An Inspirational Holiday Reading List
When school ends for the holidays, there’s no need for the iPad to start. Inspire your kids with a superb reading list to keep them engrossed all summer. They’ll be entertained and educated all at the same time with this line up of classic books that impart some big and meaningful messages.
There’s no Harry Potter here, but if you meet with resistance, you can tell them that nearly all of these titles have made it into their preferred format of ‘vision’. If they’re good they might just get to see them on screen!
#1: Compassion – Horton Hears a Who!, Dr. Seuss (3+ years)
“A person’s a person, no matter how small”. Horton the elephant is ridiculed for believing in the existence of the Whos, a community of microscopic creatures. In the end, his kind-hearted nature prevails and all the other animals pledge to protect the Whos from harm. With fun, catchy rhymes, Dr. Seuss conveys the importance of every person no matter their size, creed or colour.
#2: Selflessness – The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein (3+ years)
A tree and a boy love and enjoy each other’s company, until bit by bit this is no longer enough for the boy. The tree gives and gives until it has nothing left for the little boy. The little boy leaves to find more elsewhere. He returns fully grown wanting nothing more from the tree other than the companionship they once shared. It’s normal for parents to give and children to take. But it’s good for every child to begin to understand the concept of forgoing their own wants in order to make someone else happy. This is the true story of sacrifice, unconditional love and the cycle of child to parenthood.
#3: Acceptance – Where The Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak (4+ years)
For 50 years, this beautifully illustrated book with sparse yet carefully chosen words has connected with every child who ever got sent to their room! Smarting from being naughty, Max imagines a wild world where he can be king and get his own way. But eventually, he realises there is no place like home after all. The ability to create vivid worlds but also respect the here and now are both present in this classic.
#4: Perseverance – The Little Engine That Could, Watty Piper (5+ years)
She might have a more popular counterpart (aka Thomas the Tank Engine), but this little railroad engine has imminenet staying power. For good reason too. Faced with a daunting task, the engine stays positive by continuously puffing “I think I can, I think I can”. And it does! It’s not a bad mantra to have and the message of optimism and courage is something every child can own for themselves.
#5: Friendship – Winnie the Pooh, A. A. Milne (5+ years)
The heartwarming story of a little boy and his beloved toy bear has captivated readers for decades. Pooh is a loyal, curious bear that loves “hunny” and spending time with a loveable bunch of friends known as Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore. At its core, the books emphasises that being together is better than being alone. Little wonder that social media sites are awash with Pooh’s moving quotes about how precious friendship is.
#6: Humour – Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst (7+ years)
We’ve all experienced days where nothing goes our way: coffee is spilled, you miss the bus, and your laptop suffers the Blue Screen of Death. But when your children has an off day, they can feel completely alone. Grumpy Alexander encounters a series of unfortunate mishaps as soon as he gets out of bed and it doesn’t let up. We discover that everyone has bad days and all we can really do is take comfort in that and laugh.
#7: Adaptability – Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White (8+ years)
A spider that’s smart and forms text messages to humans on its silvery web? Very, very cool. Wilbur the pig is about to end up on the dining table, but Charlotte the spider assumes the role of “spin doctor” and dashes that plan to pieces. It’s a great book for your kids to read aloud, and it helps them understand that change, while painful at times, should be embraced and not shunned.
#8: Curiosity – The Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton (8+ years)
When we were kids, our noses were buried in the pages of an Enid Blyton book for weeks on end, and this fantasy trilogy tops our list. A group of children discover a magical tree in an enchanted forest, and their adventures bring them to new lands and new friends like Moonface. These stories celebrate imagination and curiosity – vital lifelong attributes.
#9: Individuality – Matilda, Roald Dahl (9+ years)
What don’t we love about Matilda Wormwood? She’s intelligent, witty, has magical powers… all at the ripe old age of five. Matilda’s big-hearted approach to life, and the mean bullies she meets, is truly commendable. What do we love best about Dahl’s brilliant protagonist? She doesn’t try to be anyone else but herself (and she loves reading too).
#10: Joy – The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett (9+ years)
This British classic tells the tale of a parentless girl with a sour outlook who moves to austererity in Yorkhire, England. In discovering a garden under lock and key and befriending a crippled boy, named Colin, magical things begin to happen and the hopefulness they begin to feel leads to transformation.