Isn’t There Anything I Can Read?

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    “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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