At this age, reading can be more thoughtful, introducing more global issues and themes. Boys tend to gravitate more toward the heroic and girls tend to gravitate more toward the romantic.
Books by Scott O’Dell
Island of the Blue Dolphins. A fictionalized account of the true story of an Indian girl who lived alone for 18 years on an island.
Zia is the sequel to Island of the Blue Dolphins.
The Hawk That Dare Not Hunt By Day. A story of smugglers whose cargo is Bibles translated into English by William Tyndale.
The Black Pearl. A 16 year old boy do es battle with a devilfish guarding a rare black pearl.
Streams to the River, River to the Sea is the story of Sacagawea, interpreter and guide to Lewis and Clark.
Carlotta. Raised a tomboy, Carlotta can outride, outshoot, dive into shark-infested waters, and generally outdo any man.
The King’s Fifth. In the days of the Conquistadores, a young man is falsely accused of withholding the king’s fifth, a portion of gold due to royalty.
Books by Louisa May Alcott
All of these books are worth reading, and there are titles that both boys and girls can enjoy.
Little Women. The four March girls and their “Marmee” hold down the home front while their father is away as a chaplain in the War Between the States.
Little Men. Jo and her husband begin a home for boys and the boys have many adventures.
Jo’s Boys continues the stories of the lives of the boys from Little Men.
An Old Fashioned Girl. Polly Milton, a country girl, visits her sophisticated city friends and influences them by her character.
Eight Cousins. A young orphan girl is enters into the lively world of seven boy cousins.
A Rose in Bloom continues the stories of the friendships begun in Eight Cousins.
Under the Lilacs follows the growing up of friends who play “under the lilacs.”
Books by Patricia St. John
Each of St. John’s books develops the theme of the difference Christian faith, love, and forgiveness make in facing life’s problems.
Star of Light Hamid rubbed the light from his eyes and looked again. He was not dreaming. It was his stepfather! Hamid was sure that he would reach out and snatch his sister Kinza.
Treasures of the Snow. Annette’s little brother is crippled, and Lucien the village bully is responsible. Controlled by anger and hatred, Annette vows she will never forgive Lucien. A powerful story of revenge and forgiveness.
The Tanglewood’s Secret. While living with her aunt in the English countryside, a naughty nine-year-old girl named Ruth finds her life changed when she asks the Good Shepherd, Jesus, to come to her.
Rainbow Garden. Elaine feels lost in the world, as her mother is too busy with her own life to care for her. Her father is dead and now her mother is taking a new job in a different country.
The Secret at Pheasant Cottage. Raised by her grandparents, Lucy starts a search for her father that takes her from a prison in England to Spain. Along the way she learns about love, forgiveness and God’s grace.
Twice Freed. The story of the slave Onesimus, friend to Paul the Apostle.
The Borrowers by Mary Norton. When our boys were younger, these were their favorite books. They relate the adventures of tiny people who make their homes in the baseboards of houses and “borrow” whatever they need. (Have you ever wondered why you can never find a safety pin?) The Borrowers is followed by The Borrowers Afield; The Borrowers Afloat; The Borrowers Aloft; and The Borrowers Avenged. The Complete Adventures of the Borrowers is a boxed set with all of the books.
Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb is a retelling of Shakespeare’s plays as stories easily understood by upper elementaries and up. A classic, and a perfect introduction to Shakespeare for children.
Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates. The true story of the son of an African king, who was captured by slave traders, sold, and eventually bought his freedom. He then freed others. Amos Fortune’s headstone reads, he “professed Christianity, lived reputably, and died hopefully.”
Books by James Daugherty
The Landing of the Pilgrims is a Landmark History Book about the Pilgrims, their plight in England and Holland, their travel on the Mayflower, and their brutal first years in the New World.
Poor Richard is a biography of Ben Franklin.
Andy and the Lion is a modern retelling of the story of Androcles and the Lion.
Old Yeller by Fred Gipson. Travis thought he never wanted another dog after Belle. Then his father left him in charge of their homestead on the Texas frontier and an ugly, yellow dog appears. Old Yeller eventually saves all of their lives.
Savage Sam by Fred Gipson. This sequel to Old Yeller follows the adventures of his son Savage Sam and Travis and his brother Arliss.
