School in a Book: Classic Literature: Children’s

The School in a Book curriculum isn’t just for adults. As soon as children can follow a simple plot, they can begin booking it down this list. They can also enjoy adapted versions of many of the books for adults–even the Iliad and the Odyssey. (I also discuss with them many of the simpler concepts in the science lists.)

A few notes on reading to your kids: If you like, just read. Good syntax and rhythm is an education in itself. However, you might want to incorporate reading comprehension into your experience. You can do this by asking your child to summarize the story or to tell you what they think it means. Both of these tasks prepare them for competence in writing, an activity that depends on clear thinking and good organization. Some education professionals say that most college students can’t correctly identify the main points of a given text; don’t let this be your kid. (Older kids need to start outlining texts in writing as soon as they’re ready.)

By the way, shortcut-takers like me can scout out fun video versions of these stories on YouTube and elsewhere on the internet. Sometimes, I cue up five or six and pat myself on the back for providing my young children with such a great educational head start.


Essential Classic Children’s Stories

Essential Classic Children’s Books

Essential Classic Middle Grade Books

  • The Wrinkle In Time series, Madeleine L’Engle
  • The Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling
  • The Encyclopedia Brown series, Donald J. Sobol
  • The Ramona series, Beverly Cleary
  • The Nancy Drew series
  • The Anne of Green Gables series, Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • The Chronicles of Avonlea series, Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • The Chronicles of Narnia series, C.S. Lewis
  • A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
  • A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
  • Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll
  • Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
  • Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White
  • Heidi, Johanna Spyri
  • Peter Pan, James Barrie
  • Peter and Wendy, James Barrie
  • Pinocchio, Carlo Collodi
  • Pipi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren
  • The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • The Little House on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
  • Stuart Little, E.B. White
  • The Trumpet of the Swans, E.B. White
  • The Boys’ Book of Survival, Guy Campbell
  • The Dangerous Book for Boys, Conn and Hal Iggulden
  • The Daring Book for Girls, Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz
  • Jacob Have I Loved, Katherine Patterson
  • Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Patterson
  • Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls
  • Summer of the Monkeys, Wilson Rawls
  • Then Again, Maybe I Won’t, Judy Blume
  • Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, Judy Blume
  • Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, Judy Blume
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
  • James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
  • Matilda, Roald Dahl
  • The Bears’ House, Marilyn Sachs
  • The Yearling, Marjorie Rawlings


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