June 22, 2024

101 Chapter Books to Read (or Hear) Before You Grow Up

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This amazing list includes selections for early readers to teens. Every parent & teacher will find good books.

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The best chapter books for elementary kids – This amazing list includes selections for early readers through teens. Every parent and teacher will find good and appropriate books here, all curated by a former teacher and homeschool mom who included a summary of each book.

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I first published this list in 2013 when Grace was 6 and Allie was 3. They are now 16 and 12, and while we rarely read books together these days, they have fond memories of most of the books on this list.

It is worth noting that Grace loves a particular series of fairy books, but I hate them. Hate them. The text is dull and not well written. It\’s the book form of candy, empty words without any redeeming intellectual value.

There are probably books in your children\’s lives that are the same way.

Why not feed their little brains with good literature instead of junk books?

Just like I limit the junk food in Grace\’s belly, I limit the junk books in her brain. I\’ll loosen up a little when she\’s old enough to read her own books, but as long as I\’m doing the reading, we are reading the good stuff.

If I am going to take the time to read to Gracie (and I do, every single day), I want to hear her a book that is stimulating. I want a story that draws me in and makes me want to read just one more chapter! I want it to expand what Gracie knows – either in experiences or feelings or understanding of the world. I want a story with layers  – something she may come back to again as an older kid or even an adult.

There is no junk food here. (There\’s also no junk food on my list of 101 Picture Books to Read or Hear Before You Grow Up. )

Visit the Christmas gift guide for families for hundreds more gift ideas!

I\’ve read almost every one of these books, either in my own childhood or recently. There are a few I haven\’t read but I included to round out the list to 101. I noted where that was the case, and I included them only at the recommendation of someone I respect (most often our favorite public librarian).

One more note – Not all of these are appropriate for a 5-year-old. Use your own good judgement to know what your kiddo is ready for.

