Can You Name the Children's Book From A One-Sentence Plot Summary?


By: Olivia Cantor

7 Min Quiz

Image: PeopleImages/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Children's literature, as well as young adult literature, had precarious beginnings, and very debatable nuances. It was actually looked down upon when a writer said that he or she was writing for children. 

But what does it actually mean to write children's literature? For one thing, this means that the characters, themes, and stories in such books should be entertaining to specific age ranges of kids. That's why we also have subcategories under this umbrella category. You now have stories for tweens, stories for preschool kids, and stories for young adults. These days, varying age brackets are treated as different audiences, according to age and school grade level. 

But to identify these kinds of books, no matter what the subject matter is, you need to see if the central character is a youth, and if the problems concern them. It would be best if they can solve the problems presented in the narrative, but one element always has to be present in these books: Hope.

So, do you think you can name many of these great children's books and young adult books if we give you a one-sentence summary only? Then turn the page and let's find out!

A 12-year-old orphan boy discovers that he is a wizard, and gets recruited in a school full of wizardry, where he learns of spells and of how his parents were killed by a dark wizard.

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone" is the very first book in the popular series written by British author J.K. Rowling. The book series became one of the most widely-read children’s books in recent history, and a series of successful films.


A red-dressed talking feline appears in the house of Sally one day, and, together with its Thing companions, makes a rhyming mess inside the house.

"The Cat in the Hat" was written by Theodore Geisel who used the pen name, Dr. Seuss. It was published in 1957. The book served to replace traditional early childhood primers that were proven to be ineffective at that time. Several more Dr. Seuss books were written after this one to serve that purpose.


This is the collection of stories about a honey-obsessed teddy bear and his friends, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, and Rabbit.

The 1926 book, "Winnie the Pooh," authored by A.A. Milne, was actually a collection of short stories featuring the beloved teddy bear and his group of animal friends. These short stories were based on previously published short stories in different periodicals, which were converted into chapters in the book, but can be taken as independent stories on their own in the episodic collection.


A poor boy temporarily switches places and lives with a young member of the royal family, and they both discover the highs and lows of the other’s life.

"The Prince and the Pauper" is American novelist Mark Twain’s project that falls under the historical fiction genre, since the Prince in the story is based on the son of King Henry VIII, Prince Edward. The real-life Prince Edward became king when he was only 9 years old. He died when he was 15.


An apple tree provides several natural resources to a boy she meets, and their friendship lasts until the boy becomes an old man.

"The Giving Tree" was both authored and illustrated by Shel Silverstein, who was also drawing cartoons for Playboy magazine. The book’s visual style reflected the same style he used for the magazine. It was published in 1964, but was initially rejected by many publishers because they felt the story was a bit sad for children to enjoy.


A bull grows up and is led to join bullfights, but he prefers to hang out in the meadow to smell flowers.

"The Story of Ferdinand," penned by prolific American children’s book author Munro Leaf, was first published in 1936. The book was seen as anti-war propaganda in Europe, and it was banned in Spain by Francisco Franco, as well as in Nazi Germany by Adolf Hitler.


The residents of the town called Chewandswallow get their food from unusual weather disturbances.

"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," the successful picture book by Judi Barrett, actually had two yummy sequels: the first is "Pickles to Pittsburgh," and the second, "Planet of the Pies." The original book was turned into an animated film in 2009, which appeared true to the original, but with extended scenes to fit a regular theatrical run.


After young Max dresses in a wolf-like costume and wreaks havoc in their home, he is sent to bed, where his room suddenly transforms into a forest-like place with creatures roaming all around.

The very sparsely-worded short picture book called "Where The Wild Things Are," authored by Maurice Sendak, was first published in 1963. It was adapted for film in 2009 by director Spike Jonze, and a video game was also released the same year, based on the film’s narrative flow.


A poor orphan boy gets sold to become a worker, but escapes to London, where he meets a gang of child pickpockets led by The Artful Dodger.

"Oliver Twist" was first written and published in increments as a serialized novel, and soon collected as one book published in 1839, counting as Charles Dickens’ second novel. Before this, he wrote "The Pickwick Papers," followed by "Nicholas Nickleby."


Four young siblings get relocated in a professor’s house where they discover an old cabinet that leads out to Narnia, a mysterious magical land with strange creatures.

"The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" is actually the first book in the series called "The Chronicles of Narnia" which was penned by C.S. Lewis. This first title was published in 1950, while the entire series was published until 1956. Aside from being a children’s book author, C.S. Lewis was also a published scholar, having written many reference books for academic institutions, such as the volume he wrote for the "Oxford History of English Literature" called English Literature in the Sixteenth Century (Excluding Drama), among other scholarly works.


An unconventional pigtails-wearing girl with unexplained superhuman strength finds herself adjusting to “ordinary” life after being orphaned by a seafaring father who raised her aboard a ship.

