Heidi by Johanna Spyri (1881)

Heidi is an orphan.  Of course she is!  This is a classic children’s book after all.


Aunt Dete, who assumed responsibility for Heidi after her parents’ deaths, has had enough!  She marches five year old Heidi up a Swiss Alp and dumps her with Heidi’s angry and taciturn grandfather.  What’s a little orphan girl to do?

Heidi eventually finds happiness in her new wholesome Alpine life, but a recounting of an idyllic life isn’t what creates a classic novel.

Three years later, re-enter the terrible aunt.

Aunt Dete has found full-time employment for Heidi — age 8 — in the big city.  She is to be a companion for Clara, the invalid daughter of a wealthy family.  Down the mountain Heidi comes again right into a whole new set of difficult circumstances.  Can Heidi come out on top again?  Does she ever return to her beloved mountain?  Her many struggles and charming ways are what makes Heidi one of the best-selling books of all time!

Heidi has been adapted for film, TV and radio over 20 times since 1937.  Probably the best known is the first version starring Shirley Temple.

Heidi Grows Up and Heidi’s Children by Charles Tritten (Heidi’s English translator) are wonderful unauthorized sequels.

Middle Grade Reading Level, 336 pages, Switzerland, Orphans, Sequels, Published in 1881

About kidsbooksworthreading

Are you looking for Children’s and Young Adult books that have stood the test of time? I have a master of list of over 600 titles to share. I’m an English major, mother of five and homeschooler for 15 years. My purpose with this blog is to share forgotten favorites that most parents today have never heard of, but are so worth reading! I hope you’ll join with me as I share the best that Youth Literature has to offer.
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