Incident at Hawk’s Hill by Allan Eckert is another very special book. A true story about how a lost boy survived in the wilds by forging a bond with a mother badger.
Books by Elizabeth Speare
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth Speare. Daniel is a Palestinian boy filled with hatred until he meets Jesus of Nazareth and discovers only love can bend a bow of bronze. A powerful book about how Christ changes a a person’s life.
The Sign of the Beaver. When his father returns East to collect the rest of the family, 13-year-old Matt is left alone to guard his family’s newly built homestead.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Forced to leave her sunny Caribbean home for the bleak Connecticut Colony, Kit Tyler is filled with trepidation.
Calico Captive is based on the actual captivity of a pre-Revolutionary girl of Charlestown, New Hampshire during the French and Indian Wars.
My Indian Boyhood, New Edition by Luther Standing Bear. Although the traditional Sioux nation was in its last days when Luther Standing Bear was born in the 1860s, he was raised in the ancestral manner to be a successful hunter and warrior. Our boys really enjoyed this story of the childhood and training of an Indian boy.
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham. Indentured at an early age, Nathaniel Bowditch educated himself. He later rewrote the maritime tables and became a famous post-Revolutionary War figure. This is a powerful book about how a child can overcome adversity and make something of his life.
Books by Theodore Taylor
The Cay. It is 1942, and Phillip Enright and his mother are fleeing their small island because of German attacks. When their boat is torpedoed, Phillip finds himself shipwrecked with a huge black man. A book about sacrificial love, this is one of the best books we’ve ever read.
Timothy of the Cay tells of Phillips return to The Cay where Timothy taught him to survive.
Air Raid, Pearl Harbor is the fast-paced, riviting account of the day Pearl Harbor was bombed.
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. A loving threesome, two dogs and a boy ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn, Little Ann had the brains, and 12 year old Billy trained them to be a fine hunting team.
Heidi by Johanna Spyri. The classic story of a little Swiss girl whose cheerful trust in God changes the lives of all those around her. Taken from her beloved Alps and the grandfather she adores and made to live in the city, Heidi never gives up hope of reuniting with her grandfather.
The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig. Taken prisoner by the Russians in 1941 and shipped by cattle car to a forced-labor camp in Siberia, Esther, her mother and grandmother manage to endure harsh treatment and keep each other alive. A true story.
The Boy’s King Arthur. For generations, boys have dreamed of noble quests as they’ve read this book. It contains all the King Arthur stories.
Books by Rosemary Sutcliff
Sutcliff is a master story teller whose books bring a period of history alive. They are suitable for middle school up.
Black Ships Before Troy is the suspenseful retelling of Homer’s Iliad, about the Trojan War.
Wanderings of Odysseus, the companion to Black Ships Before Troy, is the retelling of The Odyssey, the story of Ulysses’ (Odysseus”) adventures. Contains illustrations of partially nude goddesses.
Outcast is about an infant rescued by a Celtic family from the wreck of a Roman ship who is eventually rejected by his village.
The Eagle of the Ninth. The Ninth Roman Legion who marched into the wilds of Britain in 119 A.D. and disappeared. Fifteen years later the son of the unit’s commander sets out to recover the lost “eagle”—the standard of the legion.
The Silver Branch is the sequel to Eagle of the Ninth involving the grandson of the lost Ninth Legion’s commander.
The Shining Company. Another book about early Britain by this master storyteller.
The Lantern Bearers. It is 450 AD and the last Roman Auxiliaries are leaving Britain. Aquila, a young soldier, fights to keep alight the lantern of civilization during the barbarian invasions.
Warrior Scarlet. Drem, the young hero, has to undertake a journey to overcome his handicap to prove himself to his tribe. Throughout his journey, he has met three soulmates, one a hound, another a blood brother and the last, a loved girl.
Tristan and Iseult. A beautifully woven story of heroic deeds and of the doomed love between the brave Tristan and Iseult, the princess of Ireland.
The Mark of the Horse Lord is the story of Phaedrus the Gladiator, who poses as Midir, Lord of the Dalriadain (a tribe of Northern Britain during Roman times).