KS Logo here

Timeless Classics

Published courtesy of: Consumer Information Center



Credits



Source

The National Endowment for the Humanities


Contents

Kindergarten through Grade 6

Grades 7 and 8

Grades 9 through 12


Forums

Education and Kids


Related Articles

Books For Children

Our Favorite Books For Children



An old Chinese proverb says, "A book is like a garden in the pocket." Many of us who have valued reading in our early years derive enjoyment from reading to our children, and now, as I do, to our grandchildren. Books are voyages of discovery and transforming instruments to all of us.
A few years ago, the National Endowment for the Humanities asked schools around the country to send reading lists of their favorite books. Noticing how often books that other generations have enjoyed appear on these lists, we decided to make this compilation of tried-and- true titles. The works herein, published in 1960 or earlier, have delighted generations of readers. Some have asked, "Is the book dead?" as we move into new computer technologies. Not at all. Print text will co-exist with these new mediums.

As concerned parents, educators, and counselors, we must continue to emphasize the importance of access to good reading in order to shape our students' learning process, enhance their understanding of American heritage, and open up a new world of self-fulfillment. As Aldous Huxley said, "The proper study of mankind is books."

There are some excellent older books that are missing from the list, because they appeared too infrequently in the school selections: Kate Douglas Wiggin's Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, for example; Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales; Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Despite the absences, we hope this compilation will nevertheless bring hours of pleasure and enlightenment.

The titles presented for suggested extracurricular reading provide a solid foundation and hours of enjoyment for students and scholars of all ages.

We at NEH hope that the "Timeless Classics" booklist will continue to be a rich source of material for everyone.

Sheldon Hackney
Chairman

"Books are humanity in print" ...Barbara Tuchman

"Literature is an investment of genius which pays dividends to all subsequent times." ...John Burroughs

"All that mankind has done, thought, gained, or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books." ...Thomas Carlyle

Kindergarten through Grade 6

* Recommended for K-3, either for reading by children or for reading to them.

