adventures containing historical references to cats throughout the ages. From ancient Egypt to Japan, Jason and his cat go time-hopping around the world. One of Lloyd Alexander's earliest children's books.


The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen, Lloyd Alexander
Boy/Girl, 5th-8th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

When Prince Jen hears of the happy, prosperous land of T'ien-kuo, he vows to seek out its ruler and learn from his example. And so he sets out, bearing six humble gifts for the emperor. Little does he know the hilarious and tragic lessons that await him on the road. He loses everything and gains the most important thing - humility and wisdom.


The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio, Lloyd Alexander

Boy/Girl, 5th-8th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

When Carlo Chuchio finds a map in a book that purports to detail where a royal treasure is located, he embarks on a long journey to look for it. As he travels the "legendary Road of Golden Dreams", he hooks up with a young woman who has escaped from her captors, battles with some terrible robbers, and encounters some dangerous warlords.

The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha, Lloyd Alexander
Boy/Girl, 5th-8th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

Lukas is in the town square, watching a seedy-looking magician--and the next thing he knows, he's drowning in a far-distant sea. When he comes ashore, the first people he meets hail him as king of Abadan. Being king is fine with Lukas; that is, it would be fine if everyone wasn't trying to kill him!

The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian, Lloyd Alexander
Boy/Girl, 5th-8th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

When fourth fiddler Sebastian loses his place in the Baron's orchestra, he has to leave the only home he knows--he rescues a stray cat and loses his precious violin. Soon Sebastian, Princess Isabel, and Presto the cat soon find themselves fleeing stuffy officials, hired assassins, furious guardsmen and sentries--and, in their journey, find out what is truly important in life.



The Chronicles of Prydain, Lloyd Alexander

Boy/Girl, 9th-12th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

The Book of Three
Taran is Assistant Pig Keeper to Hen Wen, oracular pig, and servant to Dalben the enchanter. He dreams of leaving the hamlet of Caer Dallben and go into battle like his hero, Prince Gwydion. Before the story is over, he has met his hero and fought the evil leader who threatens the peace of Prydain: the Horned King.

The Black Cauldron
Taran, with a band of warriors and friends, is called upon to find and destroy the Black Cauldron, which is being used by the evil Arawn, Lord of the Land of Death, to produce deathless warriors from the bodies of his fallen enemies.

The Castle of Llyr
Eilonwy is coming of age and ready to accept her full powers but evil Archen has other ideas. Taran, Fflewdur Flam, Gurgi & others battle to save both Eilonwy & Prydain from various enemies - while they escape a giant's cave and his enormous cat.

Taran Wanderer
By far my favorite of the five books, Taran wanders the land of Prydain on a search for his birth parents - and thus, his identity. Along the way he learns the hard lessons of patience and humility.

The High King
The climax of the series, Taran, Doli, Gurgi, Eilonwy, Fflewddur Fflam, Dalben, Coll and Prince Gwydion join forces to overthrow the tyranny of Awran, Death Lord. Victory is finally gained, but only after tragic losses, and Taran finally learns the greatest lesson of all: "A hero is a person who places the interests of others above his own."

Comparisons have been made to the Lord of the Ring series, but the lessons of chivalry, friendship, sacrifice, honor and love taught in these stories stand alone. Not recommended for younger readers (because of some of the vivid battle scenes and the frightening deathless warriors); nonetheless, exciting and satisfying for more mature teen readers.

   
RICHARD & FLORENCE ATWATER

Mr. Popper's Penguins, Richard & Florence Atwater
Girls & Boys, 1st-3rd Grade, Humorous Adventure

Mr. Popper is a poor housepainter who dreams of the South Pole. One day, in response to his letter, Admiral Drake, the famous explorer, sends him a penguin. Soon the Poppers acquire a female companion; the family of 12 birds become "Popper's Performing Penguins". A classic, award-winning slapstick comedy and a great "chapter-a-day" for families who love to read together before bedtime.

