It’s officially summer, which means two very important things: 1. School is out. 2.” Tons of time for reading! Even if you’re not traveling further than your backyard, these nine classic tales will provide plenty of adventure—so slather on that SPF, grab a spot in the sun and get ready for the ride of your life!
Note: These stories are recommended for readers aged 10 and up.
‘Peter Pan’ by J.M. Barrie
You may think you know the story of Peter Pan, but J.M. Barrie’s original novel offers 10 times the adventure of Disney’s take. Follow daring Peter, the dastardly Captain Hook and the lovable Lost Boys as they navigate Neverland, meeting fairies, pirates and plenty of danger along the way.
‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ by L. Frank Baum
Again, we promise—there’s more to this story than you’ve seen on screen. Called “America’s greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale” by the Library of Congress, Baum’s classic is chock-full of irresistible make-believe magic. Munchkins and Wicked Witches are just the beginning!
‘Robinson Crusoe’ by Daniel Defoe
Though it was published nearly 300 years ago, this story remains one of the most beloved adventure tales of all time…and for good reason. But maybe you shouldn’t read it if you’re about to set sail: At the book’s beginning, title character Robinson Crusoe is stranded on an island and must make a life for himself while encountering all sorts of edge-of-your-seat surprises.
‘The Jungle Book’ by Rudyard Kipling
You won’t find any congenial cartoon bears in this book. Instead, Rudyard Kipling’s classic collection of short stories tells the tale of a wild, unpredictable jungle, featuring everything from a boy raised by wolves to a clever mongoose battling a cobra and a murderous tiger named Shere-Khan.
‘The Call of the Wild’ by Jack London
The Call of the Wild features an unconventional narrator: a dog named Buck, who goes from a domestic pet to a wild wolf—with plenty of page-turning adventure in between. The best part? This book is relatively short, meaning you don’t have to put it down if you don’t want to. (And we bet you won’t.)
‘Hatchet’ by Gary Paulsen
When 13-year-old Brian’s plane crash-lands in the wilderness, leaving him lost and alone, he’s forced to do whatever he can to stay alive…with only the help of his hatchet. Not convinced it’s a must-read? Paulsen’s exciting tale of survival is so good that it earned a Newberry Honor medal in 1988.
‘Treasure Island’ by Robert Louis Stevenson
Love the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? Then you’ll love Treasure Island, the ultimate swashbuckling story. Stevenson’s novel has it all: buried treasure, peg legs, talking parrots and battles on the high seas. Shiver me timbers!
‘Gulliver’s Travels’ by Jonathan Swift
Though this Jonathan Swift classic is technically satire, there’s no context needed to enjoy its face-value entertainment. As Gulliver travels to foreign lands, he meets a host of fascinating folks: the tiny Lilliputians, the giants of Brobdingnag, talking horses, Yahoos and more.
‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’ by Jules Verne
The only undersea adventure of the bunch, Verne’s sci-fi tale introduces Professor Pierre Aronnax, a French biologist determined to find the giant sea monster spotted all over the globe. What he and his team discover instead comes as a huge surprise—but you’ll find no spoilers here! P.S. Verne is widely considered one of the best adventure writers of all time. If you fall in love with his writing, check out Around the World in Eighty Days and Journey to the Center of the Earth.