  • Adamson, Joy - Born Free
  • Aesop - Fables*
  • Alcott, Louisa May - Little Women
  • Andersen, Hans Christian - Fairy tales
  • Atwater, Richard and Florence - Mr. Popper's Penguins*
  • Bailey, Carolyn Sherwin - Miss Hickory
  • Barrie, J.M. - Peter Pan
  • Baum, L. Frank - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  • Bemelmans, Ludwig - Madeline series*
  • Bond, Michael - A Bear Called Paddington
  • Boston, L.M. - The Children of Green Knowe
  • Brink, Carol Ryrie - Caddie Woodlawn
  • Brown, Margaret Wise - Goodnight, Moon*
  • Brunhoff, Jean de - The Story of Babar*
  • Burnett, Frances Hodgson - The Secret Garden
  • Burton, Virginia Lee - Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel*
  • Butterworth, Oliver - The Enormous Egg
  • Clark, Ann Nolan - Secret of the Andes
  • Cleary, Beverly - Henry Huggins series
  • Coatsworth, Elizabeth - The Cat Who Went to Heaven
  • Dalgliesh, Alice -
    • The Bears on Hemlock Mountain*
    • The Courage of Sarah Noble*
  • De Angeli, Marguerite - The Door in the Wall
  • De Jong, Meindert -
    • The House of Sixty Fathers
    • The Wheel on the School
  • Dodge, Mary Mapes - Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates
  • Du Bois, William Pene - The Twenty-One Balloons
  • Edmonds, Walter D. - The Matchlock Gun
  • Estes, Eleanor -
    • Ginger Pye
    • Moffats series
  • Farley, Walter - The Black Stallion
  • Field, Rachel - Hitty, Her First Hundred Years
  • Fritz, Jean - The Cabin Faced West
  • Gilbreth, Frank B. and -
    • Ernestine G. Carey;
    • Cheaper By the Dozen
  • Gipson, Fred - Old Yeller
  • Godden, Rumer - The Mousewife*
  • Grahame, Kenneth -
    • The Reluctant Dragon*;
    • The Wind in the Willows
  • Gray, Elizabeth Janet - Adam of the Road
  • Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm - Grimm's Fairy Tales
  • Hawes, Charles - The Dark Frigate
  • Haywood, Carolyn - Betsy series*
  • Henry, Marguerite -
    • King of the Wind;
    • Misty of Chincoteague
  • Keith, Harold - Rifles for Watie
  • Kelly, Eric - The Trumpeter of Krakow
  • Kipling, Rudyard -
    • Captains Courageous
    • Just So Stories for
    • Little Children*
    • The Jungle Books
  • Kjelgaard, Jim - Big Red
  • Knight, Eric - Lassie Come Home
  • Krumgold, Joseph -
    • ...and Now Miguel
    • Onion John
  • LaFarge, Oliver - Laughing Boy
  • Lamb, Charles and Mary - Tales from Shakespear
  • Latham, Jean Lee - Carry on, Mr. Bowditch
  • Lawson, Robert -
    • Ben and Me
    • Rabbit Hill
  • Leaf, Munro - The Story of Ferdinand*
  • Lear, Edward - Book of Nonsense*
  • Lenski, Lois - Strawberry Girl
  • Lewis, C.S. - Chronicles of Narnia series
  • Lindgren, Astrid - Pippi Longstocking series
  • Lofting, Hugh - Doctor Doolittle series
  • London, Jack -
    • The Call of the Wild
    • White Fang
  • MacDonald, Betty - Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle*
  • MacGregor, Ellen - Miss Pickerell series
  • McCloskey, Robert -
    • Blueberries for Sal*
    • Homer Price
    • Make Way for Ducklings*
  • McSwigan, Marie - Snow Treasure
  • Meigs, Cornelia - Invincible Louisa
  • Milne, A.A -
    • The House at Pooh Corner*
    • Now We Are Six*
    • When We Were Very Young*
    • Winnie-the-Pooh*
  • Minarik, Else Holmelund - Little Bear
  • Montgomery, L.M - Anne of Green Gables
  • Mukerji, Dhan Ghopal - Gay-Neck, the Story of a Pigeon
  • Norton, Mary - The Borrowers series
  • O'Hara, Mary - My Friend Flicka
  • Pearce, Philippa - Tom's Midnight Garden
  • Perrault, Charles - Cinderella*
  • Potter, Beatrix - The Tale of Peter Rabbit*
  • Pyle, Howard - The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
  • Rey, H.A -. Curious George series*
  • Richter, Conrad - The Light in the Forest
  • Selden, George - The Cricket in Times Square*
  • Seuss, Dr. - The Cat in the Hat*
  • Sewell, Anna - Black Beauty
  • Sorenson, Virginia - Miracles on Maple Hill
  • Speare, Elizabeth George - The Witch of Blackbird Pond
  • Sperry, Armstrong - Call It Courage
  • Spyri, Johanna - Heidi
  • Steinbeck, John - The Red Pony
  • Stevenson, Robert Louis -
    • A Child's Garden of Verses*
    • Kidnapped
    • Treasure Island
  • Travers, Pamela L. - Mary Poppins series
  • Van Loon, Hendrik - The Story of Mankind
  • White, E.B. -
    • Charlotte's Web
    • Stuart Little
  • Wilder, Laura Ingalls - Little House series
  • Williams, Margery - The Velveteen Rabbit*
  • Wyss, Johann - Swiss Family Robinson
  • Zion, Gene - Harry the Dirty Dog*
Back to the Table of Contents


