Thursday, January 17, 2013

Top Ten Books Your Child Should Leave Home With

So I had a nice break. I wasn't anticipating being an on-again off-again blogger, like my blogger friend Tina Marie calls herself over at A Retro Catholic Family, but it appears that is so! I sure hope I can be better about blogging in 2013, but honestly, its a lot of work. And if I'm blogging, then either its very late at night, or something else is going undone. But I like to blog and it is fun to share tidbits of this and that from your life. Its a great personal family record because time blinks by so quickly, gotta capture what you can.

We have been chatting about all things books on our local TJEd forum - a topic I do NOT tire of! Even though there are a million lists of "best classics" and "top 100 books of all time," its always nice to hear someone's favorites and glean book suggestions. No?

The question came up. What top ten books would you like your child to leave home with?  This is a fun thing to think about!  First I asked my 15 yo daughter and this was her list:

Anne of Green Gables (LM Montgomery)
The Count of Monte Cristo (Dumas)
Uncle Tom's Cabin (Stowe)
The Secret Garden (Burnett)
Jo's Boys (Alcott)
The Scarlet Pimpernel (Orczy)
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (Boyne)
Hana's Suitcase (Levine)
Maniac Magee (Spinelli)
and her Nancy Drew originals

I see a lot of emotional attachments to these books on her part, which is obviously why they are on her list.  They each have a special meaning in her childhood and have impacted her, just like a good classic should. For example, I read Anne as a read-aloud during our first year of homeschooling and this book single-handedly restored her love of reading. Which the school had killed by the end of grade two - that was an aside. Jo's Boys was also read aloud during our second homeschooling year.

While Brittany was compiling her list, I thought about ten books I would choose for her to leave home with:

A collection of Frances Hodgson Burnett (who can choose just one? I love these books especially for childhood, though they still retain their magic when read as an adult!)
Little Women series
A Shakespeare collection
CS Lewis' Narnia series
The Book of Virtues/Moral Compass duo (Bennett) At least to remind them that there is such a thing as virtue and morality. Right?
Tolkien's Hobbit/Lord of the Rings Series
A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens) plus maybe A Christmas Carol  Dickens to me is essential for any good library!
and a darn good classic cookbook!

To that list, I would also add core classics of our faith:
A Catholic Study Bible and
A Catechism of the Catholic Church

Have you started a library for any of your children? Do you use special occasions to give them a "worthy book?" We have a kazillion books and we may never read every single one on our shelf, but my fellow TJEd'er, who also has a bursting library in her home, said it didn't really matter, because if her own children didn't read every book, maybe her grandchildren will. Or great-grandchildren. You know? Its like a beautiful investment in the future, a statement of what books really mean to a culture.

And so I've resolved to use special occasions, like birthdays, to give a really nice hardcover edition of a classic towards their personal leave-home-with-it library. Now I know there are pretty "collections" of classics ready to go - I've seen them locally - but they have teeny tiny print and very few illustrations.  So I'm planning on choosing editions which I think are lovely, but don't necessarily match each other.  I began with Epiphany and I have more on order for Valentines Day! Fun, eh?

Here's what I gifted for Epiphany:

Dawson - The Annotated Hobbit

Brittany - Anne of Green Gables. Of course. She was so tickled.

Alexa - Little House on the Prairie. Loved it. We're reading it right now.

Maria - Pinocchio. I bought her a hardcover of an abridged version - but you know what, its lovely and she has read through it several times already!

Kate - well, I didn't actually buy Kate a "worthy" book, but she did get a Sandra Boynton board book.

Me - Yes, I gifted myself for Epiphany too! I bought a gift edition of Tolstoy's War and Peace - broken into 3 volumes. More manageable to bite I think.

Tom - Can't forget your husband! He received Kevin O'Leery's The Cold Hard Truth about Men, Women and Money. Again, not a classic "worthy book." I wanted to get him a beautiful version of Les Miserables, which he is reading on his handy dandy kindle.And loving. But when this whole idea took place in my head it was the day before Epiphany and no time to order. Had to buy locally. I knew he'd like this book, at any rate.  Les Mis for next time.

What about you? What books would be on your top ten send-em-out-into-the-world with list? Have you started a "beautiful collection" yet?

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