I decided that in 2020, I want to pick up some of the childhood classics that I never got around to reading in my own childhood…
As a new Youth Services Librarian, I’ve been prioritizing reading children’s & young adult books this year. During the first quarter of this year, I realized that I’ve been reading lots of books published in 2019 & 2020. While it is great to stay up to date on the newer releases, I would also like to make a bigger effort in reading backlist books as well. One goal that I’d really like to accomplish this year is to read some of the children’s classics that I’ve never read before. I pride myself on being a fairly well-rounded reader, so I would be doing myself an injustice if I didn’t add some of the classics into the mix.
Here are a few of the children’s classics that I am aiming to read in 2020. This is not an exhaustive list, but just a starting point that I will be building upon.
» The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz #1) by L. Frank Baum
When Dorothy and her little dog Toto are caught in a tornado, they and their Kansas farmhouse are suddenly transported to Oz, where Munchkins live, monkeys fly and Wicked Witches rule. Desperate to return home, and with the Wicked Witch of the West on their trail, Dorothy and Toto – together with new friends the Tin Woodsman, Scarecrow and cowardly Lion – embark on a fantastic quest along the Yellow Brick Road in search of the Emerald City. There they hope to meet the legendary, all-powerful Wizard of Oz, who alone may hold the power to grant their every wish.
Just as captivating as it was a hundred years ago, this is a story that all ages will love.
After reading Finding Dorothy, a historical fiction book following the life of L. Frank Baum’s wife & her involvement with the film, I’ve been itching to pick up this beloved classic.
» Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie Peter Pan, the mischievous boy who refuses to grow up, lands in the Darling’s proper middle-class home to look for his shadow. He befriends Wendy, John and Michael and teaches them to fly (with a little help from fairy dust). He and Tinker Bell whisk them off to Never-land where they encounter the Red Indians, the Little Lost Boys, pirates and the dastardly Captain Hook.
Like many others, I grew up watching the Disney adaptation of Peter Pan. I’ve often wondered if the Disney version was close to the original, or if they took liberties with the story.
» Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Longstocking #1) by Astrid Lindgren
Tommy and his sister Annika have a new neighbor, and her name is Pippi Longstocking. She has crazy red pigtails, no parents to tell her what to do, a horse that lives on her porch, and a flair for the outrageous that seems to lead to one adventure after another!
Another classic that I grew up loving the film adaptation. I’m a sucker for eccentric characters, so I really hope this book lives up to my expectations.
» Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
This beloved book by E. B. White, author of Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, is a classic of children’s literature that is “just about perfect.” This high-quality paperback features vibrant illustrations colorized by Rosemary Wells!
Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.
E. B. White’s Newbery Honor Book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come. This edition contains newly color illustrations by Garth Williams, the acclaimed illustrator of E. B. White’s Stuart Little and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, among many other books.
Like the previous books on this list, I’m familiar with this story through its movie. I am planning on reading this one to my daughter.
» A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Alone in a new country, wealthy Sara Crewe tries to settle in and make friends at boarding school. But when she learns that she’ll never see her beloved father again, her life is turned upside down. Transformed from princess to pauper, she must swap dancing lessons and luxury for hard work and a room in the attic. Will she find that kindness and genorosity are all the riches she truly needs?
This is one that I am NOT familiar with the story. I’m sure there is a film adaptation, but I’ve never seen it.
» Heidi by Johanna Spyri
Orphaned Heidi lives with her gruff but caring grandfather on the side of Swiss mountain, where she befriends young Peter the goat-herd. She leads an idyllic life, until she is forced to leave the mountain she has always known to go and live with a sickly girl in the city. Will Heidi ever see her grandfather again? A classic tale of a young girl’s coming-of-age, of friendship, and familial love.
Another story I am not familiar with. For some reason, the description is giving me Anne of Green Gables vibes, which is a series I adored. Hopefully I’ll enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed AoGG.
» Stuart Little by E.B. White
A paperback edition of E.B. White’s classic novel about one small mouse on a very big adventure! With black and white illustrations.
Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he’s shy and thoughtful, he’s also a true lover of adventure.
Stuart’s greatest adventure comes when his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest. Determined to track her down, Stuart ventures away from home for the very first time in his life. He finds adventure aplenty. But will he find his friend?
The second E.B. White book to make this list. While I vaguely remember seeing a movie adaptation for Stuart Little, I really only remember that it is about a mouse with a human family. This is another book I’ll be reading to my daughter.
» James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
When James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree, strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. When James discovers a secret entranceway into the fruit and crawls inside, he meets wonderful new friends–the Old-Green-Grasshopper, the dainty Ladybug, and the Centipede of the multiple boots. After years of feeling like an outsider in his aunts’ house, James finally found a place where he belongs. With a snip of the stem, the peach household starts rolling away–and the adventure begins!
Roald Dahl’s first and most widely celebrated book for young people continues to thrill readers around the world.
I was terrified of this film adaptation when it came out in the 90s… Hopefully this story will be more endearing and less creepy.
What are some of your favorite classic children’s books?
Have you read any of the books on this TBR? If so, what did you think?
Comment below & let me know 🙂