As readers get older, they can begin to forge more complex and meaningful relationships with the books they read. We’ve gathered together a list of coming-of-age stories, historical novels, and acclaimed classics that provide insight into the big picture issues and the everyday growing pains faced by this age group.

Dicey’s Song (4–7)
by Cynthia Voigt
In this Newbery winner, keeping her family together is what 13-year-old Dicey does best. But now that all four Tillerman children have found a new home with their grandmother, Dicey has to learn the hard lesson of letting go.

Esperanza Rising (4–8)*
by Pam Munoz Ryan
Thirteen-year-old Esperanza's world changes completely when she and her mother are forced to leave their comfortable life in Mexico and work in a labor camp in California.

Island of the Blue Dolphins (4–8)
by Scott O’Dell
Based on a true story, this classic tells the story of a young Indian girl who lives alone on a Pacific island for 18 years. This fictionalized account brings to life the adventures that follow her as she perseveres to survive.

Dogsong (4–8)
by Gary Paulsen
Russell, a 14-year-old Eskimo boy, longs for the old ways and traditions of his forefathers, and begins a journey of self-discovery across the tundra.

The Outsiders (5–7)
by S.E. Hinton
Ponyboy and his gang are tough. What will happen when things go wrong? When it was first published in 1967, The Outsiders defied convention. Thirty years later, it speaks to teenagers as powerfully as ever.

The Moves Make the Man (5–9)
by Bruce Brooks
In this Newbery Honor book, two boys form an unlikely, and sometimes precarious, friendship centered on the basketball court.

Sounder (6–8)
by William H. Armstrong
Winner of the Newbery Medal and an acknowledged landmark in children's literature, Sounder traces the keen sorrow and abiding faith of a poor African-American boy in the 19th-century South.

The Dark Is Rising series (6–8)
by Susan Cooper
In this acclaimed series about good versus evil, a group of childen must find and guard the six great Signs of Light in order to overcome the forces of the Dark.

Fallen Angels (6–9)*
by Walter Dean Myers
This critically acclaimed novel tells the story of one young man's tour of duty in Vietnam.

My Brother Sam Is Dead (8–9)
by Christopher Collier and James Lincoln Collier
During the troubled times of the Revolutionary War, Tim Meeker is thrust into a conflict that raises the issue of loyalty within himself, his family, and his country.

*These titles are available online in The Scholastic Store: