reading classics for and with kids

Often my boys want to read the books we bring home from the library again and again. That’s fine if we are reading a book I enjoy too, but wearying when the book seems lackluster. Anyway, this got me thinking about the quality of the books I read to my kids.

Generally, classic books are valued for their timeless and universal qualities. They provide contact with exceptional writing and content to nourish the mind. In short, they are books worth reading over and over. We spend much more time reading contemporary books. Seems like it’s time to balance that out somewhat.

Lists of children’s classics vary quite a bit. There doesn’t seem to be much for the preschool set, though the Great Books Movement provides a list, one I intend to read our way through. Though the Movement has been dismissed by many as being too narrow in its focus, it provides a good starting point and needn’t be considered exhaustive.

For the youngest set, the Great Books list contained The Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (all 23 books) and A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, among others I’d never heard of. The preschool book list includes The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne, Nonsense Poems by Edward Lear, and Anderson’s Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson as well as six other titles. Several fairy books by Andrew Lang made the list.

The Library of Congress offers 23 classic picture books online. A quick skim through the titles leads me to believe these books could be hard to find in print.

What children’s book(s) do you think are worth reading again and again?

2 thoughts on “reading classics for and with kids

  1. I LOVE All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan and The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond. I don’t get tired of reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, either.

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