Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
The reputation of the Harry Potter series is well deserved. I picked up the first one yesterday and finished it today; the style is easy to follow, and the story engaging. But above all, it has positive things to say about good character. One of my favorite bits comes right at the end; Dumbledore, the head-master of Hogwart's school of magic, has this to say after 11-year-old Harry perseveres in the face of terrible odds and manages temporarily to defeat an inexorable foe:
"Nevertheless, Harry, while you may only have delayed his return to power, it will merely take someone else who is prepared to fight what seems a losing battle next time -- and if he is delayed again, and again, why, he may never return to power."
If that's not both a description of adult life, as well a moral call to fight evil when it appears, and keep fighting even though victory cannot be guaranteed, then I don't know what is. If this is what kids are reading these days, then I think we will be all the better for it.
I can't wait to get started on the next one. :-)