Listening is a great way to experience a story.
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Here are some recommendations from some guys we trust.
This was the first recent(ish) YA novel that got me excited to write about teens, because it made me think I was reading about, well . . . me.
is the illustrator of The Spiiderwick Chronicles, The Spider and the Fly, Ted, and many more. He uses his powers for good.
J.M. Barrie's classic has surly pirates, bloodthirsty native Americans, a hungry crocodile, feisty faeries and flying kids with weapons . . . what more could you ask for?
Richard Adams takes you on an incredible quest from a home colony that’s completely eradicated to Shangri la. One the way, there are monsters, villains, allies, oh, and a fascist leader trying to seize the hero's new home . . . and its all told with rabbits. You read that right — rabbits.
Mouse buddy + toy motorcycle = Awesome!
In my mind, this one of Dr. Seuss’s undisputed classics. Sadly, we need the Lorax now more than ever.
One of Shel Silverstein's lesser known titles, but one of my all-time favorites. Actually, I learned about this one when my younger brother read it for school and had me help with his book report. It is one of those stories that you will always remember.
Jeffrey Brown lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons. As a kid, he loved comics and dreamed of making them. With a long line of publications and art shows behind and in front of him, we'd say he's certainly living that dream. He's definitely a case of if you can dream it, with a lot of hard work, you can do it. Most lately he's the author of the New York Times bestselling Jedi Academy series.
photo credit: Jill Liebhaber
Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
I only knew the Disney version of Winnie-The-Pooh until I had a son, and discovered I'd really been missing out. I was familiar with Shepard's excellent drawings, but had no idea just how funny and smart the original Pooh stories are.
There have been some notable Dahl adaptations - the original Willy Wonka film, Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox - but Dahl's books are more than just great source material for movies. They're endlessly entertaining, often laugh-out-loud funny, and great to read at any age, alone or with someone else also of any age.
Going in reverse, here's a novelization of film I loved, and read a ton all the way to my teenage years. Recently reprinted in a nice edition that includes some of Brian Froud's goblin sketches, it's a fairy tale informed by the imagination of Jim Henson and the humor of Monty Python's Terry Jones.
Fans of Harry Potter, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien should be sure to check out this fantasy series. The tone is earnest and sincere, and the adventure is full of wonder and mystery.
I like to learn how extraordinary/successful people approach life and this is a unique (just published) book about methods and ideals that Jim Tressell brings to his Ohio State football program.
Michael Northrop is a writer living in New York City, author of three YA novels: Gentlemen, one of the American Library Association/YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults; Trapped, an ALA/YALSA Readers' Choice List selection, an Indie Next List pick, and a Barnes & Noble Must-Read for Teens; and Rotten. His first middle grade novel, Plunked, was named one of the best children's books of the year by the New York Public Library. His writing has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated Kids, McSweeney's, Weird Tales, and many other places. His latest YA novel is Surrounded by Sharks. You can find him on the internet here.
"Fantastic World War II nonfiction: a high-stakes British spy thriller that just happens to be true."
"Hilarious, endearing, and includes a polar bear - what more do you want? This book made me wish I could draw (or at least doodle really well)."
"Lovecraft's stories are profoundly weird, insanely good, and they changed horror writing forever, and for the better (which is to say, weirder)."
"A short, tough book that hits hard and leaves a mark. Not as famous as The Outsiders, but it had just as big of an impact on me. It was the first novel I reread when I decided to write YA."
"Darn near perfect: a little masterpiece that quietly tackles the big questions."