10 Timeless Stories to Inspire Your Reader: Elementary, Middle, and High Schoolers

A book is a magical journey that you can take again and again. No matter the years that pass, you are always transported back to the same destination. Each time I pick up “Tuck Everlasting,” the memories flood back, and I am reminded of running through the wood on the edge of Treegap, hearing the melody of the music box, and feeling the pangs of young love. And it seems that this experience is universal—nearly all of us have a book from childhood that has left a lasting impression.

If you’re looking for inspiring or exciting books to share with your young reader, look no further. The team behind the Leading with Literacy hub at K12-powered online schools shared a list of books that they most enjoyed as children, and here’s what they said:

Books for Elementary School Readers

“Magic Tree House” series by Mary Pope Osborne

“These books really make the past come to life and helped me understand important and hard moments in history! It is written from the perspective of two kids who travel back in time to meet and talk with historical characters on a personal level.” – Kristen Kelly

“Pippi Longstocking” by Astrid Lindgren

“I used to read this book with my mom and even chose to do a book report on it when I was in fourth grade. Now I read it with both my kids. We all love how Pippi is so fearless and funny. We’ve read the golden book version again and again.” – Monica DiVito

“The Tale of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo

“I was never much of a reader, but this book always comes to mind when I think about my childhood favorites. A small, but mighty mouse born in weird circumstances becoming the hero! And this book is on the K12 reading curriculum—it’s truly a classic!” – Austin Turner

“Clementine” by Sara Pennypacker

“Clementine was a grade school favorite of mine. I cherish her impulsivity and curious spirit to this day. It’s a reminder that those who shape us aren’t always physically present—they can be beautiful personalities in books too!” – Nyasha Hopkins

Books for Middle School Readers

“Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery

“I loved how melodramatic Anne was! My mom and I would giggle over her dramatic moments, but I also admired how true she was to herself and her friends. A great example for any young person!” – Emily Riordan

“A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

“The adventures of Meg Murry and her little brother, Charles Wallace, are an affirmation that conformity isn’t desirable and that kids can do good things. The extra characters of the three mysterious astral travelers known as Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which are sublime.” – Tina Allen Kolessar

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak

“This is a beautifully written story about a girl in Nazi Germany during WWII. I love the poetic prose and symbolism in the book which take it to the next level in the historical fiction space. I read it often and always pick out something new and special in the story or style.” – Dacey Mayhoff

Books for High School Readers

“The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

“In these books, you’ll meet fascinating characters, discover new worlds, and experience tales of good versus evil. These are the only books I’ve ever read more than once in my life, starting in grade school!” – Ken Schwartz

“The Hero and the Crown” by Robin McKinley

“This is a wonderful young adult fantasy novel that features an amazing misfit heroine, dragon slaying, loyal horses, and a magical mage. I’ve read it 12 times.” – Deb Hannah

“The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver

“I loved that the book was written from multiple perspectives, so the story is being told by a different character in each chapter, from child to adult.” – Kristin Fox

These book picks from the team at K12-powered online schools are all great options to help spark a love for reading with your child—no matter their age—and you can join, too. My son and I have been reading the “Magic Tree House” series together, and it’s given us so much to discuss, from tornadoes on the frontier to mystical creatures of the sea! Plus, showing them how much you love getting lost in a good book can encourage them to find joy in reading as well. For more resources and tips to encourage your child to embrace reading, go to the K12 Leading with Literacy hub.

To learn more about K12-powered schools and their reading curriculum, go to K12.com.

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