This is part of the Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge over at Long and Short Reviews. This week's challenge is Books I Want Youth To Discover.
As the father of two boys (currently aged 9 and 12), this is such a day-to-day consideration that I'm not immediately sure where to start. Naturally I want them to love the books that I loved, and to enjoy the authors that I enjoy. Naturally, that doesn't always work the way I'd hoped -- I once recommended a book to Firstborn that seemed like a quirky story about a mimic that escapes its dungeon and has to figure out how to make its way in the world; three pages later I discovered that the book was wildly inappropriate for children, but by then he'd already finished it. But generally... yeah, I'm passing book recommendations to the boys as frequently as I can.
Well, I mean, there's Harry Potter of course, but I imagine that's going to head a lot of people's lists. So let's look at some of the ones that are less obvious.
Emilie and the Hollow World and its sequel, Emilie and the Sky World (both of which were available as e-books, I swear) are really excellent and deeply underrated YA books by Martha Wells, author of The Murderbot Diaries. I would love for these to have the popularity they deserve. You have a teenage heroine who is brave but not fearless, a sort of steampunk-and-magic setting, and some really lovely exploration-adventure-danger sequences. (I also would love to see a third title in this series.)
Joan D Vinge's Cat series (Psion, Catspaw, and Dreamfall) is an older series, where the protagonist is a half-alien telepath who keeps getting dragged into trouble because of his powers, and because of his sense of social conscience.
For Love of Mother Not, the first (though not first-published) of the Flinx and Pip adventures, about a young boy with erratic psychic/empathic powers and his acid-spitting winged snake. (Who wouldn't like to have an acid-spitting flying snake?) In the first book, Flinx's adoptive mother gets kidnapped and Flinx sets out find her. As the series progresses, there are ancient alien artifacts, strange new races, and a growing threat gathering at the edge of the galaxy.
...Apparently I have a bit of a space adventures theme going on here.
Anyway, that's my top-of-my-head list. I mean, there are others that we've had some wild success getting Firstborn to read -- Harriet Hamster and Danny Dragonbreath, both series by Ursula Vernon, the Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland -- but those are modern and already quite popular, and not really much in need of being discovered.
I'll come back and update if I think of any more likely candidates before I publish this.
Oh! Late shout-out to one Beautiful Wife's early favorites: Crusade in Jeans. It's the story of a kid who gets sent back in time and gets caught up in the Children's Crusade.