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Hot Topics! Reading List of...
Classics and Fiction

For the Youngest Readers, or to Read Aloud...

Annie Mouse Meets Her Guardian Angel by Anne Slanina (sometimes available from Amazon)
For all children who have ever felt that their mothers hated them when they were yelling. Annie Mouse is a shy, quiet mouse with many brothers and sisters. Mommy Mouse yells and screams at them as she works hard to keep house. Annie believes her mother hates her until she has a visit from her Guardian Angel, who helps her understand that her mother is having a hard time coping with all of her duties as a mother of a large family. Annie begins to ask her Guardian Angel for help when her mother yells. She also begins to help her mother with the chores instead of running and hiding when her mother yells...
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
"Once there was a tree ... and she loved a little boy." Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk ... and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave...  (Warning: This story is either loved or hated by gifted families - whether you see it as a story of giving or a story of sacrifice.)
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Emerging from his home at Mole End one spring, Mole's whole world changes when he hooks up with the good-natured, boat-loving Water Rat, the boastful Toad of Toad Hall, the society-hating Badger who lives in the frightening Wild Wood, and countless other mostly well-meaning creatures...
Rudyard Kipling's...
Just So Stories
For one hundred years, these classic tales -- drawn from the oral storytelling traditions of India and Africa and filled with mischievously clever animals and people -- have entertained young and old alike

Best Ever, by the folks who brought you Horrible Histories.  Visit Horribles! for the whole Horrible collection!

Terry Deary's Best Ever Greek Legends (or from the Amazon.co.uk Terry Deary's Best Ever Greek Legends)
From killer king Oedipus to monstrous Medusa's horrible hair, the classic Greek legends are back ...with a modern twist. Discover how Heroic Heracles sits his SATs and the wife of top god Zeus spills the beans about her legendary husband. Discover foul fact about furies, harpies and other killer creatures plus the evils of the Underworld revealed. 100% horrible!
Terry Deary's Best Ever Shakespeare Tales (or from the Amazon.co.uk Terry Deary's Best Ever Shakespeare Tales)
Tells you more than just what happens in everyone's favourite Shakespeare plays - it tells you the stories behind them. Find out about: A Midsummer Night's Dream, King Lear, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth and Hamlet. From how the plays were originally staged to what Shakespeare himself might have thought of his work being taught in schools - there's so much to find out!

For Younger Readers...  Also visit Hot Topics Reading List: Science Fiction and Fantasy

Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry
The ups and downs of a precocious ten-year-old girl... and the sequels:
Anastasia Again Anastasia on Her Own
Anastasia, Ask your Analyst Anastasia Has the Answers
Anastasia's Chosen Career Anastasia at your Service
Anastasia at this Address Anastasia Absolutely
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Although Anna Sewell's classic paints a clear picture of turn-of-the-century London, its message is universal and timeless: animals will serve humans well if they are treated with consideration and kindness
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Anyone who has ever entertained the notion of "little people" living furtively among us will adore this artfully spun classic.  Also, The Borrowers Afloat, The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Avenged The Borrowers Aloft
Call of the Wild by Jack London
Survival in the Arctic is brutal, at best, for both man and dog...  Also, White Fang
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
George Selden's whimsical tale of a little Connecticut cricket named Chester, whose entrapment in a wicker picnic basket leads to never-before-dreamed-of adventures upon his arrival in Times Square...
The Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit
To Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane, and their baby brother, the house in the country promises a summer of freedom and play.  But when they accidentally uncover an accident Psammead--or Sand-fairy--who has the power to make wishes come true, they find themselves having the holiday of a lifetime, sharing one thrilling adventure after another...
 The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall
The Minnipins' world is a colorful, well-detailed world full of adventures, with no shortage of eccentric characters...  And the sequel, The Whisper of Glocken
The Good Liar by  Gregory Maguire
Three girls doing a school assignment on World War II write a letter to an artist they've seen on TV when they learn he grew up in the Loire Valley of France during the war. Marcel Delarue responds to their questions by telling his family's story...
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
Gilly Hopkins is a determined-to-be-unpleasant 11-year-old foster kid who the reader can't help but like by the end. Gilly has been in the foster system all her life, and she dreams of getting back to her (as she imagines) wonderful mother. But she soon learns about illusions--the hard way...
Harriet the Spy Recommended by Louise Fitzhugh
Unflinchingly honest portrayal of childhood problems and emotions changed children's literature forever. ...remains one of the best children's novels ever written. The fascinating story is about an intensely curious and intelligent girl...
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
The classic story of a young orphan sent to live with her grumpy grandfather in the Swiss Alps, Heidi has charmed and intrigued readers since it's original publication in 1880...
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Inspired by the real-life story of a 12-year-old American Indian girl, Karana, a remarkable young woman who, during the evacuation of Ghalas-at (an island off the coast of California), jumped ship to stay with her young brother who had been abandoned on the island. He died shortly thereafter, and Karana fended for herself on the island for 18 years
The Last Dog on Earth by Daniel Ehrenhaft (upper elementary and up)
In this boy-and-his-dog tale with a twist, Logan Moore, 14, doesn't measure up to the expectations of his mom and stepdad, and is friendless at school. His one interest, inventing electronic gadgets, only gives vent to mischievous impulses. The teen lacks direction and self-esteem until he adopts Jack, a wild and mangy mutt...
Leaping Beauty: And Other Animal Fairy Tales by  Gregory Maguire
Eight well-known fairy tales are recast, with the aid of animal characters and outrageous puns...
Little House by Laura Ingalls Wilder (9 Books, Boxed Set)
Pa Ingalls decides to sell the little log house, and the family sets out for Indian country! They travel from Wisconsin to Kansas, and there, finally, Pa builds their little house on the prairie. Sometimes farm life is difficult, even dangerous, but Laura and her family are kept busy...   Also available separately, beginning with Little House in the Big Woods
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The classic story fo a family, still entrancing readers...  Also available in an annotated version with margin notes on period clothing, customs, and more, or an illustrated version for read-aloud...
Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
On an island off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland lives a centuries-old band of wild ponies. Among them is the most mysterious of all, Phantom...
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Every kid thinks about running away at one point or another; few get farther than the end of the block. Young Sam Gribley gets to the end of the block and keeps going...  Also On the Far Side of the Mountain, Frightful's Mountain
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Pippi is an irrepressible, irreverent, and irrefutably delightful girl who lives alone (with a monkey) in her wacky house, Villa Villekulla. Pippi's high-spirited, good-natured hijinks cause as much trouble as fun, but a more generous child you won't find anywhere
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A wonderfully symbolic story about children finding love and happiness through their mutual delight in the magic of nature and in each other...
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome (all ages, from read aloud through young adult!)
Swallows and Amazons
Peter Duck: A Treasure Hunt in the Caribbees
Winter Holiday
Coot Club
Pigeon Post
We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea
Secret Water
The Big Six
Missee Lee: The Swallows and Amazons in the China Seas
The Picts & the Martyrs: Or Not Welcome at All (Godine Storyteller)
Great Northern?: A Scottish Adventure
The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White
The Sword And The Stone recreates, against the background of magnificent pageantry and dark magic that was medieval England, the education and training of young King Arthur, who was to become the greatest of Britain's legendary rulers...
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Climb aboard for the swashbuckling adventure of a lifetime. The names Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins are destined to remain pieces of folklore for as long as children want to read Robert Louis Stevenson's most famous book
The Voyages of Dr. Doolittle by Hugh Lofting
Chronicles of the delightful voyages of Doctor Dolittle...
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon Recommended by Grace Lin
A young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. Her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. Inspired, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family's fortune. An assorted cast of characters and magical creatures grace her way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer...
Where the Sidewalk Ends: The Poems and Drawings of Shel Silverstein by Shel Silverstein
Also A Light in the Attic, Falling Up, A Giraffe and a Half, Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back, The Missing Piece Meets the Big O, The Giving Tree, Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Few fantasy lands have captured our hearts and imaginations as has the marvelous land of Oz... Also (in order!)
The Marvelous Land of Oz Ozma of Oz Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
The Road to Oz The Emerald City of Oz The Patchwork Girl of Oz
Tik-Tok of Oz The Scarecrow of Oz Rinkitink in Oz
The Lost Princess of Oz The Tin Woodman of Oz The Magic of Oz
Glinda in Oz The Royal Book of Oz Kabumpo in Oz
The Cowardly Lion of Oz Grampa in Oz The Lost King of Oz
The Hungry Tiger of Oz The Gnome King of Oz The Giant Horse of Oz
Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz The Yellow Knight of Oz Pirates in Oz
The Purple Prince of Oz Ojo in Oz Speedy in Oz
The Wishing Horse of Oz Captain Salt in Oz Handy Mandy in Oz
beginning with The Royal Book of Oz, books are written by Ruth Plumly Thompson; there are additional titles by other authors...
Roald Dahl's...
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (the sequel)
James and the Giant Peach
Danny the Champion of the World
Eleanor Estes'...
The Moffats
The Middle Moffat
Rufus M.
The Moffat Museum
Ginger Pye
Pinky Pye
The Hundred Dresses
Rudyard Kipling's...
The Jungle Book
Louis Sachar's...
Wayside School Boxed Set: Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, Wayside School is Falling Down, Sideway Stories from Wayside School
Sideways Arithmetic From Wayside School
More Sideways Arithmetic From Wayside School
Some Day Angeline
There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom
Dogs Don't Tell Jokes
Holes Full of humor and absurdity, but also a deep understanding of friendship and a searing compassion for society's underdogs...
Small Steps the sequel to Holes, focuses on Armpit. It's two years after his release, and the 16-year-old is still digging holes, although now getting paid for it, working for a landscaper in his hometown ...
E. B. White's...
Charlotte's Web classic farmyard tale, now also available as a movie Charlotte's Web
Stuart Little
The Trumpet of the Swan

