MENSA Reading List Sorted Chronologically

I am always on the lookout for lists of great books that will nourish and challenge my children.

This list is originally from the MENSA organisation. Over the years, I often aligned the books with the historical time period we might be studying (although we seemed to mostly study the Greeks and Romans, over and over again!). The original list is located here: *Mensa For Kids’ Excellence in Reading

These books are sorted by age and then by historical setting or if that is unknown by publication date

Titles marked as follows: *Play or **Poetry

Kindergarten – Grade 3

  • Aesop’s Fables – Aesop 600 BCE
  • Who’s in Rabbit’s House – Aardema, Verna ancient Africa (1992)
  • Anansi the Spider – McDermott, Gerald ancient Africa(1972)
  • The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses – Goble, Paul American natives(1979)
  • Strega Nona – dePaola, Tomie middle ages(1976)
  • Paul Revere’s Ride – Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth 1775 (1860)
  • Sam the Minuteman –Benchley, Nathaniel 1775 (1987)
  • The Cabin Faced West – Fritz, Jean 1784 (1958)
  • Millions of Cats – Gag, Wanda 1800’s(1928)
  • The Three Little Pigs – Galdone, Paul 1800’s(1984)
  • Stone Soup – Brown, Marcia 1812 (1947)
  • **A Book of Nonsense – Lear, Edward (1846)
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Carroll, Lewis (1865)
  • Adventures of Pinocchio – Collodi, Carlo (1883)
  • **A Child’s Garden of Verses – Stevenson, Robert Louis (1885)
  • The Reluctant Dragon – Grahame, Kenneth (1898)
  • Watch the Stars Come Out – Levinson, Riki late 1800’s(1985)
  • All-of-a-Kind Family – Taylor, Sydney 1900 (1951)
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Potter, Beatrix (1901)
  • The Story of Babar – Brunhoff, Jean de early 1900’s (1931)
  • The Little Engine That Could – Piper, Watty early 1900’s (1954)
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble – Steig, William early 1900’s(1970)
  • Frog and Toad Are Friends – Lobel, Arnold early 1900’s(1970)
  • Winnie-the-Pooh – Milne, A.A. (1926)
  • The Angus series – Flack, Marjorie (1930)
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins – Atwater, Richard and Florence 1930’s (1938)
  • The Story of Ferdinand – Leaf, Munro (1936) just before Spanish Civil War
  • Caps for Sale – Slobodkina, Esphyr (1938)
  • Madeline – Bemelmans, Ludwig (1939)
  • Andy and the Lion – Daugherty, James (1939)
  • Little Toot – Gramatky, Hardie (1939)
  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel – Burton, Virginia Lee (1939)
  • Curious George – Rey, H.A. (1941)
  • Make Way for Ducklings – McCloskey, Robert (1941)
  • Many Moons – Thurber, James middle ages (1943)
  • The Carrot Seed – Krauss, Ruth (1945)
  • Goodnight, Moon – Brown, Margaret Wise (1947)
  • The Biggest Bear – Ward, Lynd (1952)
  • Charlotte’s Web – White, E.B. (1952)
  • A Tree is Nice – Udry, Janice May (1956)
  • Crow Boy – Yashima, Taro (1956)
  • Harry the Dirty Dog – Zion, Gene (1956)
  • The Cat in the Hat – Seuss, Dr. (1957)
  • Put Me in the Zoo – Lopshire, Robert (1960)
  • The Cricket in Times Square – Selden, George (1960)
  • The Snowy Day – Keats, Ezra Jack (1962)
  • Amelia Bedelia – Parish, Peggy (1963)
  • Where the Wild Things Are – Sendak, Maurice (1963)
  • The Mouse and the Motorcycle – Cleary, Beverly (1965)
  • Corduroy – Freeman, Don (1968)
  • Frederick – Lionni, Leo (1968)
  • William’s Doll – Zolotow, Charlotte (1970)
  • Freckle Juice – Blume, Judy (1972)
  • Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – Viorst, Judith (1972)
  • Leo the Late Bloomer – Kraus, Robert (1973)
  • George and Martha – Marshall, James (1974)
  • Bedtime for Frances – Hoban, Russell (1975)
  • Freight Train – Crews, Donald (1979)
  • The Garden of Abdul Gasazi – Van Allsburg, Chris (1979)

