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These are books I'd recommend for young to middle readers, ages 6-15, depending on maturity, reading skill and comprehension. The list is probably overkill, but even so, it is not exhaustive and I know I've forgotten titles that I like. I've concentrated on books that I think have stood the test of time.

I think the children's books written by E.B. White are examples of some of the finest American writing available for children. The best, in my opinion, is Charlotte's Web a story about a pig and his spider friend. His other books are Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan. A few movie adaptations of Charlotte's Web and one film adaptation of Stuart Little has been made.

Three Tales of My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett are about a boy who rescues a dragon. The books are My Father's Dragon, Elmer and the Dragon, and The Dragons of Blueland. There is also a 1997 Japanese anime film based on the first book.

The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander are an American retelling of Welsh mythos. The books are The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King. Disney made a film about The Black Cauldron, which wasn't very good.

The Great Brain series by John Dennis Fitzgerald are about growing up in Utah in the last part of the 19th century. The many books in the series. Here are the first few: The Great Brain, More Adventures of the Great Brain, Me and My Little Brain, and The Great Brain At The Academy.

In a similar vein, the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder are popular with American girls. There are many books in the series, but here are the books I liked the best: Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek, and By the Shores of Silver Lake. There is an American television series loosely based on the books from the 1970s or 80s.

Also popular are Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables books. The stories, while fictional, draw upon her childhood on Prince Edward Island. The CBC did a great adaptation of the books in the 1980s starring Megan Follows.

The Tripods trilogy by John Christopher are an account if aliens invaded and took over the earth. The books are The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead, and The Pool of Fire.

The Paddington books by Michael Bond tell about a bear from Peru's adventures in London with an upper class English family. There are many books in the series, the first five are A Bear Called Paddington, More About Paddington, Paddington Helps Out, Paddington Abroad, and Paddington at Large.

The Rescuers series by Margery Sharp are about mice who rescue orphans and poets imprisoned by wicked people. I think there are nine or so books in the series and the language and views may be dated, which may be why they went out of print. Anyway, the first four books are The Rescuers, Miss Bianca, The Turret, and Miss Bianca in the Salt Mines. Disney also made a film about the first book, which wasn't very good either.

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg tells about a brother and sister stealthily living in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City after having run away from home.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle is about the gifted Wallace children, led by Meg, searching through space and time for their lost father. The story is challenging to understand for younger readers, but rewarding.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster is about a boy named Milo who is bored and his adventures in lands of numbers and words. A film was made from the book sometime in the 1960s, I think.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien is the tale of a mouse in need and her encounter with rats who know too much.

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater tells what could happen if you kept penguins in your house. It is set in early 20th century America and is quite funny.

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden is the story about a boy, a mouse, a cat, and a cricket's musical ability to transform the mundane into the sublime.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a classic story about a little girl, Mary, who helps transform a household and a garden with her curiosity and love.

The children's books of Roald Dahl are wonderful, but some parents do not like them. He has written many titles. Some of the ones I like the best are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, James and the Giant Peach, and The BFG.

The books by Beverly Cleary are great for children who are starting to become comfortable with their reading skills. She has many series with popular characters including Ralph the mouse in The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Ramona Quimby in the Ramona books, starting with Ramona the Brave, and her friend Henry Huggins, starting with Henry Huggins.

The Bunnicula books by James Howe are good for children who like "scary" stories that are more funny that spooky. The first book in the series is Bunnicula.

As noted in another comment, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are good reads, but I think The Hobbit mostly appeals to younger readers while the LOTR appeals to more mature and skilled readers. The book has been adapted many times to film; however, the best adaptation of the LOTR was done by BBC for radio.

Watership Down by Richard Adams is another book for mature and skilled readers. The story tells about rabbits and their epic voyage to find a new home. An animated film was made from the book.

I hope you find this helpful. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of great works of children's literature. These are my suggestions, but really any book that a child wants to read is good. For example, I helped teach a child to read using the great Tintin comics because that was what he was interested in reading.

For your own research, I suggest that instead of Google you use Amazon's feature "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought". It is possible to enter in a title that I've suggested and find other books that are just as wonderful.

by Magnifico on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 05:54:10 PM EST
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was my favorite book as a kid.  But I didn't really read a lot of kids' books.

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
by poemless on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 06:11:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to run away to a museum?

There wasn't a big enough museum where I grew up, so it put a big crimp on my scheme.

by Magnifico on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 06:54:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a life-long dream I've not yet fulfilled.

One day...

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

by poemless on Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 06:55:24 PM EST
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I loved that book.  I still think of it when I visit the decorative arts rooms at the museum here.
by Maryb2004 on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:35:13 PM EST
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Check it out, my parents want to take me to some new movie theater in St.L.  Do you know what it is?  There are couches and coctails and such.  I'm not too into movie theaters, but they dig it.

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
by poemless on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:41:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's probably The Moolah (that's the only one I know with couches).  

Yep, it has leather couches.  (Also regular seats in the back).  And a full bar.   And you can take your drink in with you to watch the movie. :)

It's on Lindell over by St. Louis University.  There's a bowling alley in the lower level.  

by Maryb2004 on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:59:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great list.   I haven't thought of Mr. Popper's Penguins in years.
by Maryb2004 on Thu Dec 11th, 2008 at 05:36:36 PM EST
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