For Older Readers...

1984 by George Orwell
The year is 1984; the scene is London. In a grim city and a terrifying country, where Big Brother is always Watching You and the Thought Police can practically read your mind, Winston is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Verne's classic novel about Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus - classic science fiction still today!
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
An amusing, nostalgic look at boyhood on the Mississippi River in the mid-19th century, and is based on Mark Twain's memories of his youth in the river town of Hannibal, Missouri.  Also, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Animal Farm by George Orwell
George Orwell's anthropomorphic fable of a workers' revolution gone wrong...  
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
"Community, Identity, Stability" is the motto of Aldous Huxley's utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a "Feelie," a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for...
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Jess Aarons is eager to start fifth grade. He's been practicing his sprints all summer, determined to become the fastest runner at school. All seems to be on track, until the new girl in class leaves all the boys in the dust, including Jess...  Now available as a movie Bridge to Terabithia
Catch-22 by Joseph L. Heller
Classic satire on the murderous insanity of war...
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The coming-of-age story against which all others are judged. Read and cherished by generations, the story of Holden Caulfield is truly one of America's literary treasures...
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Set in a dismal dystopia, it is the first-person account of a juvenile delinquent who undergoes state-sponsored psychological rehabilitation for his aberrant behavior. The novel satirizes extreme political systems that are based on opposing models of the perfectibility or incorrigibility of humanity...
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
One of the greatest thrillers of all time, The Count of Monte Cristo tells the tale of young Edmond Dantes, who, falsely accused of treason and arrested on his wedding day, escapes from prison to seek revenge on his enemies
Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller
Described by Miller as "the tragedy of a man who gave his life, or sold it" in pursuit of the American Dream. After many years on the road as a traveling salesman, Willy Loman realizes he has been a failure as a father and husband...
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Classic, frightening vision of the future, where firemen don't put out fires--they start them in order to burn books. This vividly painted society holds up the appearance of happiness as the highest goal--a place where trivial information is good, and knowledge and ideas are bad...
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
The domineering matriarch of the Wingfield family tries to find a "gentleman caller" for her fragile daughter. This is a "memory play"; the narrator/character, Tom, continually shifts from narration to his "in scene" character...
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
What this cautionary tale of a young man raised high above his station by a mysterious benefactor lacks in length, it more than makes up for in its remarkable characters and compelling stories...
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Gulliver's Travels describes the four fantastic voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, a kindly ship's surgeon. Swift portrays him as an observer, a reporter, and a victim of circumstance
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells
A shipwreck in the South Seas, a palm-tree paradise where a mad doctor conducts vile experiments, animals that become human and then "beastly" in ways they never were before--it's the stuff of high adventure. It's also a parable about Darwinian theory, a social satire in the vein of Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels), and a bloody tale of horror...
The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
This masterpiece of science fiction is the fascinating story of Griffin, a scientist who creates a serum to render himself invisible, and his descent into madness that follows...
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
Cooper's famous adventure brings the wilds of the American frontier and the drama of the French-Indian war to vivid life. Featuring the classic character Natty Bumppo, it is a moving, memorable depiction of courage, passion, and forbearance, and a precursor to the Western genre
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The March family, with its four spirited daughters, succeeds in any circumstances.  Alcott's themes of love, kindness and faith endure through the centuries
Listen! Recommended by Stephanie Tolan
Award-winning story about a girl who loses her mom, and finds herself, with the help of a wild dog... Christopher Award, for media that “salutes the highest values of the human spiritˮ (all readers)
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
From "Rocket Summer" to "The Million-Year Picnic," Ray Bradbury's stories of the colonization of Mars form an eerie mesh of past and future...
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The tragic story, given poignancy by its objective narrative, is about the complex bond between two migrant laborers
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Oliver's stark request, "Please, sir, I want some more," will thrill kids today as it always has, and the story of the street boy on the run, who lives with outlaws and then finds a safe home...
No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman
Tired of school-assigned novels where the dog always dies, Wallace tells the teacher how he feels... and ends up kicked off the football team and into detention, along with an English teacher doing a dramatic production of the novel Wallace hates.  By the end of the production, the tables are turned and the dog pulls through... Great for our sensitive readers!
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
The tragic tale of how a priceless pearl brings greed, treachery and loss to a poor Mexican pearl diver, his wife and their infant son...
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
