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Best Intro to Sci-Fi for Young Readers

The best books to introduce children and young adults to the realm of science-fiction literature.
1

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4.31 avg rating — 1,280,616 ratings
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2

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4.23 avg rating — 1,691,812 ratings
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3

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4.32 avg rating — 7,671,825 ratings
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4

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3.99 avg rating — 1,135,398 ratings
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5

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4.13 avg rating — 2,197,395 ratings
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6

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3.98 avg rating — 2,119,188 ratings
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7

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4.25 avg rating — 1,144,265 ratings
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8

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4.21 avg rating — 320,861 ratings
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9

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3.83 avg rating — 286,436 ratings
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10

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3.85 avg rating — 625,132 ratings
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11

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4.08 avg rating — 894,802 ratings
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12

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4.33 avg rating — 2,714 ratings
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13

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4.15 avg rating — 242,711 ratings
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14

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4.30 avg rating — 3,100,074 ratings
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15

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4.19 avg rating — 4,013,870 ratings
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16

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3.98 avg rating — 3,425,855 ratings
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17

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4.41 avg rating — 98,227 ratings
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18

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3.86 avg rating — 180,472 ratings
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19

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4.06 avg rating — 2,833,492 ratings
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20

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4.16 avg rating — 3,577,864 ratings
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21

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4.29 avg rating — 4,682 ratings
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22

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4.32 avg rating — 3,033 ratings
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23

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4.28 avg rating — 3,519,665 ratings
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24

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3.84 avg rating — 1,410,074 ratings
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25

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4.32 avg rating — 1,824,101 ratings
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26

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3.92 avg rating — 29,145 ratings
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27

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4.16 avg rating — 292,434 ratings
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28

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4.34 avg rating — 9,245 ratings
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29

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3.85 avg rating — 965,358 ratings
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30

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4.01 avg rating — 214,339 ratings
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31

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4.34 avg rating — 7,125 ratings
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32

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3.99 avg rating — 119,909 ratings
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33

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4.04 avg rating — 1,341,915 ratings
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34

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4.24 avg rating — 53,294 ratings
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35

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4.18 avg rating — 589,067 ratings
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36

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4.26 avg rating — 29,321 ratings
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37

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3.69 avg rating — 2,653,789 ratings
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38

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3.91 avg rating — 90,276 ratings
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39

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4.07 avg rating — 218,272 ratings
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40

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3.90 avg rating — 478,366 ratings
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41

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 126,719 ratings
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42

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4.11 avg rating — 147,524 ratings
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43

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4.16 avg rating — 123,399 ratings
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44

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4.03 avg rating — 24,743 ratings
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45

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4.09 avg rating — 407,196 ratings
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46

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4.21 avg rating — 264,909 ratings
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47

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3.99 avg rating — 1,689,550 ratings
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48

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4.16 avg rating — 172,736 ratings
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49

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3.55 avg rating — 61,172 ratings
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50

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4.13 avg rating — 1,818,686 ratings
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51

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4.08 avg rating — 88,268 ratings
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52

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3.93 avg rating — 49,646 ratings
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53

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3.94 avg rating — 30,789 ratings
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54

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4.17 avg rating — 213,944 ratings
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55

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3.68 avg rating — 1,864 ratings
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56

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3.92 avg rating — 85,773 ratings
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57

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3.95 avg rating — 115,421 ratings
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58

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3.76 avg rating — 182,106 ratings
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59

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4.16 avg rating — 87,239 ratings
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60

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4.13 avg rating — 838,350 ratings
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61

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4.14 avg rating — 135,033 ratings
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62

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4.27 avg rating — 26,520 ratings
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63

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4.01 avg rating — 24,612 ratings
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64

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4.09 avg rating — 59,201 ratings
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65

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4.38 avg rating — 2,632,837 ratings
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66

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3.88 avg rating — 124,139 ratings
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67

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4.07 avg rating — 67,264 ratings
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68

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 16,189 ratings
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69

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4.16 avg rating — 508 ratings
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70

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4.29 avg rating — 219 ratings
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71

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3.89 avg rating — 268,137 ratings
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72

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3.95 avg rating — 12,881 ratings
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73

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3.95 avg rating — 12,787 ratings
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74

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3.80 avg rating — 4,306 ratings
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75

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4.55 avg rating — 800,950 ratings
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76

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4.01 avg rating — 1,436,912 ratings
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77