  1. Meet Kirsten and other American Girl books – Grace and I read Meet Kirsten because Kirsten is very similar to the people who lived in Walnut Grove, Minnesota (where Mary and Laura lived for a few years). She\’s in the same time period and same general location, so Grace was instantly interested in the books. The series includes lots of different girls in lots of different time periods. If they\’re all as well done as Kirsten, we\’ll be reading this series for months.
  2. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – You know Huck Finn, right? It\’s the story of a 13-year-old boy who isn\’t entirely literate but goes on an adventure with a runaway slave. It\’s an amazing story that everyone should read at least once. (Note: This one is definitely best for older kids. There is a good deal of controversy surrounding this book\’s use of a certain racial slur, but I think it\’s fodder for a frank discussion about how people have been treated in the past. There are some really enlightening reviews focused on race on Amazon if you want to read more about that.)
  3. The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green – Stealing from the rich, giving to the poor, you know the story. This isn\’t a Disney story; it\’s real literature rich with adventure.
  4. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain – This is a classic, right? Tom is a mischievous boy who gets into all kinds of scrapes. Boys and girls will both love the story.
  5. Alice\’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – Forget what politically correct adults think about this story and read it for what it is – a silly story from the dreams of a little girl. As is always the case, the book is so much better than any movie version ever made.
  6. Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates – This is a book for older kids, about Amos Fortune, the son of an Africa king, and his journey through slavery and out the other side. It\’s excellent, triumphant.
  7. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery – Dear, sweet Anne. Red-headed Anne Shirley was as much a part of my childhood as Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved her stories. I still love her stories. I still have the boxed set of these books in my basement, waiting for Grace to be big enough to listen to them.
  8. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond – \”They\’re like a vintage slice of life in London as seen through the eyes of a bear from darkest Peru.\” (Recommendation from Cathy at Nurture Store.) I also love the blurb on the back of this book: Mr. and Mrs. Brown first met Paddington–a most endearing bear from Darkest Peru–on a railway platform in London. A sign hanging around his neck said, \”Please look after this bear. Thank you\” So that is just what they did.
  9. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo – I haven\’t read this one, because it was written after I was in middle school. Winn-Dixie is a big ugly dog who helps a very lonely little girl in need of a friend.
  10. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell – Black Beauty is a horse in turn of the century England. His story includes adventures aplenty, but its real value comes from its heart. Even preschool kids will understand the kindnesses and cruelties portrayed through the situations in this book.
  11. The Borrowers by Mary Norton – My boss told me that this was one of her favorite books when she was a kid, and she read it to her kids. It\’s a series of books about a wee family who lives in the floor of a house.
  12. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson -\”This was the first book to ever make me cry. It\’s a heartwarming but sad story about carving out your refuge both physically and emotionally away from bullies and the harsh realities of being a kid. It\’s about friendship and standing up for what is right as much as it\’s about loss.\” (Recommendation & review from Allie at No Time for Flash Cards)
  13. Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery by Deborah Howe – I haven\’t read this one, but our librarian loves it. The story is about a dog and a cat and a vampire bunny named Bunnicula. According to the reviews on Amazon, it\’s really funny.
  14. Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink – Caddie Woodlawn was more tomboy than Laura Ingalls Wilder, always finding adventure in places she shouldn\’t have been to begin with. Based on the author\’s grandmother, Caddie Woodlawn is a story I loved as a little girl.
  15. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – This was the very first chapter book I read aloud to Gracie. It is so good! She loved that there was a movie adaptation (the old Gene Wilder one, not the new one, which I\’ve heard is not appropriate for little kids), and she loved that we found Willy Wanka candy at the grocery store. We finished this one in less than a week.
  16. The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop – A 10-year-old boy finds a magical castle in the attic. I haven\’t read this one, but it reminds me of the Indian in the Cupboard which appears below.
  17. Charlotte\’s Web by EB White – I remember weeping at the end of this book. It was the first time that I experienced such strong emotions from a book. There\’s a really nice animated movie of Charlotte\’s Web, too, but the book is the best version.
  18. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth and Elizabeth Gilbreth Carey – I bet you know the Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt move based on this book. The book, however, is the real life, laugh out loud funny story of the Gilbreth family who lived in the very early 1900\’s.
  19. The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden – This is a really nice story about a little boy and a handful of animals (including a cricket, obviously). It\’s great for little kids because there\’s nothing traumatic or scary, just a rich and elaborate iteration of the Country Mouse, City Mouse folk tale.