An African-American family is united in love and pride as they struggle to overcome poverty and harsh living conditions...
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Classic tale of a young man's coming-of-age during the American Civil War...
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Crusoe has become an emblem of human survival in a lonely and hostile world...
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
In the early days of Puritan Boston, Hester Prynne braves the stigma of adultery by wearing the embroidered scarlet "A" on her clothing...
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."  This classic story of feuding families set against a backdrop of London and Paris during the French Revolution reveals the author's belief that from the ashes of the past can come the birth of a more enlightened age...
Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas
Timeless tale of swashbuckling adventure and heroic deeds...
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
First novel by H.G. Wells, published in book form in 1895. The novel is considered one of the earliest works of science fiction and the progenitor of the "time travel" subgenre. Wells advanced his social and political ideas in this narrative of a nameless Time Traveller who is hurtled into the year 802,701 by his elaborate ivory, crystal, and brass contraption. The world he finds is peopled by two races: the decadent Eloi, fluttery and useless, are dependent for food, clothing, and shelter on the simian subterranean Morlocks, who prey on them...
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus--three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Though her story explores big themes, Harper Lee chooses to tell it through the eyes of a child. The result is a tough and tender novel of race, class, justice, and the pain of growing up...
The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
This is the granddaddy of all alien invasion stories, first published by H.G. Wells in 1898. The novel begins ominously, as the lone voice of a narrator tells readers that "No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's..."
By Gary Blackwood
The Shakespeare Stealer tale of a 14-year-old Yorkshire orphan sent by a rival theater manager to steal the as-yet-unpublished Hamlet in 1601 London "excels in the lively depictions of Elizabethan stagecraft and street life"
Shakespeare's Scribe
Shakespeare's Spy
By L. M. Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables (complete set) tale of a 14-year-old Yorkshire orphan sent by a rival theater manager to steal the as-yet-unpublished Hamlet in 1601 London "excels in the lively depictions of Elizabethan stagecraft and street life"  Or read The Annotated Anne of Green Gables
World of Adventure series, by Gary Paulsen (chapter books to pre-teen, mostly out of stock but available used)
The Legend of Red Horse Cavern The Treasure of El Patron
Rodomonte's Revenge Skydive!
Escape from Fire Mountain The Seventh Crystal
The Rock Jockeys The Creature of Black Water Lake
Hook 'Em, Snotty Time Benders
Danger on a Midnight River Grizzly
The Gorgon Slayer Thunder Valley
Captive! Curse of the Ruins
Project: A Perfect World Flight of the Hawk
Brian Robeson is at home in the Canadian wilderness. He has stood up to the challenge of surviving alone in the woods. He prefers being on his own in the natural world to civilization...
Other titles by Gary Paulsen
Harris and Me post-WWII story of an 11-year-old boy sent to spend the summer on his relatives' farm...
Dogsong A fourteen-year-old Eskimo boy who feels at odds with aspects of modern life takes a 1400-mile journey by dog sled across ice, tundra, and mountains seeking his own "song" of himself
Canyons An Apache boy, takes part in his first raid--the one that will usher him into manhood. More than a hundred years later, while camping near Dog Canyon, fifteen-year-old Brennan Cole becomes obsessed with a skull that he finds, pierced by a bullet...
The Car 14-year-old Terry Anders is a 1990s Huck Finn, with parents as neglectful as Pap. Like Huck, he escapes, not on a raft but by constructing a kit car. Besides evoking a type of independence and tough-mindedness that will appeal to teens, this provocative novel introduces and explores some interesting philosophies of life...
The Island The island is in the middle of a small lake in northern Wisconsin, uninhabited until the summer Wilstet, 15, arrives. Wil is at first drawn by the simplicity of the place, but as his concentration sharpens the island unfolds its matrix of life and death, mirroring the unfolding layers of Wil's self-consciousness...
The Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket (chapter books and up)
The Bad Beginning The Bad Beginning:
A Multi-Voice Recording (CD)
Un Mal Principio (Spanish)
Tout Commence Mal (French)
The Reptile Room The Reptile Room:
A Multi-Voice Recording (CD)
La Habitacion de los Reptiles (Spanish)
Le Laboratoire Aux Serpents (French)
Das Reptilensaal (German)
The Wide Window   El Ventanal (Spanish)
Ouragan Sue La Lac  (French)
La Funesta Finestra (Italian)
The Miserable Mill   El Aserradero Lugubre (Spanish)
Cauchemar a la Scierie  (French)
Die unheimliche Muehle (German)
The Austere Academy   Una Academia Muy Austera (Spanish)
Les Desastreuses Aventures des Orphelins de Baudelaire  (books 4-5-6 French)
Das Internat des Schreckens (German)
L'Atroce Accademia  (Italian)
The Ersatz Elevator The Loathsome Library (books 1-6) El Ascensor Artificioso (Spanish)
Ascenseur pour la Peur (French)
Der Finstere Fahrstuhl (German)
The Vile Village   L'Arbre aux Corbeaux (French) Das Dorf der Schwarzen (German)
The Hostile Hospital      
The Carnivorous Carnival      
The Slippery Slope      
The Grim Grotto The Cumbersome Collection (books 1-11)    
The Penultimate Peril The Horrendous Heap (books 1-12)    
The Notorious Notations to be released March 2006      
Also The Puzzling Puzzles: Bothersome Games Which Will Bother Some People
Truth Behind A Series of Unfortunate Events: Eyeballs, Leeches, Hypnotism, and Orphans---Exploring Lemony Snicket's World
"Make no mistake. The Bad Beginning begins badly for the three Baudelaire children, and then gets worse." A bit dark, but tons of fun, and full of great vocabulary (always explained in the text), these are the latest craze among kids from early chapter book readers to teens.  Don't miss Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography

