library books

Selected Reading List for Catholic K-12 Schools

Updated February 27, 2019

The following reading list is offered for use with The Cardinal Newman Society’s Policy Standards on Literature and the Arts in Catholic Education.

The authors assembled this list based on their experience as educators and Catholic school administrators, and by consulting sources including schools recognized by The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Education Honor Roll for their commitment to strong Catholic identity. The list suggests options for Catholic educators, but it is not exhaustive of all possible literature that might be suitable for Catholic education. Many factors must be considered when deciding which particular works should be included in a curriculum.

This list may be adopted in whole or in part by educators.



K-4 Fiction- General

Adapted Greek and Roman Myths

Aesop’s Fables

Bible Stories


Folk tales

Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes

Selected Fairy Tales from Grimm

Selected Fairy Tales from Hans Christian Andersen

K-4 Titles

Adapted Greek and Roman Myths

Aesop’s Fables

A Book of Nonsense (Lear)

A Pair of Red Clogs (Matsuno)

A Seed is Sleeping (Aston)

Alexander & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Viorst)

An Egg is Quiet (Aston)

Andy and the Circus (Daugherty)

Angus and the Ducks (Flack)

Before I Was Me (Fraser)

Blueberries for Sal (McCloskey)

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Martin)

Caps for Sale (Slobodkina)

Charlotte’s Web (White)

Clown of God (de Paolo)

Cranberry Thanksgiving (Devlin)

Curious George Series (Rey)

Favorite Uncle Remus (Harris)

Frog and Toad Series (Lobel)

Harold and the Purple Crayon (Johnson)

Heavenly Hosts: Eucharistic Miracles for Kids (Swegart)

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie (Numeroff)

Lentil (McCloskey)

Madeline (Bemelmans)

Make Way for Ducklings (McCloskey)

Mama, Do you Love Me? (Joosse)

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel (Burton)

Millions of Cats (Gag)

Mirette on the High Wire (McCully)

Molly McBride and the Purple Habit (Schoonover – Egolf)

Mr. Popper’s Penguins (Atwater)

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH Series (O’Brien)

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters (Steptoe)

Nate The Great series (Sharmat)

Owl Moon (Yolen)

Papa Piccolo (Talley)

Peppe the Lamplighter (Barton)

Peter Pan (Barrie)

Rikki Tikki Tavi (Kipling)

Roses in the Snow: A Tale of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary (Jackson & Kadar-Kallen)

Saints Chronicles Series (Milgrom & Davis)

St. Clare of Assisi Runaway Rich Girl (Hee-ju)

St. George and the Dragon (Hodges)

Storm in the Night (Stolz)

The Animal Hedge (Fleishman)

The Blue Fairy Book; The Red Fairy Book (Lang)

The Bobbsey Twins (Hope)

The Children’s Book of Virtues (Bennett)

The Elves and the Shoemaker (Galdone)

The Five Chinese Brothers (Bishop & Wiese)

The Quiltmaker’s Gift (Brumbeau)

The Little Engine That Could (Piper)

The Little Flower: A Parable of Saint Therese of Lisieux (Arganbright & Arvidson)

The Little House in the Woods (Wilder)

The Moffats (Estes)

The Mystery at Midnight (Hendey)

The Princess and the Kiss (Bishop)

The Snowy Day (Keats)

The Story About Ping (Fleck & Wiese)

The Story of Ferdinand (Leaf)

The Story of Peter Rabbit (Potter)

The Trumpet of the Swan (White)

The Velveteen Rabbit (Williams)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Carle)

The Wind in the Willows (Grahame)

Treasure Box Set (Maryknoll Sisters)

Wee Gillis (Leaf)

Where the Wild Things Are (Sendak)

Winnie the Pooh (Milne)

Grades 5-8

Grades 5-8 Fiction Titles

7 Riddles to Nowhere (Cattapan)

A Horse and the Boy (Lewis)