  20. Christy by Catherine Marshall – I remember reading this story to my little sister. It\’s about a 19-year-old girl who leaves home to become a teacher in a (comparatively) primitive town in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. This one is probably best for older kids; it\’s almost 600 pages.
  21. Clementine by Sara Pennypacker – I haven\’t read this one, but it\’s on our list after Mary and Laura. I can\’t wait to dive into the story of a third grade girl who seems like Fancy Nancy\’s older, misunderstood cousin. It\’s also the beginning of a series.
  22. The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh by AA Milne – I read this to Grace when I was pregnant with Allie, so I guess I read it to both of them. I love Pooh Bear\’s overly simplistic view of the world. Even little kids will be able to see his foibles and find comfort in his friendship with Christopher Robin. You\’ll see some parallels with Disney movies and stories, but the original is (as you might have known) much richer.
  23. Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary – This is a collection of letters written by a little boy to his favorite author over a period of four years. His parents divorce, he moves to a new school, he gets picked on all the time, and he learns to deal with his confusing life through writing.
  24. The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli – This is a Newberry Medal winner about a teenage boy who becomes crippled and learns there\’s more to him than his body. It\’s probably best for older kids because the story develops slowly and includes a lot of language that littles won\’t understand.
  25. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – Repeat it with me: There is a movie based on this book, but the book is so much better. It\’s essentially a Cinderella story, but a marvelously rich version.
  26. Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald Sobol – This was my first mystery book experience. I could never figure out the whodunnit, but I really liked reading the stories and being surprised at the end.
  27. The End of the Beginning: Being the Adventures of a Small Snail (and an Even Smaller Ant) by Avi – I haven\’t read this one, but I really adore the author, Avi. Every Avi book I\’ve ever read has gripped me from the first page to the very last, and the reviews of this on Amazon look really great. It\’s a modern fable about the meaning of life.
  28. Freckle Juice by Judy Blume – Everyone has read this, right? It\’s an elementary school classic about a little boy who wants to have freckles and thinks he can get them from freckle juice. I chuckle just thinking about it. Even the littlest of preschoolers will get the jokes and enjoy this one.
  29. Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel – This book is required reading for every single early reader ever. It was one of the first books I ever read, and I bought it for Grace before she could even sit up. Frog and Toad are different and love each other completely. The book is actually five short stories, and it\’s the first in a series of four books. You\’ll read them all, I\’m certain.
  30. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by EL Konigsburg – I read this when I was in the fourth grade. I still remember the aging picnic table where I sat at recess and read. (I think I just gave myself away as a giant anti social nerd, didn\’t I?) It\’s the story of two kids who run away from home and live, undetected, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a whole week.
  31. A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl\’s Journal by Joan W. Blos – I love journal-style books. This one is about a thirteen-year-old girl in 19th century New England. When her mother dies, she has to learn to take care of her house and her family.
  32. Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes – This is a book about a little boy and his very smart dog. Everything is great until the dog is stolen!
  33. Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry – Gooney Bird Greene is the new girl in school (as I was over and over and over again), and she loves to tell stories. You\’ll really like her stories, too.
  34. Grimm\’s Fairy Tales – Read through this one a little ahead of your kiddo as you may decide to drop some stories. These can get a little gruesome by today\’s standards, but most are still appropriate for the early elementary set.
  35. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fizthugh – Oh, Harriet. Harriet is an 11-year-old aspiring author who documents her brutally honest observations in her secret notebook. And then a classmate finds it and reads the whole thing out loud. Can you feel the trauma?
  36. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen – I thought I would hate this book, but I had to read it for a literacy festival when I was in the seventh grade. It\’s about a 13-year-old boy who\’s on his way to see his dad in a tiny airplane when the plane crashes. He\’s lost all by himself in the Canadian wilderness.
  37. Heidi by Johanna Sypri – Heidi is a 5-year-old orphan sent to live with her grandpa in the mountains. But then she\’s sent away again, to be the playmate of a little girl in town. The rest of the story is about how she tries to get back to her grandpa.
  38. Holes by Lois Sachar – A teenage boy gets sent to a detention camp (through no fault of his own, of course), and he discovers mystery and intrigue.
  39. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell – As the title might suggest, this is about a boy who eats worms (on a bet). I remember reading it as a kid, and I loved it.
  40. The Hundred Dresses by Elenor Estes – This story was written in the forties, but it is as true for today as ever. A bullied girl tells the class that she has a hundred dresses – even though she wears the same threadbare one to school every day. Her family eventually moves away (because of the torment), and the rest of the kids are left to deal with their own behavior. This is a really powerful story.