Pre-Teen and Teens

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (pre-teen and up)
A murder mystery of sorts -- told by an autistic boy. Fifteen-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone is mathematically gifted and socially hopeless, raised in a working-class home by parents who can barely cope with their child's quirks. He takes everything that he sees (or is told) at face value, and is unable to sort out the strange behavior of his elders and peers...
Alex Rider Adventure, by Anthony Horowitz (pre-teen to teen)
Point Blank
Skeleton Key  
Eagle Strike
Scorpia coming March 17, 2005
Working as a secret agent for Britain’s most exclusive agency, M16, Alex Rider has seen it all. He’s been shot at by international terrorists, stood face-to-face with pure evil, and saved the world—twice. But fifteen-year-old Alex is about to face something more dangerous than he can imagine...
Brian, by Gary Paulsen (pre-teen and up)
The River
Brian's Winter
Brian's Return
Brian's Hunt
Guts - the real stories. stories of the adventures that inspired Paulsen to write Brian Robeson's story
Brian Robeson is at home in the Canadian wilderness. He has stood up to the challenge of surviving alone in the woods. He prefers being on his own in the natural world to civilization...
The Boy, by Gary Paulson (chapter books, pre-teen and up)
The Cookcamp Short, lyrical novel concerns a five-year-old boy who is sent to the north woods of Minnesota to live with his grandmother, a cook for a rough-and-tumble road-building crew...
The Quilt Spend another summer with "the boy" and his grandmother, Alida. World War II is being fought in Europe, and the boy’s mother, working in a munitions factory in Chicago, sends her six-year-old son to stay with his grandmother in Minnesota
Alida's Song The wonderful grandmother seen through the eyes of a young boy in The Cookcamp reaches out to him at 14, offering him a haven...
Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan (chapter books to adult)
Newbery Honor title! When Jake Semple is kicked out of yet another school, the Applewhites, an eccentric family of artists, offer to let him live with them and attend their unstructured Creative Academy...

Classics from Other Cultures

Also read Windows and Mirrors: Reading Diverse Children's Literature by Sarah Park Dahlen, for lots more suggestions on diverse cultural literature.


