"No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?" - from Animal Farm
What's it about?: This is the story of the Animalism movement which sees the oppressed creatures of Manor Farm overthrow their hated master Mr. Jones. Led by Napoleon and his fellow pigs, the animals establish a set of commandments which allow them to live and work the farm as equals. But as time passes and ideologies are warped to allow the pigs absolute leadership, Napoleon and his comrades employ wit and brute force to keep the workers down while they reap the rewards of the land. The situation escalates to the point that the pigs even forge an alliance with Animalism's most hated enemy: man.
Why your child should read it: Again, of all the books people suggested for this list, Animal Farm was among the most recommended. Orwell wrote this book over 60 years ago as an allegory for his hatred of totalitarian communism. The story though, works perfectly. The characters, being animals, automatically enable a younger readership to relate to the tale. The narrative is simple but intense and provides an extremely powerful illustration of the corruptive natures of power and greed. It's an important lesson that all young people need to learn, and Animal Farm, clocking in at under 200 pages, is the perfect place to start.