  41. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O\’Dell – As a kid, I was a sucker for a stranded kid who survives on her own story. This is one of those, about a 12-year-old girl on a Pacific Island.
  42. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks – My grandpa died when I was 12, and this was one of the last stories I shared with him. He loved the Old West, cowboys and Indians. I\’m not sure if I\’ll be able to read it to Grace because it makes me more than a little teary to even think about it. It is a really wonderful story.
  43. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl – We haven\’t read this yet, but I loved it when I was in elementary school. I haven\’t seen the movie, but I\’m sure the book is better. James lives with his crazy aunts who don\’t understand him and gets mixed up with magic, mystery, and adventure.
  44. James Herriot\’s Treasury for Children: Warm and Joyful Tales by the Author of All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot – Grace loves these stories about animals. This book isn\’t a chapter book so much as a series of short stories from the author\’s real life veterinary practice in the countryside of England.
  45. The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones – This is a shorter version of the Bible. Every story leads to the coming of Jesus. I never thought about the stories in this way. Grace loves it, and it makes me think, too.
  46. Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes – Pride leads to a fall. This is a story about a teen (I think) who suffers a crippling injury. It\’s set in the Revolutionary War in Massachusetts. Also, it\’s probably best for older kids, maybe 10+.
  47. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George – My mom loved this story, me not so much. It\’s a lost in the wilderness survival story about an Eskimo girl (teen?) who\’s accepted into a pack of wolves.
  48. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling – You know the Disney movie, right? This is the British book version, which is (of course) infinitely better.
  49. Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling – This isn\’t so much a chapter book as a book of unconnected short stories. Grace loves these because they\’re about animals. I read them on my own when I was in fourth grade (not sure why, but I remember reading it on the playground), but I\’ve been reading them to Grace since she was three.
  50. King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Greene – You know this story already. Sword in the stone, King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, Merlin the magician. This particular version is rewritten a bit to be appropriate for kids.
  51. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards – I\’d heard this one was really good, so I ordered it from the library. We\’re just on chapter two, but I\’ve loved it so far, and closing it each night is a struggle. It\’s written by that Julie Andrews. You know, Mary Poppins and Sound of Music. {Update – Grace says this is her favoritest book ever, still, two years after we first read it.}
  52. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket – I\’ve never read this series of books, but they\’re highly recommended by our librarian. She says they\’re a lot like the early Harry Potter stories.
  53. Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers by Ralph Moody – This is an autobiographical story of a 9-year-old boy whose family leaves New England to take over a Colorado ranch.
  54. The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder – If you\’ve been a Feels Like Home reader for any length of time, you are well familiar with our Mary and Laura obsession. We\’ve been reading this series since January. We\’ve finished the original 9-book series and moved on to On the Way Home, a memoir Laura wrote about moving from South Dakota to Missouri with Almanzo.
  55. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgeson Burnett – This is another of Grace\’s favorite stories right now. It\’s a classic, about a little girl whose rich father sends her to a fancy boarding school. When he dies, the mean headmistress basically enslaves her.
  56. The Littles by John Peterson – A family of tiny people lives in the walls of a regular family. Forget the creepiness and go with the story. Of course, problems arise and the Littles have to figure out a way to solve them.
  57. Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne – This is the beginning of a ginormous series. Two little kids (in Frog Creek, Pennsylvania!) find a magic tree house and have adventures all through time and space. These are awesome for younger kids, maybe kindergarten through second or third grade.
  58. Mary Poppins by Dr. P. L. Travers – Is there a book in all the world that\’s not better than its movie adaptation? I think the movie adaptation of Mary Poppins is positively splendid, but the book is even better.
  59. Matilda by Roald Dahl – Matilda is a five and a half year old genius whose parents are idiots and whose school principal is a bully. She prevails, as you might have imagined. Your kids will love her.
  60. Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey – My boss loved this one as a kid. It\’s about a doll made from sticks and a hickory nut, left all alone to survive the winter. She finds that she\’s not alone at all when neighbors come to her aid.
  61. Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry – Horses aren\’t my thing, but we all four loved this book. It\’s a story about a boy who loves a wild horse.
  62. The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary – Every single human being in America should have read this story as a kid. It\’s ubiquitous. Grace was introduced to Ralph S. Mouse through a Scholastic book on DVD thing that she got for Christmas, and she loved him. The book is next on our list.