The Analects of Confucius by Confucius, translated by Simon Leys
In this terse, brilliant translation, Simon Leys restores the human dimension to Confucius. He emerges a full-blooded character with a passion for politics and a devotion to the ideals of a civilization he saw in decline. Leys's Notes draw Confucius into conversation with the great thinkers of the Western tradition...
The Art of War by Sun-Tzu
The ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu is universally recognized as the greatest military strategist in history, a master of warfare interpretation. This condensed version of his influential classic imparts the knowledge and skills to overcome every adversary in war, at the office, or in everyday life...
The I Ching or Book of Changes translated by Richard Wilhelm
More than just a translation, Richard Wilhelm's I Ching is a profound introduction to the Chinese world-view. The I Ching (Yi Jing) is recognized by both Confucians and Taoists as a foundational work, and Wilhelm shows why. He separates his work into three books. The first book is about the hexagrams...
Journey to the West Wu Cheng'en, translated by W.J.F. Jenner
Journey to the West is a classic Chinese mythological novel. It was written during the Ming Dynasty based on traditional folktales. Consisting of 100 chapters, this fantasy relates the adventures of a Tang Dynasty (618-907) priest Sanzang and his three disciples, Monkey, Pig and Friar Sand, as they travel west in search of Buddhist Sutra...


Ramayana retold by William Buck
Mahabharata retold by William Buck
Few works in world literature have inspired so vast an audience, in nations with radically different languages and cultures, as the Ramayana and Mahabharata, two Sanskrit verse epics written some 2,000 years ago...


A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy by Miyamoto Musashi
To learn a Japanese martial art is to learn Zen, and although you can't do so simply by reading a book, it sure does help--especially if that book is The Book of Five Rings. One of Japan's great samurai sword masters penned in decisive, unfaltering terms this certain path to victory...
The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura (an explanation for Westerners)
To many foreigners, nothing is so quintessentially Japanese as the tea ceremony--more properly, "the way of tea"--with its austerity, its extravagantly minimalist stylization, and its concentration of extreme subtleties of meaning into the simplest of actions. The Book of Tea is something of a curiosity: written in English by a Japanese scholar (and issued here in bilingual form), it was first published in 1906, in the wake of the naval victory over Russia with which Japan asserted its rapidly acquired status as a world-class military power...
The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, translated by Edward G. Seidensticker
Not only the world's first real novel, but one of its greatest...
Zen in the Art of Flower Arrangement by Gustie L. Herrigel, translated by R. F. C. Hull
Not only the world's first real novel, but one of its greatest...


The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz
First published in 1950, The Labyrinth of Solitude addresses issues that are both seemingly eternal and resoundingly contemporary: the nature of political power in post-conquest Mexico, the relation of Native Americans to Europeans, the ubiquity of official corruption. Noting these matters earned Paz no small amount of trouble from the Mexican leadership, but it also brought him renown as a social critic...
The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz
Paz, a cosmopolitan poet, is also intensely Mexican. In his lines--whether long and flowing or spare and chiseled--sorrow and solitude are measured against the strength of his people and refracted through the prism of his gentle romanticism ("The world is born when two people kiss"). From India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and France, the poet-diplomat pens updates on the fragile state of the world. Yet if death is an ever-present reality in his poetry, so is hope...

Middle East

By Naguib Mahfouz...
Children of the Alley
Midag Alley
Originally published in Arabic in 1959, Mahfouz's multigenerational saga presents an allegorical look at spirituality...
The Cairo Trilogy: Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street  
The novels of The Cairo Trilogy trace three generations of the family of tyrannical patriarch Al-Sayyid Ahmad Abd al-Jawad, who rules his household with a strict hand while living a secret life of self-indulgence
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyaim by Omar Khayyaim, translated by Edmund J. Sullivan
In the eleventh century, in Persia, there lived a mathematician named Ghiyathuddin Abulfath Omar bin Ibrahim al-Khayyami--or, Omar, son of Abraham, the tent-maker. Omar wrote poetry, and while his rhymes received little attention in their day, they were rediscovered and translated into beautiful English--more than seven centuries later--by a gentleman and scholar named Edward FitzGerald. It was a meeting of minds, a great collaboration of the past and the present...

South America

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The story follows 100 years in the life of Macondo, a village founded by José Arcadio Buendía and occupied by descendants all sporting variations on their progenitor's name: his sons, José Arcadio and Aureliano, and grandsons, Aureliano José, Aureliano Segundo, and José Arcadio Segundo.  With One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel García Márquez introduced Latin American literature to a world-wide readership...
Pablo Neruda: Selected Poems
In his long life as a poet, Pablo Neruda succeeded in becoming what many poets have aspired to but never achieved: a public voice, a voice not just for the people of his country but for his entire continent. Widely translated, he probably reached more readers than any poet in history; justly so, for, as he often said, his "poet's obligation" was to become a voice for all those who had no voice, an aspiration that stemmed from his long-time commitment to the communist faith...

