The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Set in the antebellum Deep South, Huckleberry Finn is a beguiling tale about a pair of runaways and the friendship that develops between them as they journey by raft down the Mississippi River. One of these runaways is, of course, Huck, who also serves as the narrator. Readers see the Mississippi and its surrounds through his unsullied eyes; determine what he determines through the oddly ordered syntax of his Deep South dialect; grow increasingly more fond of him as he begins to treat his adult African-American travelling companion, Jim, with less cruelty and more respect.
As you’ve probably already guessed, this book will appeal to readers who enjoy adventure. Though beware: it could easily turn into a dangerous book for children if Huck’s use of a certain racial epithet fails to be understood in terms of its socio-historical context.
But don’t let that deter you. By placing Huckleberry Finn in the hands of a young reader, you’re not only introducing them to one of the finest (and funniest) examples of modern literature, you’re also introducing them to a friend for life. And what gift could possibly be greater than that?
Scott Bradie is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.