A Christmas Carol (Dickens)

A Story of Joan of Arc (Earnest)

A Wrinkle in Time (L’Engle)

Ablaze: Stories of Daring Teen Saints (Swaim)

Adam of the Road (Gray)

Amos Fortune, Free Man (Yates)

Anne of Geen Gables (Montgomery)

Around the World in Eighty Days (Verne)

Beowulf: A New Telling (Nye)

Black Beauty (Sewell)

Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of the Iliad (Lee)

Blessed Marie of New France (Windeatt)

Break in the Basilica (Ahern)

Caddie Woodlawn (Brink)

Captain Courageous (Kipling)

Cyrano de Bergerac (Rostand)

Death Comes for the Archbishop (Cather)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Stevenson)

Fingal’s Quest (Pollard)

Freckles (Porter)

Hans Brinker (Dodge)

Heidi (Spyri)

Hero of the Hills (Windeatt)

Holy Twins: Benedict and Scholastica (Norris)

Homer Price (McCloskey)

I Am David (Holm)

I, Juan de Pareja (de Trevino)

If All the Swords in England (Willard)

Johnny Tremain (Forbes)

Journey to the Center of the Earth (Verne)

Kidnapped (Stevenson)

King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table (Green)

Kon-Tiki (Heyerdahl)

Lay Siege to Heaven (de Wohl)

Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Irving)

Leif the Lucky (D’Aulaire)

Lilies of the Field (Barrett)

Little House in the Big Woods (Wilder)

Little Women; Little Men (Alcott)

Log of a Cowboy (Adams)

Lost in St. Peter’s Tomb (Ahern)

Madeline Takes Command (Brill & Adams)

Midshipman Easy; Masterman Ready (Marryat)

Misty of Chincoteague (Henry)

My Antonia (Cather)

My Side of the Mountain (George)

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Douglass)

Old Yeller (Gipson)

Our Town (Wilder)

Outlaws of Ravenhurst (Wallace)

Patron Saint of First Communicants (Windeatt)

Penrod and others (Tarkington)

Pied Piper of Hamlin (Browning)

Pygmalion (Shaw)

Radiate: More Stories of Daring Teen Saints (Swaim)

Redwall series (Jacques)

Rip Van Winkle (Irving)

Robin Hood (Pyle)

Robinson Crusoe (Defoe)

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry (Taylor)

Saint Catherine of Siena (Forbes)

Saint Dominic (Windeatt)

Saint Hyacinth of Poland (Windeatt)

Saint John Masias (Windeatt)

Saint Martin de Porres (Windeatt)

Saint Monica (Forbes)

Saint Rose of Lima (Windeatt)

Saint Thomas Aquinas (Windeatt)

Sarah Plain and Tall (Wilder)

Secrets of Siena (Ahern)

Son of Charlemagne (Willard)

St. Benedict, Hero of the Hills (Windeatt)

St. Joan, The Girl Soldier (De Wohl)

St. Patrick (Tompert)

St. Thomas Aquinas for Children (Maritain)

Story of a Bad Boy (Aldrich)

Swallows and Amazons (Ransome)

Swiss Family Robinson (Wyss)

Tales of King Arthur (Talbott)

Tanglewood Tales (Hawthorne)

Tarzan Series (Burroughs)

The Adventures of Robin Hood (Green)

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Doyle)

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Twain)

The Black Arrow (Stephenson)

The Black Cauldron (Alexander)

The Blood Red Crescent (Garnett)

The Boxcar Children (Warner)

The Bronze Bow (Speare)

The Call of the Wild (London)

The Children of Fatima (Windeatt)

The Children’s Homer (Colum)

The Chronicles of Narnia (Lewis)

The Crucible (Miller)

The Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkein)

The Hiding Place (ten Bloom)

The Hobbit (Tolkien)

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Doyle)

The Innocence of Father Brown [or others] (Chesterton)

The Island of the Blue Dolphins (O’Dell)

