Even in today’s computer age, the actual process of reading printed text has not changed significantly since the days of quill and pen and Guttenberg. In fact, there are more pages to scan today than at any point in history. While I bristle at the term juvenile or young adult, those at a tender age should not be curling up with the Necronomicon (no one has ever even finished the preface), hard-core porno (I found it under your bed, dad!) or any book based on a video game (Halo Op: Moby Dick). So. in between The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Captain Underpants and The History of the Peloponnesian Wars and The Inferno, we find some books that will change reading from a chore to a lifetime love affair. This list is fine, but aside from The Rats of NIMH, A Wrinkle in Time and Hunger Games, it’s a little light on science fiction. Augment with these:
- Have Space Suit- Will Travel by Robert Heinlein. This is considered a juvenile work because the protagonist is a young man, but it’s truly a great read for all ages. His Tunnel in the Sky is another excellent coming-of-age story.
- S is for Space by Ray Bradbury. A collection of fantastic tales by one of America’s finest storytellers, including an account of the last corpse on Earth. An anomalous library selection in the Southwest Christian Elementary school system.
- The Foundation Trilogy by Issac Asimov. The galactic empire crumbles under its own weight. Hari Seldon and the Mule have different visions to restore it.
- Tales From the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke. Fantastic yarns spun at an English pub. Shocking twists abound.
- The Legion Of Super Heroes. DC Comics team of teenagers with superpowers. Now, the plot of most movies and tv shows. Curt Swan and others draw the 30th century panel by panel.
- The Beasts of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Sometimes you need some contrast from science-fiction. Here’s a good place to start as the king of the jungle battles Russians with a trusty panther and some very smart apes. Third in the series.
- The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The way it was for Ma and Pa, the girls and Jack the dog in late 19th century America. The “‘good” old days.