Recommended Reading List
compiled by Donna Garner

Classics are marked with an *.  The number in parentheses indicates reading grade level.


Adams, Richard — Watership Down (9) — a fantasy story of a rabbit warren

Aesop's Fables *

Alcott, Louisa May — Little Men (6)*; Little Women (6)*; Eight Cousins (6)*; Joe's Boys (6)*

Aldrich, Bess Streeter — A Lantern in Her Hand (6)

Andersen, Hans Christian — Andersen's Fairy Tales (8)*

Armstrong, William H. — Sounder (5) — an Afro-American family of poor sharecroppers in the South who show incredible courage

Austen, Jane — Pride and Prejudice (10)*; Emma; Persuasion; Mansfield Park

Bach, Richard — Jonathan Livingston Seagull (4)

Bagnold, Enid — National Velvet (6)

Barrett, William — The Lilies of the Field (6) — a young Afro-American man stops to help a group of nuns and ends up building a church in the pioneer West

Benet, Steven — The Devil and Daniel Webster (6)*

Besier, Rudolf — The Barretts of Wimpole Street

Bjorn, Thyra Ferre — Papa's Wife (5) — story of young Swedish girl; Papa's Daughter (5), the sequel

Blackmore, Richard — Lorna Doone*

Bombeck, Erma — The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank — a humorous book about suburban life; also other books by Bombeck

Brink, Carol Ryrie — Caddie Woodlawn (5.2) — story of a young girl's adventures during the American Revolution

Bronte, Charlotte — Jane Eyre (10)* — story of a girl who goes as a governess to a mysterious house in 19th-century England

Bronte, Emily — Wuthering Heights (9)*

Buck, Pearl — Good Earth (8.2) — story of struggles in China

Bunyan, John — Pilgrim's Progress (9)*

Burnford, Sheila — The Incredible Journey — story of three pets who travel hundreds of miles to return to the family they love

Byars, Betsy Cromer — Summer of the Swans — story of a sister's love for her retarded brother

Carroll, Lewis — Alice in Wonderland (6.5)*

Cather, Willa — My Antonia (8) — Bohemian immigrant girl who travels with her family to Nebraska and becomes Americanized

Cervantes, Miguel D. — Don Quixote (11)*

Christie, Agatha — Death on the Nile (9); Murder on the Orient Express; ABC Murders(9); And Then There Were None (7); and other books by Christie — excellent suspenseful mysteries

Cleaver, Vera — Where the Lilies Bloom (5) — courageous orphaned girl who holds her family together after the death of both parents

Crane, Stephen — The Red Badge of Courage (7)* — story based on the thoughts of a young Civil War soldier

Cooper, James Fenimore — The Deerslayer (10)*; The Last of the Mohicans (9)*; The Pathfinders (9)*; The Pioneers(9)*; The Prairie (9)*

Costain, Thomas B. — The Silver Chalice — set in Biblical times

Cronin, Archibald J. — The Keys of the Kingdom — fascinating and touching story of the sacrificial life of a priest in China during era of war lords

Daly, Maureen — Seventeenth Summer (5) — story of teenage girl's first love

Defoe, Daniel — Robinson Crusoe (8)*

Dickens, Charles — David Copperfield (9)*; A Tale of Two Cities (9)*; Oliver Twist (9)*

Douglas, Lloyd — The Robe — fictitious story based upon the robe Christ wore

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan — The Adventure of the Speckled Band (5)*; The Hound of the Baskervilles (7)*; The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes* — short stories

Dumas, Alexandre — The Three Musketeers (9)*; The Count of Monte Cristo (9)*; The Man in the Iron Mask (10)*

Eden, Dorothy — The Time of the Dragon (8)— historical romance tracing the Carrington family dynasty from China to England

Edmonds, Walter — Drums Along the Mohawk — historical fiction based upon the French and Indian War

Edmonds, Walter — Matchlock Gun (5.2)

Eliot, George — Silas Marner (9)*; The Mill on the Floss (9)*

Farley, Walter— The Black Stallion (4)

Fast, Howard Melvin — April Morning (5) — a young man's experiences during the Battle of Lexington

Ferber, Edna — Cimarron (9); Giant (9)

