Friday, January 23, 2015

Reading Challenge #5: New Books vs. Classics

I have been pondering this reading challenge for a while now. Many parents have asked me what new books I think their young readers would enjoy. Now I get that new books are sometimes more relevant to what our young readers are going through. But, parents, have you looked to the past for some reading inspiration lately?

When I was a teenager, I remember often going to this old book store in Kansas City. My librarian mother went there searching for out-of-print books to add to her elementary school libraries. So while she was going through the children books, I would peruse the antique book section.

Now I went to the antique book section for a reason. I felt I had two reading problems: (1) constantly wanting the next new book and (2) judging a book by its cover. I found a way to resolve this issue by picking books I had never heard about that didn't have any type of cover. From those book store buys, I found some incredible books with amazing stories with titles like The Burnished Blade, The Black Rose,  or Captain from Castile. These books were just as adventurous, suspenseful, and enjoyable as the brand-new read right off the Barnes and Noble shelf, but MUCH cheaper.

So I have a challenge for both parents and new-book addicts out there. Why not look to past books for a great read? You may think you or your young readers have read all the "classics" in children's literature, but most likely you haven't.

Please realize that classics aren't always found in the "classic" section at Barnes and Noble or listed in literature textbooks. Classic books are timeless stories that keep inspiring you to return back to their pages time and again. Classics can be books from over a hundred years ago to just published last year. So don't let the book store chains or textbooks determine what is and isn't a classic. You decide!

As an aid to both parents and readers, here is a list of my favorite classic books that you may recognize or you may have missed. Enjoy!

Dragonfly series by Julia Golding
The Whisper of the Glocken by Carol Kendall
The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt
The Beast of Noor by Janet Lee Carey
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Peak by Roland Smith
The Silence of Murder by Dandi Dayley Mackall
The Blue Sword series by Robin McKinley
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A String in the Harp by Nancy Bond
The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper
Beyonders series by Brandon Mull
Heist Society series by Ally Carter
Peter and the Starcatchers series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
The Candymakers by Wendy Mass
Green Knowe series by L. M. Boston
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip
Pie by Sarah Weeks
Al Capone Does My Shirts series by Gennifer Choldenko
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Elephant Run by Roland Smith
A Long Way From Chicago series by Richard Peck
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Kidnapped by Robert Lewis Stevenson
Christy by Catherine Marshall
Mrs. Mike series by Benedict and Nancy Freeman
The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart
Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key series by Jack Gantos
Crispin series by Avi
The Kestrel series by Lloyd Alexander
Start Little by E. B. White
Hatchet series by Gary Paulsen
Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman
Sarah Bishop by Scott O'Dell
The Alliance by Gerald Lund
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Island of the Blue Dolphins series by Scott O'Dell
Abhorsen series by Garth Nix
Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson
Holes by Louis Sacher
Goody Hall by Natalie Babbitt
A Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
The Candy Shop Wars series by Brandon Mull
Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander

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