 

Grades 4–6

  • The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales – Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm
  • The Complete Fairy Tales (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc.) – Perrault, Charles
  • Castle – Macaulay, David middle ages
  • Chronicles of Prydain – Alexander, Lloyd fantasy middle ages
  • The Dark is Rising Sequence –  Cooper, Susan fantasy middle ages (1956)
  • Adam of the Road – Gray, Elizabeth Janet 1200’s (1943)
  • Tales from Shakespeare – Lamb, Charles and Mary 1600’s
  • The Matchlock Gun – Edmonds, Walter D. 1756
  • Ben and Me – Lawson, Robert 1770’s
  • To Be a Slave – Lester, Julius 1700’s to 1860’s (1969)
  • Hitty, Her First Hundred Years –  Field, Rachel 1800’s (1929)
  • Swiss Family Robinson – Wyss, Johann (1812)
  • Rip van Winkle – Irving, Washington (1819)
  • Fairy Tales – Andersen, Hans Christian (1830’s)
  • Caddie Woodlawn – Brink, Carol Ryrie  1860’s
  • Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates – Dodge, Mary Mapes (1865)
  • Little House on the Prairie – Wilder, Laura Ingalls 1868 (1934)
  • Black Beauty – Sewell, Anna (1877)
  • Heidi – Spyri, Johanna (1880)
  • The Wind in the Willows – Grahame, Kenneth late 1800’s (1908)
  • Tuck Everlasting – Babbitt, Natalie late 1800’s
  • The Secret Garden – Burnett, Frances Hodgson late 1800’s
  • Pippi Longstocking – Lindgren, Astrid late 1800’s (1945)
  • Doctor Dolittle – Lofting, Hugh late 1800’s (1920)
  • Sarah Plain and Tall – MacLachlan, Patricia late 1800’s (1986)
  • Anne of Green Gables – Montgomery, L.M. late 1800’s (1908)
  • The Borrowers – Norton, Mary late 1800’s (1952)
  • Tom’s Midnight Garden – Pearce, Philippa modern/late 1800’s (1958)
  • Mary Poppins – Travers, Pamela l. late 1800’s (1934)
  • Betsy-Tacy – Lovelace, Maud Hart late 1800’s to early 1900’s (1940)
  • Roller Skates – Sawyer, Ruth 1890’s (1937)
  • The Jungle Book – Kipling, Rudyard (1894)
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Baum, L. Frank (1900)
  • The Railway Children – Nesbit, E. (1905)
  • Strawberry Girl – Lenski, Lois early 1900’s (1945)
  • Rascal – North, Sterling 1918 (1963)
  • The Moffatts – Estes, Eleanor WWI (1941)
  • Thimble Summer – Enright, Elizabeth 1930’s depression
  • **The Dream Keeper and Other Poems – Hughes, Langston  (1932)
  • Lassie Come Home – Knight, Eric (1938)
  • The Black Stallion – Farley, Walter (1941)
  • The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright (1941)
  • Homer Price – McCloskey, Robert (1943)
  • The Complete Chronicles of Narnia – Lewis, C.S. fantasy middle ages/WWII (1949)
  • Misty of Chincoteague – Henry, Marguerite (1947)
  • The Children of Green Knowe – Boston, L.M. spans history (1954)
  • Half Magic – Eager, Edward (1954)
  • **Bronzeville Boys and Girls – Brooks, Gwendolyn (1956)
  • My Side of the Mountain – George, Jean Craighead (1959)
  • The Rescuers – Sharp, Margery (1959)
  • Harriet the Spy – Fitzhugh, Louise (1964)
  • The Pushcart War – Merrill, Jean (1964)
  • From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – Konigsburg, E.L. (1967)
  • The House of Dies Drear – Hamilton, Virginia (1968)
  • The Summer of the Swans – Byars, Betsy (1971)
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh – O’Brien, Robert C. (1971)
  • Bridge to Terabithia – Paterson, Katherine (1977)
  • Bunnicula – Howe, Deborah (1979)

