Reading Lists

We love to read. Books inspire us. They make us laugh and make us cry… Reading affords us many rich and varied experiences, which open our hearts to new ideas every day. When we read together, we find instances to relate literature to our daily lives (*see blog post “You Are What You Read”).

“Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean.”   – Anne Lamott

Reading quality literature expands our minds and hearts in ways that both educate and evolve our humanity.  To share our reading lists, is to share a little bit of our souls. For ease of searching, I have divided the kids’ reading lists into age/grade year. My annual reading lists are at the bottom of this page. Please feel free to email and ask us about any of the titles listed. I am sure you will get a robust response!

“It is what you read when you don’t have to, that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”  – Oscar Wilde

Sophia’s Reading List: 2020-2021, (Grade 11, age 16-17) *In Progress
Priceless by Robert K. Whittman
Native Son by Richard Wright
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Sophia’s Reading List: 2019-2020, (Grade 10, age 15-16) 
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
What the Moon Saw by Laura Resau
Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky
One Special Summer by Jacqueline and Lee Bouvier
Provenance by Laney Salisbury
The Salt and the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Christmas with Norman Rockwell by John Kirk
No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thurnberg
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Great Essays in Science by Martin Gardner
How to Read Water by Trista Gooley 
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis by Robert F. Kennedy
Night by Elie Wiesel
The Polio Hole: The Story of the Illness that Changed America by Shelley Fraser Mickle
The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
The Keeper of Lime Rock: Story of Ida Lewis by Lenore Skomal
Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Oliver’s Reading List: 2020-2021, (Grade 9, age 14-15) *In Progress

The Polio Hole: The Story of the Illness that Changed America by Shelley Fraser Mickle
The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Blue Chip Kids by David W. Bianchi
Heart of a Champion by Carl Deuker

Oliver’s Reading List 2019-2020 (grade 8, age 13-14) 

The Science of Hitting by Ted Williams

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Ask a Science Teacher by Larry Scheckel

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by B. Alire Sáenz

Spy School: British Invasion by Stuart Gibbs

How to be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Rhode Island Baseball: The Early Years by Rick Harris

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Bat 6 by Virginia Euwer Wolff

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Learning How to Learn by B.Oakley, PhD and T. Sejnowski, PhD

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”  – C.S. Lewis

“I’m not saying that you have to be a reader to save your soul in the modern world. I’m saying it helps.”     –  Walter Mosley

‘Tis dangerous to take a cold, to sleep, to drink; but I tell you, my lord fool,

out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.  – Shakespeare


Long, too long America,
Traveling roads all even and peaceful you learn’d from joys
     and prosperity only.
But now, ah now, to learn from crisis of anguish, advancing,
     grappling with direst fate and recoiling now, 
And now to conceive and show to the world what your
     children en-masse really are.
                                   – Walt Whitman

Lynne’s Reading List: 2020

No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thurnberg
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav (poetry)
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Uncommon Stories by Tom Hanks
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk W. Johnson
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
Finding Wonders by Jeanine Atkins
The Presidents of the United States of America by the White House Historical Association
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Night by Elie Wiesel
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
The Polio Hole: The Story of the Illness that Changed America by Shelley Fraser Mickle
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
The Choice: Embrace the Possible by Dr. Edith Eva Eger
Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington by Alexis Coe
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
A Well-Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler
Lullabies by Lang Leav (poetry)
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
A Glorious  Space by Julie Bogart
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah MacKenzie
The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate
Girl, Woman, Other  by Bernardine Evaristo
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes


Becoming by Michelle Obama

Longitude by Dava Sobel

The Story of the World: The Modern Age by Susan Wise Bauer

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Into the Magic Shop by James R. Doty, MD

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Becoming Wise: An inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett

The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart

Lolita by Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Creative Schools by Lou Aronica and Ken Robinson

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (again!)

