Some of my faves:
2) Toys Go Out (and also the sequel Toy Dance Party). -the kids love these books and even though it's about stuffed animals and what they do when you are not there, the issues they deal with are pretty challenging. Lots of great character study-who are you most like, what toy would you be?
3) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz-lends itself to many activities as well. How the characters change over time? You can even show the movie and compare to the book (did you know her slippers in the are silver, not ruby). Lots of examples of ethics as well-especially when we discover who Oz really is.
4) Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper-I've posted about this little gem before, I discovered it in the books I was reading for my student book club this year. It's told from the perspective of a little girl with cerebral palsy. Again very deep and what I really like about it is there isn't really a happy ending. What they do to her makes you furious for her. Now my kids always ask me "does this one have a happy ending?".
5) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-the book again is very different from the movie they've seen. Lots of great characters to study and also great examples of ethics.
6) Charlotte's Web - another classic, right? After you skip the part about how Wilbur is meant to be bacon...(that commercial for My Baby Can Read where the toddler is reading that part about the ax disturbs me a bit). Again, not exactly a happy ending. The kids can learn about personification and apply that to create their own character who might also live in that barn.
7) James and the Giant Peach-great example of where your imagination can take you as an author and as a reader. Lots of great characters and problem-solving tasks.
(I hate doing papier mache in the classroom, but I thought these turned out so cool -that's James inside the peach.
8) Pippi Longstocking- who wouldn't love a little redhead who lives with a horse and monkey!
9) The World According to Humphrey-told from the perspective of a class hamster. Nothing like thinking about life from the eyes of a critter a few inches tall. He doesn't understand the concept of fire drills or tests (me either, some days! :). Lends itself to activities/discussions about life from an animal's perspective.
10) Loser - I know, I know the title will scare you away. Loser is a story about a boy who I have taught in class many times (I wish more teachers would read this book, it's about teaching too). Zinkoff is odd. He stands at attention and says "yes ma'am" when the teacher asks him a question. He laughs at words like Jabip that just strike him funny. But he is the most easygoing, positive child you will ever meet. Some teachers got him and some didn't, same with the kids. But definitely an interesting character study.