The Washington Post

Summer reading: The 10 most influential books

Summer is unofficially here and that means it’s time (at least for some of us) to consider what we want to read over the next few months.

To help with some suggestions, Scholastic, a global children’s publishing, education and media company, is conducting an ongoing on-line survey on its Web site. With some 15,000 responses to date, it has assembled lists of the most influential books, as reported by adults and kids.

Participants were asked this question: “Which five books shaped your life?”

Below are the top 10 lists for kids and adults and the Web site has a lot of information about each book (including who picked what). There also are other lists of favorite books by people from various walks of life (some of which I’ll publish in the coming weeks) and opportunities for you to participate.

The Web site launched last October. You may be surprised at some of the responses, which are not in the least bit scientific. Which list do you think “Charlotte’s Web” made?

The 10 most influential books picked by adults:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Holy Bible

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

The 10 most influential books picked by kids:

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney

The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Follow The Answer Sheet every day by bookmarking And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our Higher Education page. Bookmark it!

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.


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