Children’s classics, what are they?
@JennyJones thank you Jenny, I think most of them titles are new to me. I really look forward to reading them.
@LauraA that sounds like a great book too Laura, another one for my list.
chrisaakins last edited by
@JennyJones don't forget The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carl, or The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.
@peteolczyk I thought about writing this earlier, and I hesitate to write it even now, as it opens up a whole can of worms and I don't mean to hijack your thread, but it's an important part of the "classic" discussion: A lot has changed in the past couple of generations, and many books that we would consider classics have problematic aspects, particularly as regards race and culture. My own way of looking at it is to try to read them sensitively, knowing that we are all much more exposed now to other cultures and have had to confront a lot of American cultural prejudices--and thank goodness!
Some of these books will probably get booted out of the classics list, but others have enough literary value that they will remain. And 20 years from now, things will shift again and the process will continue, and so on...but I still think classics are valuable.
P.S. And obviously I'm speaking from an American POV because that's my culture, but I live in another one and know that prejudices differ.
@chrisaakins Cheers Chris, I still remember the hungry caterpillar being read to us at school when I was 4 or 5. I don’t have a great memory but that has definitely stuck with me.
@LauraA that’s a really interesting point Laura. I was wondering the other day how some of the classics would be received if the race was changed from what had been previously shown.
For example I’d love to see a completely new Alice in wonderland.
And hi-jack the thread if you like it’s fine. It’s an interesting topic.
Start a new thread too if you like Laura, totally fine by me too.
TessaW last edited by
Fun discussion, guys. I'd like to throw in "Peter Rabbit" as a book that I consider a classic.
As far as the outdated racial and cultural aspect goes- that's of course a tricky subject- but I'm of the opinion that you can still find value in some of those works and it can be a good way to facilitate healthy discussions with your children about history, racism, sexism, etc.
Amanda Bancroft last edited by
I'm so glad this thread got started! I'd been wondering if there was a hard definition, too, since I hear it brought up in SVS assignments. I'd love to see a list of the most popular by sales, or something. Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (mentioned by @TessaW) is a particularly great example because (though Potter had inspiration from previous works) she was a pioneer author/illustrator, one of the first if not the first to make childrens' hand sized books, got her artistic start selling rabbit greeting cards, was also a science illustrator who advanced the science of fungi but recognized only after her death when her drawings were published - because she was a woman, and used her children's book income to preserve over 4,000 acres of farmland in the Lake District of England where she got her reference material for the illustrations (using shops and people's cottages, and animal sketches for character design). So that goes full circle through this thread (sexism, classics, authors/illustrators to learn from).
I'd like to throw in another mention of Newberry honor winning chapter books because I find the stories make great illustration inspiration and most of my favorites are set in different cultures around the world, so the content is quite diverse and I love that.
peteolczyk last edited by peteolczyk
@Amanda-Bancroft @TessaW Wow I didn’t know that Beatrix Potter was also a scientific illustrator. I remember one of my grandmas reading Peter Rabbit to us, I’m sure it was from a copy she had been given from when she was a child.
I’m definitely going to see if I can find some honor winning newberry chapter books
@chrisaakins Yes! For sure! As a mom and preschool teacher there are several “must haves” that when they get loved to death I replace them. Those are among them. Also on my list are: The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone, Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh, The Seven Chinese Sisters by Kathy Tucker ( and beautifully illustrated by Grace Lin), Miss Suzy by Miriam Young, and everything by Beatrix Potter.
I always loved Tuesday by David Wiesner and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Van Allsburg. We even bought the giant portfolio of the Harris Burdick book and had a couple framed. They are part of the fabric of our home now.
I am loving seeing everyone’s additions. The more I think of the more come to mind. Books are so precious. I guess that’s part of why we are wanting to illustrate them!!!