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4.02 avg rating — 725 ratings
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78

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4.17 avg rating — 491,427 ratings
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79

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3.81 avg rating — 55,076 ratings
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80

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4.01 avg rating — 100,463 ratings
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81

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4.47 avg rating — 856,239 ratings
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82

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4.02 avg rating — 9,635 ratings
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83

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4.09 avg rating — 154,190 ratings
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84

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3.84 avg rating — 16,098 ratings
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85

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3.89 avg rating — 234,448 ratings
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86

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3.99 avg rating — 1,378,321 ratings
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87

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4.41 avg rating — 999,570 ratings
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88

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4.28 avg rating — 66,915 ratings
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89

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4.23 avg rating — 2,538,090 ratings
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90

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3.86 avg rating — 194,152 ratings
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91

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4.16 avg rating — 177,063 ratings
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92

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3.91 avg rating — 243,487 ratings
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93

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4.17 avg rating — 59,154 ratings
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94

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4.18 avg rating — 1,090 ratings
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95

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4.12 avg rating — 50,001 ratings
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96

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4.11 avg rating — 47,782 ratings
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97

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4.07 avg rating — 409 ratings
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98

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4.13 avg rating — 44,706 ratings
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99

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4.07 avg rating — 31,143 ratings
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100

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4.27 avg rating — 73,343 ratings
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1,253 books · 1,278 voters · list created March 26th, 2009 by Vinson (votes) .
140 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Vinson 18 books
1 friend
Christopher 292 books
289 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3300 books
868 friends
Bettie 15666 books
19 friends
William 47 books
6 friends
Libbeth 2713 books
38 friends
Greyweather 2660 books
68 friends
Shannon 4844 books
1255 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-31 of 31 (31 new)

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message 1: by michelyn (new)

 michelyn I would say a wrinkle in time.


message 2: by Thomas (new)

Thomas I second A Wrinkle in Time.


message 4: by Marin (new)

Marin Fun list. It's cool to see pieces of my younger self all over it. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that anyone could really get into science fiction if they only have the right "gateway."


message 5: by Adam (new)

Adam I voted for the list that worked for me in my younger life. Verne, Wells, Moorcock, and Mary Shelley. I would add to this list some Poe, Robert Howard, and Lewis Carroll(stacks of E.C. ccomics!!!).


message 6: by John (last edited Jun 22, 2009 12:26PM) (new)

John Mayer I still remember at least some of the books that first captured my imagination as a lad. _The Red Planet_ was not only one of my first science-fiction books, it might also have been the book that started me on the road to becoming a full-fledged liberal. Ironic, in light of Heinlein’s political devolution. I’m amazed anyone would recommend _The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_ for kids, though; I couldn’t get into it even as an adult, and not because of the politics; it was boring. “Andre” Norton was also an early favorite.

I”m disappointed, though, that there is only one short story collection (that I recognize), _The Martian Chronicles_. One of my very first introductions was _The Best Science-Fiction: 1951_, discovered on a bookmobile. I still remember how clever I thought the first story was, “Santa Claus Planet.” I think short stories have an obvious advantage in appealing to kids. They have special merits of their own distinct from novels, as well, and I’m sorry to see the vanishing of short story anthologies in general, a seeming exception to Americans’ diminishing attention span.


message 7: by Tamora (new)

Tamora Pierce The problem with most, though not all, of the first 54 of these is that they are pieces of our teenage years, which means the technology is dated. Most teenagers will come to these in their college years, when they're getting into the roots of science fiction. So far these days new converts are coming from Orson Scott Card, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Timothy Zahn's teen books, and Scott Westerfeld's work. There's a lot of good new teen science fiction being published these days, with up-to-date technology and the issues that young readers are interested in!


message 8: by Lucille (new)

Lucille A lot of these books aren't exactly gateway sci-fi. they're more like the classics that are to be respected and adored. I think that Little Brother is a fantastic teen sci-fi, as well as all of Scott Westerfeld's novels.


message 9: by Xenophon (new)

Xenophon Hendrix A lot of these books aren't a gentle introduction to science fiction; they are a heave into the deep end. Furthermore, the sex scenes in several of them probably make them unsuitable for children. I suppose a lot depends on what your vision of a "young person" is. I tried to aim my selections for a person 11 to 13.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

The hunger games is my favorite book of all time so i say that one


message 11: by Hilary (new)

Hilary How on earth did "Animal Farm" make it onto a sci-fi list?


message 12: by Unique (new)

Unique The Hunger Games Trilogy
A Wrinkle in Time
Harry Potter Trilogy


message 13: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell The overall list definitely has some choices I wouldn't make. But the first page is pretty darn good. I try to think of what brought me into sf. And then what did my kids like and not like.