   
BLUE BALLIETT

Chasing Vermeer, Blue Balleitt
Girls & Boys, 6th-8th Grade, Mystery Adventure

A thief steals a valuable Vermeer painting and leaves clues in the local paper as a way of bringing "justice" to Vermeer. 6th Graders, Petra and Calder, using "pentamino" clues (mathematical puzzle pieces that are also hidden in the book's illustrations for the reader to find and solve), try and recapture the lost painting. Sophisticated reading - but worth the effort.

   
LYNN REID BANKS


The Indian in the Cupboard, Lynn Reid Banks
The Return of the Indian
The Secret of the Indian
The Mystery of the Indian

Boy/Girl, 4th-6th Grade, Fantasy Adventure

Omri receives an old cupboard and key for his birthday-imagine his surprise when he puts in a plastic Indian, turns the key, and the toy becomes real! The four books follow the adventures of Omri and his "toy" Indian, Little Bear, as this "coming of age" fantasy teaches Omri what it means to be responsible for someone "bigger" than himself.

   
DAVE BARRY & RIDLEY PEARSON




Peter & the Star Catchers, Dave Barry/Ridley Pearson
Peter & the Shadow Thieves
Peter & the Secret of Rundoon

Boy/Girl, 7th-9th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

This three book trilogy serves as a "prequel" to the famous Peter Pan book by J.M. Barrie.

In the first book, you are introduced to an orphan boy named Peter, who stumbles into an adventure involving the secret society called the "Starcatchers" who protect the world from "the Others" who seek to possess the all-powerful "star stuff" that falls from the sky.

Learn the origins of Never Land, Tinker Bell, Capt. Hook, the Lost Boys, Peter's ability to fly, and more.

Short chapters, fast-paced grand adventure - fantastic fun! Read them all!

(Note: some of the images are violent and scary - NOT recommended for younger children!)

   
L. FRANK BAUM

Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum
Girls & Boys, 3rd-5th Grade, Fantasy Adventure

Of course you think you know the story (from the movie), but there's a lot of surprises in the book! And did you know that the original book was followed by 40 sequels? Read the first one for fun - then read the rest for Dorothy's continuing adventures!

   
DANIEL BEARD


The American Boy's Handy Book, Daniel Beard

Boys/Girls, 4th-8th Grade, Non-fiction/General Knowledge

An 1890 manual of pasttimes which includes instructions for making kites, fishing poles, a blow gun, boats, and theatrical costumes, and for raising dogs, stuffing animals, stocking an aquarium, and camping. The message? Go outside and make something!

   
BETTY J. BIRNEY


The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs, Betty J. Birney

Girls & Boys, 1st-3rd Grade, Humorous Adventure

In Sassafras Springs, MO, in the summer of 1923, Eben McAllister, 11, is fascinated by the Seven Wonders of the World. Pa assures him that there are marvels right under his nose. If he can find Seven Wonders in seven days in Sassafras Springs, his father will buy him a ticket to visit his cousins in Colorado where he'll be able to see a real mountain. A small-town slice of life that teach you that "wonders" are what you make them.

   
CHRISTIANNA BRAND


Nurse Matilda, Christianna Brand
Nurse Matilda Goes to Town
Nurse Matilda Goes to the Hospital

Girls/Boys, 3rd-5th Grade, Fantasy Adventure

The inspiration for the movie "Nanny McPhee" these three books (ala Mary Poppins) follow the antics of the numerous naughty Brown children and how Nurse Matilda uses her magic to teach them discipline and love. Great pen and ink illustrations!

   
N.E. BODE



The Anybodies, N. E. Bode (illus. by Peter Ferguson)
The Nobodies
The Somebodies

Boy/Girl, 6th-8th Grade, Fantasy Adventure

What can I say? I'm a sucker for the author's name - and this remarkable, different, inventive trilogy of books that introduces us to Fern, raised by the Drudger family, but placed there by her mysterious father, who can transform himself into Anybody. He is in fact, a member of an entire underground society of Anybodies who have the ability to become anyone and anything they can dream of. Why? Many do it to serve humanity (such as Fern's deceased mother and still-kicking quirky grandmother); others have more nefarious intentions.

