Childrens Classics

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If you have known me for a bit of time, you might know that I love classic literature. I greatly enjoy discovering the depth of old world language. Ah, the descriptions that Dickens can muster! However, I would not consider myself, by any means, to be “well read” in the classics. I pick and choose carefully. A literary buff (think of that scary high school Literature teacher) would likely scoff at my “must read” list of Austen, Bronte, Dickens and Dumas. For instance, the cultured among us insist that to love classic literature is to love War and Peace and the like. I’m sure its unfair of me to knock a book I’ve never read, but for all his touting, I’ve never been able to get through anything written by Leo Tolstoy. I read about half way through Anna Karenina and finally decided that the only reason I was reading it was to prove something about my keen ability to understand Russian sagas. Apparently, “my keen ability” was greatly overestimated and self-preservation from intense boredom eventually won out. I remember my grandmother telling me that she was reading Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. Her commendation of the book in a nutshell was, “It took me forever to finish it”. (what is up with these Russian writers?) No, thank you. Not I. I shall stick to my Jany Eyre and David Copperfield, as simplistic as they might seem to some (enter, in my mind, the face of afore mentioned Literature Teacher).


As you can see, in my humble opinion, some literature is too celebrated. There is another set, if you will, of classic literature that has perhaps been under-acclaimed. That is, classics originally written for children. For those new to the classics or those who enjoy vibrant stories with beautiful lessons, I encourage you to re-think the impact of chidrens classic literature. Books like The Prince and The Pauper by Mark Twain, Heidi by Johanna Spyri, and The Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald, will settle your heart with a simple gladness. If you read these as children, don’t take for granted what you could glean from an adult perspective. The child characters will humble you with their goodness, encourage you with their devotion, and boost your spirit with their trusting perseverance. Your children will certainly love these stories. But I would make a bet that you might just love them even more. 

As an aspiring childrens writer... well, aspiring might be too strong of a word...rather, as a want-to-be-one-of-these-days children's writer, its important for me to immerse myself in the books that have withstood the test of time. So feel free to tell me your favorites so I can add them to my list.

Want some additional recommendations? Here is a nice list from Amazon. Many of these are free to download on your computer, phone or ipad from either Amazon, ibooks or the Kendal app.
At the Back of the North Wind

3 comments:

Amanda Conley said...

Haha! I read half of Anna Karinina too. Boring.....
I'm reading Sir Gibbie by G. Macdonald right now. It's very good.

Keely Brooke Keith said...

Tolstoy... zzzzz... Tried it, too.

I was so glad to see you have a new post! Your literary musings are cute, yet respectably highbrow. Your blog is always a pleasure to read.

Beth Rose Goin said...

So...I actually love Anna Karenina. I consider it my favorite book! Though, I admit I've only read it once because it did take a long time. Solomon's middle name comes from one of the characters. But when I share anything with someone I know who is seeking God I share things like You Are Special by Max Lucado, because I don't think any other book presents the gospel so eloquently.

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