Have you thought about the books you read as a child that helped shape the person you are today?
One of my most fond memories is of being in first grade, sitting cross-legged on the floor, listening intently to my teacher read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. My imagination soared as I followed the quest of the Pevensie children to defeat the White Witch and deliver Narnia from eternal winter. I was right there as Edmund was tempted by Turkish delight (which, in reality, tastes nothing like I’d imagined), ultimately betraying his siblings by helping the White Witch. I cried when Aslan died.
This story is what made me become a reader; I couldn’t get enough. As the years went on I read the series several times and tried to get my own kids to read it. I suppose they have different tastes but I do highly recommend you read this to your own children. I think it would be a great bonding experience and will certainly keep their attention.
At age ten I was obsessed with horses, like many young girls are. I’m not sure how I found it but I imagine I discovered Black Beauty on a trip to the book store with my mom and anything with a horse on the cover caught my attention. It was a thick book but that only meant longer for me to stay transfixed in a story. Thankfully, my mom never discouraged me from any book-either for being too long or for troubling content. I had free reign over books.
The story of Black Beauty and her many owners-from cruel to kind and gentle, stayed with me. I feel that it helped nurture my love of animals and perhaps gave me a better understanding of how to treat them. I find teaching children how to be caring towards animals incredibly important as it spills over into all aspects of life. Black Beauty is certainly a character building story.
My love for horses found me yet another treasure in Can I Get There By Candlelight? My mom was a teacher at the elementary school I attended from Kindergarten through fourth grade and so I went to her classroom each day after school. She had a fairly good-sized library of books and I found this story one afternoon. I was hooked-time travel, horses, English gardens…everything I loved all wrapped up in one book! I’m sure I devoured it in a few days. If I can still recall elements of this story after 32 years, that should tell you something. I suppose it hit me at just the right time and place I needed it, I just wish I could have gotten my daughter interested to read it. We didn’t have tablets and Snapchat back then to interfere…
Here are a few more books I’d recommend to any parent to help grow their child’s love of reading:
- Bunnicula–no child can resist the tale of a vampire bunny!
- The Mouse and the Motorcycle–an amusing story about a mouse who, well, rides a motorcycle. My teacher read the first book to me and I read the rest of the series myself. That’s how you build a reader.
- Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing-I could certainly relate to having a pesky younger brother and so this was another book I loved. It’s the first in Beverley Cleary’s ‘Fudge’ series and very enjoyable.
- How to Eat Fried Worms-there are so many ways to make worms into a meal if you’re trying to win a challenge.
- Where the Red Fern Grows–a story of perseverance and a child’s bond with his dogs. Boy did I cry reading this one.
I suppose some of these books may be on a list of banned books but all I can say is that they’re treasures and I will always suggest them as an important childhood read. Speaking from my experience, I believe they helped mold me into a kinder hearted person.