Thirteen to Fifteen Years Old

This page lists books to read to children or for them to read to themselves. For books about children and childraising, see Education.

Many books listed on the pages for earlier ages continue to be suitable for this age, and may be appreciated with a growing sophistication.


  • Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E. L. Konigsburg. Elizabeth longs to be special, as Jennifer is. But when she really has to choose, Elizabeth discovers the virtue of integrity.
  • Les Miserables, (The Wretched) by Victor Hugo. The grandeur of man shows throough every action in this intensely plotted story set in Hugo's contemporary France in a soaring celebration of individualism. The Christine Donougher translation is highly reommended.
  • Shane by Jack Schaefer. Integrity triumphs over evil in this American classic western. Illustrates the necessity of standing up to one's enemies and the great power that good has when it acts with ruthless conviction.
  • Sparrowhawk by Edward Cline. At the end of the eighteenth century, American colonies broke away from England to a new country in which men could dedicate themselves to achieving their individual happiness. Sparrowhawk is a 6-book adventure set during those great and turbulent years, starting with the protagonist’s, Jack Frake’s, decision while in England to "live free or die" and following the consequences of that decision across the ocean and years.
  • The Admirable Crichton, J. M. Barrie. Lord Loam, peer of the British Empire, espouses very democratic views as he compells all his servants to attend tea in which the domestics are treated all as equals to the nobility. Crighton, his butler, is horrified. Crighton believes firmly that Nature determines a hierarchy among men. "There must always be master and servants in all civilized communities, my lady, for it is natural, and whatever is natural is right." However, he admits that circumstances might alter cases, that under different conditions Nature might determine that "the same person might not be master; the same person might not be servant." These characters and ideas are tested when Lord Loam, his family, Crighton and a servant are wrecked on a desert island.
  • The Miracle Worker by William Gibson. Twelve-year-old Helen Keller lived an animal's existence, blind, deaf, and without language, and shielded by her parents from the challenges and possibility of becoming human. Anne Sullivan, a brilliant and determined tutor, changed that by teaching Helen sign language and demanding that Helen rise to the potential of a thinking, volitional, conceptual being.
  • The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope. The vacationing English gentleman Rudolf Rassendyll bears a close likeness to the true king of Ruritania, and his love of justice, adventure and the Princess Flavia lead him to masquerade as the king to defeat a plot by the king's brother to usurp the throne. Dashing bravery, humor and ingenious feats characterize the hero.
  • The Scarlet Pimpernell by Baroness Orczy. By 1792, the idealism of the French Revolution had degenerated into a Reign of Terror. Ruthless mobs ruled the streets of Paris; and each day, hundreds of royals were executed by the guillotine, with hundreds more condemned to follow. Their only hope lay in being rescued by the Scarlet Pimpernel, the daring leader of an English faction that spirited aristocrats across the Channel to safety. But who was this Pimpernel, whose nom de guerre derived from the scarlet wildflower he employed as a calling card? First published in 1905, this historical adventure story -- timeless in its appeal -- is an irresistible blend of romance, intrigue, and suspense. Readers will thrill to the gallantry of its elusive, brave, and dashing hero who becomes the darling of the people, particularly Marguerite Blakeney, who scorns her foppish husband, Percy, as ardently as she admires the Pimpernel. (Publisher's summary)
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabith George Speare. Young Kit Tyler is terribly lonely when she first arrives in bleak and Puritan seventeenth century New England until she meets a kindred spirit, Hannah Tupper. However, the superstitious townsfolk believe that Hannah is a witch. Kit must choose between her love of a friend and the danger this puts her in, between her own knowledge and the assertions of religious faith
  • Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose. Twelve jurors open deliberations in a murder case where the defendant seems obviously guilty, but one juror doesn’t follow suit and insists they discuss the case further.

  • Black Ships before Troy, The story of The Iliad by Rosemary Sutcliff. Homer's epic poem, The Iliad, is one of the greatest adventure stories of all time. In it, the abduction of the legendary beauty, Helen of Troy, leads to a conflict in which even the gods and goddesses take sides and intervene. It is in the Trojan War that the most valiant heroes of the ancient world are pitted against one another. Here Hectore, Ajax, Achilles, and Odysseus meet their most formidable challenges and in some cases their tragic ends. Rosemary Sutcliff makes such extraordinary stories as those of those Trojan horse, of Aphrodite and the golden apple, and of the fearsome warrior women Amazons, accessible to contemporary young people. (publisher's summary)
  • Captain Blood by Raphael Sabatini. Dr. Peter Blood, sold into slavery by his political enemies, becomes a pirate. His enemies too late wish they had not such an ingenious wielder of the sword of justice.
  • Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson.
  • Kiki's Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono. Theme: Becoming independent. Kiki, a young Japanese witch, sets up business in a town that has not had a witch in a long time. She learns to make friends, identify her values, and identify herself as distinct both from her parents and her friends.
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.


  • Rattatouille by Pixar. An animated rat pursues and achieves the career he loves.

Text Books and Reference Books

  • Singapore Math. Math books and curricula for pre-K through 12th grade. These books are cheerful, fun and teach math from the basics up.
  • How to Be a High School Superstar, A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out) by Cal Newport. The usual advice for getting into the college of your choice is something like "Excel in academics, cram-in lots of tough courses, and demonstrate your passion and commitment through athletics and leadership in clubs and social causes." If you follow that advice, you will join the thousand of competent and hard-working but otherwise indistinguishable aspirants. Cal Newport shows a better path. Using the methods he recommends, and that have been proven by numerous successful students, you can focus your scholastic investment into the courses that really matter to you, get your studying done efficiently and with good understanding, and have enough free, uncommitted time that you can find and exploit opportunities to find interests you genuinely care about and that enable you to become a unique and interesting person. And that is what good colleges actually want.



Pocahantas, from painting by Wm. Sheppard

Pocahantas, from painting by Wm. Sheppard