Everyone's definition of ya is a little different. I define ya primarily as having a young adult protagonist. I don't think the book has to be ya to be an introduction to sf but it helps.

Looking at the list description it is not clear that fantasy would be on this list. But looking at the tags, fantasy is clearly listed. I'm thinking that making that clear in the description would be a good idea.


message 14: by Connie (new)

Connie LoL LOL LoL
Try Abby .Try.


message 15: by Connie (new)

Connie Of course The Green book is the best book of all.!!!!!


message 16: by Connie (new)

Connie You all our wrong.


message 17: by Connie (new)

Connie This is a boy typing this so LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!#!!!!!!!!!!#!!!!!#!!!!!!#!!!!!!!!


message 18: by Connie (new)

Connie Mitchell wrote: "The overall list definitely has some choices I wouldn't make. But the first page is pretty darn good. I try to think of what brought me into sf. And then what did my kids like and not like.

Every..."


Quite youtube like little girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


message 19: by Louise Sparrow (new)

Louise Sparrow There's some really good books in there but some of them aren't sci-fi


message 20: by EmilyC (new)

EmilyC Hilary wrote: "How on earth did "Animal Farm" make it onto a sci-fi list?"

Have you read it?


message 21: by Hilary (new)

Hilary Many times. It's a bleak allegory of contemporary politics in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Many people assume it's a children's book because it's "all about animals".

It's not science fiction. You might, at a stretch, consider it fantasy because of the animal characterizations.

1984, on the other hand, is most definitely science fiction. Maybe the submitter got confused...


message 22: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Some of these books, particularly Brave New World, are not appropriate for children, particularly young children.


message 23: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Some of these books, particularly some of the stories and books by Harlan Ellison, are absolutely not suitable for young children or even teens in my opinion.


message 24: by Mitchell (new)

Mitchell Heidi wrote: "Some of these books, particularly Brave New World, are not appropriate for children, particularly young children."

This list calls out children and young adults. Brave New World is absolutely relevant to young adults.


message 25: by Alex V (new)

Alex V Heidi wrote: "Some of these books, particularly some of the stories and books by Harlan Ellison, are absolutely not suitable for young children or even teens in my opinion."

When I was in high school, I participated in Brave New World as a play, and I have to agree with you now in my 30s. It did push me a bit into a direction where I started to think too much out of the box. Read a bit too much into books of mystical nature and was a bit too open to new ideas. Not that this is completely negative, but it's a time when the more innocent books can be enjoyed for a bit longer in a more authentic experience.


message 26: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Why is Lord of the Flies on this list?


message 27: by Dylan (new)

Dylan Lord of the Rings is NOT sci-fi; it is fantasy. It should be removed from this list.


message 28: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Parents definitely want to vet this list. I agree with another commenter, for example, that I would not be comfortable encouraging anyone younger than 16 to read Brave New World or several others here, at least without discussion.

Teens and 'tweens read very different books and a list that conflates them is not helpful.


message 29: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Alex V wrote: "When I was in high school, I participated in Brave New World as a play, and I have to agree with you now in my 30s. It did push me a bit into a direction where I started to think too much out of the box. Read a bit too much into books of mystical nature and was a bit too open to new ideas. Not that this is completely negative, but it's a time when the more innocent books can be enjoyed for a bit longer in a more authentic experience...."

Thank you for this. I enjoyed my more innocent childhood and am thankful that progressive teachers didn't push me to read things that I wasn't ready for. My adult sons are more jaded and cynical, and I don't think it's good for them. I don't think it's good for society either, because we need idealistic youth and their energy and their big dreams to improve our world.


message 30: by Wolfgarr (new)

Wolfgarr some of the books on this list.........Children should not be exposed to.


message 31: by Nancy (new)

Nancy I've actually read 58 of the books on this list. The Michael Vey books should be on it!


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  Kerine Wint (she/her) is a freelance writer, editor, and reviewer of speculative fiction for publications including FIYAH literary magazine,...

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