The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Yes, The Chronicles of Narnia are children’s books and no, they don’t age. These complex fantasy novels, which have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide (and clearly influenced, among others, J.K. Rowling), have been praised and criticized for their Christian themes, but there’s a lot more going on here than simple allegory. Read them again. Better yet, find a child to read them to. You’ll be amazed by the richness of storytelling. Here are some more of the best children’s books ever written.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
This much-more-grown-up sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is widely considered to be Mark Twain’s masterpiece. It’s part coming-of-age story, part cross-country adventure, part biting social satire. Twain makes brilliant use of irony as Huck, raised in the pre-Civil War south, gradually comes to understand the evils of slavery. Huck Finn has endured, despite its notoriety as one of the most banned books of all time. Here are some surprising titles you probably didn’t know were banned.
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
When a rich American businessman is killed on a train, it’s up to detective Hercule Poirot to figure out which of the passengers is responsible. Published in 1934, Murder on the Orient Express‘s conclusion still stuns readers. In 2017, this famous whodunit was made into a hit movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Josh Gad, and Judi Dench.