Classic novels for my tween

We are fast approaching my favorite part of our homeschooling year — planning for next year’s curriculum.  My son turns 12 this summer and will be starting high school this summer as well. (Yes, that’s a few years early.) Part of the plan for the coming school year will be for my son to read 12 classic novels and write a 2-3 page paper on each one.

We run our homeschool year on a twelve month calendar instead of the traditional 9 month school calendar.   We homeschool from June to June, taking off a week here and there for sanity’s sake.  So, since we have about twelve months to work with, that works out to one novel per month.

I’ve been brainstorming the last few days and trying to come up with a list of novels that my son can choose from.  Ideally, I’d like to be able to hand him a list of 25-30 book titles from which he can choose his twelve novels.  I’m aiming for fairly short novels so no War and Peace this year!  I want to make sure that he still has plenty of time for pleasure reading.  Currently, he’s been working his way through Brian Jacques’ Redwall series although he did take a break to read some Tolkien recently.  I know he plans to read a few Neil Gaiman books soon as well.  Fantasy and science fiction are his favorite genres, but he’ll read from other genres as well.

Here’s the beginning of our list:

Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

A Separate Peace – John Knowles

The Good Earth – Pearl Buck

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

Animal Farm – George Orwell

I’d love to hear suggestions from other people, homeschoolers or otherwise!

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9 thoughts on “Classic novels for my tween

    • I’m mostly looking for classic novels right now for his literature “class,” but we do read a lot of fantasy and sci fi around here too!

  1. I found a more complete list from her book that somebody else compiled:

    Don Quixote
    The Pilgrim’s Progress
    Gulliver’s Travels
    Pride & Prejudice
    Oliver Twist myself)
    Jane Eyre
    The Scarlet Letter
    Moby-Dick
    Uncle Tom’s Cabin
    Madame Bovary
    Crime & Punishment
    Anna Karenina
    The Return of the Native
    The Portrait of a Lady
    Huckleberry Finn
    The Red Badge of Courage
    Heart of Darkness
    The House of Mirth
    The Great Gatsby
    Mrs. Dalloway
    The Trial
    Native Son
    The Stranger
    1984
    Invisible Man
    Seize the Day
    One Hundred Years of Solitude
    If on a winter’s night a traveler
    Song of Solomon
    White Noise
    Possession

    • Great list. He loved Huck Finn. He read that one at the beginning of this school year. Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, and Crime and Punishment were some of my favorite reads from high school. I’m surprised that Mrs. Dalloway is on that list. Not one of my faves. Maybe I need to read that one again? It’s been a while.

  2. My faves at that age were:
    1) The Wind in the Willows
    2) Watership Down
    3) 1984
    4) Dune (I suppose this is only a classic if you’re a SF geek)
    5) A Mid-Summer Nights Dream
    6) The Island of Doctor Moreau
    7) The Invisible Man
    8) The Time Machine
    9) Treasure Island
    10) And my hands down favorites – The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings :o)

    • He loved A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We try to do some Shakespeare every April. This year we’re trying MacBeth, Merchant of Venice, Taming of the Shrew, and As You Like It. He just finished The Hobbit a week or so ago, so I’m sure the Lord of the Rings trilogy is on his list. I haven’t read Watership Down in ages. I really need to go back and read it again sometime. I think he would like that one a lot. Thanks for your suggestions!

  3. My all time favorite book:

    Othello (watch the old movie with Anthony Hopkins it is awesome, you can get it through Netflix)

    Julius Caesar is great too (and it has a movie with Marlon Brando, also very good & true to the text)

    The Call of the Wild – Jack London

    Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (we will read this for a Christian Worldview course using The Deadliest Monster by J.F. Baldwin) http://www.thegreatbooks.com/about

    The Time Machine
    and
    The Invisible Man both by HG Wells (I am not a sci-fi person and I love these books!)

    The Wind in The Willows

    Swiss Family Robinson (the unabridged original version is a hefty read, not long but you must have a dictionary on hand)

    Treasure Island

    Kidnapped

    Little Women & Little Men by Louisa May Alcott

    O! Pioneers & My Antonia by Willa Cather

    20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
    and
    Journey To The Center Of The Earth
    and
    Around The World in Eighty Days
    all by Jules Verne

    The Man In The Iron Mask

    The Count of Monte Cristo

    The Sherlock Holmes mysteries by Arthur Conan Doyle

    The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

    Robinson Crusoe by Defoe

    Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

    The Jungle Book by Kipling

    The Death of a Salesman

    The rest are not “classics” per se, but modern classics:
    (They should be previewed first, but I plan on reading them with my kids & discussing anything that comes up in them)

    Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

    The Westing Game

    The Phantom Tollbooth

    Lord of the Flies (great for discussing the condition of man)

    The Mitford Series by Jan Karon is my most treasured series of books, & they are the only Christian fiction my father-in-law enjoys

    The White Stallion of Lipizza by Marguerite Henry

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