The best coming-of-age books for almost any age

Faye Gibbons Author Of Halley
By Faye Gibbons

The Books I Picked & Why

Jacob Have I Loved

By Katherine Paterson

Book cover of Jacob Have I Loved

Why this book?

This book is for any girl, like me, who grew up with a sister she envied. I loved seeing Louise come to terms with her own worth and her own beauty. I felt that I was fighting her battles with her. In the end we both made peace with our sisters and gained confidence in our own merits.

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Izzy, Willy-Nilly

By Cynthia Voigt

Book cover of Izzy, Willy-Nilly

Why this book?

Izzy is a nice girl. She’s pretty, popular, and smart. But one ride with a drunk driver changes her entire life. With one leg amputated, she must embrace a new life and find new friends who see her as more than a girl with a handicap. I liked Izzy so much, and it was thrilling to see her believably move on with her life. I see disabled young people with different eyes since reading Izzy’s story.

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The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

By Jacqueline Kelly

Book cover of The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Why this book?

Calpurnia Tate lives in a small dusty Texas town. Her father is a farmer but her mother sees herself as a lady, and wants her only daughter to be one too. Unfortunately, that means wearing frilly dresses and learning to cook, clean, and sew. What Calpurnia wants is to study animals and plants like her naturalist grandfather, which means getting dirty. My sympathies were all with Calpurnia. I remember what it was like to play in the creek and dig in the dirt. It was better than dressing in ruffles and lace any day!

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The Cross of Lead

By Avi

Book cover of The Cross of Lead

Why this book?

Crispin is a young serf in Medieval England--an orphan despised by everyone for reasons he does not understand. Though I never had problems as dire as Crispin faced, I frequently felt mistreated as a child, and like him, the forest was my comfort and refuge. Like him, I had a lively curiosity about the lives of others and many times learned important lessons through observation. I shared Crispin's tendency to hero worship those who befriended me, and like him, I generally chose my role models well.

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The Calling

By Cathryn Clinton

Book cover of The Calling

Why this book?

In 1962 South Carolina, it is not acceptable for a girl to declare she has been called to preach. Especially at the young age of twelve. But Esta Lea Ridley knows she is called to the Lord and she says so. She seems to have the gift of healing too. Some who support her have their own selfish motives. In the end,  we and Esta Lea must figure out what her calling means. This book handles serious matters with a light touch.

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