As for the Ugly Duckling I dont think that would be a problem - I refer to the Wiki analysis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ugly_duckling
The ending states:The children declare that he is the most beautiful swan of them all, yet he isn't proud for a good heart is never proud. Because of all that he suffered he now appreciates his happiness so much more. "It doesn't matter that you were born in a duck yard, so long as you have lain inside a swan's egg."

Might require some discussion as you say, but still...

Other suggestions:

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_little_prince
Excellent adventure which in my oppinion fits your purpose...
Might be for a little later but...

What about Pinnocchio ?

Here in europe a we use a lot the works of Astrid Lindgren.

And you never go wrong with Winnie the Pooh

[This message has been edited by dslacker (edited March 10, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by dslacker (edited March 10, 2007).]
_________________________
The Danish Slacker
-------------------------
dslacker@trustme.dk
"Have you got the will to be weird"
----------------------