Most of today’s kids think of Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or The Hunger Games when they’re asked what they consider a good book. Although these are great choices, your kids should be exposed to classics, too. Many kids find archaic language and different time periods intimidating, but the right selection can get them used to reading different styles of literature. Introducing your kids to classics now will also help them excel in English and language arts as they advance in school. Here are a few selections to get you started.
- Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White). This is a good choice for younger kids (second to fourth grade) because it’s written in contemporary language but still uses words the readers may not be familiar with, such as “salutations,” “radiant,” and “humble.” Talking animals and a simple plotline keep the book kid-friendly, but it does encourage exploration of deeper themes like friendship and death.
- The Secret Garden (Frances Hogsdon Burnett). The combination of a mysterious mansion, a secret garden, and an independent orphaned heroine will appeal to mystery lovers—especially young girls. This book is also interesting because it features an unlikeable lead; Mary Lennox is spoiled and imperious at first. Kids, parents, and teachers can talk about how and why Mary changes and how kids can help people like her in their own lives.
- White Fang (Jack London). This classic concerns the eponymous character’s “journey to domestication” in the Yukon territory during the Alaskan Gold Rush. It can be read in conjunction with Call of the Wild or alone. Although boys will gravitate toward this book, girls may find it interesting as well.