Grades 7 and 8

  • Alcott, Louisa May - Little Men
  • Bagnold, Enid - National Velvet
  • Blackmore, Richard D. - Lorna Doone
  • Boulle, Pierre - The Bridge over the River Kwai
  • Bradbury, Ray -
    • Dandelion Wine
    • Fahrenheit 451
    • The Illustrated Man
    • Martian Chronicles
  • Buchan, John - The Thirty-Nine Steps
  • Bunyan, John - The Pilgrim's Progress
  • Carroll, Lewis -
    • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
    • Through the Looking Glass
  • Clark, Walter - The Ox-Bow Incident
  • Cooper, James Fenimore -
    • The Deerslayer
    • The Last of the Mohicans
  • Curie, Eve - Madame Curie: A Biography
  • Dana, Richard Henry - Two Years before the Mast
  • Day, Clarence - Life with Father
  • Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe
  • Dickens, Charles - A Christmas Carol
  • Douglas, Lloyd C. - The Robe
  • Doyle, Arthur Conan - Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • Dumas, Alexander -
    • The Count of Monte Christo
    • The Three Musketeers
  • Du Maurier, Daphne - Rebecca
  • Edmonds, Walter D. - Drums along the Mohawk
  • Ferber, Edna - Cimarron
  • Forbes, Esther - Johnny Tremain
  • Forester, C.S. -
    • The African Queen
    • The Hornblower series
  • Frank, Anne - Diary of a Young Girl
  • Frost, Robert - Poems
  • Gallico, Paul - The Snow Goose
  • Gunther, John - Death Be Not Proud
  • Guthrie, A.B. - The Big Sky
  • Haggard, H. Rider - King Solomon's Mines
  • Hansberry, Lorraine - Raisin in the Sun
  • Hemingway, Ernest - The Old Man and the Sea
  • Hersey, John -
    • A Bell for Adano
    • Hiroshima
    • The Wall
  • Heyerdahl, Thor - Kon-Tiki
  • Hilton, James -
    • Goodbye, Mr. Chips
    • Lost Horizon
  • Hudson, W.H. - Green Mansions
  • Hughes, Richard - A High Wind in Jamaica
  • Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Irving, Washington - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
  • Keller, Helen - Story of My Life
  • Kennedy, John F. - Profiles in Courage
  • Kipling, Rudyard - Kim
  • Knowles, John - A Separate Peace
  • Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird
  • London, Jack - The Sea Wolf
  • Lord, Walter - A Night to Remember
  • Malory, Sir Thomas - Le Morte d'Arthur
  • Maxwell, Gavin - Ring of Bright Water
  • McCullers, Carson - Member of the Wedding
  • Michener, James - The Bridges at Toko-Ri
  • Mitchell, Margaret - Gone with the Wind
  • Nordhoff, Charles and J.N. Hall - Mutiny on the Bounty
  • O'Dell, Scott - Island of the Blue Dolphins
  • Orczy, Baroness Emma - The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Paton, Alan - Cry, the Beloved Country
  • Pyle, Howard - Men of Iron
  • Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan - The Yearling
  • Renault, Mary - The King Must Die
  • Roberts, Kenneth - Northwest Passage
  • Saint-Exupery, Antoine de -
    • The Little Prince
    • Wind, Sand and Stars
  • Saki - Stories
  • Schaefer, Jack - Shane
  • Scott, Sir Walter - Ivanhoe
  • Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein
  • Smith, Betty - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  • Steinbeck, John -
    • The Pearl
    • Tortilla Flat
  • Stevenson, Robert Louis -
    • The Black Arrow
    • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Stoker, Bram - Dracula
  • Thurber, James - The Thurber Carnival
  • Tolkien, J.R.R. -
    • The Hobbit
    • The Lord of the Rings
  • Twain, Mark -
    • The Adventures of
    • Huckleberry Finn
    • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
    • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
    • Innocents Abroad
    • Life on the Mississippi
    • The Prince and the Pauper
  • Verne, Jules -
    • Around the World in Eighty Days
    • Journey to the Center of the Earth
    • Mysterious Island
    • 20,000 Leagues under the Sea
  • Wallace, Lewis - Ben-Hur
  • Washington, Booker T. - Up from Slavery
  • Wells, H.G. -
    • The Time Machine
    • War of the Worlds
  • Wharton, Edith - Ethan Frome
  • Wilder, Thornton - The Bridge of San Luis Rey
  • Wister, Owen - The Virginian
  • Yates, Elizabeth - Amos Fortune, Free Man
Back to the Table of Contents


