MBRA: Literature

Should Read


Author Title Educator
The Picture BibleNo
Ingri D'aulaire and Edgar Paris D'aulaire:D'Aulaires Book of Greek MythsNo1070L
Anthony Hope: The Prisoner of ZendaNo
Dodie Smith: 101 Dalmatians (book!)No830L
Aesop: Aesop's FablesNo
Mahabharata (illustrated children's version) from Dreamland PublicationsNo
Various from Desi KnowledgeNo


Author Title Educator
Lloyd Alexander: The Book of Three No-1711.3770L
Scott O'Dell: Island of the Blue Dolphins No1000L
Anna Sewell: Black Beauty Yes-4225.41010L
Antoine de Saint-Exupery:The Little Prince No710L
Kipling: Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Yes-3316.1800L
Laura Ingalls Wilder: Little House in the Big Woods No-27.5215.5930L
C.S. Lewis: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe No-36.7417.4940L
P.L. Travers Mary Poppins No830L


It is worth noting that most of the books and stories below are fantasy, adventure or science fiction. This is not an accident. The more deeply written works are unlikely to be appreciated by an 11-13 year old and it is best to wait until the child is ready to understand and appreciate than to introduce the work too early and turn off the child.

Having said that, there are a fair number of well written (if not terribly deep) stories that can be enjoyed by an 11-13 year old.

Author Title Educator
L. Frank Baum: The Wizard of Oz Yes970L
Ray Bradbury: Stories of Ray Bradbury No
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Partial-1616.31080L
Alexandre Dumas: The Three Musketeers No960L
Ursula K. Le Guin: A Wizard of Earthsea No1150L
Madeleine L'engle: A Wrinkle in Time No740L
Jack London: The Call of the Wild Yes-718.01120L
Edgar Allen Poe: ??? Yes
Sir Walter Scott: Ivanhoe ? No1410L
Robert Silverberg (ed.):The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume INo
Robert Lewis Stevenson: Treasure Island Yes970L
Mark Twain: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Yes950L
Jules Verne: Journey to the Center of the Earth No1040L
H. G. Wells: The Time Machine Yes1070L
O. Henry: Gift of the Magi and The Ransom of Red ChiefNo-1814.9~940L
Gilgamesh No1090L
James Fenimore Cooper: The Last of the Mohicans No1350L
Eric Hoffer: The True Believer No
Robertson Davies: Fifth Business Maybe 14+? No1080L
U.S. ConstitutionNo
U.S. Declaration of Independence No

Age: 14+

By age 14, the student has entirely transitioned from "learning to read" to "reading to learn". Assuming one book of literature per month (on average), there is room for only 48 books.
Author Title LEXwords/sentenceLexile
Sun Tzu The Art of War 1350L
Homer Illiad(Fagles translation!) 1160L-1330L
Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist 990L-1060L
George Orwell 1984 1090L
Hemingway Snows of Kilamanjaro 820L
Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird 870L
John Steinbeck: Of Mice and Men or The Grapes of Wrath630L and 680L
Upton Sinclair: The Jungle 1170L
Karl Marx Communist manifesto 1360L
Dante Inferno 1430L
Niccolo Machiavelli The Prince 1350L-1510L
Sophocles Antigone + 940L-1090L
William Shakespeare ???
Aristophanes The Clouds ???
Hesiod Works and Days ???
Euripides Medea 1120L
Louisa May Alcott: Little Women 1230L
Julius Caesar: Gallic Wars (in Latin if the Latin track works)
Ulysses S. Grant: Personal Memoirs
Aristotle: The Nicomachean Ethics 1260L-1420L
Herman Melville: Bartleby, the Scrivener and Billy Budd, Sailor 1450L
Alexis De Tocqueville:Democracy in America 1310L
Confucious: The Analects
Confucious: Doctrine of the Mean
anonymous Beowulf 1070L-1190L
anonymous Song of Roland
Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility or Jane Eyre, by C. Bronte1180L or 840L
Emily Bronte: Wuthering Heights 880L
assorted The Federalist Papers and The Anti-Federalist Papers1450L and ???
Thomas Paine Common Sense and Rights of Man1330L
Henry David Thoreau ???
Ralph Waldo Emerson ???
F. Scott Fitzgerald Maybe skip for now ...
Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter 1340L
Victor Hugo: ???
Ayn Rand: The Fountainhead
Thomas Hardy: ???
Sinclair Lewis: Elmer Gantry
Harriet Beecher Stowe:Uncle Tom's Cabin 1050L
Kant: ????
Descartes: ????
Rouseau: ????
Anne Frank: Diary of Anne Frank
Dan Simmons: Endymion
Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching
anonymous Romance of the Three Kingdoms
George Eliot: Middlemarch
Current count is 48. Each addition must generate one removal.

Not "literature", but Must be read for Breadth (14+)

What to do with Poetry?

As always, the first priority is to "do no harm."

Who matters AND is approachable (at this age)? Current tentative list (massive bias in favor of English to avoid translation issues):

Much "to be made aware of" ...

Should Be Made Aware Of




To be sorted

Collegeboard.com has this list.
This site looks interesting, too (and not just for reading).
What do we do about/with "The Dream of the Red Chamber"? It seems a pity to exclude it.
What about "Tale of Genji"? Same point. Still, we only have 48 slots. Dime Novels and Penny Dreadfuls looks fun.

Valid XHTML 1.0!

Harvard Classics