The Old Man and the Sea
Keeping to the sea theme, I read this classic to my children (ages 8, 9, and 12). When I was 10 and in fifth grade, this was required reading for me, though I know I did not appreciate it as I do now. Nonetheless, it had become one of my favorite stories as a kid.
I have read it three more times since, including this time, and there is still much to pull out of it; but at this time I am not worried about my younger ones grasping all of the themes and ideas. The most important thing is that they have been exposed to The Old Man and the Sea and Ernest Hemingway.
Instead, I allowed them to support their own claims to the moral of the story, which they believed was "being prepared." After all, Santiago lamented numerous times that he was not prepared. The fact that my kids picked up on something repeated is important.
All three of them agreed that it was too sad of a story. When I was 10, reading it on my own, I remember the absolute agony of Santiago's experience. It was excruciating for me. I never forgot it, and I know my kids will not either. It is called effective writing.
Maybe they will read it again someday, and they will have a different experience. They will see it differently, like I do: that man is designed with a spirt of perseverance, that he has the will to try, and that ultimately he is never truly defeated.