1. Toni Morrison
The Pulitzer-winning author collaborated with her son Slade on this humorous take on anger and meanness as seen from a child’s eyes.
2. Margaret Atwood
Atwood wrote and illustrated this story of two children who attempt to become fully independent by living in a tree.
3. George Saunders
Saunders, whose “adult” fiction explores politics, consumer society and dystopian themes, published this novella in 2000. Like many of Saunders’s short stories, Frip is concerned with fear and how it affects community.
4. Michael Chabon
This 2002 fantasy young adult novel tells the tale of Ethan Feld, an unathletic boy who finds himself having to play baseball to prevent the Earth’s destruction.
5. Aldous Huxley
Huxley wrote this simple fable of cleverness and greed as a Christmas gift for his niece in 1944.
6. Langston Hughes
The famous Harlem Renaissance leader wrote this introductory guide to jazz’s history and development in 1954.
7. Ian Fleming
The James Bond author wrote this book for his young son in 1964. In 1968 a film adaptation was released starring Dick Van Dyke.
8. Upton Sinclair
This uncharacteristically silly book, written by Sinclair for his grandchildren in 1936, was later made into a 1967 musical film by Disney.
9. E. E. Cummings
These four short stories were written for Cummings’s daughter Elaine, but weren’t published until 1965, three years after his death.
10. Chinua Achebe
This 1973 book by the Things Fall Apart author uses a fable about a deposed leopard king to comment on power and violence.
11. Oscar Wilde
The titular story, along with “The Nightengale and the Rose” and “The Selfish Giant,” have been adapted to many forms, including a 1969 rock opera by The La De Das, a New Zealand rock group.
12. Umberto Eco
This environmentalist story about a space explorer was published in 1992 and features beautiful abstract illustrations by Eugenio Carmi.
13. T.S. Eliot
This book of playful poems on cat behavior, published in 1939, served as the basis for the Broadway musical “Cats.”
14. Graham Greene
Not to be confused with The LIttle Engine That Could, this story features a steamroller faced with the challenge of stopping international smugglers.
15. James Joyce
Dedicated to Joyce’s son Stephen, this book about a mayor who makes a deal with the devil was published posthumously in 1965.
16. Carl Hiaasen
The king of Florida crime fiction published this young adult novel in 2002. Like many of his “adult” works, Hoot features a environmentalist protagonist, middle schooler Roy, and his attempts to save a colony of owls.
17. Salman Rushdie
Published in 1990, this book is a fantastical allegory for issues in contemporary India.
18. Sylvia Plath
A collection of poems about magical beds, this book was published posthumously in 1976 and displays a sense of humor rarely seen in Plath’s works.
19. John Updike
This short collection, intended for preschoolers and kindergarteners, features a poem of wisdom for every day of the month.
20. William Faulkner
This morality tale was posthumously published in 1967. In typical Faulkner fashion, the prose is very ornate, even when intended for children. Here’s the opening sentence: “She was still asleep, but she could feel herself rising out of sleep, just like a balloon: it was like she was a goldfish in a round bowl of sleep, rising and rising through the warm waters of sleep to the top.”
21. Carl Sandburg
These whimsical stories, featuring character names like “Gimme the Ax” and “Potato Face Blind Man,” is a perfect bridge from Lewis Carroll to the later stylings of Dr. Seuss.
22. Peter Mattheissen
The environmental activist and Paris Review co-founder published this story in 1972. It tells of the surprising discovery of a Great Auk, thought to have been extinct for more than a century.
23. Virginia Woolf
When a widow’s house burns down, she adopts a parrot, who helps her find her greedy brother’s hidden treasure
24. James Baldwin
This 1976 book follows young TJ and the diverse cast of characters he meets playing baseball on the streets of New York.
25. Leo Tolstoy
When he wasn’t writing massive works of classic fiction, Tolstoy made this collection of popular fairy tales to teach peasant children who attended the school he founded.