(Recommended by E.D. Hirsch in the book, Books to Build On.)
Little Women by Louisa Alcott
Chronicles the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young ladies in 19th century New England.
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The adventures of the three Darling children in Neverland with Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up.
Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
After being transported by a cyclone to the land of Oz, Dorothy and her dog are befriended by a scarecrow, a tin man, and a cowardly lion.
Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Brink
The adventures of an eleven-year-old tomboy growing up on the Wisconsin frontier in the mid-nineteenth century.
Old Mother West Wind by Thornton Burgess
The adventures of Peter Rabbit, Johnny Chuck, Reddy Fox, the Merry Little Breezes, and all of their companions in the fields, the woods, and the streams.
The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett
Ten-year-old Mary comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors and discovers an invalid cousin and the mysteries of a locked garden.
Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
By falling down a rabbit hole, Alice experiences unusual adventures with a variety of nonsensical characters.
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
During one of several voyages, an Englishman becomes the sole survivor of a shipwreck and lives for thirty years on a desert island before being rescued.
Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
The story of fourteen-year-old Travis and the “ugly old yeller dog.”
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The escapades of four animal friends Toad, Mole, Rat, and Badger who live along a river in the English countryside.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
A superstitious schoolmaster, in love with a wealthy farmer’s daughter, has a terrifying encounter with a headless horseman.
Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving
The tale of a man who sleeps for twenty years in the Catskill Mountains and wakes to a much-changed world.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Four English schoolchildren find their way through the back of a wardrobe into the magic land of Narnia and assist Aslan, the golden lion, to triumph over the White Witch. (Part of the Chronicles of Narnia)
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
The adventures of Christopher Robin and his friends, in which Pooh Bear uses a balloon to get honey, Piglet meets a Heffalump, and Eeyore has a birthday.
Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry
Relates how Mafatu, a young Polynesian boy whose name means Stout Heart, overcomes his terrible fear of the sea and proves his courage to himself and his people.
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
On a voyage in the South Seas, an Englishman finds himself shipwrecked in Lilliput, a land of people only six inches high.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The adventures of the well-to-do hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, who lived happily in his comfortable home until a wizard granted his wish.
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
The wind brings two English children a new nanny who slides up the banister and introduces them to some delightful people and experiences.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The adventures of a boy and a runaway slave as they travel down the Mississippi River on a raft.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The adventures of a mischievous young boy and his friends growing up in a Mississippi River town in the nineteenth century.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Wilbur, the pig, is desolate when he discovers that he is destined to be the farmer’s Christmas dinner until his spider friend, Charlotte, decides to help him.
The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
A family travels from the big woods of Wisconsin to a new home on the prairie, where they build a house, meet neighboring Indians, build a well, and fight a prairie fire.