The Jungle Book (Kipling)

The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien)

The Last Battle (Lewis)

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Irving)

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (Lewis)

The Little Flower (Windeatt)

The Living Wood (De Wohl)

The Miracle Worker (Gibson)

The Miraculous Medal (Windeatt)

The Phantom Tollbooth (Juster)

The Pearl (Steinbeck)

The Ransom of Red Chief and other short stories (O. Henry)

The Railway Children (Nesbit)

The Red Badge of Courage (Crane)

The Red Keep (French)

The Restless Flame (de Wohl)

The Secret Garden (Burnett)

The Song at the Scaffold (Von le Fort)

The Spear: A Novel of the Crucifixion (De Wohl)

The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Walsh)

The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow (French)

The Swiss Family Robinson (Wyss)

The Tale of Despereaux (DeCamillo)

The Trumpeter of Krakow (Kelly)

The Twenty-One Balloons (Du Bois)

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Lewis)

The Wanderings of Odysseus: The Story of the Odyssey (Lee)

The Weight of the Mass (Nobisso)

The White Stag (Seredy)

The Wind in the Willows (Grahame)

The Winged Watchman (van Stockum)

The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Speare)

The Yearling (Rawlings)

Thomas Aquinas & the Preaching Beggars (Larnen & Lomask)

Tommy Playfair (Finn)

Treasure Island (Stevenson)

Trumpeter of Krakow (Kelly)

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Verne)

Two Years Before the Mast (Dana)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Stowe)

Westward Ho (Kingsley)

Where the Red Fern Grows (Rawls)

White Fang (London)

Will Wilder Series (Arroyo)

 Grades 9-12

Grades 9-12 Non-Fiction Titles (original or in translation)

Autobiography (Franklin)

Democracy in America, [selections] (de Tocqueville)

Forget Not Love: The Passion of Maximilian Kolbe (Frossad)

Funeral Oration (Pericles)

Harvard Address and/or Nobel Prize acceptance speech (Solzhenitsyn)

I Have a Dream (King)

Night (Wiesel)

Poetics, Ethics [excerpts] (Aristotle)

Self-Reliance (Emerson)

Slave Narratives (Douglass, Jacobs)

The Apology, Dialogues, Republic [excerpts] (Plato)

The Communist Manifesto (Marx)

The Declaration of Independence

The Federalist Papers [selections] (Hamilton, et. al)

The Gettysburg Address (Lincoln)

The Gulag Archipelago [abridged] (Solzhenitsyn)

The Histories [selections] (Herodotus)

The Magna Carta

The Prince (Machiavelli)

The Rights of Man (Paine)

The Rule of St. Benedict

The Social Contract (Rousseau)

The United States Constitution

Treatise on Law and excerpts from other works (Aquinas)

Grades 9-12 Fiction Titles

A Man for All Seasons (Bolt)

A Voyage Round the World (Dampier)

Aeneid [excerpts] (Virgil)

All Quiet on the Western Front (Remarque)

An Enemy of the People (Ibsen)

And Then There Were None (Christi)

Animal Farm and/or 1984 (Orwell)

Beowulf (trans. Tolkien)

Billy Budd, Bartleby the Scrivener, and other short stories (Melville)

Brideshead Revisited (Waugh)

Brothers Karamazov or Crime and Punishment (Dostoyevsky)

Canterbury Tales [excerpts] (Chaucer)

Come Rack! Come Rope! (Benson)

Death Comes for the Archbishop (Cather)

Death of a Salesman (Miller)

Diary of a Country Priest (Bernanos)

Doctor Faustus (Marlow)

Doctor Zhivago (Pasternak)

Don Quixote (Cervantes)

El Cid (Racine)

Forget Not Love: The Passion of Maximilian Kolbe (Frossad)

Frankenstein (Shelley)

Great Expectations, David Copperfield, or A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)

Gulliver’s Travels (Swift)

