Now that we are deep into a winter that will seemingly never end, it’s time to look at a few classic children’s books that can carry us through.
Brave Irene (by William Steig, 1986) William Steig is one of the few authors I know who doesn’t shy away from true drama. He’s better known for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble which features parents bawling their eyes out over their long lost son, but in this book Irene has to brave a serious winter storm at night to deliver a dress her mom has made:
Irene pushed forward with all her strength and–sloosh! thwump!–she plunged downward and was buried. She had fallen off a little cliff. Only her hat and the box in her hands stuck out above the snow. Even if she could call for help, no one would hear her. Her body shook. Her teeth chattered. Why not freeze to death, she thought, and let all these troubles end. Why not? She was already buried.
Don’t worry, it all turns out wonderfully at the end, but boy, both my girls (and I) were on the edge of our seats the whole time!
The Hundred Dresses (written by Eleanor Estes, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin, 1945) R and I really enjoyed this Newberry Honor winning chapter book about two girls who tease a poor immigrant girl from Poland into moving out of town. Both girls feel bad, but one feels worse about it than the other. I don’t want to give anything away, but the story feels amazingly real, right down to the messy ending.
Moominland Midwinter (by Tove Jansson, 1957) Last week I was a guest on the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast and I one of my recommendations was Finn Family Moomintroll, another book in this amazing series of stories about Moomintroll and his friends and family which take place in magical land far to the north. The stories and characters are rich enough to appeal to adults but clear and exciting enough to capture kids’ imaginations too. It’s criminal how under-appreciated (and unknown) these books are in the United States.
Sheila at Book Journey started It’s Monday! What are You Reading?, and Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host kidlit versions. All three sites are great places to find new books for yourself and your kids.