This story takes place in 1871, and is told from the eyes of a four-year-old named Laura, as she and her family live on the bare necessities in the wilderness of Wisconsin. It’s the first of nine autobiographical books by Laura, and is the mildest of the series. While most people know the television series Little House on the Prairie better than they know the books, this one is always worth a read. Minimum age: 7.
4. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Boxcar Children always seemed like a very random concept to me- four orphan siblings who would rather live in the wilderness than with their grandfather? But that randomness is part of why I liked it so much. I was immediately attached to the four siblings after seeing their love for each other and for food. Their dog, Watch, just might be my favorite character and I like the really sweet happy ending these kids get. After all they’ve been through, they deserve it. Minimum age: 8.
3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Another story about four close siblings, Little Women follows Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March as they grow from girls to women in the Civil War era. Their mother raises them alone, as their father is off fighting in the war. They face many hardships and share many joys, but whatever they do, they do it together. That’s what I love most about this book. Minimum age: 11.
2. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Nine-year-old Mary Lennox was spoiled her whole life. She barely knew her parents, instead spending all her time with her various nannies as her parents dragged her all over India. When they die of cholera, Mary is displeased to be sent to the home of her uncle, a rich man who barely pays five seconds of attention to her before leaving her under the care of a maid. As she spends more and more time Misselthwaite Manor, she is told of a secret garden on the property, and hears a child crying at night. Mary suspects there may be more to this place than she knows. Minimum age: 9.
1. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables tells the story of the best accident ever. Adult siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert want to adopt a boy to help Matthew with farm work, as he’s starting to get older. However, a miscommunication with the orphanage leaves a very different child waiting on the train platform for Matthew- an emotional, dramatic, spunky, and very chatty 11-year-old named Anne Shirley. While they originally plan to send her back to the orphanage, Matthew and Marilla just don’t have the heart to disappoint Anne, especially since she’s already renamed half the things in their town. The next few years are the most interesting the small town of Avonlea has ever seen. Minimum age: 10.