Hamlet, Macbeth, and if possible King Lear and others (Shakespeare)

Huckleberry Finn (Twain)

Hunchback of Notre Dame (Hugo)

Jane Eyre (Bronte)

Joan of Arc (Twain)

Kim (Kipling)

Lieutenant Hornblower Series (Forester)

Le Morte D’Arthur (Malory)

Les Miserables (Hugo)

Lord Jim (Conrad)

Lorna Doone (Blackmore)

Man in the Iron Mask (Dumas)

Metamorphoses [excerpts] (Ovid)

Mill on the Floss [others] (Eliot)

Moonstone [and others] (Collins)

My Antonia (Cather)

Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, or Antigone (Sophocles)

Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway)

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Solzhenitsyn)

Oresteia (Aeschylus) and/or Andromache or Medea (Euripides)

Paradise Lost [excerpts] (Milton)

Portrait of Lady or The American (James)

Pride and Prejudice (Austen)

Quo Vadis (Sienkiewicz)

Red Badge of Courage (Crane)

Sense and Sensibility or Persuasion, or Emma (Austen)

Short Stories (Poe)

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (anonymous)

Stories (Chekhov)

The Betrothed (Manzoni)

The Chosen (Potock)

The Cloister and the Hearth (Reade)

The Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas)

The Divine Comedy [excerpts] (Dante)

The Epic of Gilgamesh (anonymous)

The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)

The Heart of Darkness (Conrad)

The Hoosier Schoolmaster (Eggleston)

The Iliad [excerpts] (Homer)

The Invisible Man (Wells)

The Longest Day (Ryan)

The Man Who Was Thursday (Chesterton)

The Mayor of Casterbridge (Hardy)

The Odyssey [excerpts or full] (Homer)

The Open Boat (Crane)

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Wilde)

The Prince (Machiavelli)

The Prisoner of Zenda (Hawkins)

The Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne)

The Scarlet Pimpernel (Orczy)

The Song of Roland (anonymous)

The Three Musketeers (Dumas)

The Thirty Nine Steps (Buchanan)

The Time Machine (Wells)

The Virginian (Wister)

To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee)

Tom Brown’s School Days; Tom Brown at Oxford (Hughes)

Trilby (Du Maurier)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Stowe)

Up From Slavery (Washington)

Vanity Fair (Thackeray)

Wuthering Heights (Bronte)


Catholic Authors:

George Bernanos, Laura Berquist, G.K. Chesterton, Louis DeWohl, Shusaku Endo, Graham Greene, Victor Hugo, Mary Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Sigrid Undset, Evelyn Waugh

Other Authors:

Jane Austin, James Fenimore Cooper, Charles Dickens, Washington Irving, Rudyard Kipling, Herman Melville, Sir Walter Scott, William Shakespeare


Matthew Arnold, W.H. Auden, Hilaire Belloc, William Blake, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Lord Byron, G.K. Chesterton, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Richard Crashaw, Emily Dickenson, John Donne, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, A.E. Hausman, George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, John Keats, Joyce Kilmer, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Andrew Marvell, Alexander Pope, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Siegfried Sassoon, William Shakespeare, Percy Shelley, Robert Southwell, Edmund Spenser, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Dylan Thomas, Francis Thompson, William Wordsworth, William Butler Yeats

Spiritual Classics

Confessions [excerpts] (St. Augustine of Hippo)

Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, or The Abolition of Man (Lewis)

Selections from: The Documents of Vatican II, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Veritatis Splendor, Humanae Vitae

Story of a Soul (St. Therese of Lisieux)

Summa Theologica [excerpts] (St. Thomas Aquinas)

The Bible

The Desert Fathers [excerpts]

The Imitation of Christ [excerpts] (Thomas a Kempis)

The Introduction to the Devout Life [excerpts] (St. Francis de Sales)

Additional Reading Lists:

Institute for Excellence in Writing, (n.d.). Books for boys and other children who would rather make forts all day. Retrieve at

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