The Reading Guide’s Top 5 for Young Adventurers


The Reading Guide’s Top 5 for Young Adventurers


As teenagers’ lives become increasingly digital, books compete with the compelling lure of social media, games, smartphones, screen media and schoolwork for their time.


Here are inspiring and exciting adventure books that can encourage teenagers to read for pleasure.


  1. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

This coming-of-age story about a boy and his falcon went on to win a Newbery Honor, and for the past forty years has enthralled and entertained generations of would-be Sam Gribleys.

The two books that followed – On the Far Side of the Mountain and Frightful’s Mountain – were equally extraordinary. Now all three books are available in one deluxe yet affordable volume for veteran devotees and brand-new fans alike.


  1. Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus

It starts with the desert-island shipwreck of a Japanese fishing vessel; then the action moves to an American whaling ship, leading to the California gold rush. But there is also a mutiny at sea.

Margi Preus adapts the real-life story of Nakahama Manjirō, one of the few 19th-century Japanese citizens to visit the West, into a Newbery Honor–winning adventure tale that’s a hymn to the spirit of exploration.


  1. Peak by Roland Smith

After fourteen-year-old Peak Marcello is arrested for scaling a New York City skyscraper, he’s left with two choices: wither away in Juvenile Detention or go live with his long-lost father, who runs a climbing company in Thailand.

But Peak quickly learns that his father’s renewed interest in him has strings attached.  As owner of Peak Expeditions, he wants his son to be the youngest person to reach the Everest summit–and his motives are selfish at best. Even so, for a climbing addict like Peak, tackling Everest is the challenge of a lifetime. But it’s also one that could cost him his life.


  1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Long before Hollywood cashed in with an overblown blockbuster trilogy – and years before J.R.R. Tolkien fleshed out Middle-earth to epic proportions in The Lord of the Rings – there was The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, a winding, mythic, impossibly charming adventure yarn starring one of YA lit’s best-ever protagonists.

Likable homebody Bilbo Baggins shares anxieties about his limitations with many of his young readers. Like them, he’ll discover his capacity for courage, curiosity, and friendship only when he shoulders his pack and heads into the mountains and woods.


  1. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

A 1987 Newbery Honor winner and bestseller, Gary Paulsen’s quintessential young-adult survival novel finds somber 13-year-old Brian Robeson surviving a plane crash and hacking out a living for two months in the Canadian bush. His only tool? A hatchet he’s never wielded.

The trick of any survival story – never mind one written for kids – is to render failure and slow progress in a way that feels authentic but not dull.


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