Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Top Tens: Orphan Books

Ten of my favorite books where orphans play in the starring role:

1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
2. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
4. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
6. Where the Lilies Bloom by Vera and Bill Cleaver
7. Mandy by Julie Edwards
8. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
9. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
10. A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

The life of an orphan has been oddly fascinating to me, especially when I was a kid growing up in a family of nine children. I would often make my brothers and sisters play "orphans" with me and we would have a blast pretending at surviving on our own.

What are some of your favorite orphan stories? Which ones did I obviously forget? Make a list and share your link in comments!


  1. My favorite--hands down: James and the Giant Peach.

  2. Of course, Anne is my favorite, too. I forgot about Mandy by Julie Andrews. Great list!

  3. I never would have thought of this for a list but you are so right! My favorite is totally The Secret Garden - that story completely captured my imagination!

  4. Daddy Long-Legs! Definitely one of my favorites. Plus you get the added bonus of seeing the main character go to a women's college, which was super interesting.

  5. Great choices! I'm particularly fond of Great Expectations, but I bet you already knew that. ;)

  6. Ah. This list brought back some good memories. I loved THE BOXCAR CHILDREN. I need to go unearth them from their box in the basement.

    The only other one I can think of that I might include on the list is THE BOOK THIEF. I also really enjoyed LIFE OF PI, but I liked the ones on your list better.

  7. Ooh. I forgot about JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. I love that book. (His parents were eaten by hippopotamuses. How can you beat that?)

  8. Great list definitely have a few of mine on it.

  9. Jana: You know, I'm not sure if I ever really read James. How sad is that!

    Denise: I loved Mandy. Loved it!

    Amused: Yes, The Secret Garden is wonderful. Have you ever seen the musical for it? Love that too.

    Opinions: Hmmm... haven't heard of that one.

    Andi: Yes! I knew it! :)

    Jessica: Wow, The Book Thief!! What was I thinking? Life of Pi too.

    Jan: Anything you would have put on your list that I missed?

  10. Most my favorite orphan books are on your list. I would add Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. I just finished rereading A Single Shard--excellent book.

  11. The Outsiders.

    Wasn't Pippi Longstocking an orphan?? I can't remember.

    Hooray for A Single Shard being on your list!

  12. Emilee: I'm not familiar with Housekeeping. Sounds good.

    Bybee: LOVE A Shingle Shard. Amazing book. And yes, I think Pippi Longstocking was an orphan. But wow, that was a long time ago!

  13. love your list..
    Alex and the Ironic Gentleman (Adrienne Kress) is a favorite... loved The Book Thief, too. And Frances Hardinge's Fly By Night.

    Your playing "orphans" reminded me of Lois Lowry's The Willoughbys, where they would prefer to be orphans (as inspired by stories); though they would prefer it for real, as their parents are horrid.



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