Many of you asked to see my finalized list of classic children’s books for next term’s Child Studies course. Here it is. As it stands for now, anyway.
- I included only books I have read, or that I really should have read by now, or that I have some interest in reading.
- I want each student to become an “expert” on the book he/she chooses. Most of these books have stood the test of quite some time, so that the student can research the life of the author, book reviews, scholarly responses, the historical context, etc.
- I chose books suitable for children of 8-12 years old; they are mostly on the older end of this spectrum.
- Each student is expected to do a 10-minute presentation on one book. However, if two students want to present books by the same author, they may do a 20-minute presentation together. The either/or options at the end of this are for this purpose. So, for example, a student can decide to present alone on Charlotte’s Web; if another student wants to present on The Trumpet of the Swan, and the first student agrees, they can present together.
I have not included authors’ names here because I have been at the computer all day and can’t be bothered, but most of you will know who wrote most of these anyway.
I am conscious that this is a super WASPy list, and may try to make some adjustments to remedy this.
In addition to two books from this list, students will be required to read Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed and the first Harry Potter book.
This week, I reread The Railway Children and most of Five Children and It (both terrific, but The Railway Children wins.) I also spent a delightful half hour in my local second-hand bookshop, talking to the owner – a Francophone who has discovered a lot of English children’s books as an adult – about Harriet the Spy.
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
- The Phantom Tollbooth
- A Wrinkle in Time
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- Harriet the Spy
- From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
- The Hobbit
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Treasure Island
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
- Little House on the Prairie
- Island of the Blue Dolphins
- The Wind in the Willows
- Pippi Longstocking
- The Borrowers
- The Indian in the Cupboard
- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
- Tuck Everlasting
- The Giver
- The Dark is Rising
- Swallows and Amazons
- Mine for Keeps
- The Secret World of Og
- Owls in the Family
- The Call of the Wild
- The Great Brain
- Where the Red Fern Grows
- The Cricket in Times Square
- The Incredible Journey
- What Katy Did
- Little Women
- Charlotte’s Web OR The Trumpet of the Swan
- The Secret Garden OR A Little Princess
- Then Again, Maybe I Won’t OR Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret
- James and the Giant Peach OR Danny the Champion of the World
- The Railway Children OR Five Children and It
- Anne of Green Gables OR Emily of New Moon
I will be delighted to hear more suggestions, to receive your approvals and disapprovals, and to answer questions. I’m sure there are plenty of opinions about what I’ve left off here; let me have it (there’s always next year’s list…).
Image by Lynne Lancaster