Light-Hearted Classic Books for Teens

By request: Light-hearted classic books for teens.

Light-Hearted Classic Books for Teens

Light-Hearted Classic Books for Teens

We all know that homeschool high schoolers must read a lot of literature every year for their English/Language Arts credits. But does it always need to be stuffy, old-school classics?

After some tough years globally, we have been receiving requests for light-hearted literature for their homeschool high schoolers. We all know that teens need to be reading a lot for their English/Language Arts credits. That’s great!

But often, literature deals with heavy topics. This is as it should be. Teens need to learn to wrestle with tough ideas and gain critical thinking skills. However, sometimes we need a year to LIGHTEN UP!

So, we crowdsourced with our 7th Sisters and homeschool graduates: What are your favorite books that did NOT include difficult moral topics, murder or suicide?

We asked for ideas from all genres and got LOTS of excited feedback. It turns out that some of the light-hearted reading remains the most memorable.

Sometimes teens need a year to LIGHTEN UP their literature studies!

So, here is a list of light-hearted classic books for teens

I have to admit, some of the adventure novels have some violence but hopefully in the swashbuckling way that will not stress out a pandemic-stressed teen. Use your own guidelines (and your teens’ opinions) to make reading choices.

Also, note: the term “classic book” is used generously in this list. After all, we are homeschooling families so we do what is best for our teens’ education. In this case, if the book, play or poetry has survived and is popular into a second generation of readers, we added it to the list.

Please feel free to narrow your definition, there are plenty of classic, classic books on this list. (BTW- if your teens need to be encouraged to read classics, here’s post from Dr. Micah Tillman to help understand why one should read old books.)

If you would like to follow the 7Sisters guidelines (remember: there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school, we simply share what has worked for our teens and the teens we have taught over the decades), do literature study guides once or twice a month, but not for every book.

We’ve included links to 7Sisters study guides for books that were suggested (and that we have guides for, of course).

The Three Musketeers Literature Study Guide
Click image for full description.or, of course.)

Novels from World Authors

  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
  • I am a Cat by Soseki Natsume
  • The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
  • The Three Musketeers series by Alexandre Dumas (Download this don’t-kill-the-book study guide.)

Novels from British Authors

Books from US and Canadian Authors

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Download this freebie study guide designed as a whole-family experience.)
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (Download this no-busywork study guide.)
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline l’Engle
  • The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • Cheaper by the Dozen by  Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr.
  • The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    God's Smugglers Literature Study Guide
    Click image for full description.
  • Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
  • Love Comes Softly by Janet Oke
  • The Mask of Zorro by Jonathan McCulley
  • The Off-Islanders by Nathaniel Benchley
  • The Philippian Fragment by Calvin Miller
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  • Roughing It by Mark Twain
  • The Singreale Trilogy by Calvin Miller
  • That Printer of Udell’s by Harold Bell Wright
  • Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • White Fang by Jack London

Biographies and Memoirs

  • The Autobiography of George Muller
  • Biographies by Janet and Geoff Benge for YWAM. (Janet and Geoff have written two wonderful biography series: Christian Heroes: Then and Now and Heroes of History. They are easy reads and well worth it for inspiration. Check out the Homeschool Highschool Podcast interview with Janet and Geoff Benge!)
  • Gladys Aylward: The Little Woman (autobiography)

    Old Possums Book of Practical Cats Literature Study Guide
    Click image for full description.
  • God’s Smuggler (the story of Brother Andrew) (Download this no-busywork study guide.)
  • Old Squire’s Farm by C.A. Stephens
  • Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
  • Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom
  • The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw by Patrick McManus
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand



The Importance of Being Earnest Cinema Study for Literature Learning Guide
Click image for full description.

Theological Books and Devotionals

Cinema Studies for Literature Learning

Sometimes, movies can count as literature. 7Sisters Cinema Studies for Literature Learning teach literature themes and ideas in the context of specific movies that illustrate those themes.

Some of our most light-hearted and inspiring Cinema Studies for Literature Learning study guides are:

Cinema Study Guide for The Incredibles
Click image for full description.

Want more ideas for light-hearted reading? Here’s a list of American History novels suggested by our 7th Sisters and a list on goodreads.

Homeschool high schoolers can earn their Language Arts credit and still read light-hearted books. Download some 7Sisters Literature Study Guides to help.

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Light-Hearted Classic Books for Teens

Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

4 Replies to “Light-Hearted Classic Books for Teens”

  1. It’s wonderful to have some recommendations for light-hearted reading. “Light-hearted” is probably a bit subjective, as I thought some of these were on the heavier side, among them Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (I cried during read-aloud time at all the starvation) and Unbroken (Louis Zamperini was tortured mercilessly). I think of “light-hearted” as books my teen can read without any involvement from me, but I could see how there would be value in discussion for some of these titles to help them process the content.

    • You have a good point. The term “light-hearted” is subjective. We asked our 7th Sisters in the FB group for their input and these are what some 7th Sisters’ teens found to be light-hearted. However, what is light-hearted for one teen might not be light-hearted at all for another teen. That’s why there’s not one right way to homeschool…or have a reading list!

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