  63. Mr. Popper\’s Penguins by Richard Atwater – For us, the Jim Carrey movie came before the book. Grace adored that movie, and the book only made the story better. On the other hand, please don\’t judge this awesome and classic story by Jim Carrey. It\’s so much better than that.
  64. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O\’Brien – Oh, how I wanted this book to never end! An innocent family of field mice (one sickly) are saved by highly intelligent rats who\’ve broken out of the National Institute of Mental Health. There are sequels to prolong the wonder of talking mice and their clever rat cousins. I might have to go get this from the library because writing about it makes me want to read it all over again.
  65. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald – Everyone loves Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle loves everyone right back. She lives in an upside down house, her backyard is full of buried treasure, and everything she does is fantastic! I devoured this in a couple of days when I was in about fourth grade.
  66. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George – Sam runs away from home – for real – and lives in a tree in the mountains. I told you, a lot of survival stories.
  67. Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene – This is actually a series of books written over almost 100 years. Old or new, the books are about a little girl who solves mysteries. I could never figure them out, but I loved the suspense.
  68. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry – A 10-year-old girl describes life as her family tries to save their best friends – a Jewish family – by smuggling them out of Nazi-controlled Denmark.
  69. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper – The main character of this story has cerebral palsy. She can\’t walk or talk, but she is brilliant and wants to share her mind with the world. Fascinating and excellent. Best for older kids, maybe fifth grade and up.
  70. Owls in the Family by Farley Mowatt – \”Owls in the family is a Canadian classic. It\’s all about boys and their pets but in this case the pets aren\’t as run of the mill as you may have at your house. Mowatt brings the Owls to life as characters in their own right and his masterful storytelling is both exciting and timeless. Fantastic , wholesome book for the whole family.\” (Recommendation & review from Allie at No Time for Flash Cards)
  71. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie – You know the story. The book, however, is a real treasure. I promise that you will enjoy it as much as your kids – and it\’s as good for a 5-year-old as for an 11-year-old.
  72. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster – When I read this in the fifth grade, I really appreciated the main character who was bored, bored, bored with life. And then a magic tollbooth showed up in his bedroom and things started to happen. Yahoo!
  73. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lingren – I don\’t remember whether I read this as a kid or not (I probably did), but here\’s what Amazon says about it: 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!
  74. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter – Have you ever heard someone called a Pollyanna? It means to be excessively cheerful or optimistic. The term comes from this book, about a little girl sent to live with her mean aunt.
  75. Poppy (Tales from Dimwood Forest) by Avi – The last time I looked for Poppy, it had gone out of print, but it\’s back! It\’s about a very little mouse who has to go on a dangerous adventure to save her family. It\’s so good on many levels, and it has great suspense and action. And you know how I feel about a strong female heroine. AND there are several sequels, which I know you will read because you won\’t want your time with Poppy to come to an end.
  76. The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald – Princess, castle, pauper boy, evil goblins who try to take over everything. Sounds classic, right? This book, written in 1872, inspired JRR Tolkien, Madeline L\’Engle, and Lewis Carroll.
  77. Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary – Ramona Quimby was my character of choice for almost all of second grade. I couldn\’t get enough of her and her family. This is the first in a series of at least eight books.
  78. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe – This one is best for older kids. It\’s a exciting story, though, of a shipwrecked kid who lives for 28 years on his own. This story was written in 1790, but kids today will like it anyway. You can get abridged and unabridged versions.
  79. The Root Cellar by Janet Lunn – \”A young girl is sent to live on a farm with relatives she barely knows and discovers that their root cellar holds more than vegetables for winter. This time traveling book had me on the edge of my seat and searching for non-fiction sources about history, too. Not only is this book about history, it\’s also about finding a place where you fit in and friends who understand you.\” (Recommendation & review from Allie at No Time for Flash Cards)
  80. Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr – Oh, the tears. There\’s no way I could read this one out loud. Grace would say, \”Stop reading, Mom. You\’re crying too much, and I can\’t understand the words.\” Not that she\’s said it before or anything. {ahem} {when Jack died in On the Shores of Silver Lake} {and other times too}
