If you haven’t seen Time’s list of the top 100 young adult novels of all time, spend some time scrolling through the titles. We went through it and chose, mostly at random, 15 to include here. We were excited to see than many of our novel dish books made the list, but also found some other favorites on it as well.
- The Harry Potter series – I think it’s safe to say that, even if books about witches aren’t your thing, JK Rowling made miraculous progress in getting children to read. To see 10 year olds walking around with a 700 page book was pretty impressive. We also like the good vs evil, love will overcome story line as well.
- Number the Stars – several Holocaust books made the list, but we love the innocence and simplicity of this one the best.
- A Wrinkle in Time – Madeline L’Engle makes scientists and their children intriguing and draws us all into a wonderous and sometimes terrifying world: both that of Camazotz and that of adolescence. Each of her books seem, to me, to be written in an almost dream-like mood. Her language can often be advanced, but for skilled young adult readers, she is timeless.
- Charlotte’s Web – Who doesn’t love the sweet story of Fern, Wilber and Charlotte? It was SOME book.
- Holes – A novel dish favorite of ours, the allegorical story of two families’ connections across generations is always a favorite with both girls and boys.
- Matilda – Growing up, Matilda was one of my favorite books. I’ve read it probably a dozen times and enjoy it always. Matilda’s courage and determination to learn and help Miss Honey is inspiring to readers of all ages.
- Fallen Angels – Warning: Fallen Angels does have profanity in it. It is set during Vietnam and follows the story of soldiers there. When teaching this story with high school students I explained that sometimes profanity is used appropriately to show the personality of characters and even to help set the scene of a story. A setting of camp during the Vietnam war falls into that category, at least for me. This was a story that held my students’ interest and would have with or without profanity in it. The lives of the soldiers involved in the story were what truly touched them. (Incidentally, this pairs well with anything by Tim O’Brien.
- Esperanza Rising – A true migrant’s tale, Esperanza Rising follows themes of growth, family and courage as Esperanza learns what life in America will mean for her family. It is happy, sad, frustrating and enjoyable.
- Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry – A great story about one family’s struggle with segregation. Roll of Thunder doesn’t ever seem to lose value, even as smartphones and tablets fill our homes. This story will always resonate with those who believe in doing what’s right.
- Hunger Games – Katniss Everdeen has spawned a generation of archery loving young girls, that’s for sure. This series followed others also on this list like Twilight and Harry Potter in drawing in groups of readers from a variety of ages to follow the struggles and triumphs of this dystopian society.
The list is SO big there was no way we could comment on all the books listed! But we’d love for YOU to leave us a comment and let us know which of your favorites made the list.