6. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Summary: Picture book in which a caterpillar munches his way through various foods.
How it changed you: How can you ever be satisfied now?
7. The Red Badge of Courage
Summary: A teenage soldier enters battle in the Civil War and is half-terrified, half yearning to be wounded (to sport a “red badge of courage”) so he doesn’t look lame.
How it changed you: Made you feel lucky you weren’t fighting in a war. But it also just made you really, really sad. For real, this is a pretty graphic novel for 7th graders.
9. Anne of Green Gables
Summary: The tale of a spirited orphan who is sent to live with a family on a farm and the adventures she has there.
How it changed you: Anne taught you to love yourself, even if you were a bit of a wreck.
10. Love You Forever
Summary: Picture book about a mom who sings the following to her kid through the various stages of his life: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll love you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” But then the MOM gets old and he cradles HER to sleep and says this.
How it changed you: How are you not sobbing already? Parents aren’t allowed to get old and die and stuff! WTF?
11. Where the Wild Things Are
Summary: A boy pissed off at his mom escapes his bedroom into a jungle of wild animals.
How it changed you: You didn’t exactly know what that feeling was before, but now you can place it — you’re pissed at your mom. No one understands you.
Summary: An 18-year-old badass has to fight a magic evil to save her people and her father.
How it changed you: Sabriel was a BAMF who was tough and courageous. So be more like her, already. Don’t let that 4th grade loser take your place in the lunch line again.
14. Bridge to Terabithia
Summary: Two friends, a boy and a girl, escape life at their secret spot in the woods, creating their own imaginary kingdom. Except then one of them dies and it’s really sad.
How it changed you: So you’re a weirdo. But there’s a place for you in the world. Also: Death. Jesus Christ.