The three books follow Fern as she learns to master her own shape-changing abilities and her additional ability to "shake objects and people out of books."

The humor is deft, the adventures are strange and wonderous, the characters are exceptionally odd - and I have never read a series of books that were more unique than these.

Peter Ferguson's illustrations are amazing. (It's a shame they changed the cover of the third book - why?) Who knows? All i know is that you need to read these books!

The Slippery Map, N. E. Bode
Boy/Girl, 6th-8th Grade, Fantasy Adventure

Oyster didn't even know that imaginations could be mapped; but then a gust of wind sends him on a dizzying ride in a silver bucket, and Oyster finds himself, his own map in hand, in someone else's imaginary world—a place where rivers breathe and sugar snows down from the sky. Whose world is it? And what does it have to do with Oyster's map?

   
PATRICK CARMAN



The Land of Elyon Trilogy, Patrick Carman

Girl/Boy, 5th-7th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

The Dark Hills Divide
Alexa Daley spends much of her time dreaming of escape from inside the walls that encircle the four cities, cutting them off from the mysterious land of Elyon that lays beyond. One day, she finds secret passage where she meets Yipes who takes her to find an ancient stone - allowing her to converse with the animals. Her people are in danger - and she warn them in time?

Beyond the Valley of Thorns
Alexa, a dwarf, a squirrel, a wolf, a hawk and a giant, travel to the city of Castalia where ogres rule over suffering people, led by Grindall, who is in thrall to Abaddon, chained in a pit at the edge of the Tenth City, home of Elyon, creator of all living creatures. Somehow they must rescue the people, but how?

The Tenth City
The Land of Elyon has begun to fail, poisoned by the evil that creeps across the Dark Hills and into Bridewell. Alexa must find a way to overcome the Lonely Sea, rescue Yipes from the clutches of Victor Grindall, and unlock the mystery of the Tenth City. Storms on the sea and battles with ogres and swarms of bats and the unlocking of mysteries, this final book of the trilogy comes to an exciting conclusion.

Land of Elyon Trilogy 2, Patrick Carman
Girl/Boy, 5th-7th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

Into the Mist
Patrick Carman begins a new Elyon Trilogy with this "prequel" series that tracks the adventures of Roland Warvold and Thomas Warvold. Grand adventure, important life lessons, and in many ways, I enjoyed this book more than the first three.

   
LEWIS CARROLL

Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Alice Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll

Girl/Boy, 3rd-5th Grade, Fantasy Adventure

Alice meets the Mad Hatter, the Ugly Duchess, the Mock Turtle, the Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat and more as she first chases the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole and secondly, stumbles into Wonderland through the looking glass.

   
PATRICK SKENE CATLING

The Chocolate Touch, Patrick Skene Catling
Girl/Boy, 2nd-4th Grade, Humorous Fiction

A boy acquires a magical gift that turns everything his lips touch into chocolate. Sounds like fun until too much of a good thing turns into a lesson about greed and self-restraint.

   
MICHAEL CHABON

Summerland, Michael Chabon
Boy/Girl, 6th-8th Grade, Fantasy Adventure

Ethan lives on a small island in Washington state that features an area that never gets rain, called Summerland. No rain makes baseball very popular with Ethan and his friends; unfortunately, Ethan is the worst baseball player ever. What nobody knows is that Summerland is also a portal to other dimensions. When extra-dimensional beings start causing problems and kidnap Ethan's inventor father to help them destroy the tree that links all the worlds, Ethan and his friends must band together to save all the worlds. Amazing! Different! Read it!

   
PEGGY CHRISTIAN

The Bookstore Mouse, Peggy Christian
Girl/Boy, 2nd-4th Grade, Fantasy Adventure

He lives in a bookstore behind a large WALL OF WORDS. He eats DELICIOUS WORDS from recipes. He throws SHARP WORDS and POINTED REMARKS at his enemy. And one day he slips through the words into a story that is the greatest adventure of his life.
He is THE BOOKSTORE MOUSE. Literary puns are fun.