Grades 7–8

  • Ivanhoe – Scott, Sir Walter 1194 (1819)
  • Le Morte d’Arthur – Malory, Sir Thomas (1485)
  • Call it Courage – Sperry, Armstrong 1500’s?(1941)
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Hugo, Victor 1482 (1831)
  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood – Pyle, Howard middle ages (1883)
  • The Pilgrim’s Progress – Bunyan, John (1678)
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Speare, Elizabeth George  late 1600’s(1958)
  • Treasure Island – Stevenson, Robert Louis 1700’s (1883)
  • The Bridge of San Luis Rey – Wilder, Thornton 1714(1927)
  • Robinson Crusoe – Defoe, Daniel (1719)
  • Frankenstein – Shelley, Mary (1818)
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Irving, Washington (1820)
  • The Last of the Mohicans – Cooper, James Fenimore 1757 (1826)
  • Johnny Tremain – Forbes, Esther 1775 (1944)
  • The Horatio Hornblower series – Forester, C.S. 1808 (1937)
  • The Count of Monte Cristo – Dumas, Alexandre 1815-1838 (1844)
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins – O’Dell, Scott 1840’s (1960)
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Twain, Mark 1840 (1876)
  • A Christmas Carol – Dickens, Charles (1843)
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass – Douglass, Frederick (1845)
  • Across Five Aprils – Hunt, Irene 1861 (1964)
  • Rifles for Watie – Keith, Harold 1861 (1957)
  • Little Women – Alcott, Louisa May (1868)
  • 20,000 Leagues under the Sea – Verne, Jules (1870)
  • Incident at Hawk’s Hill – Eckert, Allan W. 1870 (1970)
  • The Yearling – Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan 1870’s (1938)
  • Shane – Schaefer, Jack late 1800s western frontier(1949)
  • Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Doyle, Arthur Conan (1891)
  • Goodbye, Mr. Chips – Hilton, James 1870-1920’s (1934)
  • The Call of the Wild – London, Jack late 1890’s (1903)
  • Kim – Kipling, Rudyard 1890’s (1901)
  • Story of My Life – Keller, Helen (1903)
  • Dragonwings – Yep, Laurence 1909 (1976)
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Smith, Betty 1910-1920(1943)
  • Daddy-Long-Legs – Webster, Jean (1912)
  • The Ghost Belonged to Me – Peck, Richard 1913 (1997)
  • National Velvet – Bagnold, Enid 1920’s (1935)
  • A Day No Pigs Would Die – Peck, Robert Newton 1920’s(1972)
  • My Friend Flicka – O’Hara,  1930’s (1941)
  • Where the Red Fern Grows – Rawls, Wilson 1930’s (1961)
  • The Red Pony – Steinbeck, John (1933)
  • Jacob Have I Loved – Paterson, Katherine 1940’s(1981)
  • Diary of a Young Girl – Frank, Anne (1940’s)
  • The Last Mission – Mazer, Harry WWII (1981)
  • The Endless Steppe – Hautzig, Esther WWII (1968)
  • The Upstairs Room – Reiss, Johanna WWII autobiography(1969)
  • Journey to Topaz – Uchida, Yoshiko WWII Japanses encampment(1971)
  • The Little Prince – Saint-Exupery, Antoine de (1943)
  • The Thurber Carnival – Thurber, James (1945)
  • A Wrinkle in Time – L’Engle, Madeleine (1962)
  • The Pigman – Zindel, Paul (1968)
  • Julie of the Wolves – George, Jean Craighead (1972)
  • A Stranger Came Ashore – Hunter, Mollie Scottish fantasy(1975)
  • **Poems – Frost, Robert (1874-1963)

Fantasy

  • Enchantress from the Stars – Engdahl, Sylvia Louise future (1971)
  • Dragonsong – McCaffrey, Anne fantasy middle ages(1976)
  • A Wizard of Earthsea – LeGuin, Ursula K. fantasy middle ages (1968)
  • The Hobbit – Tolkien, J.R.R.fantasy middle ages (1937)