Grades 9 through 12

  • Agee, James - A Death in the Family
  • Anderson, Sherwood - Winesburg, Ohio
  • Austen, Jane -
    • Emma
    • Northanger Abbey
    • Pride and Prejudice
    • Sense and Sensibility
  • Baldwin, James -
  • Go Tell It on the Mountain
  • Balzac, Honore de - Pere Goriot
  • Beckett, Samuel - Waiting for Godot
  • The Bible -
    • Old Testament
    • New Testament
  • Bolt, Robert - A Man for All Seasons
  • Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
  • Bronte, Emily - Wuthering Heights
  • Browning, Robert - Poems
  • Buck, Pearl - The Good Earth
  • Butler, Samuel - The Way of All Flesh
  • Camus, Albert -
    • The Plague
    • The Stranger
  • Cather, Willa -
    • Death Comes for the Archbishop
    • My Antonia
  • Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote
  • Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales
  • Chekhov, Anton - The Cherry Orchard
  • Chopin, Kate - The Awakening
  • Collins, Wilkie - The Moonstone
  • Conrad, Joseph -
    • Heart of Darkness
    • Lord Jim
    • The Secret Sharer
    • Victory
  • Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
  • Dante - The Divine Comedy
  • Defoe, Daniel - Moll Flanders
  • Dickens, Charles -
    • Bleak House
    • David Copperfield
    • Great Expectations
    • Hard Times
    • Oliver Twist
    • A Tale of Two Cities
  • Dickinson, Emily - Poems
  • Dinesen, Isak - Out of Africa
  • Dostoevski, Fyodor -
    • Brothers Karamazov
    • Crime and Punishment
    Dreiser, Theodore -
    • An American Tragedy
    • Sister Carrie
  • Eliot, George -
    • Adam Bede
    • Middlemarch
    • Mill on the Floss
    • Silas Marner
  • Eliot, T.S. - Murder in the Cathedral
  • Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man
  • Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Essays
  • Faulkner, William -
    • Absalom, Absalom!
    • As I Lay Dying
    • Intruder in the Dust
    • Light in August
    • The Sound and the Fury
  • Fielding, Henry -
    • Joseph Andrews
    • Tom Jones
  • Fitzgerald, F. Scott -
    • The Great Gatsby
    • Tender Is the Night
  • Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary
  • Forster, E.M. -
    • A Passage to India
    • A Room with a View
  • Franklin, Benjamin - The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  • Galsworthy, John - The Forsyte Saga
  • Golding, William - Lord of the Flies
  • Goldsmith, Oliver - She Stoops to Conquer
  • Graves, Robert - I, Claudius
  • Greene, Graham -
    • The Heart of the Matter
    • The Power and the Glory
  • Hamilton, Edith - Mythology
  • Hardy, Thomas -
    • Far From the Madding Crowd
    • Jude the Obscure
    • The Mayor of Casterbridge
    • The Return of the Native
    • Tess of the D'Urbervilles
  • Hawthorne, Nathaniel -
    • The House of the Seven Gables
    • The Scarlet Letter
  • Hemingway, Ernest -
    • A Farewell to Arms
    • For Whom the Bell Tolls
    • The Sun Also Rises
  • Henry, O. - Stories
  • Hersey, John - A Single Pebble
  • Hesse, Hermann -
    • Demian
    • Siddhartha
    • Steppenwolf
  • Homer -
    • The Iliad
    • The Odyssey
  • Hughes, Langston - Poems
  • Hugo, Victor - Les Miserables
  • Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World
  • Ibsen, Henrik -
    • A Doll's House
    • An Enemy of the People
    • Ghosts
    • Hedda Gabler
    • The Master Builder
    • The Wild Duck
  • James, Henry -
    • The American
    • Daisy Miller
    • Portrait of a Lady
    • The Turn of the Screw
  • Joyce, James -
    • Portrait of the Artist
    • As a Young Man
    • Dubliners
  • Kafka, Franz -
    • The Castle
    • Metamorphosis
    • The Trial
  • Keats, John - Poems
  • Kerouac, Jack - On the Road
  • Koestler, Arthur - Darkness at Noon
  • Lawrence, D.H. - Sons and Lovers
  • Lawrence, Jerome and Robert E. Lee - Inherit the Wind
  • Lewis, Sinclair -
    • Arrowsmith
    • Babbitt
    • Main Street
