This month I am thinking of all the great Children's Books I have encountered, or that my children have talked a lot about among themselves. Today I begin with a mixed bag of favorites.
I absolutely, unabashedly love nursery rhymes and have made sure my kids listened to them out loud. Nursery rhymes are so important to listen to when you are young. They swing back and forth and they play with language and the kids can hear all the rhythm at an early age. They internalize all that rhyme and rhythm without know it. Here is my favorite:
Next, comes my favorite book of fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen. There is such a pathos to his stories. The Little Match Girl, The Ugly Duckling, the Little Mermaid. Sweet, innocent, vulnerable characters who had to suffer so much from a harsher world than they could bear. In the end, though, they were rewarded for their humble sweetness.
I found a book about Hans Christian Andersen's life and after I read it, I understood. He was a gawky, socially awkward dreamy type fellow who found it hard to focus and who was very impulsive. Good people saw the beauty in his soul and protected and took care of him. So, in his fairy stories, he knows of what he speaks. This book is very honest. I think children who might feel like Hans right now would find comfort in his story.
Andrew Lang's The Fairy Books are all so lovely, too! Expanding vocabulary and wonderful stories.
Whimsical and Happy Books
I love Laura Ingalls Wilder books. She excels at describing ordinary, daily tasks done by the Ingalls family which somehow are so mesmerizing to a child. This is one of my favorites.
I love the description of Ma making the cake and the wedding dress for Laura's wedding day. I also remember, still, when Laura has her first teaching job away from home and she has to stay with a family that is not as happy and comfy as her own. You can actually feel that fear and homesickness seeping out of the pages. This is a great coming of age story.
These are also just gems. I love this illustrator! And Mr. White has such a whimsical sweet style of writing without any tripe.
And one of my favorites. Hitty is a doll narrating a story about her first hundred years and where she has been and who she has belonged to. She rides on a ship, she sees India, she gets lost. It is a superb story. My Lovely Daughter loved this one, but then so did her six brothers.
I like this story because the little boy continues to love Mr. Beethoven even though he is a very odd fellow. A great story with great illustrations.
This is a great story for a boy who might find it impossible to conquer a fear. This is a wondrous tale.
History books and factual books and a wonderful book of Saints round out my choices for today.