   
JOHN CHRISTOPHER

The Tripod Series, John Christopher
Boy/Girl, 9th-12th Grade, Science Fiction/Adventure

The White Mountains
In the past, t he Tripods (huge, three-legged machines) descended on Earth and took control. Now people unquestioningly accept the Tripods' power. But during childhood (before a child's brain is "capped" by the Tripods) a person is free to think for himself. For Will his time of freedom is about to end, unless he can escape to the White Mountains, where the possibility of freedom still exists.

The City of Gold and Lead
Will, Beanpole, and Henry have managed to escape the Tripods. But instead of living in safety in a small community of free people, they have chosen to embark upon a mission that may cost them their lives. They set out on a secret mission to penetrate the City of the Tripods and learn more about these strange beings that rule the earth.

The Pool of Fire
In the exciting conclusion of the Tripods series, the resistance movement takes decisive action to foil the alien Masters' final plan to claim the Earth. They defeat the Tripods and reclaim their freedom. But will humans be able to rule themselves?

When the Tripods Came
This "prequel" to the Tripod series should be read LAST. It explains how the world was invaded and overcome by the Tripods - and it serves as a warning to our current generation of how easily it is to brainwash fertile minds when they embrace cheap, meaningless entertainment.


The Sword of the Spirits Trilogy, John Christopher

Boy/Girl, 9th-12th Grade, Science Fiction/Adventure

The Prince in Waiting
In a distant future, after a volcanic apocolypse, Luke Perry is elevated to "Prince in Waiting", in line for his father's throne over the kingdom of Winchester. Machines are blamed for the destruction of the world and therefore outlawed; but the Seers who control the people through the trickery of "the Spirits", recruit Luke as their agent to bring back the age of machines.

Beyond the Burning Lands
Impatient while under protection of the Seers, Luke Perry sets out across the "burning lands" (a region of volcanic activity) to reconnect with the cities beyond. There he is betrothed to the daughter of King Cymru. When he returns, he is arrested for betraying his older brother, who became king in his place. Using the "Sword of the Spirits", he retakes the throne.

The Sword of the Spirits
As a bitter climax to the trilogy, Luke learns the tragic lesson of revenge - the hard way. He faces the end result of his own ambition and pride - suffering, failure and exile. All three books masterfully teach the hard lesson that love and humility are the means to find lasting contentment.

   
ROALD DAHL

Danny the Champion of the World, Roald Dahl
Boy/Girl, 2nd-5th Grade, Humorous Adventure

Danny lives alone with "the greatest father in the world" in a gypsy caravan, where his father works on cars during the day - but hides a secret life at night. When Danny uncovers the secret, he is off on an adventure of his own that will make him a legend in his own time! Roald Dahl's best book ever!

The BFG, Roald Dahl
Boy/Girl, 3rd-6th Grade, Humorous Adventure

While most giants are the people eating kind (with colorful names like Childchewer, Bloodbottler and Fleshlumpeater), Sophie is lucky to have been captured by the BFG-- Big Friendly Giant! With the Giant's help, she warns the Queen of England about the other giants, with a lot of hilarious whizpopping along the way. Funny and fun to read.

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
Boy/Girl, 3rd-6th Grade, Humorous Adventure

Willy Wonka, the reclusive and eccentric chocolate maker, is opening his doors to five lucky children. Those who find a Golden Ticket in their Wonka chocolate bars will receive a private tour of the factory. For poor starving Charlie Bucket, it's his dream come true. You know the rest of the story...the book is as good or better than the movie. Read it!

Charlie & the Great Glass Elevator, Roald Dahl
Boy/Girl, 3rd-6th Grade, Humorous Adventure

Charlie and Willie Wonka blast into space in the Great Glass Elevator. With Charlie's family in tow, they encounter Vermicious Knids and Gnoolies and other space adventures. Not as good as the first book (how could it be?), but for a sequel, it's still very funny!