Set in the Future

  • War of the Worlds – Wells, H.G. future (1898)
  • Fahrenheit 451 – Bradbury, Ray future (1953)
  • The White Mountains – Christopher, John future (1967)

Grades 9–12

  • The Iliad – Homer (1100 BC)
  • The Odyssey – Homer (1100 BC)
  • Oedipus Rex – Sophocles (429 BCE)
  • The Aeneid – Virgil (29BC)
  • I, Claudius – Graves, Robert 41CE (1934)
  • The Once and Future King – White, T.H. 400 (1958)
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – Tolkien, J.R.R. fantasy middle ages(1955)
  • Beowulf – Anonymous (1000)
  • King Lear – Shakespeare, William 1000 (1606)
  • Murder in the Cathedral – Eliot, T.S. 1170 (1935) murder of Thomas Beckett
  • **The Divine Comedy – Dante (1300)
  • The Canterbury Tales – Chaucer, Geoffrey (1400)
  • Much Ado About Nothing – Shakespeare, William 1400 (1600)
  • *A Man for All Seasons – Bolt, Robert 1500 (1957) play about Sir Thomas More
  • Don Quixote – Cervantes, Miguel de (1600) Spain
  • Hamlet – Shakespeare, William (1600)
  • **Sonnets – Shakespeare, William (1600)
  • *Dr. Faustus – Marlowe, Christopher (1604)
  • The Scarlet Letter – Hawthorne, Nathaniel 1640s (1850)
  • *&**Cyrano de Bergerac – Rostand, Edmond 1640 (1897)
  • *The Crucible – Miller, Arthur 1692 (1952)
  • Wuthering Heights – Brontë, Emily late 1700s (1847)
  • Moll Flanders – Defoe, Daniel (1722)
  • Gulliver’s Travels – Swift, Jonathan (1726)
  • Tom Jones – Fielding, Henry (1749) fist comic novel
  • Candide – Voltaire (1759) satire
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin – Franklin, Benjamin (1771)
  • *The School for Scandal – Sheridan, Richard B. (1777)
  • **Poems – Keats, John (1795-1821)
  • Silas Marner – Eliot, George early 1800’s (1861)
  • Vanity Fair – Thackeray, William M. early 1800s (1847)
  • Pride and Prejudice – Austen, Jane (1813)
  • Les Misérables – Hugo, Victor 1815 (1862) French
  • Fathers and Sons – Turgenev, Ivan 1830s (1862) Russian
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Twain, Mark 1835 (1884)
  • Essays – Emerson, Ralph Waldo (1844)
  • Jane Eyre – Brontë, Charlotte (1847) England
  • Short Stories – Poe, Edgar Allan (d1849)
  • Moby-Dick – Melville, Herman (1851)
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Stowe, Harriet Beecher (1852)
  • Walden – Thoreau, Henry David (1854)
  • Madame Bovary – Flaubert, Gustave (1856)
  • Barchester Towers – Trollope, Anthony (1857)
  • Stories (“The Gift of the Magi,” “The Ransom of Red Chief,” etc.) – Henry, O. (late 1800s)
  • The Red Badge of Courage – Crane, Stephen 1860 (1895) CIvil War
  • Great Expectations – Dickens, Charles (1860)
  • Abraham Lincoln – Sandburg, Carl 1860s(1939)
  • **Poems – Dickinson, Emily (d. 1866)
  • Crime and Punishment – Dostoyevsky, Fyodor (1866) Russian
  • The Moonstone – Collins, Wilkie (1868) First detective novel
  • The Age of Innocence – Wharton, Edith 1870s (1920) Pulitzer Prize
  • Anna Karenina – Tolstoy, Leo (1877)
  • *A Doll’s House – Ibsen, Henrik (1879)
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray – Wilde, Oscar (1890)
  • Things Fall Apart – Achebe, Chinua 1890 (1958) Africa
  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Hardy, Thomas (1891)
  • The Turn of the Screw – James, Henry (1898)
  • How Green Was My Valley – Llewellyn, Richard late 1800s (1939)
  • Lord Jim – Conrad, Joseph (1900)
  • The Good Earth – Buck, Pearl early 1900s (1931) China Pulitzer Prize
