Joan Aiken. Wolves of Willoughby Chase.
Bonnie and Sylvia’s parents leave on a sea voyage, entrusting their daughters and their home, Willoughby Chase, to the evil Miss Slighcarp. The grim governess sells all the furniture and sends the girls to a horrible orphanage. Even if they manage to escape, how will they ever free their home from Miss Slighcarp’s clutches?
Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Willy Wonka, the reclusive and eccentric chocolate maker, is opening his doors to the public–well, five members of the public to be exact. The lucky five who find a Golden Ticket in their Wonka chocolate bars will receive a private tour of the factory, given by Mr. Wonka himself. What they find is that the gossip can’t compare to the extraordinary truth, and for Charlie Bucket, life will never be the same again.
George, Jean Craighead. My Side of the Mountain.
Sam Gribley runs away to the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. There he camps in a hollowed-out tree, with a falcon and a weasel for companions. Blizzards, hunters, loneliness, and fear all battle to drive Sam back to city life, but his desire for freedom, independence, and adventure is stronger.
Matthews, L.S. Fish.
Tiger flees with Mum and Dad, a guide, a donkey, and a rescued fish when war comes to the desolate, desperate village where Tiger’s parents are aid workers. Fish tracks the family’s harrowing journey to a safe boundary, and Tiger’s own internal struggle.
Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet.
Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single-engine plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness. Stranded alone, with nothing but the hatchet his mother gave him as a present, Brian must use his wits, courage, and determination to survive.
Armstrong, Alan. Whittington.
A battered tomcat shows up at a New England barn looking for a home. Calling himself Whittington because he’s a direct descendant of Dick Whittington’s anonymous cat, he earns his keep as a ratter and storyteller.
Gipson, Fred. Old Yeller.
At first, Travis couldn’t stand the sight of Old Yeller. The stray dog was ugly, and a thieving rascal, too. But he sure was clever, and a smart dog could be a big help on the wild Texas frontier. Strong and courageous, Old Yeller proved that he could protect Travis’s family from any sort of danger. But can Travis do the same for Old Yeller?
King-Smith, Dick. Babe: The Gallant Pig.
Babe the piglet is destined to end up as ham on Farmer Hoggett’s dinner table. But when he’s adopted by Fly, a motherly sheepdog, Babe discovers a secret talent that just might save his bacon.
North, Sterling. Rascal.
Rascal is just a baby when Sterling brings him home, but soon the mischievous raccoon is ready to join on swimming, fishing, and camping trips. The two are best friends for a year of adventure – until the spring day when everything suddenly changes.
O’Brien, Robert C. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.
There’s something very strange about the rats living under the rosebush. But Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse, is in dire straits and must turn to these exceptional creatures for assistance. Soon she finds herself flying on the back of a crow, slipping sleeping powder into a ferocious cat’s dinner dish, and helping 108 brilliant, laboratory-enhanced rats escape.
Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty.
This classic Victorian tale, intended to discourage cruelty to animals, tells the story of a horse’s long and varied life, from a well-born colt in a pleasant meadow to an elegant carriage horse for a gentleman to a painfully overworked cab horse.
Baum, L. Frank. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
After their Kansas house is swept away by a cyclone, Dorothy and her dog, Toto, find themselves in a strange land called Oz. Here Dorothy meets the Munchkins and joins the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion on a journey to see the all-powerful Wizard of Oz.
Lewis, C.S. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
When Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are sent to live with an old professor in the country, they can hardly imagine what wonderful adventures await them. It all begins when Lucy hides in a magic wardrobe and finds herself in a magical snow-covered land, called Narnia.
McCloskey, Robert. Homer Price.
Welcome to Centerburg – where you can win a hundred dollars by eating all the doughnuts you want; where houses are built in a day; and where a boy named Homer Price can foil four slick bandits using nothing but his wits and a pet skunk.
Taylor, Sidney. All-of-a-Kind Family.
Five sisters give a picture of life in New York’s Lower East Side at the beginning of the 20th century, including the Rivington Street market, scarlet fever, peddlers, and bathing at Coney Island. Woven into the story are the traditions and holidays of the Jewish religion.
Wiggin, Kate Douglas Smith. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.
Life on Sunnybrook Farm with her mother and six brothers and sisters may be chaotic, but Rebecca loves it. Leaving them behind and moving in with her two spinster aunts is almost more than Rebecca can bear. She’s not prepared for her rambunctious spirit to be tamed so that she can become the perfect little lady her aunts want her to be.
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Christopher, John. When the Tripods Came.
Fourteen-year-old Laurie and his family attempt to flee England when the Tripods descend from outer space and begin brainwashing everyone with their hypnotic Caps.
Collins, Suzanne. Gregor the Overlander.
When Gregor and his little sister fall through a grate in the laundry room of their New York apartment building, they tumble into the dark Underland beneath the city, triggering an epic battle involving men, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders.
Norton, Mary. The Borrowers.
Pod, Homily, and daughter Arrietty of the teeny-tiny Clock family furnish their subterranean home with the tidbits and trinkets they’ve “borrowed” from “human beans.” Their pilfering goes undetected until a boy (with a ferret!) comes to live in the country house, and Arrietty commits the worst mistake a Borrower can make: she allows herself to be seen.