Forbes, Esther — Johnny Tremain (6) — takes place during the beginning of the American Revolution; Mama's Bank Account (6)

Fox, John J. — The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come — story of a minister in the Kentucky backwoods

Freedman, Benedict — Mrs. Mike (6) — story of love and hardships of a wife and her Canadian Mountie husband

Gaines, Ernest J. — The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (7) — the fictitious story of an Afro-American woman born into slavery

George, Jean — My Side of the Mountain (5) — boy who decides to live by himself in the mountains

Gipson, Fred — Savage Sam (6); Hound-Dog Man (6)

Hale, Edward E. — The Man Without a Country (7)* — short story about a man who, in a fit of rage, renounces his country

Hamilton, Edith — Mythology (10)

Hamner, Earl — Spencer's Mountain (7)

Hardy, Thomas — The Return of the Native (9)*; Tess of the D'Urbervilles (8)*; Mayor of Casterbridge (9)

Hawthorne, Nathaniel — The House of Seven Gables (8)*

Hemingway, Ernest — The Old Man and the Sea (7)* — story of a man who tries to prove himself by conquering a big fish

Hill, Grace Livingston — Beloved Stranger (6); Daphne Deane; Strange Proposal; and other books by Hill

Hilton, James — Good-bye, Mr. Chips (7)

Holmes, Marjorie — Two From Galilee — story of carpenter and teenage girl

Holt, Victoria — Kirkland Revels (6); House of a Thousand Lanterns (6); and other books by Victoria Holt before 1972 — exciting romance mysteries

Homer — The Iliad (10)*

Hudson, William — Green Mansions* — story of a girl reared in South American jungles

Hugo, Victor — The Hunchback of Notre Dame (9)*; Les Miserables (10)* — novels set during the French Revolution

Hunt, Irene — Across Five Aprils (6) — reveals the fears and frustrations of Civil War soldiers

Irving, Washington — Rip Van Winkle (9)*; The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (9)* — short stories

Jackson, Helen Hunt — Ramona (10)* — persecution of the American Indian in Old California

Keith, Harold — Rifles For Watie — young Civil War infantry soldier who defends the Union against an Indian rebel leader named Watie

Kipling, Rudyard — Kim (7)*; The Jungle Book (7)*; Captains Courageous (7)* — spoiled boy who learns a valuable lesson after being rescued at sea

Kjelgaard, Jim — Big Red (5); Irish Red: Son of Big Red; Outlaw Red, and other books by Kjelgaard — excellent dog stories

Krumgold, Joseph — And Now Miguel (6.8)

L'Amour, Louis — Utah Blaine (6); Daybreakers; Mojave Crossing; Sackett; and other exciting westerns

Lane, Rose Wilder — The Young Pioneers (6); The Young Pioneers II (6) — story of newlyweds and their struggle in the wilderness

Lewis, C. S. — The Horse and His Boy; The Last Battle; The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; The Magician's Nephew; Prince Caspian; The Silver Chair; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader — Narnia series (6.7), told in fantasy form

London, Jack — The Call of the Wild (7)*; White Fang (6)*; Sea Wolf (8)

MacDonald, George — The Laird's Inheritance — a boy who is last descendent of land-owning lairds in Scottish Highlands

MacLean, Alistair — Guns of Navarone; Goodbye California; The Golden Gate — exciting adventure stories of James Bond-type hero

Marshall, Catherine — Christy (10) — story of a young girl who becomes a teacher in the Smokey Mountains; Julie — Philadelphia girl who finds herself caught between the steelworkers and the mill owners in 1934

Melville, Herman — Moby Dick (10)*

Mitchell, Margaret — Gone With the Wind (10)*

Montgomery , L. M. — Anne of Green Gables (5); Anne of Avonlea (5), and other books by Montgomery

Morey, Walt — Gentle Ben (6) — touching story of a young boy and a bear on the Alaskan frontier

Oke, Janette — Roses For Mama; Spring's Gentle Promise; Julia's Last Hope; and other books by Oke

O'Dell, Scott — Island of the Blue Dolphins (5); The Black Pearl (5); The King's Fifth (6); Zia (6)

O'Hara, Mary — My Friend Flicka (7)*

Orczy, Baroness — Scarlet Pimpernel (8)

