One of the books that I find myself recommending on occasion is the book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.
The story in itself is unique and sentimental at the same time, with a powerful 9 year old narrator (who's paternal grandparents get occasional moments to narrate as well).
The 2005 novel's narrator is Oskar Schell a 9 year old who's father died two years earlier in the 9/11 attacks in New York City. The boy finds a key in a vase and searches all over the city to try to find where this key belongs.
As a story the book is also experimental in a number of ways, the book includes some unique type sets, includes pictures at times, as well as a few doodles and graphical high concepts in it's text (some examples are presented in this post from the blog More Than Words).
The use of "voice" in this story in the narration is certainly one of the most enjoyable elements, because of how it represents the way some very big things, like death and terrorism, particularly in the wake of the 2001, September 11th attacks, might be processed by a young child.
The film has been in pre-prouduction for a film version by the perpetual Oscar nominated director Stephan Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours, The Reader) with the American sweetheart cast of Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, alongside John Goodman, James Gandolfini, Max von Sydow, and Viola Davis. The young boy, Oskar, is played new comer (Jeopardy! Kids week winner, Thomas Horn). The book is adapted by Eric Roth who seems to write a highly nominated film every 5 years or so, so he's about due for another film (Forrest Gump, The Insider, Munich, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). So, I'm interested to see how this film translates the story and whether the Daldry/Roth pair is magic (or maybe too much of a good thing).
If you haven't yet picked up a copy of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer then I recommend you do so. The film was originally announced for 2012, but Daldry has indicated he's hoped this film would be released by the 10 year anniversary of September 11th, just six weeks away, which seems unlikely, but a 2011 release seems to be likely.
Watch out for this film for the upcoming award season, and before you see it, read the book.