The Golden Compass
Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal—including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world. Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors?
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Mildred D. Taylor
Set in Mississippi at the height of the Depression, this is the story of one family’s struggle to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice. And it is also Cassie’s story—Cassie Logan, an independent girl who discovers over the course of an important year why having land of their own is so crucial to the Logan family, even as she learns to draw strength from her own sense of dignity and self-respect.
The Neverending Story
When Bastian happens upon an old book called The Neverending Story, he’s swept into the magical world of Fantastica—so much that he finds he has actually become a character in the story. And when he realizes that this mysteriously enchanted world is in great danger, he also discovers that he is the one chosen to save it. Can Bastian overcome the barrier between reality and his imagination in order to save Fantastica?
The Phantom Tollbooth
For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions, learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason. Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes that life is, astonishingly, far from dull.
The Westing Game
A bizarre chain of events begins when 16 unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, one thing’s for sure: Sam Westing may be dead, but that won’t stop him from playing one last game.
Stanley Yelnats is under a curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake—the boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something.
The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963
Christopher Paul Curtis
Enter the hilarious world of 10-year-old Kenny and his family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. There’s Momma, Dad, little sister Joetta, and brother Byron, who’s 13 and an “official juvenile delinquent.” When Byron gets to be too much trouble, they head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the one person who can shape him up. And they’ll be in Birmingham during one of the darkest moments in America’s history.
The Secret of the Old Clock #1
The Secret of the Old Clock is the first book in the incredibly popular series that readers have fallen in love with for more than 80 years. Nancy Drew has to help Mr. Crowly’s friends find his missing will before the Topham family steals his full inheritance.
Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she’s just a nuisance. She expects school to be different, but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull, she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back.
The Village by the Sea
Anita Desai’s The Village by the Sea is the story of 13-year-old Lila and her 12-year-old brother, Hari, who must care for their ailing parents as well as their two younger sisters. Sensing adventure and a chance to save his family, Hari impulsively joins a group of farmers and fishermen traveling to Bombay to protest the construction of a fertilizer factory that threatens to pollute the coastline and destroy their livelihood. Through their own resources and the kindnesses of strangers, Hari and Lila must find a way to “Adapt! Adapt!” as their ornithologist friend urges, just as the birds and animals must do to survive.
The Outsiders 50th Anniversary Edition
S. E. Hinton
Ponyboy can count on his brothers. And on his friends. But not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is beating up on “greasers” like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect—until the night someone takes things too far.
Harriet the Spy: 50th Anniversary Edition
Using her keen observation skills, 11-year-old Harriet M. Welsch writes down in her notebook what she considers the truth about everyone in and around her New York City neighborhood. When she loses track of her notebook, it ends up in the wrong hands, and her friends read the sometimes awful things she’s written about each of them. How can Harriet find a way to keep her integrity and also put her life and her friendships back together?
When Thorin Oakenshield and his band of dwarves embark on a dangerous quest to reclaim the hoard of gold stolen by the dragon Smaug, Gandalf suggests an unlikely accomplice: Bilbo Baggins, an unassuming hobbit dwelling in peaceful Hobbiton. Along the way, the company faces trolls, goblins, giant spiders, and worse. But as they journey, Bilbo will find that there is more to him than anyone—himself included—ever dreamed.
What can the peace-loving mice of Redwall Abbey do to defend themselves against Cluny the Scourge and his battle-seasoned army of rats? If only they had the sword of Martin the Warrior, they might have a chance. But the legendary weapon has long been forgotten—except, that is, by the bumbling young apprentice Matthias, who becomes the unlikeliest of heroes.
The Wrinkle in Time Quartet
L’Engle’s unforgettable heroine, Meg Murry, must confront her fears and self-doubt to rescue her scientist father, who has been experimenting with mysterious tesseracts capable of bending the very fabric of space and time. But A Wrinkle in Time is only the beginning of the adventure: A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters are also collected in this volume.
Anne of Green Gables
L. M. Montgomery
The Cuthberts are in for a shock. They’re expecting an orphan boy to help with the work at Green Gables, but a girl turns up instead. Highly spirited Anne Shirley charms her way into the Cuthberts’ affection with her vivid imagination and constant chatter. Soon, it’s impossible to imagine life without her.
We’ve all been there: the dreaded reading slump. Maybe you’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed; maybe your reading mood has shifted since you built that glorious TBR stack; maybe the last book you read was so brilliant and immersive that you can’t imagine moving on to another literary world.
If you’re feeling tapped out, might we suggest revisiting a childhood favorite? Diving back into those stories that first made us fall in love with reading has the doubly positive effect of being a fun nostalgia trip, while also giving your brain a breather with (still skillfully written!) middle grade and YA reads. Plus, now you have a whole new perspective to bring to your favorite tales. It’s a win-win-win.
Featured Image: @chanelpluscat/Twenty20