Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Classic books for back-to-school reading

As summer vacations draw to a close and school-age children begin the mad scramble to fulfill their summer reading obligations, author Lesley Blume (author of Tennyson, Cornelia, and Rusty Nail) recommends a few timeless books that may not be on the required book lists. Blume, the author of several books for young adults, says that parents owe it to their kids to introduce them to these classic stories.

"It is our responsibility to introduce classics to the next generation, because there's such a flood of new titles on the book market right now, especially in young adult literature, and we have to make sure that the books that we love go into the hands of our own children," Blume tells Linda Wertheimer.

Her book list includes a fair number of books about orphans, because, as Blume says, kids seem naturally drawn to stories in which the parents are absent: "Any child can relate to the fantasy of creating a kids-only utopia from scratch in the woods... This is something you see over and over again in classic literature and films. No rules, no baths, no schoolwork."

Lesley Blume's recommended list of classic children's books

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (Albert Whitman & Company)

The Witches by Roald Dahl (Puffin)

The Devil's Storybook by Natalie Babbitt (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster (Aegypan)

Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers (HarperTeen)

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer (Random House)

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois (Puffin)

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg (Aladdin)

Watership Down by Richard Adams (Scribner)

The House with the Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs, illustrated by Edward Gorey (Puffin Books)

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