Heidi by Johanna Spyri
Following the death of her parents, 5 year-old Heidi is brought up to live with the grandfather she has never known before. Her Aunt Dete makes the trek up the Alm with her to the hut where the "Alm-Uncle" lives, and where Heidi will now reside. Although the Alm-Uncle has a reputation in the town of Dorfli, at the base of the Alm, of being withdrawn and cruel, little Heidi quickly warms up to the old man and seeing her enthousiasm and innocent joy about the world around her, the Alm-Uncle cannot resist the changes that begin as the two of them create a life together. Heidi's world is suddenly changed with the reappearance of her Aunt Dete a few years later, summoning Heidi to Frankfurt to act as a companion for an invalid child. Stifled by the city and walls around her, Heidi feels torn between her new friend, Klara, and the Alm and grandfather she loves so dearly. Will she ever return to the fresh air and mountains she loves or will she be forever confined indoors, as is the fate of her disabled friend? And what is to become of the Alm-Uncle, left once more alone on top of the Alm?
This is such a wholesome, heartwarming story. It is a simple plot, and is filled with beautiful descriptions of Heidi's home and surroundings on the Alm.You cannot help but feel the joy that Heidi expresses for her home and surroundings and it is easy to warm up to her as the main character. This is an ideal novel for families to share and read together (note: although the story line is simple, the style of writing may be difficult for a child to interpret on their own). I can't remember if this is a novel that I read, or had read to me as a child, but it is one that I will be sure to share with my kids.