Here are some more books from my childhood and later. I read a lot as a kid, and these books are the ones that stand out in my memory. I figure that if I can remember them 25 years after I read them, they must be pretty good. I'm calling this the "Reality Segment," not fantasy, not science fiction, not history, just real life.
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin: This is probably my favorite children's book of all time. I read it in 3rd grade or so, then read it again to clear it up more. Then I read it in 6th grade and finally understood what was going on during the second reading of the will. In more recent readings I've understood more about Sydelle Paulaski and the relationship between Dr. Denton and the lovely Angela. What a pleasure. Ellen Raskin has written many other good children's books (all quirky and surprising) but this is the jewel.
Bruno and Boots books by Gordon Korman: As the FNDP (Friendly Neighborhood Developmental Psychologist) noted, we laughed out loud when we read this. They are not quite so funny when I re read them, and the later ones are decidedly mixed. But very funny. Besides, they take place in a foreign country and hence are exotic.
The Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Klonigsberg: I suspect that I am not the first person who dreamed about living in the museum after reading this book.
And two more recent books:
Holes by Louis Sachar: Rivals The Westing Game for intricate plot and the joy of discovering the solution to the mystery. I also really liked his "One Fat Summer," although I haven't re-read it for a long time.
The View from Saturday by E. L. Klonigsberg: This book really has heart. Not as much adventure and zaniness, just a comfortable pleasure from seeing people learn about themselves and each other.
It strikes me as I write this that the books I think of as being contemporary might be regarded as my children as being historical. Such is life---it is my list, after all.