Classic Fiction for Children: Adventure!

Go sailing on the high seas, or mush dogs in the Yukon. These books are classic adventures that have inspired artists, directors, and children for decades!

Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn

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Although both Tom and Huck are orphans, their lives are complete contrasts of each other. Tom has a warm home and caretakers. Huck has only his father, the town drunk, and pretty much cares for himself.

Huck’s life seemed fantastic to me as a child because of the freedom and wildness of it. But as an adult, I can appreciate how  Twain wove meaning and symbolism into these two boys’ lives. Freedom without restraint is lonely and frivolous, but rules and comfort without courage and thinking for oneself is just as dangerous.

Download The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Download Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Treasure Island and Kidnapped

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Treasure Island is my all time favorite book. It spoke to me as an adolescent – teaching me that men are more than the offices they hold or the words they say. Young Jim learns to take charge with the help of his father figure, a mangy pirate.

This book is the inspiration for a lot of modern pirate movies!

Download Treasure Island

Set in 18th century Scotland – a young man is tricked out of his inheritance by a greedy uncle and kidnapped to serve aboard a sailing ship!

Download Kidnapped

Gulliver’s Travels

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For young children the book combines in a measure the interest of Robinson Crusoe and that of the fairy tale; its style is objective, the narrative is simple, and the matter appeals strongly to the childish imagination. For more mature boys and girls and for adults the interest is found chiefly in the keen satire which underlies the narrative. It appeals, therefore, to a very wide range of intelligence and taste, and can be read with profit by the child of ten and by the young man or woman of mature years.

Download Gulliver’s Travels

Robinson Crusoe

The original survivor island story!

Download Robinson Crusoe

Download Robinson Crusoe in words of one syllable

The Call of the Wild and White Fang

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For kids who love adventure and animals – these two gems by Jack London are perfect. Both are set in the Yukon, both feature dogs as the main characters, and both speak to the violence and redemption present in both nature and humanity.

Download The Call of the Wild

Download White Fang

 Swiss Family Robinson

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Don’t let the charming Disney movie fool you – this book is a tough read! I guess I had an adapted version as a kid because when I tried to read it as an adult I had to look up words in the dictionary!

However, the adventure is far deeper and wider in the book than portrayed by 1960′s Hollywood.

A great story of family values, working together, survival, and hope.

Download Swiss Family Robinson (several versions are available – I tried to find the one with the best flow for reading)

Download Swiss Family Robinson in words of one syllable

The Count of Monte Cristo and The Man in the Iron Mask

These are for older readers – high school and college bound. The plots are intricate and steeped in French history.

Download The Count of Monte Cristo

The Man in the Iron Mask is actually the last of the Three Musketeer novels. All of the volumes are linked in the html version of the book. I have always found this one to be the most interesting and easy to follow.

Download The Man in the Iron Mask

Jules Verne Classics

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Reality provides us with facts so romantic that imagination itself could add nothing to them. -Jules Verne

What child hasn’t wanted to soar above the clouds in a balloon, visit the depths of the sea, and find amazing beasts in dark caverns?

Download Around the World in Eighty Days

Download A Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Download Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

More Adventures:

There are so many good ones to list!

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