- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
- Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
- Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
- Black Beauty - Anna Sewell
- James and the Giant Peach - Roald Dahl
- The BFG - Roald Dahl
- A Bear Called Paddington - Michael Bond
- Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
in the article). It got me wondering which books I'd like my children to love.
There are so many books that brought me joy, but once that springs to mind would be Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce. I first came across it when Radio Four used to do a children's story at 7pm on a Sunday evening, and I found it magical to both listen to and read. It also reminds me of an audio book that I loved to death - Emily's Ghost. Unfortunately, I don't know who it was by and I can't find it anywhere now, although there are other books with the same name. Both stories involved children who found their own time becoming intertwined with the past. I'll definitely introduce my kids to Tom and his magical world. What about you? Which books do you want to pass on to your children?
Perhaps all this leads to a bigger question - does it matter what children read? Apart from the obvious benefits of reading a wide variety of genres, and the obvious harm from reading books that are not at all age-appropriate (Carrie for your five year-old anybody?), does it matter if the books we loved are never loved by another generation? (Look at poor Emily's Ghost - forgotten by all but me!) I think it does.
Kids need to read books they enjoy or they won't stick with reading at all, and not all kids are going to like The Secret Garden or Charlotte's Web. However, I think it is important that they are given the option of exploring the classics of the past. If literature is good, it remains good. If it is worth reading, it remains so. If it helps breed imagination, opens eyes to different experiences or widens horizons, it will still do so 50 years after it is written. Some books will die out a couple of months after publication, others a year later, or a decade. It's natural that every generation will abandon a few of the books that have hung on for decades before them. But I like to think that each generation will also treasure some of the books from the past - as well as helping create the classics of the future too, of course.