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

The Keeper of Lime Rock: Story of Ida Lewis by Lenore Skomal

Thirteen Days by Robert F. Kennedy

In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway

How to be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery

Brooklyn by Colm Toíbín

The Nutcracker by Alexander Dumas

Christmas with Norman Rockwell by John Kirk

Christmas Poems and Stories (Portland House)


To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway   |   Ernest Hemingway on Writing edited by Larry W. Phillips

Red Notice by Bill Browder   |   Cortadito by Enrique Fernández

The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide   |   Poems from the Book of Hours by Rainer Maria Rilke

FINDING by Kim Fuller   |   Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown

Painting as a Pastime by Winston S. Churchill   |   Old Yeller by Fred Gipson

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin   |   Honey, I Love (poetry) by Eloise Greenfield

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls   |   A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

A Young People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

Helium (poetry) by Rudy Francisco   |   The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

Blue Chip Kids: Money, Investing, and Stock Market by David Bianchi

The Black Count by Tom Reiss   |   Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott   |   Letters to my Daughter by Maya Angelou

Felicity (poetry) by Mary Oliver   |   Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya   |   A Thousand Mornings (poetry) by Mary Oliver

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho   |   The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith

The Odyssey by Homer (abridged/Geraldine McCaughrean)   |   Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott   |   West With the Night by Beryl Markham


Tomorrow is Now by Eleanor Roosevelt   |   Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

The Cay by Theodore Taylor   |   The Space Between Sisters by Mary McNear

The Death of Ivan Ilyich, by Leo Tolstoy   |   A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling   |  Sutton by J.R. Moehringer

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn   |   Make Someone Happy: Favorite Postings by Elizabeth Berg

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin   |   Party of the Century by Deborah Davis

Sail Cowabunga! A Family’s Ten Years at Sea by Janis Couvreux

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote   |   The Patient in Room Nine Says He’s God by Louis M. Profeta, MD

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah   |   The Book That Matters Most by Ann Hood

Stop Here, This is the place: A Year in Motherhood by Susan Conley and Winky Lewis

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson   |   The Miniaturist: A Novel by Jessie Burton

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough   |   Dr. Doolittle by Hugh Lofting

The Sun and Her Flowers (poetry) by Rupi Kaur   |    It’s Up to the Women by Eleanor Roosevelt


The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway   |   A Moveable Feast – Hemingway

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

Voyaging with Kids by Behan Gifford, Sara Dawn Johnson, Michael Robertson

Out of Africa – Isak Dinesen   |   Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion  by Philip Greene

The Historian’s Daughter by Rashida Murphy   |   The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse   |   The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White

The Pearl by John Steinbeck   |   Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway   |   Me Before You by Jojo Moyes


All the Light we Cannot See – Anthony Doerr   |   The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee (again)   |   The Mockingbird Next Door – Marja Mills

Go Set A Watchman – Harper Lee   |   The Danish Girl – David Ebershoff

Just Mercy – Bryan Stevenson   |   20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

The Luncheon of the Boating Party – Susan Vreeland

Don Quixote (2nd time) by Miguel Cervantes   |   The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame


Brave Companions, by David McCullough   |   Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter

The Hare with Amber Eyes” by Edmund De Waal

“The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld”  by Justin Hocking

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline   |   Middlemarch by George Elliot

My Life in Middlemarch – Rebecca Mead   |   A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain    |   Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse 

Moby Dick by Herman Melville   |   Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle 


The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson   |   Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray   |   The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Alice Munro’s “Runaway”   |   East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World, by Sabina Berman

Tell the Wolves I’m Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloane   |   The Sound and the Fury, by Wm Faulkner

Glitter and Gold by Consuela Vanderbuilt Balsan

Strapless by Deborah Davis   |   Waiting for Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire

Breathe, by Kelly Kittel

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer


Priceless by Robert Whittman   |   Day for Night by Frederick Keiken

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee   |   The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell   |   The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis   |   Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Consuelo and Alva by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart   |   A Clean Well Lighted Place by Ernest Hemingway