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God – Hurston, Zora Neale early 1900s (1937)
  • *The Cherry Orchard – Chekhov, Anton (1904) Russian
  • The Jungle – Sinclair, Upton (1906) journalistic novel
  • To the Lighthouse – Woolf, Virginia (1910) (1927)
  • The Forsyte Saga – Galsworthy, John (1906-1920)
  • *Pygmalion – Shaw, George Bernard (1912) original My Fair Lady
  • *Long Day’s Journey into Night – O’Neill, Eugene 1912 (1956) Pulitzer Prize
  • Sons and Lovers – Lawrence, D.H. (1913)
  • All Quiet on the Western Front – Remarque, Erich WWI (1929) German
  • Of Human Bondage – Maugham, Somerset (1915)
  • A Death in the Family – Agee, James 1915 (1957) US
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – Joyce, James (1916)
  • Doctor Zhivago – Pasternak, Boris 1917 (1957) Russian Revolution
  • My Ántonia – Cather, Willa (1918)
  • Of Mice and Men – Steinbeck, John 1920s (1937)
  • A Single Pebble – Hersey, John 1920 (1956) China
  • The Fountainhead – Rand, Ayn 1922 (1943)
  • Babbitt – Lewis, Sinclair (1922)satire
  • A Passage to India – Forster, E.M.  (1924)
  • The Magic Mountain – Mann, Thomas (1924) German
  • The Great Gatsby – Fitzgerald, F. Scott (1925)
  • An American Tragedy – Dreiser, Theodore (1925)
  • The Trial – Kafka, Franz (1925)
  • *Inherit the Wind – Lawrence, Jerome and Robert E. Lee 1925 ( 1955) Scopes “Monkey” Trial
  • Steppenwolf – Hesse, Hermann (1927) German
  • The Sound and the Fury – Faulkner, William (1929)
  • Look Homeward, Angel – Wolfe, Thomas (1929)
  • **Poems – Hughes, Langston (1926-1967)
  • *Our Town – Wilder, Thornton (1930)
  • Native Son – Wright, Richard 1930s (1940)
  • All the King’s Men – Warren, Robert Penn 1930s (1946) Pulitzer Prize
  • The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – McCullers, Carson 1930s (1940)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird – Lee, Harper 1930s (1960)
  • Go Tell It on the Mountain – Baldwin, James 1930’s (1953) Harlem
  • The Power and the Glory – Greene, Graham 1930 (1940)
  • A Handful of Dust – Waugh, Evelyn (1934)
  • The Nine Tailors – Sayers, Dorothy (1934) mystery novel
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls – Hemingway, Ernest (1949) Spanish Civil War 1936
  • The Caine Mutiny – Wouk, Herman WWII (1952) Pulitzer
  • The Cruel Sea – Monsarrat, Nicholas WWII (1951)
  • A Town Like Alice – Shute, Nevil WWII(1955) Australia
  • The Chosen – Potok, Chaim 1940s (1969)
  • Darkness at Noon – Koestler, Arthur (1940) USSR
  • The Stranger – Camus, Albert (1942) France
  • Night – Wiesel, Elie 1944 (1955) Nazi Concentration camp
  • Animal Farm – Orwell, George (1945)
  • *A Streetcar Named Desire – Williams, Tennessee (1947) Pulitzer Prize
  • The Catcher in the Rye – Salinger, J.D. 1949 (1951)
  • 1984 – Orwell, George (1949)
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Solzhenitsyn, Alexander 1950s (1962) Russian labour camp
  • Invisible Man – Ellison, Ralph (1952
  • Wise Blood – O’Connor, Flannery (1952)
  • Lord of the Flies – Golding, William (1954)
  • Profiles in Courage – Kennedy, John F. (1955) Pulitzer Prize
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Angelou, Maya late 1950s (1968) US civil rights
  • Rabbit, Run – Updike, John (1960)
  • Collected Short Stories – Welty, Eudora (1982)
  • Against all Hope:A Memoir of Life in Castro’s Gulag – Valladares, Armando (1985)
  • Brave New World – Huxley, Aldous AD 2540 (1932)

 

 

 

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