Children’s Book List: Finalized

mCTJspoDear Readers:

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.

My criteria:

  • 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.

  1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  2. The Phantom Tollbooth
  3. A Wrinkle in Time
  4. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  5. Harriet the Spy
  6. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
  7. The Hobbit
  8. To Kill a Mockingbird
  9. Treasure Island
  10. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  11. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  12. Little House on the Prairie
  13. Island of the Blue Dolphins
  14. The Wind in the Willows
  15. Pippi Longstocking
  16. The Borrowers
  17. The Indian in the Cupboard
  18. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
  19. Hatchet
  20. Holes
  21. Tuck Everlasting
  22. The Giver
  23. The Dark is Rising
  24. Heidi
  25. Swallows and Amazons
  26. Mine for Keeps
  27. The Secret World of Og
  28. Owls in the Family
  29. The Call of the Wild
  30. The Great Brain
  31. Where the Red Fern Grows
  32. The Cricket in Times Square
  33. The Incredible Journey
  34. What Katy Did
  35. Little Women
  36. Charlotte’s Web OR The Trumpet of the Swan
  37. The Secret Garden OR A Little Princess
  38. Then Again, Maybe I Won’t OR Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret
  39. James and the Giant Peach OR Danny the Champion of the World
  40. The Railway Children OR Five Children and It
  41. 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