Saturday, June 14, 2008


I just finished reading a great book. It really had a huge affect on me, and I thought, "Everyone should read this!" The truth is there are no books that "everyone" should read. Some people don't enjoy reading very much, and can learn and be entertained better in other ways. Some books that might be really, really good in a life altering way to me just might not affect someone else the same way.

Of course, many kids go to school and are told what to read. With school and homework, these same kids often don't have much time or inclination to read for fun. (I realize this varies, but when my daughter Emma went to public school for 7th grade she basically stopped reading anything she didn't have to with the exception of Animorph and Babysitters' Club books. She is a big reader and always has been accept for that one year.)

I think schools often stagnate in their choices for required reading. They stick to a few classics. Maybe they already have the books on hand. Maybe the teacher doesn't want to read something new or write new lesson plans. It is also true that more recent books written for the 9-13 age group are more likely to deal with contraversial issues that teachers just might not want to have to discuss.

"School at Homers" also often require certain books or at least books chosen from a parent or curriculum supplier's list. In the case of unschoolers, nothing might be required, but children still ask their parents for recommendations, and parents still bring things into the home to strew in case their children find them interesting.

In the spirit of helping out those who may feel led in some way to guide a child's reading, I have prepared a list of 10 books that I think are exceptional. All of these books had a huge affect on me, and I could highly recommend them to anyone. The list is far from complete. I only included books from series if they were excellent stand alone reads, and I limited myself to one from each author. I also stopped at 10. I will probably be adding more parts to this list in the future. Not all of these books were written for children, but all are appropriate both in readability and in topic for 9-18 year olds, although older kids might get more out of them. The list is in no particular order.

1. The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages
2. Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples
3. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
4. The Giver by Lois Lowry
5. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
6. Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt
7. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
8. The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
9. The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
10. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

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