I have it on good authority there will be more than a few Christmas trees this year with e-readers underneath them. But before you wrap that package in glossy paper and sneak proof it in tape, consider loading a few of your child’s favorite books before Christmas morning. This way they’ll be absorbed on the couch e- reader in hand and not absorbed in the computer glossy eyed at dinner. No worries, this isn’t going to cost you another $100, these book suggestions are free downloads from Gutenberg (of course, you may always donate to their website).
We’ll focus on the girls today. Younger than teen but older than seven or eight. Sound good? Then read on…
1) The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald. A wonderful fairy tale about young Princess Irene and her unlikely friend, Curdie. Together, the two must defeat the goblins that live below before its too late. Can they do it? While you’re at it, you can download the sequel, The Princess and Curdie. Not as good, but still worth
your your child’s time (you have read these, haven’t you?).
2) Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. This is the first of the series in which young “Anne-with-an-e” first voyages to Prince Edward Island and works her way, not only into the hearts of the Cuthberts, but into ours as well. Most of the series is in the public domain and available at Gutenberg. As Anne matures, though, so does the writing and some of the later books in the series may not be quite as interesting to this younger crowd.
3) The Gift of the Magi by O’ Henry. It is Christmas, after all.
4) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Forget what the movies showed you. This is a good little book about an orphan girl, her sullen cousin, their Yorkshire friend and, of course, a secret garden where hope grows.
5) Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang. I’m half-way through the list, here, and I could just finish up with Andrew Lang: Red, Orange, Brown, Violet, Yellow, Pink, and more . I won’t do that, though. For the more sensitive readers, you may want to pre-read these stories. They are full of what fairy tales are full of: good and evil in all their beautiful and grotesque forms.
6) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It’s still Christmas.
8 ) The Railway Children by E. Nesbit. Three children and their mother must move to a house by the rail line and “play at being poor” as their father has been inexplicably removed from their posh London home. While the mother writes stories to support the family, the children find their way into and out of many happy adventures.
9) Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. A young girl is forced to move from her coddled city life with her wealthy aunts to a life in the country with other relatives. A charming story on the value of a person in the life of a child.
10) Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle. When an old rag doll is re-introduced into the nursery, she and her new friends manage to find all sorts of adventures.
This is only a start, of course. And if you haven’t read the above titles, I’d suggest you go ahead and give them a try. My “younger than teen” suggestion only applies to,well, teens. The more mature of us will find most of the stories just as endearing – and often just as compelling – as the younger readers do.