Paton, Alan — Cry, the Beloved Country

Portis, Charles — True Grit (7) — days of the Old West

Rawlings, Marjorie K. — The Yearling (6.8)* — stirring story of a boy and his pet deer

Rawls, Wilson — Where the Red Fern Grows (6); Summer of the Monkeys (6) — a boy who wants to capture a tree full of monkeys and use the reward to help his crippled twin sister

Rostand, Edmond — Cyrano de Bergerac (10)*

Schaefer, Jack Warner — Shane (5.2) — exciting western

Scott, Sir Walter — Ivanhoe (11)* — tale of young medieval knight

Sewell, Anne — Black Beauty (6)*

Sperry, Armstrong — Call It Courage (8)

Spyri, Johanna — Heidi (6)*

Stratton-Porter, Gene — Girl of the Limberlost (5)

Stevenson, Robert Louis — Treasure Island (7)*; Kidnapped (7)*; The Black Arrow (8)*; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (9)*

Stewart, Mary — The Gabriel Hounds (7); Nine Coaches Waiting (7); and other books by Stewart written before 1972 — murder mysteries usually set in castles, chateaux, etc

Swift, Jonathan — Gulliver's Travels (7)*

Thoene, Bodie — Munich Signature

Tennyson, Alfred — Idylls of the King*; Enoch Arden

Tolkien, J. R. R. — The Hobbit (8) — and other books by Tolkien

Tolstoy, Leo — War and Peace (11)*

Treviño, Elizabeth B. — I, Juan de Pareja (7.9)

Twain, Mark — The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (7)*, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (7)*; A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (5)*; The Prince and the Pauper (6)*

Verne, Jules — Mysterious Island (8)*; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (8)*; Around the World in 80 Days (8)*; Journey to the Center of the Earth (7)* — early science fiction

Wade, Mary — Amelia Earhart: Flying for Adventure (5) — woman pilot who set many records before mysteriously vanishing over the Pacific Ocean in 1937

Wallace, Lew — Ben-Hur (10) — set in the days of Roman charioteers

Wells, H.G. — The Time Machine (7)*; The Island of Dr. Moreau;* The War of the Worlds (7)*; The Invisible Man (6)* — early science fiction

Wells, Marian — The Wedding Dress; Out of the Crucible

White, T.H. — The Once and Future King — Arthurian legend of knights and fair ladies

Whitney, Phyllis — Golden Unicorn (6); Snowfire (6); The Turquoise Mask (7); and other books written by Whitney before 1972 — suspenseful, exciting tales of romance and mystery

Wilder, Laura Ingalls — Little House on the Prairie (5), and other books

Wimberley, Leonard — Mouse That Roared

Wojciechowska, Maia — Shadow of a Bull (5) — boy fears not matching his father's greatness as a bullfighter

Wyss, Johann David — The Swiss Family Robinson (5)*


Adamson, Joy — Born Free (7); Living Free (8); Forever Free (8)

Anderson, Dave — The Story of Football (5)

Andrews, Brother — God's Smugglers (7) — story of smuggling Bibles into Communist countries

Archibald, Rick — Reliving the Era of the Great Airships: Hindenburg — flying luxury liner and its spectacular destruction in 1937 which marked the end of airship travel

Aurandt, Paul — Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story (8)

Bennett, William — De-Valuing of America (9) — common-sense arguments for those concerned about the morality war in America; also The Book of Virtues

Bishop, Jim — The Day Lincoln Was Shot (8)

Blank, Joseph P. — 19 Steps up the Mountain — story of the DeBolt family who has adopted many handicapped children

Braden, Thomas W. — Eight Is Enough — based on TV series

Bradshaw, Terry — No Easy Game — story of Bradshaw's life

Bible — Old Testament*; New Testament*

Blackie, W. Gordon — David Livingstone — medical doctor who experienced the dangers of South Africa

Brown, Walter — Historical Catastrophes: Floods

Brown, Warren — Colin Powell (6) — famous officer in the Persian Gulf War

Butler, Hal — Abandon Ship — 17 of the worst ship disasters in history

Bulwer-Lytton, Edward — The Last Days of Pompeii*

Carson, Rachel — Silent Spring (8) — ecology

Carson, Ben — Gifted Hands — renowned Afro-American surgeon whose specialty is separating Siamese twins; Think Big — story of famous doctor's life

