As adults, we sometimes fondly look back at the books we read or our parents read to us as a child. Don’t you want to give this same wonderful experience to your own children? You might want to share some of your very own favorite books with your children, but you might also need a few ideas as well to get started. We’ve put together a list of 5 books your children should read that stand the test of time.
1. The Secret Garden
This story focuses on Mary Lennox, a young English girl who returns to England from India after losing both her parents in a cholera epidemic. However, her memories of her parents are not very warm. Her parents had neglected her and chose parties and a lavish lifestyle over spending time with and giving love to their young daughter.
Mary is given to the care of her uncle Archibald Craven, whom she has never met. She travels to his home, Misselthwaite Manor located in the gloomy Yorkshire, a dramatic change from the sunny and warm climate she was used to. When she arrives, she is rude, stubborn and quick to throw a tantrum.
However, after learning about the sad events that had occurred to make her uncle seem so strict and uptight, she starts to change and grow as a person. She soon discovers a garden that is surrounded by a wall and always kept locked up. She is very curious about why one would lock up a garden and what was inside.
She soon realises that there are even more secrets held inside the manor and an adventure begins.
This book holds a lot of great lessons about empathy and how to treat others who have had hardship in their lives. You can try reading this book to younger children or older children with more experience can enjoy reading it on their own.
2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Harry Potter’s life is miserable. After his parents pass away, he is sent to live with his aunt, uncle, and cousin who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs.
But his luck changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid who is finally where he belongs. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.
Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his job to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. He encounters many terrifying foes and obstacles along the way, and quickly learns the power of friendship and doing what you think is right.
3. The BFG
Eight-year-old Sophie peers out the window of her orphanage one night in England and sees something terrifying. A huge, dark shadow is coming down the street. A gigantic hand reaches through the window and plucks her from her bed. She squirms as the giant man holding her hurries to his cave in Giant Land.
Sophie soon discovers the giant isn’t planning to eat her as she’d feared. He is a big, friendly giant (or BFG). Unlike the other nine much larger and more horrifying giants that live in Giant Land, the BFG is actually pretty civilized. While the others are big, smelly, hairy and wear loincloths, he dresses in regular clothes. While they scour the world each night in search of people to devour, he doesn’t eat humans. But like all the giants, he has a strange, mixed up way of speaking that sometimes confuses the little girl. After a while, they become friends of sorts and she learns that the BFG can create dreams.
Sophie suggests they tell the Queen of England how the giants are snatching and eating people. She and the BFG decide to create a dream for the queen. In it, the queen will see giants eating English children. The dream will tell her about the BFG and how he can help her capture the giants. After the dream, the Queen is ready to help and England is soon to be safe once again.
This story teaches children to not judge others by appearance or assumptions. It also helps support the idea that you can get along with someone who is very different from yourself and learn things from each other.
4. Charlotte’s Web
Eight-year-old Fern Arable is devastated when she hears that her father is going to kill the runt of his pig’s new litter. Persuading him that the piglet has a right to life and promising to look after it, she saves the animal and names him Wilbur. When Wilbur becomes too large, Fern is forced to sell him to her uncle, Homer Zuckerman, whose barn is filled with animals who don’t accept him.
When Wilbur discovers that he will soon be slaughtered for Christmas dinner, he is horribly distraught. He sits in the corner of the barn crying, “I don’t want to die.” Charlotte, the hairy barn spider who lives in the rafters above his sty, decides to help him.
With the assistance of a sneaky rat named Templeton and some of the other animals in the barn, she writes a message in her web: “Some Pig.” More strange messages appear in the web, sparking people from miles around to visit these “divine” manifestations and the pig that inspired them. Charlotte accompanies Wilbur to the county fair, where she spins her last note: “Humble.” Wilbur wins a special prize, and his survival is ensured.
It becomes clear, however, that Charlotte isn’t doing well. After laying hundreds of eggs, she is too weak to return to the Zuckerman’s farm. A saddened Wilbur takes the egg sac, leaving the dying Charlotte behind. Once home, he keeps a watchful eye on the eggs. Although most leave after hatching, three stay behind in the barn, and they promise to be friends forever.
Stanley Yelnats, falsely convicted of stealing a celebrity’s sneakers, is sent as punishment to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention center in the middle of the desert.
There, the inmates are required to dig large holes every day, 5 feet wide and 5 feet deep. Everyday is exhausting for the inmates, working under the hot sun.
Getting to know the other inmates and getting used to the grueling routine is only part of the story, though.
There’s a mystery behind this strange punishment that is related to a treasure and the supposed curse on Stanley’s family dating back to his “dirty-rotten-pig-stealing” great grandfather. The keys to the mystery are scattered among a boy named Zero, a warden with rattlesnake venom nail polish, and a boat that is named after an onion-eating mule and sits in the middle of a dry lake bed.
With some teamwork and intuition, Stanley and Zero are able to make sense of the legends of the past, and set wrongs right.
Did you read any of those books yourself growing up? We hope you’ve found a good book to share with your children or have given you some ideas on what to read first!
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