You can probably find the newest titles on endcaps at the book store but some kids books that have been around for many years are just too good to miss. Here are some favorites.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell – The gripping story of young Karana, who survives by herself for eighteen years on a deserted island off the California coast. Left alone on a beautiful but isolated island off the coast of California, a young Indian girl spends eighteen years, not only merely surviving through her enormous courage and self-reliance, but also finding a measure of happiness in her solitary life.
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White – who doesn’t love Wilbur the pig and Charlotte – the very clever spider (not to mention the rat Templeton).
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnette – The book tells the story of Mary Lennox, a spoiled, contrary orphan, who is sent to live in her uncle’s manor in Yorkshire. She is left to herself by her uncle Mr. Craven, who travels most of the time, trying to escape from memories of his wife. The only person who has any time for Mary is the chambermaid Martha. It is Martha who tells Mary about the walled garden, Mrs. Craven’s favourite garden, which nobody has seen the inside of since she her death; Mr. Craven locked it and buried the key.
Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson – It has been a while since Folks lived in the Big House, and an even longer time has passed since there has been a garden at the House. All the animals of the Hill are very excited about the new Folks moving in, and they wonder how things are going to change. It’s only a matter of time before the animals of the Hill find out just who is moving in, and they may be a little bit surprised when they do.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by 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.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – Winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, L’Engle’s work of fantasy and science fiction combined with some Christian theology has now been read by several generations of young enthusiasts. The author went on to write three others, forming a quartet based on the Murry family, and including themes like the power of love and the need to make responsible moral choices. In this story, Meg Murry, her extraordinary little brother Charles Wallace, and schoolmate Calvin O’Keefe make the acquaintance of eccentric Mrs. Whatsit and friends (who turn out to be extraterrestrial beings). Together they journey through a wrinkle in time, a tesseract, to rescue the Murrys’ missing father from an evil presence (likened by some interpreters to a black hole), and a sinister brain called IT.
Sounder by William H. Armstrong – A landmark in children’s literature, winner of the 1970 Newbery Medal and the basis of an acclaimed film, Sounder traces the keen sorrow and the abiding faith of a poor African-American boy in the 19th-century South. Angry and humiliated when his sharecropper father is jailed for stealing food for his family, a young black boy grows in courage and understanding by learning to read and through his relationship with his devoted dog Sounder.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by 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.
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachian – “Did Mama sing every day?” Caleb asks his sister Anna.”Every-single-day,” she answers. “Papa too.” When their father invites a mail-order bride to come live with them in their prairie home, Caleb and Anna are captivated by their new mother and hope that she will stay.
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech – The struggle of thirteen year old Salamance (Sal) to understand and deal with her mother’s disappearance unfolds while on a cross-country trip with her eccentric grandparents. Sal tells them the story of her friend Phoebe whose mother has also left home, but in reality it is her own story. A funny, mysterious, and touching novel.
A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck – What happens when Joey and his sister, Mary Alice — two city slickers from Chicago — make their annual summer visits to Grandma Dowdel’s seemingly sleepy Illinois town? August 1929: They see their first corpse, and he isn’t resting easy. August 1930: The Cowgill boys terrorize the town, and Grandma fights back. August 1931: Joey and Mary Alice help Grandma trespass, poach, catch the sheriff in his underwear, and feed the hungry — all in one day. And there’s more, as Joey and Mary Alice make seven summer trips to Grandma’s — each one funnier than the year before — in self-contained chapters that readers can enjoy as short stories or take together for a rollicking good novel. In the tradition of American humorists from Mark Twain to Flannery O’Connor, popular author Richard Peck has created a memorable world filled with characters who, like Grandma herself, are larger than life and twice as entertaining.
The Dark is Rising – Susan Cooper – On the Midwinter Day that is his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton discovers a special gift — that he is the last of the Old Ones, immortals dedicated to keeping the world from domination by the forces of evil, the Dark. At once, he is plunged into a quest for the six magical Signs that will one day aid the Old Ones in the final battle between the Dark and the Light. And for the twelve days of Christmas, while the Dark is rising, life for Will is full of wonder, terror, and delight.