Old Fashioned Books
Jules, of Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, wrote eloquently, as always, about a fabulous series, The New York Review Children’s Collection. Why hadn’t I ever heard of such a thing, I wondered? And then I read the description posted on their website:
The New York Review Children’s Collection began in 2003 in an attempt to reward readers who have long wished for the return of their favorite titles and to introduce those books to a new generation of readers. The line publishes picture books for preschoolers through to chapter books and novels for older children. Praised for their elegant design and sturdy bindings, these books set a new standard for the definition of a “classic.” Among the titles you will find Wee Gillis, a Caldecott Honor Book by the creators of The Story of Ferdinand; Esther Averill’s time-honored Jenny and the Cat Club series; The House of Arden by E. Nesbit, one of J.K. Rowling’s favorite writers; several titles by the award-winning team of Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire, including their Book of Norse Myths and Book of Animals; James Thurber’s The Thirteen Clocks and The Wonderful O, both with illustrations by Marc Simont. Not to be missed is the classic animal adventure story Bel Ria by Sheila Burnford, the author of The Incredible Journey; Lucretia Hale’s hilarious The Peterkin Papers; James Cloyd Bowman’s Newbery Honor Book, Pecos Bill; and holiday favorites by John Masefield, The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights.
While I think this all sounds lovely, I know for a fact that neither of the girls would like these books. While neither has ever said, “I don’t like animal stories!” or “Please, not a book about people from the olden days!” their preferences are obvious. They simply don’t gravitate toward these types of books and if I push the issue and begin reading one aloud, their attention drifts and they ask for something else the next day.
Somehow, we have read all the Pippi books but that is it. I haven’t yet had success with any of the best. No Charlotte’s Web, no Little House, no Mary Poppins.
I’m stumped and torn.
The fact is, we all have our preferences. I can’t remember the last time I picked up a graphic novel and I’m pretty sure I haven’t read science fiction since I was a child.
Part of me wants to push the classics because they are, well, classic?
But a greater part of me want to allow my girls to read what they love so that they will love to read…
The internal debate rages on… Jump in if you’d like!
I’m strongly on the side of “allow my girls to read what they love so that they will love to read…”. But ask me again when my daughter is old enough to actually express preferences 😉