Monday, July 9, 2012

Children's Classics Reading List

Summer is in full force. Just in case you are running out of book ideas, I thought I would share a few of my favorite children's classic books. I am a huge fan of children's literature.  Every summer, I primarily read children's books myself.  I originally started because I wanted to catch-up on some of the books I missed reading as a child and, thinking they would be easy reads, I chose to catch-up during the summer.  But you know, they aren't as childish and "easy" as one would believe.  There was a time when children were much more independent.  A time when things weren't dumbed down for them and the classic books reflect that.  As someone with an undergraduate degree in Comparative Literature, I often find myself correcting grammar as I read modern children's stories to my daughter.  It's almost painful to read some of the books when the writing is bad.  But what a joy it is to share a piece of actual literature with my daughter.  The writing is wonderful for me to read and the stories never fail to enchant my daughter.  Here are some of my favorites:

Mary Poppins
This is not your Disney Mary Poppins.  In the series of books, Mary is a bit of grouch and vain, but the children do love her so!  She takes them on magical adventures.  But note, some of the magical adventures are a bit strange and a little dark.  Older children should be okay with them, but you might want to read this one first and decide if your child can handle some of it.  Even if you decide not to share it yet, I think you'll really enjoy the story.

Swallows and Amazons
This is one of my all-time favorites! It's about some British children and their adventures in the countryside during the war.  This one will please both boys and girls. I was a little shocked that their mother let them sail around the bay and camp-out on a island alone, but it was a different world then.

The Boxcar Children
This one is great for both the "littles" and the "middles".  The adventures of four children who find themselves on their own, and live in an abandoned boxcar in the woods.  I love to read about the campfire meals they create and how the brothers and sisters love one another so fiercely.

The Railway Children
I love this book!  I cried many times from it's sweetness and stories of kindness.  There's a mystery about why their father was taken away and a kindly old stranger, who helps them.  It's one of those books you must read.  The writing is beautiful too.

Thimble Summer
Another excellent book and a perfect summer read.  The best thing about this book?  Nothing bad happens.  It's a definate "feel good" book. It reminds me of my childhood summers in Ohio. I love it when the main character gets locked in the library overnight.  Who wouldn't want that to happen to them?

I'm afraid I must end my list here today.  One of these days, I'm going to start a book club, for adults, that is centered around reading children's literature. That's how obsessed I am with it!  I really should make a huge list sometime and make it available for download.  But, before I go off and make a list, I would love to hear about your favorite children's books.  Leave your recommendations in the comments below.