A List of Books for your Young Teenager

I was asked recently to suggest some books for summer reading for
one of my teen-aged granddaughters.   You would think that this
might be an easy list to find on the internet.  But I didn’t find any
I liked.

Although there is plenty of “Young Adult” fiction published today,
it seems to be of an odd nature in my opinion.  Ditto the school lists
that encourage the frank true-to-life situations that might occur in
a teen-ager’s life: family illness, divorce, bullying.

I am a former eighth grade teacher and am familiar with some fine
old classics like The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare,
and I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier, and Island of the Blue
Dolphins by Scott O’Dell and I would recommend those in a
minute.  I haven’t included some books that will probably be
read as part of school assignments: Flowers for Algernon or
A Separate Peace for instance.   And Dickens and Sherlock Holmes.

I wanted to introduce my granddaughter to some older fiction,
even books that I myself had read at her age.  The list I came up with
has some variety, some humor,  and some downright good reading.

In fact, maybe I’ll pull some from the library and make a little stack
on my own bedtable—-to reread myself!

So, here, in no particular order is a proposed list of 33 books.

Paul Gallico                                           Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris (to buy a dress)
Skinner and Kimbrough                     Our Hearts Were Young and Gay (young girls travel)
Thornton Wilder                                  Our Town; The Bridge of San Luis Rey (classics)
Betty MacDonald                                 The Egg and I; Onions in the Stew (humor)
Carson McCullers                                 The Member of the Wedding (big brother marries)
Margaret Mitchell                                Gone with the Wind (southern drama)
Jane Langton                                        Murder at the Gardner (Boston art museum)
John F. Kennedy                                  A Nation of Immigrants (short biographies)
Gene Stratton-Porter                          A Girl of the Limberlost

Adamson and Page                              Born Free (raising a lion cub)
J.D. Salinger                                          Catcher in the Rye (teenage classic)
Betty Smith                                           A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (girl’s memoir)
James Herriot                                       All Creatures Great and Small (country vet)
Clarence Day                                         Life with Father (family humor)
Frank & Ernestine Gilbreth                Cheaper by the Dozen; Belles on Their Toes (humor)
Jessamyn West                                     Cress Delahanty (teenage girl)
Anne Ylvisaker                                      Dear Papa  (young girl writes to her father)
L.M. Montgomery                                Anne of Green Gables

Truman Capote                                     The Grass Harp (short bittersweet classic)
Frances Patton                                      Good Morning, Miss Dove (1940s schoolteacher)
James Hilton                                          Good-bye, Mr. Chips (English schoolteacher)
Thor Heyerdahl                                     Kon-Tiki  (solo raft across Pacific)
Bailey White                                           Mama Makes Up Her Mind (humor)
Kathryn Forbes                                     Mama’s Bank Account (family stories)
Rosemary Taylor                                   Chicken Every Sunday (family takes in roomers)
Alan Bradley                                           Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (girl detective)

Beverly Cleary                                        A Girl from Yamhill (memoir by children’s author)
Suzanne Clausen                                     A Girl Named Sooner (memoir type)
Rumer Godden                                       An Episode of Sparrows (lovely English story)
Shirley Jackson                                       Life Among the Savages (humor raising 4 kids)
Eric Hodgins                                             Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (humor)
Patrick Dennis                                         Auntie Mame (boy raised by liberal aunt)
Daphne du Maurier                                 Rebecca (second wife meets eerie atmosphere)
James Thurber                                        The Thirteen Clocks (modern fairytale)

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