Don’t Leave Home Without Them…


charlottes-webAs a teacher and librarian, I am often asked for book suggestions. Recently, a parent of a 6th grade student asked me for a top 10 of sorts—a list of books that most kids should read at some point.

Of course, that is a nearly impossible task. Fortunately, there are lots of different books for lots of different readers. But I did not want her to leave empty handed, so if push comes to shove, here are 10 books no child should miss:

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

The Giver by Lois Lowry (this one is generally best appreciated by 12 and 13 year olds)

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Holes by Louis Sachar

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White



Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

My computer took an unapproved four-day vacation.  It was not appreciated, but thanks to the intervention of a friend who can coax them back, I’m able to re-connect.

The forced break did give me the chance to read Catching Fire, the second book of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  As my husband likes to say, “everything has been said, but not everyone has said it,” and that’s how I feel about both of these heart-stopping and thought provoking books.

We are thinking about teaching The Hunger Games to Inly Middle School students this year.  Many schools have added it to their reading lists and curricula.  The book brings up so many questions that are spot-on for this age, primarily this one:  How much can we raise the stakes in the quest to be entertained?  In our relentless 24-hour news and entertainment cycle, behaviors or images that may have shocked us two years ago barely register.  We want more.  If you’ve read the books, you know what I mean.

It would be interesting to pair The Hunger Games with Lois Lowry’s The Giver.  The two books would certainly lead to some interesting and sobering conversations.