Pullman, Philip. I Was a Rat.
A boy in a tattered page’s uniform appears at the door of a kindly shoemaker, insisting he once was a rat. The shoemaker and his wife take in the boy, teach him table manners, name him Roger, and do their best to provide for him, despite the rat-boy’s tendency to wander in trouble.
Wrede, Patricia. Dealing With Dragons.
Bored with proper palace life, Princess Cimorene runs away to become the princess of a very powerful and very exacting dragon, Kazul. When disreputable wizards threaten the dragons’ kingdom, Cimorene must save the day.
De Angeli, Marguerite. The Door in the Wall.
When Robin, a young knight, loses the use of his legs, he is abandoned to the care of monks at the hospice of St. Mark’s. There, Robin learns woodcarving and patience and
Fleischman, Sid. Bandit’s Moon.
Newly orphaned and searching for her older brother, Annyrose falls under the protection of a proud and fearless Mexican bandit, regarded as the Robin Hood of the California Gold Rush.
Jimenez, Francisco. The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child.
In the 1940s, Francisco and his family entered the United States illegally by crawling under the border fence. His true stories of a childhood spent as a migrant farm laborer offer humor and hope.
McSwigan, Marie. Snow Treasure.
In 1940, when the Nazi invasion of Norway reaches their village in the far north, twelve-year-old Peter and his friends use their sleds to transport nine million dollars worth of gold bullion past the German soldiers to the secret harbor where Peter’s uncle keeps his ship ready to take the gold for safekeeping in the United States.
Speare, Elizabeth George. The Witch of Blackbird Pond.
A young woman brought up in Barbados comes to live with her uncle in Connecticut, and finds their Puritan way of life difficult after her unconventional upbringing.
Anderson, M.T. Whales on Stilts.
Racing against the clock, shy middle-school student Lily and her best friends, Katie and Jasper, must foil the plot of her father’s conniving boss to conquer the world using an army of whales.
Fitzgerald, John. The Great Brain.
J.D.’s older brother Tom is a silver-tongued con man with a genius for turning a profit. Whether it’s the Jenkin brothers getting lost in a cave or the new teacher who turns out to be a tyrant, Tom always saves the day – while lining his own pockets.
MacDonald, Betty. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle knows everything about children, and there isn’t an ailment she can’t cure. Patsy hates baths. Hubert never puts anything away. Allen eats very s-l-o-w-l-y. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has a funny and effective treatment for each of them.
Rodgers, Mary. Freaky Friday.
Annabel thinks her mom has the best life – if she were a grown-up, she could do whatever she wanted. Then one morning she wakes up to discover she’s turned into her mother…and she soon discovers it’s not as easy as it looks.
Balliet, Blue. Chasing Vermeer.
When strange and seemingly unrelated events start to happen and a precious Vermeer painting disappears, 11-year-olds Petra and Calder combine their talents to solve an international art scandal.
Bellairs, John. The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn.
After stumbling upon a clue in the public library, Anthony searches for the treasure long rumored to have been hidden by a wealthy, eccentric citizen of his small town.
Coman, Carolyn. The Big House.
When Ivy and Ray’s parents are sent to jail, and they are left in the custody of their parents’ accusers, they decide to look for evidence that will ‘spring’ their parents in this comic mystery.
Hamilton, Virginia. The House of Dies Drear.
An African-American family tries to unravel the secrets of their new home, which was once a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Horowitz, Anthony. The Falcon’s Malteser.
After his older brother, a fledgling private detective, agrees to safeguard a package for a dwarf who does not live long. Thirteen-year-old Nick scampers to solve the mystery while staying one step ahead of an assortment of thugs.
Bauer, Marion Dane. On My Honor.
When his best friend drowns while they are both swimming in a treacherous river that they had promised never to go hear, Joel is devastated and terrified at having to tell both sets of parents the terrible consequences of their disobedience.
Birdsall, Jeanne. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy.
While vacationing with their father in the Berkshire Mountains, Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty share adventures with a local boy, much to the dismay of his snobbish mother.
Cottrell Boyce, Frank. Millions.
When a bag of cash falls off a train and lands at their feet, the Cunningham brothers are suddenly rich. The problem? They only have seventeen days to spend it before the money becomes worthless, and the crooks who stole it in the first place want their money back.
Lowry, Lois. Anastasia Krupnik.
Anastasia’s 10th year has some good things like falling in love and really getting to know her grandmother and some bad things like finding out about an impending baby brother.
Paterson, Katherine. The Great Gilly Hopkins.
Eleven-year-old Gilly has been stuck in more foster families than she can remember, and she’s disliked them all. She has a county-wide reputation for being brash, brilliant, and completely unmanageable. So when she’s sent to live with the Trotters — by far the strangest family yet — Gilly decides to put her sharp mind to work. Before long she’s devised an elaborate scheme to get her real mother to come rescue her.
Patron, Susan. The Higher Power of Lucky.
Fearing that her legal guardian plans to abandon her to return to France, ten-year-old aspiring scientist Lucky Trimble determines to run away while also continuing to seek the Higher Power that will bring stability to her life.
Lord, Cynthia. Rules.
Frustrated at life with an autistic brother, twelve-year-old Catherine longs for a normal existence, but her world is further complicated by a friendship with a young paraplegic.