Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight
My grandmother lived in a very old house with a built in bookcase in the main room. On the lowest shelf she kept a collection of children's books left behind when my dad's brothers and sisters grew up and left home. When we visited grandma, I would choose a book to read while the adults visited. As I got older and started reading the chapter books, Grandma told me to pick out some to take home. One of my favorites was Lassie Come-Home. I had watched a tv show about a dog named Lassie, but this book was the real deal, the story that inspired the show. And the book was so much better than the show! This was the first book I ever read that made me cry. Lassie's courage and determination as she traveled from Scotland to England, and the mixture of cruel and kind people she met along the way, introduced me to stories with conflict. And there was a map of Lassie's journey on the inside cover, which I absolutely love! If you only know Lassie from television reruns, you don't know the real Lassie.