Sunday, April 10, 2011

The 50 Books Every Child Should Read

According to U.K. Education Secretary Michael Gove, children should be reading 50 books a year in order to improve literacy standards. The Independent came up with a list of 50 books every child should read (suitable for Year 7 students, which is (I believe) equivalent to sixth grade in the U.S., and I figured I'd see how I fared. Of the 50 books on their list, I'd read a grand total of TWO by the end of sixth grade/Year 7: Little Women and Treasure Island.

The ones I've read, and when I read them:

1. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. I've read both of them, although I never read them in their entirety until I was an adult.

2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I've read this many times. Always as an adult.

3. The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde. I read this for the first time when I was a teen.

4. Treasure Island by R.L. Stevenson. I read an abridged version as a child. Does that count? I'm going with yes.

5. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. I read this one as a sophomore. In college.

6. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. I read this a couple of years ago.

7. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. Now we're talking. I first read these when I was 11 or 12, and by the time I went off to college, I'd read The Hobbit 2-3 times and LOTR at least a dozen times. In the ensuing mumblemumble years, I've read The Hobbit once more, and LOTR at least another eight times.

8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Loved this as a kid. Still love it as an adult. Have read it at least half a dozen times, mostly when a child and teen.

9. Animal Farm by George Orwell. Read it as a teen.

. . . aaaaaand that's it for me. Although I do own a copy of the marvelous animation of The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono, which I've watched many times and adore. (I also own a copy of Disney's Pinocchio, but I'm not certain it's the same story as the original, so I . . . won't count it.)

Interesting to see what made The Independent's list and what didn't. How did you fare?

After you figure it out, check out Flavorwire's "What Your Favorite Kid's Book Then Says About You Now", which contains some of the books on The Independent's list. My faves were Lord of the Rings and Little Women. Says Flavorwire about Alcott's book: "Family may be the most important thing to you, but that wouldn’t stop you from stealing your sister’s ex-boyfriend." LOL!

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