Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Favorite Books --of a 9 year old boy

When he was little we began to fill the tiny child sized bookshelf.  He loved to be read to.  He loved to thumb through the colorful pages of his books on his own.

When he was an infant I read to him from the Bible often, and we read Paddington Bear.  When he was two I read him The Wind in the Willows.  He doesn't remember either.  As he grew we continued our Bible reading and we read aloud Charlotte's Web, Christie's Old Organ, The Little Woodchopper, The Hidden Rainbow.

We talked about them and great lessons grew out of those most wonderful stories.  Though for me those are sweet memories of time spent with my oldest child, he doesn't recall them at all, or the conversations we had.  Some he has since reread on his own.

The little bookshelf one day overflowed.  We filled another, larger, one.  We grew even more selective about what we allowed to occupy a precious space on the shelf.  We got rid of anything that could be classified as twaddle (n. books that are silly, foolish, trivial, nonsensical, insignificant).

Finding quality literature for little boys is not always easy, but it is certainly possible.  It does take time and effort to filter out that which is valuable from that which is merely popular.  The time and effort is well worth it...

...That small boy who used to lay with his head tucked on my shoulder, night after night, listening to story after story has just turned nine, his head now at my shoulder as he stands beside me.

As I type, my eye glances at his father's bookshelves, filled to overflowing.  Mine look much the same.  Apples don't fall far from the tree.  Our younger sons' following in the footsteps of their oldest brother.  They are apples from the same tree.

As Isaiah, the boy now nine, was nearing this birthday I asked him for a list.  A list of his 25 favorite books.  One's he has read all on his own.

He said, "Sure Mom!  I will put them in order of my favorite for you!"

I smiled.  He began.  Days passed and I asked, "How's that book list coming?"

"Well... Ok", he replied.  "I'm having trouble.  I think I'm done and then I think of another one I really liked.  I keep drawing arrows because I can't decide what should be first and what should be next!"

I told him to forget the order and just write down what he would consider his top 25 as of today.

He struggled, admitting that he's read so many great stories.  Stories that have stretched his comprehension, expanded his vocabulary, developed his spelling ability, and impacted his play.  Stories that have sparked a love of adventure, taught him about right from wrong, fact from fiction, and have clued him in to what life may have been like in times past.

Having just turned 9, here is his list...
The list he could narrow to only 27.

The Holy Bible

The Chronicle's of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
(The original series, volumes 1-19)

Rascal by Sterling North

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

Buffalo Bill by Mary R. Davidson

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry

Dolphin Adventure and Dolphin Treasure by Wayne Grover

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

The Sugar Creek Gang by Paul Hutchens

On The Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Littles by John Peterson

Homer Price by Robert McCloskey

Ben and Me by Robert W. Lawson

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

The Little Woodchopper by anon.

Ralph S. Mouse Collection by Beverly Cleary

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare

Stuart Little by E.B. White

My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

The Little Pilgrims Progress by Helen Taylor

The Imagination Station by Paul McCusker (an Adventures in Odyssey series)

*We highly recommend offering children the original, unabridged versions of any book.  They are the author's original work and are undiluted.  They are often far richer than any abridged, or early reader versions.  See in the column on the right the article, "What is Twaddle" bookmarked on Delicious, for a better understanding.

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