Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is a great book, and you will definitely learn about some american history. if you didn't like the movie, read the book, then try the movie again. amazing book, and movie.
Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain. a great tale by a great story teller. based on his own life, there is a lot to be learned about historically there as well.
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett is one of my favorite childhood books that i still read about once a year. it teaches me how to try to hang onto my dignity in times of trouble, and when dealing with others. it teaches me about inner strength, and hope, and charity. wonderful tale.
Dracula by Bram Stoker. the original classic tale of the vampire. if you haven't read it, please do, see how hollywood has botched up the whole thing. what a great story of friendships - i am forever inspired by the bonds in this.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. another great book destroyed by hollywood. read the original, if you haven't already, it is always a treat.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. tale of a woman, her hardships, the strange life she leads. another inspiring tale of inner strength and dignity.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. another tale of a child growing and learning. heartbreaking and heartwarming to the last.
Watership Down by Richard Adams. not sure what i learn when i read this, except a bit about bunny rabbits, and 'human' nature. entertaining and strange tale of bunnies. not for children, though - it can be disturbing following the trials and travails of bunnies in their society.
for pure entertainment value, read all of the Doctor Dolittle books by Hugh Lofting - try to find them with his pen and ink drawings included. he wrote them for his children while he was off fighting in ww1. ignore the movies and read the books. read them in order, too, for continuity's sake.
there are so many amazing novels out there, Charles Dickens are more difficult reading, but you will definitely get a greater sense of england in the 1800s - politically, socially, etc...
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (Pere). a tale based on history and based on the diaries of a soldier in the 1700s. there are real people in the book, including the cardinal richlieu, who, incidentally, invented mayonnaise! that's not included in the book, though. again, ignore the movies and read this!
Don Quixote by Cervantes. not sure what exactly is to be learned from this. it is an amusing tale of a strange fellow and his stranger adventures.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain. he wrote this when he was peeved at england. totally amusing, ironic, and quite a social commentary.
The Iliad, and then The Odyssey by Homer. The Iliad is the original and fantastic epic of the trojan war, about the only historical account - though it is mostly fiction. then move on to one of my favorite books ever - The Odyssey. the adventures of the epitome of 'adventure hero' - his journey home from the war. both classic books.
of course, there's 1984 by George Orwell. a tale of a dark future world that takes place in 1984. learn how it relates to the world today, and what people are talking about when they mention 'Big Brother' as it relates to today's society.
well, good luck finding something to read... if you don't get any answers that do it for you, ask your librarian to help you... you'll make their day!