Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
I assume that neither of these books are truly forgotten, but at the same time I can't imagine that a lot of well meaning- lefty teachers would be horrified at the thought of children reading these books today. My Side of the Mountain is the story of a young man who saves his money and runs away to live off the land in the mountains. Where the Red Fern Grows follows the story of a young man who saves up to buy a pair of prime 'coon hunting dogs in the Ozarks.
When I think of my favorite books from childhood these two are the first that come to mind. They are books I encountered in elementary school, re-reading them numerous times before I got to Jr High School and started to move towards more adult fiction. I loved the adventure, the spirit and the dedication of the protagonists as they worked, planed, learned and grew. These were stories about boys becoming men, and seeking their place in the world. The stories also dealt with nature, being in the woods, having to depend on yourself and facing the fears of loss, loneliness and the potential of failure.
I hope that kids entering their teens still read these books, and that they still dream of adventure. I was watching the film Anvil: The Story of Anvil the other night (I highly recommend checking it out by the way), and at the end one of the member of Anvil comments that life is: The places you've been, the things you've done and the people that you've met. I think that both of these books capture that idea perfectly.