Everyone thinks of summer as the time to lie back with a good book. We see advertisements for “great summer reads” each May. But what about fall? No one advertises “great autumn reads.”
Granted, students start back to school in the fall and thus have less time for free reading. But that shouldn’t stop them! Free reading is still important, and there are plenty of shorter YA books out there that don’t take as much time to get through.
With that in mind, I’ve drawn up a short list of good autumn reads that any student can fit into their schedule between papers and textbooks.
A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO by Richard Peck. Siblings Joey and Mary Alice live in Chicago during the depression, but spend their summers on Grandma Dowdel’s small-town farm. Far from being bored, they experience the most outrageous adventures as Grandma lives life on her own terms.
GO ASK ALICE by Anonymous. Questions about the diary’s authenticity aside, this book will keep you spellbound from the first page. It’s short diary-style entries make the reading go fast, and once you follow Alice into her shocking world of drugs and danger, you won’t be able to put it down. (Parental guidance suggested for younger teens)
ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS by Scott O’Dell. A young native girl prepares to evacuate her island home with the rest of the tribe, but gets left behind. With no one but a tamed wolf for company, she must survive the elements, make shelter, bring in food–and discover what it means to grow into a young woman.
CHRONICLES OF NARNIA by C.S. Lewis–Each of these seven books makes a quick read for fall. If, by some chance, you’ve never read any of the Narnia stories, I suggest starting with THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE–follow the Pevensie children through a magic wardrobe and into C.S. Lewis’s beloved land of fantasy.