Cartwright, Peter — Autobiography (9) — story of frontier preacher

Cash, Johnny — Man in Black — story of Johnny Cash's life

Colson, Chuck — Born Again (8) — insider's view of Nixon White House

Creasy, Edward Shepard — Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World* — tells how seemingly unimportant circumstances changed the course of history

Cruz, Nicky — Run, Baby, Run (7) — story of Cruz and his involvement with drugs/gang warfare in New York City

D'Ambrosio, Richard — No Language but a Cry (7) — the story of an abused child's restoration to normalcy

Day — Women of Texas (8) — contributions of women to the history of Texas from Mexican statehood to 20th century

Davidson, Mickie — Frederick Douglass Fights for Freedom (5) — biography of a man born a slave who became a famous freedom fighter

DeWaard, E. John — History of NASA (9) — America's voyage to the stars

Dobson, Dr. James — Life on the Edge — helps young adults make right choices so they can enjoy meaningful lives

Dooley, Dr. Thomas — Promises To Keep (9) — life of Dr. Dooley, who gave medical aid to thousands of refugees from North Vietnam

Dolan, Edward F. — Janet Guthrie (7) — story of first woman driver at Indianapolis

Dravecky, Dave — Comeback — struggles of a San Francisco baseball pitcher who contracted cancer in his pitching arm

Eareckson, Joni — Joni: A Step Further — story of a quadriplegic and how she has adjusted to her handicap

Elliott, Elizabeth — A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael — story of Irish missionary in India

Evans, Dale and Roy — Dearest Debbie (5); Angel Unaware (5); plus other books by Evans

Fowler, William — American Military Insignia (8) — provides explanation of the history and significance of insignia

Frank, Anne — Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (8)* — hardships during Hitler's occupation

Franklin, Ben — The Autobiography of Ben Franklin (8)

Glass — Don't Blame the Game; Get in the Game; Stand Tall and Straight — written by football player from Baylor

Graham, Billy — Angels (8) — written by famous evangelist; also Just As I Am

Grier, Rosey — Winning — story of professional football player

Griffin, John Howard — Black Like Me — author who changes color of skin in order to experience the Afro-American culture

Gunther, John — Death Be Not Proud (10) — boy who dies of leukemia

Gutman, Bill — Great Quarterbacks #1 (6); Great Quarterbacks #2 (6); Great Running Backs #1 (6); Reggie White: Star Defensive Lineman (6); Baseball's Record Breakers (7); Great Quarterbacks of NFL (7); Strange and Amazing Baseball Stories (6); The History of NCAA Basketball (9); Giants of Baseball (8)

Haskins — Pelé: a Biography (6) — story of brilliant soccer player

Hershiser, Orel — Orel Hershiser — story of famous pitcher for Los Angeles Dodgers

Heyerdahl, Thor — Kon-Tiki (8)*; Aku Aku (8) — adventures of crossing ocean in a sailboat

Herriot, James — All Creatures Great and Small (6); All Things Bright and Beautiful (7); All Things Big and Beautiful (7); All Things Wise and Wonderful (8); James Herriot's Dog Stories — interesting animal stories from the life of a veterinarian

Hersey, John — Hiroshima (7) — six survivors of the Hiroshima A-bomb who gave first-hand accounts of the ordeal and its aftermath

Hoehling, A. A. — Lost at Sea (9) — the events surrounding eight ships that vanished without a trace

Huston, Todd — More Than Mountains — ordeals of handicapped mountain climber

Jenkins, Peter — Walk Across America; The Walk West; Across China (8)

Keller, Helen — The Story of My Life (7)* — story of a blind and deaf girl

Kennedy, John F. — Profiles in Courage (11) — courageous experiences of Kennedy during WW II

Kerrigan, Evans — American Medals and Decorations (8) — describes development of American war medals

Killilea, Marie — Karen (5); With Love, from Karen (9) — small girl's struggle with cerebral palsy

Klein, Dave — Pro-Basketball's Big Men

Landry, Tom — An Autobiography of Tom Landry — life story of successful Dallas Cowboys' coach

