Tuesday, January 31, 2006

'Read 'em lists' for kids

Talking of reading... the RSL has asked 3 authors, including the poet laureate for their ten recommended books for schoolchildren. I am most encouraged to see many of the suggestions, as they are books that I enjoyed as a child myself, and have read to my boys. There are books for every age group, including into adulthood.

JK Rowling Author of the Harry Potter series
Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl
Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe
David Copperfield Charles Dickens
Hamlet William Shakespeare
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
Animal Farm George Orwell
The Tale of Two Bad Mice Beatrix Potter
The Catcher in the Rye JD Salinger
Catch-22 Joseph Heller

Philip Pullman Author of the His Dark Materials trilogy
Finn Family Moomintroll Tove Jansson
Emil and the Detectives Erich Kästner
The Magic Pudding Norman Lindsay
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak
The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens (or other good anonymous ballads)
First Book of Samuel, Chapter 17 (the story of David and Goliath)
Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare
A good collection of myths and legends
A good collection of fairytales

Andrew Motion Poet laureate
The Odyssey Homer
Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes
Hamlet William Shakespeare
Paradise Lost John Milton
Lyrical Ballads Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth
Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë
Great Expectations Charles Dickens
Portrait of a Lady Henry James
Ulysses James Joyce
The Waste Land TS Eliot

Of the three lists, I like Phillip Pullman's one the best because it combines so much fantasy and good writing. It is a list more for younger children, with books that they would read at home for pleasure rather than having to study at school.

It has filled me with new ideas about books to read to the boys. We have just finished reading 'The Wild Swans' which my eldest loved, so I'm sure he'll appreciate the tales of myths and legends too. My bookshelves contain books of Russian tales and Japanese ones, and others from around the world.

If my boys told me one day that they enjoyed reading, I would consider it a major success in their upbringing. Books are an unlimited source of delight, and a well-read man is a very fine thing to be.

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