Isn’t There Anything I Can Read?

“Isn’t there anything I can read?” I’ll bet I repeated that question at least a thousand times while I was in junior and senior high school. Usually I nagged my mom about books (in my very most “I’m bored” voice), but l also trekked to the public library every week or so. Sure, I spent hours in the library, but most of that time I simply stared at the shelves and shelves of books. I knew that somewhere in that maze of grayish bindings there had to be a book so enthralling that I could even forget posture and pimples for a while. I was not often that lucky! I wanted a good book desperately but knew that my random guessing usually produced stories so poorly written that not even I could finish them, or stories so filled with immorality that I was embarrassed to finish them. Sometimes I gathered all of my faltering courage and asked the librarian for help. She’d heard my question before and usually nodded her head and pointed “over there,” where I faced a bewildering college reading list filled with book titles that I couldn’t even pronounce.

Through the years since then I have compiled a list of books that I and my own teenage children have especially enjoyed. There are many, many more books worth reading, including Church books, and some of your favorites may not be found on this list. But at least these books are acceptable to an English teacher, and to a mother, and they are good reading. Use them as a place to start.

Adams, Richard Watership Down

Alcott, Louisa May Little Women

Aldrich, Bess Streeter Lantern in Her Hand

Alexander, Lloyd Book of Three *

Armstrong, William H. Sounder Sour Land

Annixter, Paul Swiftwater

Austen, Jane Pride and Prejudice

Bagnold, Enid National Velvet

Bickham, Jack Baker’s Hawk

Blos, Joan A Gathering of Days

Brontë, Charlotte Jane Eyre

Brontë, Emily Wuthering Heights

Buck, Pearl The Good Earth

Burch, Robert Queenie Peavy

Burnford, Sheila The Incredible Journey

Byars, Betsy Summer of the Swans House of Wings Trouble River

Cather, Willa My Antonia

Clark, Ann N. Secret of the Andes

Cleaver, Vera and Bill Where the Lillies Bloom

Collins, Larry and Lapierre, Dominique Freedom at Midnight

Cooper, James Fenimore Last of the Mohicans

Cooper, Susan The Dark Is Rising *

Conrad, Joseph The Secret Sharer

Crane, Stephen The Red Badge of Courage

Craven, Margaret I Heard the Owl Call My Name

Daly, Maureen Seventeenth Summer

Defoe, Daniel Robinson Crusoe

deTrevino, Elizabeth I, Juan de Pareja

Dickens, Charles David Copperfield Great Expectations Oliver Twist

du Maurier, Daphne Rebecca

Edmunds, Walter Drums Along the Mohawk

Eckert, Allan Incident at Hawks Hill

Engdahl, Sylvia Enchantress from the Stars

Farley, Walter Black Stallion

Fast, Howard April Morning

Fitzgerald, John D. The Great Brain *

Forbes, Esther Johnny Tremain

Fox, Paula The Slave Dancer

Frank, Anne Diary of a Young Girl

Fraser, Antonia Mary, Queen of Scots

Freedman, Benedict and Nancy Mrs. Mike

Gallico, Paul The Snow Goose

Gipson, Fred Old Yeller

George, Jean My Side of the Mountain

Greene, Bette Summer of My German Soldier

Hamilton, Virginia M. C. Higgens, the Great Planet of Junior Brown

Hautzig, Esther The Endless Steppe

Hemingway, Ernest M. The Old Man and the Sea

Herriot, James All Creatures Great and Small

Hersey, John Hiroshima

Heyerdahl, Thor Kon Tiki

Hunt, Irene Across Five Aprils Up a Road Slowly

Keller, Helen The Story of My Life

Key, Alexander Escape to Witch Mountain The Forgotten Door

Kieth, Harold Rifles for Watie

Kipling, Rudyard Captains Courageous Kim

Kjelgaard, James Big Red

Knight, Eric Lassie Come Home

Knowles, John A Separate Peace

Konigsburg, Ellen L. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Jennifer Hecate Macbeth William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth

Kroeber, Theodora Ishi, Last of His Tribe

Krumgold, Joseph … And Now Miguel

Lawson, Robert Ben and Me

Lee, Harper To Kill a Mockingbird

L’Engle, Madeline Wrinkle in Time * Meet the Austins

LeGuin, Ursula Very Far from Anywhere Else Wizard of Earthsea *

Lewis, C.S. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe *

London, Jack The Call of the Wild

McCaffrey, Ann Dragonsong *

McCloskey, Robert Homer Price

Meigs, Cornelia L. Invincible Louisa

North, Sterling Rascal

O’Brian, Robert Z for Zachariah Mrs. Frisbee and the Rats of Nimh

O’Dell, Scott Island of the Blue Dolphins Zia Sing Down the Moon

O’Hara, Mary Green Grass of Wyoming My Friend Flicka

Orwell, George Animal Farm

Paterson, Katherine Bridge to Terabithia

Pease, Howard The Tattooed Man

Peck, Robert Newton A Day No Pigs Would Die

Rabe, Berniece The Orphans The Girl That Had No Name Rass Naomi

Raskin, Ellen The Westing Game

Rawles, Lou Where the Red Fern Grows Summer of the Monkeys

Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan The Yearling

Richter, Conrad Light in the Forest

Robinson, Barbara The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Rockwood, Joyce Long Man’s Song To Spoil the Sun

Rogers, Mary Freaky Friday

Sandburg, Carl Abe Lincoln Grows Up

Schaefer, Jack Warner Shane

Sewell, Anna Black Beauty

Silverstein, Shel Where the Sidewalk Ends

Speare, Elizabeth George Witch of Blackbird Pond The Bronze Bow Calico Captive

Sperry, Armstrong Call It Courage

Steinbeck, John The Pearl

Stevenson, Robert Louis Kidnapped Treasure Island

Street, James Goodbye My Lady

Swift, Jonathan Gulliver’s Travels

Taylor, Theodore The Cay

Ten Boom, Corrie The Hiding Place

Tolkein, J.R.R. The Hobbit Lord of the Rings *

Twain, Mark Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Ullman, James Ramsey Banner in the Sky

Verne, Jules Around the World in 80 Days Journey to the Center of the Earth 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Washington, Booker T. Up From Slavery

Wells, H.G. The Time Machine

West, Jessamyn Cress Delahanty

White, Robb Firestorm Deathwatch

Wilder, Laura Ingalls Little House on the Prairie *

Wojcechowska, Mara The Shadow of a Bull

Wolfe, Thomas Look Homeward Angel

Wyss, Johann David Swiss Family Robinson

Yates, Elizabeth Amos Fortune, Free Man

Zweig, Stefan Mary, Queen of Scotts

[photo] Photo by Eldon Linschoten

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