United Kingdom

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling
For one hundred years, these classic tales -- drawn from the oral storytelling traditions of India and Africa and filled with mischievously clever animals and people -- have entertained young and old alike
The Man Who Would Be King and Other Stories by Rudyard Kipling
Arranged in the order of their original publication and written during Kipling's time as a journalist in India, these seventeen short stories explore the themes of isolation and abandonment and the effects of the Indian caste system on society...
Rudyard Kipling: Complete Verse
Witty, profound, wildly funny, acerbic and occasionally savage, Rudyard Kipling's poems continue to delight readers of all ages. Included are both the familiar favorites and Kipling's lesser-known works...

Mystery Maniacs!

Solving Mysterious Crimes...

Fingerprints and Talking Bones: How Real-Life Crimes Are Solved by Charlotte Foltz Jones

For the Young Mystery Lover...

Buck Wilder's Adventures, by Timothy R. Smith
Who Stole the Animal Poop?
The Work Bees Go On Strike
The Ants Dig to China
The Owls Don't Give a Hoot
Buck Wilder, everyone's favorite outdoorsman, and his animal friends go on grand adventures through the animal kingdom.  Each story leads to an important natural world message, plus a secret message in each book, and flip-book animation on the edge of the pages...
Also read Buck Wilder's Animal Wisdom
Buck Wilder and his animal friends show us the how nature and life are interconnected - great lessons, and great fun!  A picture book, but perfect for older kids, too
PaleoJoe's Dinosaur Detective Club by Joseph P. Kchodl and Wendy Caszatt-Allen
This new series brings Joe, a dinosaur expert from the Field Museum, together with Shelly, a kid who loves dinosaurs, to solve mysteries surrounding the dinosaurs of our past!  Flip-page animation on the corner of each page, too...
bulletThe Disappearance of Dinosaur Sue
bullet Stolen Stegosaurus
bullet Secret Sabertooth
bullet Raptor's Revenge
bullet Also read Hidden Dinosaurs, a picture book, with neat facts for older kids, too!
Einstein Anderson, Science Detective, by Seymour Simon and S. D. Schindler (out of print, but available used)
The On-Line Spaceman: And Other Cases
The Mysterious Lights and Other Cases
The Invisible Man and Other Cases
The Halloween Horror and Other Cases
The Gigantic Ants and Other Cases
Wings of Darkness
Einstein Anderson Tells a Comet's Tale
The Wings of Darkness and Other Cases
The Time Machine: And Other Cases
Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective, by Donald J. Sobol
Encyclopedia Brown Gets His Man
Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Mysterious Handprints
Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Sleeping Dog
Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Disgusting Sneakers
Encyclopedia Brown Takes the Cake!
Encyclopedia Brown Solves Them All
Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Treasure Hunt
Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Slippery Salamander
Encyclopedia Brown Finds the Clues
Encyclopedia Brown Sets The Pace
Encyclopedia Brown's Book Of Strange But True Crimes
Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Jumping Frogs
Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective
Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Secret Pitch
and lots more!

For the Growing Mystery Lover...

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
Sherlock Holmes takes on a teen female apprentice in this delightful and well-wrought addition to the master detective's casework...
The Invention of Hugo Cabret Recommended by Brian Selznick
Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father create a spellbinding mystery... even more amazing are the author's illustrations!  Visit the author's site
Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers by Penny Noyce
When Aunt Adelaide sends thirteen-year-old cousins Ivan and Daphne on a treasure hunt in the rain, they never expect to stumble into a whole new world--an enchanting land where words and numbers run wild. They are surprised again when the first people they meet beg them to find Lexicon's missing children, who have wandered off, bewitched by lights in the sky. Trekking between villages in search of clues, the cousins encounter a plague of punctuation, a curious creature, a fog of forgetting, the Mistress of Metaphor, a panel of poets, and the illogical mathematicians of Irrationality... Visit Lost in Lexicon for more fun!
The Mysterious Benedict Society Recommended by Trenton Lee Stewart
After Reynie Muldoon responds to an advertisement recruiting "gifted children looking for special opportunities," he finds himself in a world of mystery and adventure... Read the first pages at The Curiosity Chronicle
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey Recommended by Trenton Lee Stewart
A new adventure, full of brain teasers and adventures...
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma Recommended by Trenton Lee Stewart
A daring new adventure threatens to force the kids apart from their friends, families, and even each other...
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict Recommended by Trenton Lee Stewart
Now Nicholas Benedict is being sent to a new orphanage, where he will encounter vicious bullies, selfish adults, strange circumstances--and a mystery that could change his life forever. On his quest to solve the mystery, Nicholas finds enemies around every corner, but also friends in unexpected places -- and discovers along the way that the greatest puzzle of all is himself...
The Mysterious Benedict Society: Mr. Benedict's Book of Perplexing Puzzles, Elusive Enigmas, and Curious Conundrums by Trenton Lee Stewart
Companion book to the Mysterious Benedict Society series, a mind-bending collection that will put YOU to the test! With full-color artwork throughout, features ingenious new puzzles, riddles, and brainteasers compiled by Mr. Benedict himself, with the help of Reynie, Kate, Sticky, Constance, and other Society associates...
The Mysterious Benedict Society Complete Collection Recommended by Trenton Lee Stewart
New to The Mysterious Benedict Society?  Get all five!
Rinny and The Trail of Clues by Robyn Leslie (teacher's manual available at Sugar Ducky Books)
also (out of print) Miss President and the Trail of Clues
You're the Detective!: Twenty-Four Solve-Them-Yourself Picture Mysteries by Lawrence Treat
The clues are in the picture; it's up to you, the young detective, to size up the situation and solve the mystery...
Diamond Brothers Mysteries, by Anthony Horowitz (chapter books to pre-teen)
The Falcon's Malteser
Public Enemy Number Two
The French Confection (from Amazon.co.uk)
I Know What You Did Last Wednesday (from Amazon.co.uk)
South by South East (from Amazon.co.uk)
Nick Simple's life is anything but simple. His parents have moved to Australia, leaving him in the care of his incompetent older brother who is trying to make a living as a private detective and changes the family name. Set in England and filled with a variety of colorful characters, the plot reads like a 1940s P.I. movie...
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes:
The Extraordinary Cases of Sherlock Holmes
The Great Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
The Mysterious Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

