I don’t understand why I love books that are sad, but I do. I often have a book hangover** for days after finishing a tearjerker. These sad stories typically involve a pet or family member death though that is not a requirement. Here are a few of my favorite books that might make the reader cry, but they are so good, it is hard to put them down.
The books are roughly upper elementary (4th, 5th, 6th) reading range, but I noted a few for middle school readers. Several are great read alouds for younger readers, but remember, it is hard to read aloud when sobbing. There was an incident this year in a certain 4th grade classroom with Stone Fox.
** Book Hangover– (n) The lingering feeling a person has after finishing a book and can not get the story out of his/her mind. It sometimes prevents a person from starting a new book.
- Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea (6th grade+)
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
- Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
- Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther (7th grade+)
- The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
- Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
- Love That Dog and Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech (My students don’t cry when they read these books. I think it is a mom thing that makes me cry.)
- A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
- Missing May by Cynthia Rylant
- The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
- See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles
- Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
- Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
- A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry
- Watership Down by Richard Adams (7th grade+)
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
And the Grand Prize Winner, hands down, never fails to make me cry hysterically, but I have read it at least ten times– Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.