  • Llewellyn, Richard - How Green Was My Valley
  • Machiavelli - The Prince
  • MacLeish, Archibald - J.B.
  • Mann, Thomas -
    • Buddenbrooks
    • The Magic Mountain
  • Marlowe, Christopher - Dr. Faustus
  • Maugham, Somerset - Of Human Bondage
  • McCullers, Carson - The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
  • Melville, Herman -
    • Billy Budd
    • Moby-Dick
    • Typee
  • Miller, Arthur -
    • The Crucible
    • Death of a Salesman
  • Monsarrat, Nicholas - The Cruel Sea
  • O'Neill, Eugene -
    • The Emperor Jones
    • A Long Day's Journey into Night
    • Mourning Becomes Electra
  • Orwell, George -
    • Animal Farm
    • 1984
  • Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago
  • Poe, Edgar Allan - Short stories
  • Remarque, Erich - All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Rolvaag, O.E. - Giants in the Earth
  • Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac
  • Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye
  • Sandburg, Carl -
    • Abraham Lincoln:
    • The Prairie Years
    • Abraham Lincoln:
    • The War Years
  • Saroyan, William - The Human Comedy
  • Sayers, Dorothy - The Nine Tailors
  • Shakespeare, William - Plays and sonnets
  • Shaw, George Bernard -
    • Arms and the Man
    • Major Barbara
    • Pygmalion
    • Saint Joan
  • Sheridan, Richard B. - The School for Scandal
  • Shute, Nevil - On the Beach
  • Sinclair, Upton - The Jungle
  • Sophocles -
    • Antigone
    • Oedipus Rex
  • Steinbeck, John -
    • East of Eden
    • The Grapes of Wrath
    • Of Mice and Men
  • Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels
  • Thackeray, William M. - Vanity Fair
  • Thoreau, Henry David - Walden
  • Tolstoy, Leo -
    • Anna Karenina
    • War and Peace
  • Trollope, Anthony - Barchester Towers
  • Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons
  • Twain, Mark - Pudd'nhead Wilson
  • Updike, John - Rabbit Run
  • Vergil - The Aeneid
  • Voltaire - Candide
  • Warren, Robert Penn - All the King's Men
  • Waugh, Evelyn -
    • Brideshead Revisited
    • A Handful of Dust
  • Wharton, Edith - Age of Innocence
  • White, T.H. -
    • The Once and Future King
    • The Sword in the Stone
  • Wilde, Oscar -
    • The Importance of Being Earnest
    • The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Wilder, Thornton - Our Town
  • Williams, Tennessee -
    • The Glass Menagerie
    • A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Wolfe, Thomas - Look Homeward, Angel
  • Woolf, Virginia -
    • Mrs. Dalloway
    • To the Lighthouse
  • Wouk, Herman - The Caine Mutiny
  • Wright, Richard -
    • Black Boy
    • Native Son
Back to the Table of Contents


Credits

The National Endowment for the Humanities solicited supplemental reading lists from public and private schools in every state. Many of the schools had been chosen by the U.S. Department of Education as exemplary schools; others were known to have strong humanities programs. Sixty of the extracurricular lists that NEH received were used to compile this list. The list includes all titles published in 1960 or before that appeared on at least five of those reading lists. The only exception is in the early grades: Because many schools did not submit suggested readings for these grades, some titles that were mentioned fewer than five times have been added to the K-3 category.

For more information about NEH programs, ask for the Overview. Write to NEH, Room 402, Washington, D.C. 20506.

Back to top
spacerspacerspacer


Infants | Toddlers | Preschoolers | K-12
Education | Health | Recreation | Parenting | Organizations | Store
Home | Media Info | Survey | About Us | Legal

KidSource OnLine KidSource and KidSource OnLine are trademarks of Kidsource OnLine, Inc. Copyright 2009. Other trademarks property of their respective holders.. Created: November 12, 1996 . Last modified time : April 20, 2000 .
.