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A List of Great Classic Stories for Kids
Introducing classic literature to my kids is very important to me. I have scoured lists of classic books for elementary age kids. Finding abridged versions of classic works isn't always easy. The used book section of my library is often helpful but I didn't really feel like I was reading as many classics as I wanted.
Then I stumbled upon a collection of classic stories and found that this is a much better way to expose kids to classic books without having to buy or borrow lots of individual books. This is a list of some really good classic collections aimed at elementary school age children. I have been able to introduce my 7 year old to dozens of classic works with these books.
Of course, you can read the original versions of classic children's stories. The problem is that two many archaic words need to be explained to kids. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because it can expand a child's vocabulary. But constant explanations and definitions of words can take away the enjoyment of reading a classic story. If a child doesn't enjoy listening to classic works they may start to dislike them. Some kids may enjoy the challenge of wading through classics but others won't.
Classics Collections List
- Usborne Illustrated Classics for Boys and Usborne Illustrated Classics for Girls - don't worry about boys and girls being in the title. It's worth it to get both. The boys book has Moonfleet, Around the World in 80 Days, Robin Hood, Gulliver's Travels, The Canterville Ghost and Robinson Crusoe. The girls version has Heidi, Little Women, The Railway Children, Black Beauty, The Secret Garden and The Wizard of Oz. According to Usborne, these books are for ages 6+. See sample pages.
- Shakespeare for Kids - Usborne has a couple of different collections of Shakespeare's works. I got Usborne Stories from Shakespeare. It includes A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, As you like it, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, The Winter's Tale, Macbeth and The Taming of the Shrew. This book is probably best for ages 7 and up. See sample pages.
- Usborne Illustrated Stories from Dickens - this book has wonderful retellings of Oliver Twist, Bleak House, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield that's probably best for ages 6 and up.
- Favorite Greek Myths by Mary Pope Osborne is an excellent introduction to mythology for young children. It has a dozen stories.
- Classics to Read Aloud to Your Children: Selections from Shakespeare, Twain, Dickens, O.Henry, London, Longfellow, Irving Aesop, Homer, Cervantes, Hawthorne, and More - this is one I haven't read to my kids yet. It's probably better for 3rd grade and up but that depends on the child. This book has shorts stories, excerpts from novels, myths and poetry.
- Aesop's Fables for Children: Includes a Read-and-Listen CD - this is an excellent collection of Aesop's Fables. It's very nicely illustrated and the CD is nice to listen to in the car.