Lawson, Capt. Ted W. — 30 Seconds Over Tokyo

Liss, Howard — Strange but True Hockey Stories (6); Strange but True Basketball Stories (6); Strange but True Football Stories (6)

Lombardi, Vince — Run to Daylight (6) — story of coach Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers

Lord, Walter — Day of Infamy (9)

Macht, Norman — Clarence Thomas: Supreme Court Justice (6)

Marshall, Logan, ed. — Sinking of the Titanic — incredible firsthand experiences of survivors of the Titanic

Marshall, Catherine — A Man Called Peter (9)*

Marshall, Peter — The Light and the Glory — events leading up to the Civil War

McClard, Megan — Harriet Tubman: Slavery and the Underground Railroad (5)

Moody, Ralph — Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers (5) — real-life stories from Moody's frontier days

Morris, Harold — Twice Pardoned (8) — ex-con tells his story

North, Sterling — Rascal (5) — story of a raccoon

Olson, Billy — Reaching Higher — pole-vaulter at Abilene Christian University who went to the 1984 Olympics

Oursler, Fulton — The Greatest Story Ever Told (10) — story of life of Jesus

Parkes, Henry B. — History of Mexico (9)

Peck, Ira — The Battle of Midway (10)

Petry, Ann — Harriet Tubman (7) — story of the underground railroad

Petschull, Jeurgen — Night Crossing — suspenseful story of a family's escape from East Germany

Poli, F. — Sharks Are Caught at Night

Pollock, John — A Foreign Devil in China — life experiences of Billy Graham's father-in-law

Powell, Colin — Sacred Honor — Persian Gulf War hero

Quayle, Dan — Standing Firm — U.S. Vice President under George Bush tells his experiences in White House during Persian Gulf crisis.

Ronan, Margaret — The Hindenburg is Burning (7)

Rudolph, Wilma — Wilma (7) — true story of track star Wilma Rudolph

Ryan, Nolan — Miracle Man — oldest pitcher ever to throw a no-hitter, played with Houston Astros and Texas Rangers

Saunders, Sol W. — Honda: The Man and His Machines

Santrey, Laurence — Jim Thorpe: Young Athlete (6) — traces early years of Indian farm boy who won Olympic gold medal and became professional baseball and football player

Sayers, Gale — I Am Third (9) — story of Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo

Schlesinger — Adolf Hitler (8)

Schweitzer, Albert — Out of My Life and Thought — story of a man who spent most of his life in deepest Africa

Scott, Col. Robert L. — God Is My Co-Pilot — stirring tales of WWII combat pilot

Sears, Stephen W. — The Battle of the Bulge — World War II story

Spink, Kathryn — The Miracle of Love (9) — Mother Teresa's work among the poor of Calcutta

Staubach, Roger — First Down and a Lifetime to Go (7); Time Enough To Win — famous Dallas Cowboys quarterback

Swift, Catherine — Eric Liddell — Scottish hero of 1924 Paris Olympics whose story was portrayed in film, Chariots of Fire

Teaff, Grant — I Believe — true story of Teaff's life and career

ten Boom, Corrie — The Hiding Place (6) — adventurous story of Nazi concentration camps

Trapp, Maria Augusta — The Story of the Trapp Family Singers — story of family who fled for their lives from the Nazis

Washington, Booker T. — Up from Slavery (9.2)

Watson, Milton H. — Disasters at Sea (7) — record of every disaster from early to mid-20th century resulting in loss of ocean-going passenger ships

White, Reggie — In the Trenches — fascinating story of Green Bay Packers superstar

Whitehead, Don — The FBI Story (8) — traces FBI history through mid-1980's

Wilkerson, Dave — The Cross and the Switchblade (7); 12 Angels from Hell; Beyond the Cross and the Switchblade — life of a preacher who dared to go into the gangs in New York City

Wooden, John — They Call Me Coach — Wooden's autobiography

Yates, Elizabeth — Amos Fortune, Free Man (6) — story of slave who achieved recognition as a free man

Young, Peter — The War Game (10) — ten great battles recreated from history

Donna Garner taught English for decades in Texas public schools and is a long-time
friend of our work. We trust her judgment or we would not post this.

Nevertheless, individual conservatives may disagree over the suitability of particular
selections listed here, so each should use his own discretion.

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