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Classic Books For Children

Updated on October 2, 2009

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Classic Books For Children

I have several friends who have asked me for a list of classic books for children.  Many parents would rather have their children reading classic books, than watching television or playing video/computer games.  Having a few years on these friends and having been a voracious reader, I've come up with a list of books that should not only entertain and encourage the imagination, but also help with reading comprehension.  Keeping in mind that the following list is my opinion (but any additions are welcomed in the comment area!). 

In no particular order...

* Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. The semi-autobiographical story of the four March sisters in mid-19th century Massachusetts. A must for girls, and even boys would enjoy it. Little Men and Jo's Boys are sequels that wrap the story up nicely.

* Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. No Disney pirates here, Long John Silver set the standard for pirates in the 1880's. Boys should love this book, along with many girls.

* Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. While teaching respect for animals, the story also teaches respect for our fellow man, regardless of differences. A favorite of boys and girls since it's publication in 1877.

* Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe. The tale of a man turning his back on God and family and taking to the seas, going thru trial and turmoil until finally finding himself as the sole survivor of a shipwreck in the Western Caribbean. The solitude and struggle to survive change him forever. For boys and girls.

* Journey to The Center of The Earth by Jules Verne. A professor and friends attempt to reach the earth's core via an Icelandic volcano! Far-fetched? Maybe, but extremely entertaining! More of a boys tale. Also highly recommended by Verne are 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea' and 'Around the World in 80 Days'.

* David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. The title character's life self-narrated as he goes through the loss of parents, being used and abused, yet ultimately coming into his own in adulthood. Considered by many to be the ultimate novel of it's genre. Boys and girls. Also by Dickens, 'Oliver Twist', 'A Tale of Two Cities' and 'Nicholas Nickleby'.

* Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Again, the lead character's life self-narrated. Jane Eyre, orphaned as an infant, and growing through trials, tribulations and loss, faithfully holds on to truth, honor and virtue. A tale of self-sacrifice and the belief that there are things higher than one's own personal happiness. For girls, but a good read for boys, too.

* Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. The story of a boy in the Ozarks and his two beloved hound dogs. A tale of perseverance, faithfulness and courage. For boys mostly, but not exclusively so.

Taking pleasure in reading...

So very many more...

Some others...Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, all by Mark Twain; The Call of the Wild, White Fang, Sea-Wolf, all by Jack London; Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, all by Jane Austen; The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew/Dana Girls series; The Bobbsey Twins series by Laura Lee Hope; King of the Wind, Misty of Chincoteague, Justin Morgan Had a Horse, all by Marguerite Henry, and oh so many more!

Some of my best childhood memories are of being transported to other times and places through books. Trying to imagine what some one really looked like or sounded like, putting myself in the place of the protagonist. What are some of your favorite children's classics? (by "CLASSIC", I mean 50 years or older)? Did you enjoy reading or was it a chore? How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read?


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