  81. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlin – I remember devouring this book as a kid, maybe fourth or fifth grade? It was before the Glenn Close movie came out (which is also excellent, similar in a lot of ways to Little House on the Prairie), because I remember watching the movie with my mom and comparing. Set on the prairie in 1910, the story is about Sarah (who describes herself as plain and tall), a woman who answers a newspaper ad to become a widower\’s new wife and mother to his two kids. The story of how they learn to be a family is tender and emotional (but in a really good way). Even little kids will appreciate the story, and it is an awesome history lesson about turn of the century life in the midwest.
  82. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – I\’ll be honest. I have never liked The Secret Garden. The story is simple and classic. A crippled and sickly little girl\’s family dies, leaving her all alone, to be shipped off to an uncle in another country. She finds a secret garden within the walls of his home, and she is determined to explore it.
  83. Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor – I\’ve never read this one, but our librarian recommended it for upper elementary kids. What would you do if you found an abused puppy? Return it to a life of beatings? Keep it? Tell your parents? That\’s the story.
  84. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar – This is a strange book about a strange school full of strange kids who do strange things. I loved it when I was little (partly because of all the things they did that you just can\’t do.
  85. The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting – You know the gist. A peculiar man can talk to animals and has all kinds of ridiculous adventures. Everyone loves it.
  86. Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski – I read this story about a little girl whose family moves to Florida to start a strawberry plantation as a kid. They suffer hardships, violence, and danger. It\’s about real life, not a fairy tale.
  87. Stuart Little by E.B. White – Stuart Little is a mouse who is part of a human family. When his friend, a bird, goes missing, he goes out looking for her and finds a great adventure.
  88. Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls – In Oklahoma at the turn of the century, a 14-year-old boy and his grandpa try again and again to trap a bunch of monkeys that have escaped from a carnival, to earn the reward money.
  89. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss – Written in 1812 about a family who gets shipwrecked on an desert island, this is a must-read among must-reads. It is not to be missed, seriously.
  90. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume – This is the first of five classic books about a boy named Peter and his annoying little siblings.
  91. There\’s a Boy in the Girls\’ Bathroom by Louis Sachar – Imagine you\’re the kind of kid who lies and cheats and picks fights. Imagine that you\’re the most hated kid in school. How would it feel if an adult took an interest in you and believed you could change? Could her support make you a better person?
  92. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – Originally published in 1883, this is the original pirate tale. It\’s a violent story full of questionable decisions and colorful characters. Central to the story is a treasure hunt, and you\’ll love the action and suspense. Probably best for older kids.
  93. The Trolley Car Family by Elenor Clymer – This seems to be out of print, but I think it\’s available used and may be at your local library. I read The Trolley Car Family as a kid, and I think it\’s just great. It\’s about a family who survives despite bleak circumstances.
  94. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White – This story is about a mute young swan who learns to communicate using a trumpet his father stole for him. It\’s about overcoming challenges, being yourself, courage, honesty, and love.
  95. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi – When I was in seventh grade, I holed up in the school nurse\’s office with this book. I don\’t remember why (was I sick or did I just want to read?), but I remember being absolutely and totally immersed in the story. Charlotte Doyle is a teenage girl, unexpectedly the only passenger on a transatlantic voyage in 1832. She seeks counsel in the ship\’s captain, only to be betrayed and tried for murder. It\’s an unusual tale of murder and mystery. I highly recommend it.
  96. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt – If you could live forever, would you? The Tuck family drank from an eternal spring and now \”enjoys\” the blessing of eternal life. A little girl runs away from home to live with them, and she contemplates drinking from the spring. Because it deals with issues of life and death, Tuck Everlasting is best for older kids.
  97. The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman – There\’s no way that Grace is ready for this one yet, but it\’s a really great story that won a Newberry Medal in 1987. The main characters are Prince Brat and Jemmy, his whipping boy – an orphan who takes the prince\’s beatings when the latter misbehaves. Jemmy plans to run away, and Prince Brat comes with him. Trouble finds them, and they try to make their way back to the castle.
  98. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame – Written in 1908, these are the enchanting adventures of Mole, Mr. Toad, Badger, and Ratty. They\’re lovely especially for the very young.
  99. The Witches by Roald Dahl – This is a favorite from my childhood! Three witches hate children and turn a little boy into a mouse. This was made into a good movie starring Angelica Huston.
  100. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare – In 1687, Kit is forced to leave Barbados to live with a Puritan aunt and uncle in Connecticut. Desperate to fit in with her new family but terribly homesick, Kit befriends an old woman who\’s a suspected witch.
  101. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – This was published in 1900, the first in a series of 14 books. It\’s the original Wizard of Oz, the book about which the movie was made.

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