James & the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
Boy/Girl, 3rd-6th Grade, Humorous Adventure

James was sent to live with his two nasty aunts who abuse him. Suddenly, a giant peach begins to grow on the hill where they live. James crawls inside and meets a bunch of insects who have also grown in size The peach breaks loose, rolls downhill and into the ocean. From there, the peach, and its inhabitants, travels to America. Arriving in New York City, they are treated to a hero's welcome and live their lives happily ever after.

The Magic Finger, Roald Dahl
Boy/Girl, 1st-4th Grade, Humorous Adventure

The Gregg family loves hunting, but their eight-year-old neighbor can't stand it. After pleading for them to stop, she has no other choice -- she has to put her magic finger on them. Now the Greggs are a family of birds, and like it or not, they're going to find out how it feels to be on the other end of the gun.

George's Marvelous Medicine, Roald Dahl
Boy/Girl, 2nd-5th Grade, Humorous Adventure

In typical Roald Dahl fashion, a lad named George does away with his nasty grandmother by giving her a concoction that he brews from a mixture that includes shampoo, shaving cream and floor polish - with laugh-out-loud results. My daughter's favorite - she laughs hysterically every time she re-reads it.

Esio Trot, Roald Dahl
Girl/Boy, 1st-3rd Grade, Humorous Adventure

For years, old Mr. Hoppy has loved his neighbor, Mrs. Silver, a widow who, alas, only has eyes for her pet tortoise, Alfie (thus the name of the book, Esio Trot, which is "tortouise" spelled backwards. Mr. Hoppy stumbles on a scheme to win Mrs. Silver's heart - with the help of Alfie. A great starter book for young Roald Dahl readers. Read it as a family.

The Giraffe & the Pelly & Me, Roald Dahl
Boy/Girl, 2nd-4th Grade, Humorous Adventure

One of the lesser known Dahl books, it's a funny, easy-to-read story about a boy who dreams of owning a "grubber" store (a candy shop). His dream comes true with the help of the Ladderless Window Cleaning Company, a giraffe, a pelican and a monkey. You'll have to read it to find out how.

The Twits, Roald Dahl
Boy/Girl, 3rd-6th Grade, Humor/Fantasy

When you think ugly thoughts, they show up on your face. Mr. and Mrs. Twit are living examples of this principle as they play horrible tricks on each other. One day, their caged monkeys and the local bird population turn the table on the awful Twits and give them a taste of their own terrible medicine. Funny, subversive, instructive - typical Dahl zaniness.

   
KATE DiCAMILLO


The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Kate DiCamillo

Girl/Boy, 3rd-5th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

Edward Tulane is a cold-hearted china rabbit owned by 10-year-old Abilene Tulane. His path to redemption begins when he falls overboard during the family's ocean journey. He suffers abuse and love at the hands of a series of villains and temporary owners, until his heart (and his head) breaks and he learns to love others. Amazing illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline.

The Tale of Despereaux, Kate DiCamillo
Girl/Boy, 3rd-5th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

Despereaux is a tiny mouse with huge ears born to disappointed parents who falls in love with the Princess Pea and is therefore banished to the dungeon to die among the rats. Though small, the heart and courage of Despereaux is huge and he rescues the princess (and several others) from a scheming (though equally misunderstood) rat.

Because of Winn-Dixie , Kate DiCamillo
Girl/Boy, 4th-6th Grade, Humorous Fiction

10-yr-old Opal moves to Naomi, Florida with her father, the preacher, after her mother abandons them (because of drinking). Alone without any friends, she meets a stray dog in a Winn-Dixie store. The dog, with a knack for smiling toothily, wins everyone over with his charming antics. Opal is soon surrounded by people who learn to make peace with their past in the healing circle of loving friends. Highly recommended!

   
CHARLES DICKENS

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
Boy/Girl, 5th-7th Grade, Holiday Ghost Story

You've seen the movie and the play in a hundred different forms, but have you ever read the book? Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchet, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, teach the true meaning of Christmas in a world still plagued with avarice and cynicism.

Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
Boy/Girl, 7th-9th Grade, Fictional Adventure

This is a tale of a spirited young innocent's unwilling but inevitable recruitment into a scabrous gang of thieves. Led by the loathsome Fagin, the underworld crew includes the vicious Bill Sikes, gentle Nancy, and the juvenile pickpocket known as the Artful Dodger.

