The Best of Young Readers' Literature

[Or, The Best of Young Readers' Literature that I Have Read, to Date.]

Admittedly, at least 99% of the books I've read in my lifetime were read as an adult—and that would include the children/youth category. But now, I not only read books, I re-read books! And so, even though I'm finding hoards of great literature—indeed, I won't even make a dent in the list I've assembled for 2019 (all new reads this year; that's the deal)—I'm a bit sad to leave so many favourites to collect dust.

At present, I'm reading Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And since I generally spend an hour per day, more or less, with my nose in a book—that, and the fact that I'm no speed reader—I figured I could fill (blogging) time by recommending some of my favourites.

So, whether or not you consider yourself a lover of literature (you needn't consider yourself a sage or an intellectual—I am most certainly neither) I hope you can find something here that will ignite curiosity and draw you in!

Check out the links to reviews.

Winter Cottage

by Carol Ryrie Brink

A family, down on its luck during the Depression, appropriates a summer cottage in the Wisconsin woods, where they spend the winter and welcome all visitors, including a runaway youth and two strangers. How Pops and his two daughters cope with their misfortunes without losing heart is a very entertaining story.

[ My daughter has schlepped this favourite across the world with her a couple of times, and I'm more than certain it will be one she reads and re-reads to her own girls. ]

The Story Girl

by L.M. Montgomery

Sara Stanley is only fourteen, but she can weave tales that are impossible to resist. In the charming town of Carlisle, children and grown-ups alike flock from miles around to hear her spellbinding tales. And when Bev King and his younger brother Felix arrive for the summer, they, too, are captivated by the Story Girl. Whether she's leading them on exciting misadventure or narrating timeless stories--from the scary "Tale of the Family Ghost" to the fanciful "How Kissing Was Discovered" to the bittersweet "The Blue Chest of Rachel Ward"--the Story Girl has her audience hanging on every word.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

by Kate Douglas Wiggin, Eric E. Wiggin

When Rebecca comes from the chaotic family farm to live with her spinster aunts in Riverboro, strict Miranda and gentle Jane don't know how to cope with a wild and zestful ten-year-old—nor she with them. But Rebecca is the most likable, energetic, enthusiastic girl anyone ever met. And Riverboro is never the same again.

The Great Brain #1

by John D. Fitzgerald, Mercer Mayer

The best con man in the Midwest is only ten years old. Tom, a.k.a., the Great Brain, is a silver-tongued genius with a knack for turning a profit. When the Jenkins boys get lost in Skeleton Cave, the Great Brain saves the day. Whether it's saving the kids at school, or helping out Peg-leg Andy, or Basil, the new kid at school, the Great Brain always manages to come out on top—and line his pockets in the process.

On My Honor

by Marion Dane Bauer

Joel dares his best friend, Tony, to a swimming race in a dangerous river. Both boys jump in, but when Joel reaches the sandbar, he finds Tony has vanished. How can he face their parents and the terrible truth?

Farmer Boy

(Little House #3)

by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams

Growing up on his family's farm in New York, Almanzo Wilder wishes for just one thing--his very own horse. But Father doesn't yet trust him with such a big responsibility. Almanzo needs to prove himself--but how?

[ Naturally, all the Little House books are wonderful reads. However, this is the one that we've read over and over :) ]

The Hobbit

by J.R.R. Tolkien

. . . 'The Hobbit' is the story of Bilbo Baggins. . . a quiet and contented hobbit whose life is turned upside down when he joins the wizard Gandalf and thirteen dwarves on their quest to reclaim the dwarves' stolen treasure. It is a journey fraught with danger – and in the end it is Bilbo alone who must face the guardian of this treasure, the most-dreaded dragon Smaug.

Men of Iron

by Howard Pyle

Young Myles Falworth, known for his courage and independence, is in training for knighthood at the castle of the Earl of Mackworth. When he discovers that his blind father has been condemned for treason and an enemy close to the king is in pursuit of him, he has a brave decision to make: His death could very probably be the result of a challenge to the king's champion. Is the battle to win back his family's honour worth the risk?

Chicken Every Sunday: My Life with Mother's Boarders

by Rosemary Taylor, Donald Mackay (Illustrator)

One of the boarders who ate Mother's chicken every Sunday summed it up when he said, "I was told that in your house I'd have good food and some fun." They all had fun, and they all became part of the family—Jeffrey, who lost his front teeth and won his independence, Rita Vlasak, who loved anything in pants, including Father, Miss Sally, who loved Miss Sally and cold cream, the Lathams, who bought a mine, and even the hell-bent-for-heaven Woolleys, who were sure God had sent the skunk to hide under the house because the family didn't go to church on Sunday. If you have room for some fun and old-fashioned enjoyment, Mother's sure to have room for you.

A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens

To bitter, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, Christmas is just another day. But all that changes when the ghost of his long-dead business partner appears, warning Scrooge to change his ways before it's too late. . . "A Christmas Carol" captures the heart of the holidays like no other novel.

[ Perhaps, like our family, you've watched one film version or another and/or listened to the radio drama repeatedly over the years—several of Dickens overt quotes seem to stick with us. When my daughter asked her brother which of them Mom and Dad would live with in old age, he responded with, "What?! Are there no prisons?! Are there no workhouses?! ;) ]

Most of these stories were enjoyed with my kids when they were young (some were read multiple times!), with the exception of The Story Girl and The Hobbit, which I only discovered in the past decade.

So many good reads, so little time!