By Jeff Calareso
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
This is the first of seven books in the wildly popular Harry Potter series. It tells the story of young Harry, who discovers he is a wizard and is sent off to Hogwarts, a magical school for witches and wizards. He is tormented by the evil Voldemort, a wizard who killed Harry's parents.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The first book of a trilogy, The Hunger Games centers on Katniss Everdeen, a teenage girl living in a post-apocalyptic world. The titular Hunger Games are akin to a reality television show in which a boy and girl fight to the death before a TV audience. Katniss volunteers for the games in order to spare her younger sister, who had been selected to compete.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Ender's Game is set in a future time when Earth has narrowly survived two wars with an alien race called the Buggers. Ender is a young boy who is training to become a commander in the expected third war. Ender quickly rises to the top of his class due to his aptitude with the war games the students play. Ender's Game has several sequels, including Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Giver is a science fiction novel set in a future civilization. The plot involves a boy named Jonas who is chosen as the Receiver of Memory, which means he keeps the memories from before his era. Jonas faces a major challenge once he has this power, as it could disrupt the harmony of his society.
Holes by Louis Sachar
This is the story of Stanley, a seemingly cursed boy who gets sent to Camp Green Lake juvenile detention facility. Once there, he and the other campers are forced to dig holes for the Warden, a man they realize has suspicious motives. Holes won the 1999 Newbery Medal along with several other literary awards.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
The Golden Compass is the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. Set in an alternate universe, the story concerns a girl named Lyra Belacqua, who goes searching for her friend Roger and uncle Lord Asriel. This fantasy book includes a variety of colorful creatures, including a speaking bear named Iorek Byrnison.
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The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
This fantasy book is about Despereaux, a mouse on an epic quest to rescue a human princess. There are four sections in the book, with each told from the point of view of a different character. In addition to Despereaux, there is Chiaroscuro, a rat with a love of light, and Mig, a human child who aspires to become a princess.
The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman
Winner of the 1996 Newbery Medal and set in medieval England, The Midwife's Apprentice tells the story of Alyce, a girl born into poverty. She becomes the apprentice for Jane Sharp, the town's midwife. Throughout the story, Alyce begins to gain confidence in herself and take ownership over her future.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the first of seven books in The Chronicles of Narnia series. It tells the story of the Pevensie children, who stumble through a wardrobe into a magical land called Narnia. Once there, they must help defeat the evil White Witch with the help of Aslan and other creatures.
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
Jeffrey Lionel Magee is a boy from Pennsylvania who lost his parents. He's a terrific athlete who earns the nickname Maniac due to his amazing speed. When he runs away from his aunt and uncle's home, he grapples with surviving homelessness. He makes a few friends, including Amanda Beale, a lover of books who tries to make a home for Maniac.
Find out about more great books aimed at children and young adults through these 10 top lit blogs.