Middle Grade Booklist 3-Classics
Disclaimer for those new to the blog:
This is one of a series of posts that sparked this blog, but it will be soon be updated and replaced by more specific categories that correspond to time period and/or theme. I have read many more books since this original post and I look forward to sharing them with you. I hope you’ll come back and visit!
When given the choice, my children normally don’t choose these kinds of books; however, if I read them aloud, we all enjoy them and they often go back and read them later on their own. My daughter is reading Anne of Green Gables right now and I’m as excited as my husband was the first time one of our sons sat down and watched an entire Auburn football game with him. Parenthood is full of challenges like potty-training and getting your children to expand their diets beyond the bread group (I mastered the former a long time ago, but I’m still working on the latter with a couple of my guys), but reading together has been a major perk. I agree with C.S. Lewis who said, “a children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
Our family has logged in more hours traveling by car than I like to recall (like the time we drove from Boston, Massachusetts, to Ft. Collins, Colorado, to Birmingham, Alabama, to Atlanta, Georgia, back to Boston in one month) and books have been a major part of those travels. Lately, I’ve discovered that after school snack time, when they descend upon the kitchen like a bunch of ravenous wolves, is a great time to read to them and, if the book is good, they often ask for one more chapter (if nothing else, to delay the start of homework). I’ll stop this little tradition whenever they’re ready, but I hope it’s not for a long time and I’ll probably still keep reading these books on my own.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
When a cholera outbreak hits India, ten-year-old Mary Lennox is sent to live with an estranged, recently widowed uncle in England. She arrives surly, obstinate, and cynical, but experiences a transformation largely through an unexpected friendship that grows in a special, reclaimed garden.
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Orphaned Sara Crewe goes from privilege to poverty, suffers unfair treatment at the hands of a cruel mistress, finds courage to persevere when all looks lost, forms a deep friendship that transcends class structure, and experiences a bit of mystery and wonder in the process.
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Wilber the pig and Charlotte the spider form an unlikely friendship in this beautiful story of sacrificial love. Just because some middle grade students remember seeing a cartoon version of Charlotte’s Web when they were younger, they might assume it’s a book for little kids, but I love it more every time I read it as an adult. The audio version with E. B. White reading is absolutely wonderful!
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The story of sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March as they pass from childhood to adulthood is set in Concord, Massachusetts during the Civil War and is based largely on Alcott’s life. Depending on the copy, it’s around 500 pages, so it’s better suited for an older middle grade reader. It’s one of my favorite books of all time and I also love the 1994 film version with Winona Ryder as Jo.
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
The heart-rending tale of Billy Colman and his two coonhounds, Old Dan and Little Ann. Set in the Ozark Region of Oklahoma in the 1920’s, this is both an adventure story and a tender coming-of-age story about the bond between a boy and his dogs.
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
This is one of those books that I thought I had read, but I really haven’t. I’m looking forward to checking it out.
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
Ditto what I said about Treasure Island.