Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
‘Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he’s finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own—Old Dan and Little Ann—he’s ecstatic. It doesn’t matter that times are tough; together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks.
Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan’s brawn, Little Ann’s brains, and Billy’s sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy awaits these determined hunters—now friends—and Billy learns that hope can grow out of despair, and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past.’
Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
‘The rich landowner Sir Charles Baskerville is found dead in the park of his manor surrounded by the grim moor of Dartmoor, in the county of Devon. His death seems to have been caused by a heart attack, but the victim’s best friend, Dr. Mortimer, is convinced that the strike was due to a supernatural creature, which haunts the moor in the shape of an enormous hound, with blazing eyes and jaws. In order to protect Baskerville’s heir, Sir Henry, who’s arriving to London from Canada, Dr. Mortimer asks for Sherlock Holmes’ help, telling him also of the so-called Baskervilles’ curse, according to which a monstrous hound has been haunting and killing the family males for centuries, in revenge for the misdeeds of one Sir Hugo Baskerville, who lived at the time of Oliver Cromwell.’
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
‘Terribly unhappy in his family’s crowded New York City apartment, Sam Gribley runs away to the solitude-and danger-of the mountains, where he finds a side of himself he never knew.
Savage Sam by Frank Gipson
‘Sequel to Old Yeller. When Arliss and Lisbeth are kidnapped by Indians, their father sets out with the faithful family hound to get them back.’
Bridge to Terebithia by Katherine Paterson
‘Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie’s house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief.
Bridge to Terabithia was also named an ALA Notable Children’s Book and has become a touchstone of children’s literature, as have many of Katherine Paterson’s other novels, including The Great Gilly Hopkins and Jacob Have I Loved.’
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
‘This award-winning contemporary classic is the survival story with which all others are compared—and a page-turning, heart-stopping adventure, recipient of the Newbery Honor.
Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single-engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a tattered Windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present—and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parent’s divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self pity, or despair—it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.’
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
‘“An extraordinary book, one no reader will fail to find compelling and unforgettable.” —Booklist, starred review
The star of her school’s running team, Sadako is lively and athletic…until the dizzy spells start. Then she must face the hardest race of her life—the race against time. Based on a true story, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes celebrates the courage that makes one young woman a heroine in Japan.
“[The] story speaks directly to young readers of the tragedy of Sadako’s death and, in its simplicity, makes a universal statement for ‘peace in the world.” —The Horn Book
“The story is told tenderly but with neither a morbid nor a sentimental tone: it is direct and touching.” —BCCB’
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
‘Since its inception in 1894, The Jungle Book has enchanted readers—both young and old—with its invaluable moral lessons. By bestowing the animals in the stories with human traits, famed writer Rudyard Kipling gives readers timeless parables that teach family values and the importance of community.
The most popular of these tales center on Mowgli, a young boy who lives in the jungle amongst a community of animals. All before reaching his teenage years, he is brought up by wolves, trained by a bear, kidnapped by monkeys, and much more. This collection also features other classic stories, most notably “Rikki Tikki Tavi,” a story of a young mongoose named “Rikki” who serves as a protector from dangerous cobras for a British family residing in India. In this masterful tale, the young mongoose is forced into a ferocious battle with Nagaina, a large venomous cobra threatening Rikki’s family and seeking revenge for the death of her counterpart, Nag. These stories, with their vibrant characters and important moral lessons, have stood the test of time, having been reprinted in hundreds of different versions and languages around the world.’
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
‘Far off the coast of California looms a harsh rock known as the island of San Nicholas. Dolphins flash in the blue waters around it, sea otter play in the vast kep beds, and sea elephants loll on the stony beaches.
Here, in the early 1800s, according to history, an Indian girl spent eighteen years alone, and this beautifully written novel is her story. It is a romantic adventure filled with drama and heartache, for not only was mere subsistence on so desolate a spot a near miracle, but Karana had to contend with the ferocious pack of wild dogs that had killed her younger brother, constantly guard against the Aleutian sea otter hunters, and maintain a precarious food supply.
More than this, it is an adventure of the spirit that will haunt the reader long after the book has been put down. Karana’s quiet courage, her Indian self-reliance and acceptance of fate, transform what to many would have been a devastating ordeal into an uplifting experience. From loneliness and terror come strength and serenity in this Newbery Medal-winning classic.’
The Black Pearl by Scott O’Dell
‘From the depths of a cave in the Vermilion Sea, Ramon Salazar has wrested a black pearl so lustrous and captivating that his father, an expert pearl dealer, is certain Ramon has found the legendary Pearl of Heaven. Such a treasure is sure to bring great joy to the villagers of their tiny coastal town, and even greater renown to the Salazar name. No diver, not even the swaggering Gaspar Ruiz, has ever found a pearl like this!
But is there a price to pay for a prize so great? When a terrible tragedy strikes the village, old Luzon’s warning about El Diablo returns to haunt Ramon. If El Diablo actually exists, it will take all Ramon’s courage to face the winged creature waiting for him offshore.’
The Book of Dragons by E. Nesbitt
‘A collection of nine dragon stories “that mix the everyday with the incredible and bring ordinary life into fairyland.”’
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
‘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?’