"Pippi Longstocking" was originally a Swedish children’s book entitled "Pippi Långstrump," authored by Astrid Lindgren and first published in 1945. When the English translation hit the markets in 1950, it became an international bestseller and was translated into many languages after that.


A shipwrecked father, mother and their four children get stranded on a deserted tropical island, which they decide to turn into their temporary home.

"The Swiss Family Robinson" is indeed about a family of Swiss descent, and it was penned by a Swiss pastor named Johann David Wyss. It was first published in 1812, and had elements of teaching Christian values to people who read it, but the author wrote it primarily to teach those values to his children.


The four March sisters try to eke out a living with their mother to keep their family afloat, while their father is away on Civil War duties, and we see their transition from childhood to womanhood.

"Little Women" is a novel written by Louisa May Alcott, first published in 1868, which spawned two sequel novels. It was adapted for film several times, with a 1933 version starring Katharine Hepburn, a 1949 version starring Elizabeth Taylor, and a 1994 version starring Winona Ryder.


Teen boy Jonas is assigned to become a seemingly utopian society’s Receiver of Memory, and he later discovers that some of those memories are not good ones.

"The Giver" is an award-winning dystopian children’s book penned by Lois Lowry. It was first published in 1993 and bagged the Newbery Medal in 1994. It was later adapted into film in 2014, starring Brenton Thwaites in the lead role of Jonas, with veteran co-stars, Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, in other important roles.


A stuffed toy animal wishes to become a real live animal, as a result of his boy owner’s love for him.

"The Velveteen Rabbit" was penned by Margery Williams and first published in 1922. The English-American writer was a prolific author who published many other books, but she is well-known for this specific children’s book title.


A disenfranchised boy wins a golden ticket to enter the mysteriously popular workplace of their town’s eccentric candymaker.

"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," first published in 1964, was penned by prolific British children’s book author Roald Dahl. The story of the novel was actually inspired by corporate wars between two chocolate giants during Dahl’s childhood, Cadbury and Rowntree’s, as the children of his time were sent chocolate packages for taste tests, which now constitute​ the practices in the field of corporate market research.


A young boy named Mowgli is raised in the jungles of India by wolves, and taken care of by a bear and a black panther, in particular, both of whom teach him the varied nuances of the Law of the Jungle.

"The Jungle Book" was penned by renowned English author Rudyard Kipling. His father, John Lockwood Kipling, did the illustrations for the book. It was first published by Macmillan in 1894 to a rousing success and influenced many people, such as the founder of the Scout movement, Robert Baden-Powell, who was a good friend of the author.


A young daughter of a Christian mother and a Jewish father grows up without practicing either religion, and this adds ups to the typical woes that adolescent girls face.

The young adult novel called "Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret" showed the typical changes that go on in an adolescent girl, such as maturing later than her friends, dealing with bodily changes, such as menstruating for the first time and other topics that made the novel universally loved by adolescents going through the same things. The novel was penned by Judy Blume in 1970. She also wrote a similarly themed adolescent book called "Then Again, Maybe I Won’t" but this time, the themes revolved around a young boy.


Teen misfit Meg is helped by her strange neighbor, Mrs. Whatsit, and her companions, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, to find her lost scientist dad, who got trapped in another temporal dimension.

"A Wrinkle in Time" is the famous novel by Madeleine L'Engle. It was published in 1962 and won prestigious awards, such as the Newbery Medal. The story contained many allusions to the author’s Christian faith, but these references were removed from the 2018 film adaptation directed by Ava DuVernay, which incensed many fans of the original book.


A magically mischievous flying boy who doesn’t want to grow up forms a friendship with an ordinary girl whom he takes to visit his place called Neverland.

"Peter Pan and Wendy" is the 1911 novelization of the 1904 stage play written by J.M. Barrie, both forms becoming immensely popular in their own right. The original title of the play was "Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up" which first debuted in London in 1904, and later had a Broadway version in 1905.


A spider weaves good words to convince a farmer not to slaughter her pig friend, Wilbur.

"Charlotte’s Web," first published in 1952, was written by American author E.B. White, while Garth Williams provided the illustration for this children’s classic novel. E.B. White was also “half” of the famous Strunk and White author tandem that​ produced "The Elements of Style," a book that became every English language writer-editor’s style guide bible.


An orphaned baby son of the Earl of Greystoke grew up in the African jungles and was adopted by the apes, until he encountered white humans like him.

American author Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the story of "Tarzan of the Apes," which was first published in 1912. The archetype of the “noble savage” was perpetrated by this literary work, which is still being widely used in many storytelling structures today in literature and in film.


A young girl trains herself to become a detective of sorts by writing down her sleuthing observations of the people she passes by on a daily basis.

"Harriet The Spy" is considered as one of the classic examples of children’s literature to come out of America. It was first published by Harper & Row in 1964. It was penned by Louise Fitzhugh, who also wrote two sequels, "The Long Secret" and "Sport," which was published after the author’s death.


Farm girl Dorothy and her dog Toto are accidentally transported by a cyclone into a colorful land where they meet colorful characters, some with missing traits.

