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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2

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4.22 avg rating — 1,447,337 ratings
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3

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4.33 avg rating — 6,414,062 ratings
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5

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4.13 avg rating — 1,798,351 ratings
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6

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3.99 avg rating — 1,693,300 ratings
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7

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4.23 avg rating — 779,346 ratings
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8

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3.86 avg rating — 563,585 ratings
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9

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4.20 avg rating — 277,571 ratings
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10

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4.19 avg rating — 3,167,869 ratings
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11

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3.95 avg rating — 2,761,345 ratings
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12

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4.14 avg rating — 211,691 ratings
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13

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4.04 avg rating — 806,402 ratings
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14

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4.29 avg rating — 2,533,328 ratings
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15

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3.83 avg rating — 246,502 ratings
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16

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4.41 avg rating — 89,262 ratings
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17

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3.86 avg rating — 155,255 ratings
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18

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4.31 avg rating — 1,378,249 ratings
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19

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4.27 avg rating — 2,915,883 ratings
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20

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4.36 avg rating — 6,638 ratings
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21

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3.81 avg rating — 1,171,981 ratings
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22

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4.04 avg rating — 2,361,961 ratings
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23

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4.19 avg rating — 2,926,907 ratings
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24

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3.98 avg rating — 112,433 ratings
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25

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 193,800 ratings
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26

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3.84 avg rating — 900,299 ratings
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27

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3.92 avg rating — 27,133 ratings
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28

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4.14 avg rating — 481,959 ratings
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29

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4.24 avg rating — 27,183 ratings
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30

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3.69 avg rating — 2,275,482 ratings
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31

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4.14 avg rating — 164,908 ratings
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32

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4.03 avg rating — 1,066,448 ratings
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33

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4.21 avg rating — 51,269 ratings
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34

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4.15 avg rating — 261,408 ratings
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35

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3.67 avg rating — 1,804 ratings
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36

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3.99 avg rating — 1,450,325 ratings
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37

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4.21 avg rating — 233,967 ratings
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38

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4.15 avg rating — 114,980 ratings
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39

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3.93 avg rating — 47,054 ratings
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40

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4.10 avg rating — 131,866 ratings
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41

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4.04 avg rating — 372 ratings
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42

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 119,298 ratings
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43

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4.36 avg rating — 2,367,831 ratings
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44

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3.91 avg rating — 86,352 ratings
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45

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3.55 avg rating — 56,486 ratings
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46

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4.08 avg rating — 348,478 ratings
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47

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3.94 avg rating — 11,751 ratings
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48

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4.04 avg rating — 714 ratings
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49

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4.09 avg rating — 80,045 ratings
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50

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4.20 avg rating — 131 ratings
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51

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3.79 avg rating — 3,928 ratings
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52

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4.02 avg rating — 23,146 ratings
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53

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4.53 avg rating — 683,628 ratings
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54

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3.94 avg rating — 12,114 ratings
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55

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3.96 avg rating — 104,843 ratings
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56

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4.01 avg rating — 8,908 ratings
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57

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3.89 avg rating — 416,096 ratings
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58

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4.44 avg rating — 725,585 ratings
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59

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4.07 avg rating — 206,859 ratings
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60

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4.11 avg rating — 43,949 ratings
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61

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 14,545 ratings
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62

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4.06 avg rating — 387 ratings
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63

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3.76 avg rating — 169,659 ratings
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64

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4.28 avg rating — 23,521 ratings
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65

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3.90 avg rating — 224,645 ratings
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66

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4.22 avg rating — 2,141,123 ratings
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67

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4.17 avg rating — 193,909 ratings
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68

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4.35 avg rating — 8,731 ratings
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69

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3.81 avg rating — 9,185 ratings
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70

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3.86 avg rating — 248,167 ratings
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71

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4.02 avg rating — 238,007 ratings
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72

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4.13 avg rating — 125,261 ratings
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73

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4.02 avg rating — 90,360 ratings
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74

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3.88 avg rating — 114,834 ratings
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74

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3.81 avg rating — 51,210 ratings
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76

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3.92 avg rating — 76,033 ratings
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77

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3.82 avg rating — 4,164 ratings
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78

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3.97 avg rating — 153,540 ratings
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79

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3.95 avg rating — 28,893 ratings
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80

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3.99 avg rating — 243,518 ratings
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81

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4.39 avg rating — 5,113 ratings
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82

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4.16 avg rating — 84,057 ratings
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83

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4.34 avg rating — 10,792 ratings
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84

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4.11 avg rating — 1,472,560 ratings
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85

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4.14 avg rating — 689,796 ratings
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86

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4.17 avg rating — 79,618 ratings
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87

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4.23 avg rating — 8,912 ratings
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88

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3.89 avg rating — 199,849 ratings
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89

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4.51 avg rating — 34,647 ratings
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90

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3.76 avg rating — 8,685 ratings
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91

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4.35 avg rating — 17,325 ratings
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92

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4.14 avg rating — 36,054 ratings
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93

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4.04 avg rating — 2,318 ratings
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94

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4.02 avg rating — 22,554 ratings
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95

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3.79 avg rating — 5,345 ratings
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96

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3.79 avg rating — 9,403 ratings
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97

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4.17 avg rating — 413,368 ratings
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98

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4.09 avg rating — 53,103 ratings
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99

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4.10 avg rating — 18,980 ratings
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100

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4.01 avg rating — 15,254 ratings
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967 books · 1,004 voters · list created March 26th, 2009 by Vinson (votes) .
126 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Vinson 18 books
1 friend
Christopher 292 books
294 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3229 books
860 friends
Bettie 15588 books
124 friends
William 47 books
6 friends
Libbeth 2549 books
38 friends
Greyweather 2660 books
72 friends
Shannon (Giraffe Days) 4597 books
1234 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-29 of 29 (29 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.


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