A Tale of Two Cities , Charles Dickens
Boy/Girl, 7th-9th Grade, Fictional Adventure

A swift, exciting story and an unforgettable rendering of the French Revolution, in a lethal, vengeful and exiguous Paris and a tranquil London. The book is riddled with the howling mobs, epic scenes and tightly packed incidents portraying the vast movements of history, as well as the engrossing terror and compassion of individual characters.

   
SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
The Return of Sherlock Holmes
Study in Scarlett
The Sign of Four
The Hound of the Baskervilles

Boy/Girl, 6th-9th Grade, Mystery

Sherlock Holmes and his trusted friend, Dr. Watson, step from 221b Baker Street into the swirling fog of Victorian London to exercise that unique combination of detailed observation, vast knowledge, and brilliant deduction. Inevitably, Holmes rescues the innocent, confounds the guilty, and solves the most perplexing puzzles known to literature. A MUST READ!

   
WILLIAM PENE DuBOIS

The 21 Balloons, William Pene DuBois
Boy/Girl, 4th-8th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

Professor William Waterman Sherman leaves on an around-the-world balloon trip in ONE balloon and crash lands three weeks later flying TWENTY-ONE balloons! You won't believe the inventive and amazing adventure he has in between. If you loved Boomtown, you'll enjoy this one, too.

   
JEANNE DuPRAU

The City of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau
Girl/Boy, 4th-7th Grade, Science Fiction/Mystery

The stunningly profound story of Lina and Doon as they seek to understand and then to escape their perpetually dark city, Ember, a decaying place with no natural light surrounded by the vast Unknown. Steeped in mystery, this amazing book will keep you spellbound and clamoring for the sequel.

The People of Sparks, Jeanne DuPrau
Girl/Boy, 4th-7th Grade, Science Fiction

When the people of Ember escape their underground city and have to rely on the above ground people of Sparks to save them, prejudice, suspicion and resentment lead them to the precipice of war. How can people who are different live together? This book should be required reading in history class - all about the root causes of war - and its solution.

The Prophet of Yonwood, Jeanne DuPrau
Girl/Boy, 4th-7th Grade, Science Fiction

As a prequel to the first two books, this is not the best of the Ember trilogy. Nonetheless, it is an interesting case study about what happens when you go looking for the worst in people - you'll always find it. And the answer to the mystery - why the City of Ember had to be built.

   
MICHAEL ENDE

The Neverending Story, Michael Ende
Boy/Girl, 5th-9th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

The very sad and lonely Bastian Balthazar Bux steals a book and is drawn into its pages - literally - where he becomes the hero of Fantasia. The real story, however, is how Bastian is transformed from a frightened, insecure child, and the new relationship he forges with his grieving father. Profound!

   
ELEANOR ESTES


The Moffats, Eleanor Estes
The Middel Moffat
Rufus M.
The Moffat Museum
Girl/Boy, 2nd-4th Grade, Humorous Fiction

Sylvie, Joey, Janey and Rufus live with their mother in the yellow house on New Dollar Street. Set in the early 1900's, these charming stories told from the point-of-view of the young characters will warm your heart with the simple joys of small town life. Funny and full of mischief, a day in the life of the Moffats is always a surprise! Great books for kids!

   
JOHN FITZGERALD


The Great Brain, John Fitzgerald

More Adventures of the Great Brain
Me and My Little Brain
The Great Brain is Back
The Great Brain at the Academy
The Great Brain Does it Again
The Great Brain Reforms

The Return of the Great Brain
Boy/Girl, 4th-7th Grade, Humorous Fiction

I first read these books as a 4th grader and have loved them ever since. T.D. (Tom) is the great brain and his younger brother J.D. is the freqent target of his clever schemes. Although often in troubel, Tom manages to wiggle off the hook, and often, becomes the hero to his exasperated parents and townfolk. If these books don't turn a boy into a reader, nothing will!