The Education of a Lifetime by Robert Khayat

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra   |   Old Filth by Jane Gardam

The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam   |   Provenance by Laney Salisbury

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson   |    Wait til Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin


Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese   |   Don Quixote by Cervantes

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht   |   State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch

Proust was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks  by Rebecca Skloot

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides   |   Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close  by Jonathan Safran Foer

In the Garden of Beasts by Eric Larsen   |   The Greater Journey by David McCullough

Rape of Europa by Lynn Nicholas   |   The Tipping Point Malcom Gladwell


Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann  |  The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stout  |  The Known World by Edward P. Jones

The Lost City of  Z  by David Grann  |  The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy  |  History of Love by Nicole Krauss

Checkhov Short Stories  |  People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

March by Geraldine Brooks,  |  Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

1776 by David McCullough  |  The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri

Loving Frank, Nancy Horan  |  Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett  |  The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel


Don’t Let’s go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller   |   Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindburgh

Life of Pi, Yann Martel   |   Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl

The Passion of Artemesia by Susan Vreeland

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, and Annie Barrows

Song yet Sung by James McBride   |   The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

City of Thieves  by David Benioff   |   Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

2006 – 2008  (incomplete list, but titles of note)

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri  |  On Green Dolphin Street, Sebastian Faulks  |  Girl in Hyacinth Blue, Susan Vreeland  |  Peace Like a River, Leif Enger  |  The Blue Virgin, Tracy Chevalier  |  Balzac & the Little Chinese Seasmstress, Dai Sijie  |  The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama  |  Dreams from my Father, Barack Obama,  |  The Color of Water, James McBride  |  The Red Tent, Anita Diamant  |  Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert  |  Ghost Heart by Cecelia Samartin  |  Middleplace by Kelly Corrigan  |  Five Quarters of an Orange by Joanne Harris  |  The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd  |  The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd  |  Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott  |  Kite Runner by Khaled Husseini  |  The Help by Kathryn Stockett  |  Angela’s Ashes Frank McCourt  |  ‘Tis Frank McCourt  |  The Unfortunates Laurie Graham  |  The Future Housewives of America by Laurie Graham  |  The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho  |  Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver  |  Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver  |  Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver  |  Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver  |  High Tide in Tuscon by Barbara Kingsolver  |  A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel  |  She Got Up Off the Couch by Haven Kimmel  |  Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Oliver, hello! I’m TC Bakker (pen name) the author of “Alcatraz: Believe it or Not.” I was so thrilled to find my book in your reading list with such illustrious titles as “Holes” “Honus and Me,” and “Island of the Blue Dolphins,” three of my favorite books. I want to tell you a story. When I was growing up, I was not allowed to own any books. We were in the military and moved a lot, but I also believe it was because my parents were non-readers. They were literate, but I never saw them read a single book. I adored books, so I practically lived in libraries, and, I used to make my own books. One of the books I would make was to cut out “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” illustrations from the Sunday Newspaper and glue them on construction paper and staple them together. When I was writing my Alcatraz book, I was planning to call it “Alcatraz: The Wickedest Book Ever.” But just before it was published, the editor decided to call it “Alcatraz: Believe it or Not.” That’s funny in a way. When I was 12, if I had only known that one day I would have my own “Believe it or Not” book, I would have been so thrilled! You never know what will happen in life. I’m so glad you liked my book, and I hope you stay curious all of your life!


  2. Lynne Rey says:

    Wow, Ms. Baker, … what a beautiful comment to Oliver’s reading list! Thank you for sharing your story. We read your letter together today and it stirred a wonderful conversation about the importance of reading a variety of books and how lucky the kids are to grow up in a family of “readers”! Also, the golden nugget of advice, that we never know where our lives will lead us. Oliver LOVED the Alcatraz book. He chose it in the bookstore (at Alcatraz) when we were visiting there last fall. Thank you for writing it. Have a great day!


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