There is an entire sea out there of children’s books and young adult fiction. The quality of content in these genres can waffle from mind-blowingly great to pure garbage, so choosing the best literature for your kids can be a little bit daunting. We all want our children to get excited about reading while ensuring that they only consume books that will help them grow and enrich their view of the world. Here is a short list of some timeless classics that are thoughtful and engaging.
1. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Meg Murry and her brother, Charles Wallace, are two outcasts who get caught up in a strange journey with three mysterious women (Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which) on the hunt for their missing father. It’s hard to present the idea of travelling through time and dimensions in a straightforward manner, but A Wrinkle In Time pulls it off. This mischievous and mind-blowing book was written nearly fifty years ago, but still manages to hold up under the test of time.
2. My Teacher Is An Alien by Bruce Coville
There’s more to this book than meets the eye. First off, My Teacher Is An Alien is the first installment of this quadruplet series all dealing with extraterrestrial life and the fate of planet Earth. Think of it as A Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, but for kids. These books follow the lives of three friends: Peter, Susan, and Duncan, as they uncover a conspiracy going on under their very noses and save mankind from extinction. Plus, there’s a character named Bronxholm–and he’s an alien. That’s pretty awesome.
3. Holes Louis Sachar
For those of you who read this book before you saw the movie, we can only hope you were as drawn into the book as we were. The tale of Stanley Yelnats, the crime he was wrongly accused of, and his complicated family history is so engrossing that your kids won’t want to stop reading it. By the end of the book, you’re left with a strong craving for onions, a sudden desire to dig a hole, and an age-old poem stuck in your head: “If only, if only, the woodpecker sighs, the bark on the tree was as soft as the skies.”
4. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Oh, the magical land of Narnia, where fauns roam free and delicious Turkish Delights are handed out by evil queens, hungry for power. This first installment in C.S. Lewis’ epic Chronicles of Narnia collection (or second if you’re reading the Harper Collins chronological set) is, by far, one of the most well-known children’s novels of the 20th century. The world Lewis creates seems almost too real to be fiction and leaves you aching to live the lives of Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. Don’t act like you haven’t tried to walk into your wardrobe after reading this book–lord knows I have.
5. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Ghost stories are a staple when you’re growing up; they’re fun to tell, and even more fun when you scare your friends. The Headless Cupid presents a ghost story (or, rather, poltergeist story) through the eyes of eleven-year old David. We watch this young man adjust to life with his creepily self-aware little brother, Blair, his new obsessed-with-the-occult step-sister, Amanda, her pet crow, and a pesky ghost that is haunting their house. When a series of unexplained accidents happen throughout the house, David and his ragtag team of family members has to exercise the poltergeist out of their home before anyone gets hurt.