"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" was the first in a series of children’s novels penned by American author L. Frank Baum in 1900. Since the first title became immensely popular, the author penned 13 more books to follow this first story, which was also adapted into a Broadway musical in 1902, and of course, adapted into a ​film in 1939 starring Judy Garland.


It's about a magical British nanny with a flying umbrella and a bottomless bag.

If you watch the 2013 biopic, "Saving Mr. Banks," starring Tom Hanks, you would see how author P.L. Travers, played by Emma Thompson, reacted negatively to how Walt Disney turned her beloved children’s book story into a strange film with animated dancing penguins and musical numbers. In actuality, "Mary Poppins" was penned by P.L. Travers as a series of children’s books, with the very first title published in 1934.


A young girl follows a curiously dressed rabbit to its rabbit hole destination, where she discovers a fantastic land filled with equally fantastic characters, namely many talking animals.

"Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" was written by an English author named Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, but he used the pen name, Lewis Carroll. While this fantastic children’s novel was published in 1865, it continues to fascinate newer generations of children. It was also adapted into various media forms, such as comic strips, TV shows, and ​movies.


Teen Katniss Everdeen volunteers to replace her younger sister in a yearly tournament with fatal dystopian results.

Perhaps no other novel series illustrated the dystopian teen world better than "The Hunger Games," the trilogy penned by Suzanne Collins, which also featured a second book called "Catching Fire," and a third called "Mockingjay." The books were published from 2008 to 2010, and the subsequent film adaptations were shown from 2012 to 2015.


An orphan girl goes around with a very positive attitude and philosophical outlook in life, which she terms as “The Glad Game,” as a way of coping with negativities all around her.

Being a Pollyanna is a term that is now synonymous with being overtly positive, no matter what. This Pollyanna Principle is the result of the popularity of the novel, "Pollyanna," penned by Eleanor H. Porter and published back in 1913. It is now considered as one of the earliest classics in the world of children’s literature.


A maid who works for a rich couple often mistakes the instructions given to her, since the couple writes them in the form of idioms that the maid interprets on a literal level.

"Amelia Bedelia" is an instructional book made fun by illustrations and storytelling, as penned by American author Peggy Parish. Since the author’s background is teaching, and since she was an active school teacher when the book came out, it was a chance to add materials for early literacy, since the books taught children about idioms in a humorous and entertaining fashion.


A young Jewish girl narrates her life trapped in hiding during the Holocaust, speaking about her family and her crush.

Anne Frank originally penned her diary in Dutch, but the book that came out of that diary, which came to be known as "The Diary of a Young Girl," was published in English, and is now also widely-published in 60 other languages. It was first published in Amsterdam in 1947 and gained instant popularity, which also inspired stage play as well as cinematic adaptations.


An unassuming boy accused of stealing an important artifact from Zeus, suddenly discovers he is a Greek god-descended demigod whose father is Poseidon.

American author Rick Riordan authored the Greek mythology-inspired fantasy novels called "Percy Jackson & The Olympians," the first title of which is the popular, "The Lightning Thief." It was first published in 2005, became a bestseller, and was turned into a successful teen-oriented movie in 2010.


A young boy, who is a mage, gets training in a school located in a fantastic archipelago, where he accidentally releases a shadow creature due to a wrong spell.

The coming of age novel called "A Wizard of Earthsea" is told through a fantastic tale, as it centers on a magical wizard boy in a fantasy island. The book and its subsequent series were all penned by American author Ursula K. Le Guin, whose sci-fi and fantasy book works earned her awards from various institutions, such as the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the World Fantasy Award, to name a few.


A small homebody of a creature finds himself leaving the comforts of his rural place to go on adventures in foreign sinister lands, with treasure rewards at the end of it, if they can get past the dragon, Smaug, that guards it.

"The Hobbit" is the famous work of English author J. R. R. Tolkien, which speaks of heroism amidst struggles, resulting in personal growth. He channeled his experiences as a World War I soldier to flesh out such themes, which proved to be effective, since the world clamored for sequels of this first work – thus, "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy was born.


A group of prep school boys gets trapped on an island after a plane crash, where civility is exchanged for savagery.

The 1954 novel, "Lord of the Flies," is actually a reactionary novel penned by William Golding, as he pondered upon the concept of what really happens when a group of boys is left to their own devices to govern themselves without adult supervision. Golding was reacting to author R.M. Ballanyne’s rose-colored glasses approach of the same story premise in the 1858 novel, "The Coral Island." In his novel, Golding showed that the youth could also be capable of unspeakable savagery if given the circumstances that enhance it.


A girl named Scout is fascinated by her reclusive neighbor Boo Radley, and looks up to her lawyer father Atticus Finch, who was defending a black man charged with rape.

Author Harper Lee won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel, "To Kill A Mockingbird," first published in 1960. This became a film in 1962, with Gregory Peck playing Atticus Finch, Mary Badham playing Scout, and Robert Duvall debuting in cinema in the role of Boo Radley.


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