Don’t let your kids’ reading skills slide during the long summer holidays – work out a summer reading list of classic books and challenge them to read them all before it’s time go back to school! Reading a book a week is an achievable task for young minds to take on so, if the school holiday lasts six weeks, why not pick six books for them to read. Make sure the books aren’t ones which your kids are due to study during the next school year before you buy them/take them out of the library/download them on to a Kindle!
Here are six classic kids books which will help the summer holidays fly by for young book worms.
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
This cracking pirate yarn was first serialised in a children’s magazine in 1881 and makes the perfect beach reading! The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise would never have got off the ground unless Stevenson had popularised the perception that pirates own parrots and carry treasure maps marked with an X!
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
There are no one-legged pirates in Alice in Wonderland but there are all manner of other fantastical characters down the rabbit hole in which Alice falls. Kids might well proclaim “this is a load of nonsense” when they are read the first chapters of a story which involves hookah-smoking caterpillars and grinning Cheshire cats but it’s such enjoyable and absorbing nonsense.
Watership Down by Richard Adams
There is only one rabbit in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland but there are lots of rabbits in Watership Down. The book was published in 1972 and still bears the author’s dedication “To Juliet and Rosamund, remembering the road to Stratford-on-Avon”.
Juliet and Rosamund were Adams’ two young daughters and they persuaded him to write Watership Down after becoming enchanted by the improvised stories he told them about rabbits while he drove them to Straftord-on-Avon. The release of Watership Down meant that millions of other children got to hear the tale of Hazel, Fiver and the other rabbits of Watership Down. And as Adams’ children discovered, it’s the perfect story to be told while travelling.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
If you’re looking for a book which encourages children to take an interest in literature then Matilda really is the perfect choice. Matilda, the heroine of Dahl’s book, despite no encouragement from her cruel parents, teaches herself to read at the age of three. She then asks her father if he will buy her a book and when he rejects her request the young girl looks up the address of her local library and reads all the children’s books to be found there. You could also say that the book is a damning indictment of the government’s plans to reduce library services if it weren’t for the fact that Dahl wrote the book in 1988!
The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith
Summer is a great time for kids to visit farms and see animals such as sheep and pigs and it’s always a great idea for them to have some reading which ties in with the sights they see on the farm. In this respect, The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith fits the bill perfectly. The story revolves around a young pig which is bought by a farmer at a county fair. Can the pig’s performance at the sheep dog trials save him from ending up on the plate of the farmer’s wife at dinner time?
The Family from One End Street by Eve Garnett
The summer holidays tend to be times when families spend long periods of time together and get up to lots of adventures – just like the Ruggles family in Eve Garnett’s glorious illustrated book. First published in 1937, the book won much acclaim for featuring a working class family at a time when children’s books tended to be about richer folk. It won a Carnegie Medal for being the best children’s book of 1937 in a year in which J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit provided daunting opposition. While The Hobbit might take a whole summer holiday to read, The Family from One End Street can be happily consumed in a week and, to me at least, it’s a lot better than Tolkien’s book!
It is sad that technology is constantly creeping more and more into our daily lives, and I certainly notice the amount of books being transferred into iBook format. I don’t think there is any substitute for reading proper classics like this in book form.
I know when I was growing up Alice in Wonderland was one of my favourite book. The illusion and mythical world that Lewis Carroll created on every page was pure fantasy and I hope that Roo learns to love this book to like I did.————–
This blog post is a sponsored blog post published in accordance with the information and rates on my PR Opportunities page. James Christie writes for kids craft company Yellow Moon.