For the Master Mystery-ian...

Agatha Christie (murder mysteries):
The A.B.C. Murders
And Then There Were None
Hercule Poirot's Christmas
Murder on the Orient Express
and lots more...
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes (murder mysteries):
The Hound of the Baskervilles
A Study in Scarlet


Myth-O-Mania, by Kate McMullan!

Have a Hot Time, Hades!
Phone Home, Persephone!
Say Cheese, Medusa!
Nice Shot, Cupid!
Stop That Bull, Theseus!
Keep a Lid on It, Pandora!
Get to Work, Hercules!
Go for the Gold Atlanta!


For Early Poets...

by Shel Silverstein
Where the Sidewalk Ends 30th Anniversary Edition : Poems and Drawings
Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook
A Light in the Attic
Falling Up
A Giraffe and a Half
FEG: Ridiculous Stupid Poems for Intelligent Children by Robin Hirsch
An unusual book that is sure to inspire wordplay in language-loving readers. The first poem, "F*E*G," is a variant of the ABC rhyme every child learns: "Abie's seedy effigy-." Puns, palindromes, acrostics, and literary references of all sorts abound...
Poetry for Young People (click left for MindWare, or below for Amazon links)
Illustrated editions of the classic poems of many great poets...
Robert Louis Stevenson Wallace Stevens
Robert Frost Carl Sandburg
Maya Angelou Rudyard Kipling
Robert Browning Lewis Carroll
Emily Dickinson William Shakespeare
Langston Hughes Edward Lear
Alfred Lord Tennyson William Blake
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Edgar Allen Poe
Edna St. Vincent Millay Robert Browning
William Carlos Williams Samuel Taylor Coleridge
American Poetry The Seasons
Animal Poems  
Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex
This hilarious collection of illustrated poems describes the lives of well-known monsters. There's Frankenstein, who tries to borrow food from townsfolk, the Phantom of the Opera bemoans the fact that he can no longer compose arias because he cant get catchy tunes out of his head, the Creature from the Black Lagoon ignores his mothers advice, Count Dracula who walks around with spinach in his teeth because no one dares tell him about it...
Technically, It's Not My Fault: Concrete Poems by John Grandits
Uses inventive shapes and typefaces to hilarious effect. Each selection is loosely tied to Robert, a kid with ordinary concerns: homework is boring; he would like a new pet; he is crushed when he misses his lay-up in basketball. Grandits finds wild humor in such things, and the resulting poems will make most kids howl with recognition...

For Advanced Poets...

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
"This slender book holds everything a student of the century could want: the unedited thoughts of (arguably) the most important European poet of the modern age..."
Favorite Poems, Old And New selected by Helen Ferris
collection of about 1000 peoms by authors like A.A.Milne, Emily Dickinson, Carl Sandburg, John Drinkwater, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Barrett Browing, The Bible, Edgar Allen Poe, William Shakespeare, Alfred Tennyson, William Wordsworth, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and on and on

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 Last updated December 01, 2020  

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