   
KENNETH GRAHAME

The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
Girl/Boy, 3rd-5th Grade, Humorous Fiction

The charming tale of a humble Mole who wanders down to the riverside one day, only to meet a new friend in the local water Rat, and thus begin a series of adventures that will introduce him to the lovable but foolish Toad and the brave but aloof Badger, and a host of other woodland creatures -- all of whom dress and act like people. Classic for a reason.

   
CONN & HAL IGGULDEN


The Dangerous Book for Boys, Conn & Hal Iggulden

Boys/ Girls, 4th-8th Grade, Non-fiction/General Knowledge

The Dangerous Book is a guide book for dads as well as their sons, as a reminder of lore and technique that have not yet been completely lost to the digital age. Knot tying, treehouse building, code making, paper folding, you get the idea. Lots of how-to illustrations and historical information. Great!

   
BRIAN JACQUES


Redwall, Brian Jacques
(20+ books and counting)
Boys/ Girls, 6th-8th Grade+, Fantasy Adventure

Only the lost sword of Martin the Warrior can save Redwall Abbey from the evil rat Cluny and his greedy horde. The young mouse Matthias (formerly Redwall's most awkward novice) vows to recover the legendary weapon.

Thus begins the first installment of a series (which has grown to 20 novels, plus any number of companion books) involving chivalrous mice, squirrels, rabbits and hedgehogs. Parents should be warned of the sometimes violent nature of the battles, etc., but for fans of the series, these books are literate and exciting.

   
NORTON JUSTER

The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster
Boys/ Girls, 4th-7th Grade, Fantasy Adventure

Milo is bored by everything until the curious appearance of a tollbooth in his bedroom. He dusts off his toy car, pays the toll, and takes a journey through The Doldrums (populated by Lethargarians), and picks up a watchdog named Tock (who has a giant alarm clock for a body). He visits 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. This was one of my favorite books as a kid - it's still one of the BEST kids books ever!

   
CAROLYN KEENE


The Secret of the Old Clock: Nancy Drew Book 1,
Carolyn Keene

Girl/Boy, 5th-7th Grade, Mystery

The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories reached 175 books in 2003. Add to that the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boy books, The River Heights Series, the companion books, video games, and so on...and you have a mystery phenomenon that has lasted more than 80 years! Start with Book 1 - and then read them all! (Good luck!)

   
DICK KING-SMITH

Babe the Gallant Pig, Dick King-Smith
Girl/Boy, 3rd-5th Grade, Humorous Fiction

Babe. You've seen the movie, but did you know it was first a book? Babe the Pig is won at the county fair by Farmer Hoggett. Adopted by Fly the sheepdog, she soon trains him to be the first ever "sheep-pig". The Farmer takes Babe on to win the Grand Challenge Sheepdog Trials with hilarious fun along the way.

   
MADELINE L'ENGLE


A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L'Engle
A Wind in the Door
A Swiftly Tilting Planet
Many Waters
An Acceptable Time
Girl/Boy, 6th-9th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

A landmark in childrens literature, the "Time Quartet" (now five books) follows Meg, her brother, Charles Wallace, her family and Calvin O'Keefe on a series of dimension-hopping journeys through time and space. On one level a science fiction masterpiece, on a deeper level, an investigation of the power of love and faith. EVERYONE should buy these books and read them over and over again!

   
C.S. LEWIS

Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis
Boys and Girls, 1st-6th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

The classic seven-book series beginning with The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe is a must read for every child (and adult). The four Pevensie children embark on the adventure of a lifetime with Aslan the Lion in the magical land of Narnia. The best fantasy/adventure series ever written for young readers.

   
HUGH LOFTING

The Story of Dr. Dolittle, Hugh Lofting
Girl/Boy, 3rd-5th Grade, Fantasy/Adventure

You know the first book about the man who could talk to the animals, but did you know there were TWELVE BOOKS in the Dr. Dolittle series? The sequel, The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle, won the Newberry Award (1922) and is just as charming now as when it was written. Ignore the rude movies by Eddie Murphy and read the original books. Fantastic and funny!

   

 

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