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Books I Give to Young People

Updated on May 9, 2012

When purchasing gifts for young people, we often think of toys, educational tools, bicycles and the like. Some want music from their favorite singer. I prefer to purchase an item they can always carry: a good book. When I say "carry" I don't mean the physical book; I mean the stories and lessons that good books can teach.

Receiving Books as Gifts

Over the years, I have forgotten most of the gifts I have been given. I still remember every person who gave me a good book. For instance, my Uncle David, who died in 1981, gave me a book for Christman three years earlier called A Choice of Catastrophies by Issac Asimov. It was a depressing, but thought provoking work. Today, when someone asks me what kind of gift I would like; I still say, "A good book".

The Books I Give

Unless requested, I don't give Harry Potter or Hunger Games books to young people, even though I like both series. Young people don't need my help getting those books, anyway.

I like to give classics. Books they might want to give to their children. Books that make me feel good.

My Choices

  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
    I have given more copies away of this book than any other. A compelling story of a young man who is determined to live on his own in nature. A story where the boy meets the world on his own terms without anger. This is about a boy who lives his dream.
  • The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling
    This is not the stories you see in the movies and cartoons with the same name. Mowgli, Akela, Baloo and Bagherra are unique and moral characters. These are stories of loyalty and betrayal, fear and courage, good and evil. In addition, several stories which are not associated with the Mowgli stories are also included. Movies (animated) have been made from the stories of "Ricki-Ticki-Tavi" and "The White Seal".
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry
    Though it is not immediately apparent, this is a love story. Not of romantic love, but about loving people. Symbolism abounds through this book; a younger reader would probably not realize this. In fact, one of the most enjoyable things is to reread this book as an adult. The suttle hints are everywhere. Please don't pick the Rose.
  • Captain's Couragous by Rudyard Kipling
    A story about a boy who get a huge "Attitude Adjustment".
  • Ragged Dick or Street Life in New York by Horatio Alger
    The Classic "Pulling oneself up by the bootstraps" story set in pre-Civil War New York. Every youth should read this story. Young people often have an entitlement mindset. These stories were written and set in a time before Welfare, Child Labor Laws, Compulsory Education and Foster Care. The hero of the story has to start caring for himself at the age of seven! And you thought your life was hard. Youth need the messages: we are responsible to ourselves for what we become, and our choices do matter.

Other Books(non-fiction) I Recommend for Youth

  • The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
  • Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy
  • Calculator's Cunning by Karl Menninger


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    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      2 years ago from Tennessee

      Thanks, Carter. I just read your article here, went to Amazon and orderd My Side of the Mountain as a last minute gift for my granddaughter. I'll probably read it before I give it to her. Sounds like my kind of book. I went out into the woods to live on my on when I was about 60. Still living there, but now I have 4 little granddaughters who love to come visit. The one I'm giving the book to told me recently she thought she'd like to come live here some day. 'Oh, great! Can I live with you?' I asked. And she replied sweetly, 'Sure. If you're not dead.'

      Hope you are still writing here--or at least still writing. I'm trying to get back into Hubpages and just checking around to see who is still here.

    • carterchas profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Texas

      Yes, Lord of the Rings is excellent reading. Books like that I usually give on request, unless I know that they like the genre.

    • pagesvoice profile image

      Dennis L. Page 

      7 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

      Voted up,useful and interesting. I like the way you think regarding books as a gift for children. To me, reading equals empowerment and expansion of the imagination. We go on a journey in our mind and thought processes are expanded. To a teen or preteen I would also recommend, "Lord of the Rings." Harry Potter doesn't have anything over "Lord of the Rings."

    • carterchas profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Texas

      While rereading my hub, I realized that a note about why I listed two of Kipling's books and not more of others, like Jean George should be made.

      The simple answer is THEMES.

      All of Jean George's book have a natural aspect to them. Every one I've read I've enjoyed.

      On the other hand, The Jungle Books and Captain's Couragous are very different books: The Jungle Books has numerous Personifications, Captain's Couragous has none; The Jungle Books is a collection of Short Stories, Captain's Couragous is a novel.

      When I buy a book, I try to find a book that will encourage the reader to continue reading.

    • carterchas profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Texas


      regarding your comparison of Harry Potter with The Jungle Books and The Diary of Anne Frank, I agree and disagree.

      I certainly agree that you have favorite amongs the books, but I really don't find the books comparable.

      The Jungle Books was originally published as a series of short stories in a magazine for young people. This was a common practice in Kipling's Time. As a result, each chapter is a complete story in itself. The Jungle Books are more correctly described as a collection of short stories while the Harry Potter books are novels.

      The Diary of Anne Frank, being a work of non-fiction, again is non-comparable. I often wonder what great writings she would have produced if she had lived.

      I do put The Diary of Anne Frank at a higher level than Harry Potter myself; not because of the quality of writing (like I said, we can't compare the two), but because of its historical significance: 500 years from now, it will still remain one of the greatest indictments against Nazi Germany; written by a girl not even 15 years old.

    • carterchas profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Texas

      Thank you all for the comments.

      Thank you also for your book suggestions.

      I nearly included "Treasure Island" and "Lord of the Rings" in the hub, but like the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series, I don't usually buy them to give;I often recommend them, though.

      I haven't read "Where the Red Fern Grows" in 30 years. I'm glad you reminded me of it.

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 

      7 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      My favorite book to read to young people - especially 5th graders - is Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. The best teacher in the world read that to our class when I was in 5th grade and when I became a teacher it became a tradition for me to read it every year to 5th graders. Talk about a love story! There can be no greater love than that of a boy for his dog!

      Also love My Side of the Mountain - I will have to reread it..

    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      GH Price 

      7 years ago from North Florida

      I had an aunt that gave me a book every year for my birthday and Christmas, she was a teacher and knew my favorite thing was reading. My best friend and her husband gave me a book for Christmas this year and it made me think of my aunt. I don't even care if the book isn't that great, I'll read it.

      Great hub, and you are awesome for spreading the joy about books!

    • Samantha Gold profile image

      Samantha Gold 

      7 years ago

      Good Hub. Thanks for the suggestions, I am always looking for good book suggestions for my children, especially my daughter who likes to read a lot.

    • theseus profile image


      7 years ago from philippines

      Nice hub, you have here. Being a voracious reader myself, I like it best whenever someone gives me a book as a gift. The Little Prince is one of my favorites. And of course the ones by Mitch Albom and The Greatest Salesman by Og Mandino are my all-time favorites. Thank you for sharing.

    • profile image

      Vrijdag Pages 

      7 years ago

      The Jungle Book and The Diary of Anne Frank is probably the most which is dear to my heart. Both books are moving, especially the latter. In my opinion, they rise above anything like Harry Potter.

      I think you should include Lord of the Rings here, as it is so well written, and, of course, Treasure Island.


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