35 Books that Mattered

Happy Read Across America Day! We may read for pleasure, for personal enrichment, or even for pure escapism. However, there will always be stories that linger with you long after you have turned the last page.


From learning delicate lessons of childhood to the more complex and intricate workings of life as a young adult, these books will always have the distinction of shaping me into who I am today. The following stories challenged me to become more self-aware, opened my eyes to diverse perspectives, and encouraged my growth of faith, confidence, imagination, and personal agency. More importantly, they often forced me to ask hard questions about society and the role I play within it.


Aren’t those the best kinds of stories?

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I would love for you to have a look and share your own inspirational stories with us!

  1. Animalia by Graeme Base
  2. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  3. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (Also, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings!)
  4. The Giver by Lois Lowery
  5. The Circle-Maker by Matt Batterson
  6. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston
  7. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  8. Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher
  9. The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Suess (The Sneetches in particular!)
  10. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  11. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  12. Julius Caesar by Shakespeare
  13. The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
  14. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series by Ann Brashares
  15. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  16. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  17. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  18. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  19. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  20. The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins
  21. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  22. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
  23. Getting Mother’s Body by Suzan-Lori Parks
  24. Night by Elie Wiesel
  25. The Wind Singer by William Nicholson
  26. Our Town by Thornton Wilder
  27. Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  28. She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith
  29. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  30. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  31. Hatchet by Gary Paulson
  32. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  33. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  34. Love Does by Bob Goff
  35. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

There you have it! I could have added about 50 more, but I would love to hear your stories instead. Please share with us via Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments!


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