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Desert Island Literature - Early Years

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    Desert Island Literature - Early Years

    Here is the scenario: You and your family are going to be sent to a desert island for four years. (Or it can be somewhere else with no libraries and no UPS service. Oddly enough, Starbucks WILL be in the process of building a new location here.) Your favorite Memoria Press curriculum items will be waiting at the island for you, along with cases of paper, Ticonderoga pencils, Stockmar beeswax crayons, and Lyra Color Giant Pencils. However you will only be able to bring a very limited number of books with you.
    Your mission is to select the top 20 essential books you will need to provide your child with a classical education in literature for grades PreK through Second Grade. What are your choices?
    **These will be the only books you have to read to your child for four years, so you will have to read them aloud multiple times.**
    Here are my selections:
    Golden Children's Bible
    Tomie de Paola's Nursery Rhymes
    A Child's Garden of Verses
    When We Were Very Young/Now We are Six
    The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter
    The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh
    The Blue Fairy Book (Lang)
    The Red Fairy Book
    The Yellow Fairy Book
    Favorite Uncle Remus
    American Tall Tales
    Andersen's Fairy Tales
    Grimm's Fairy Tales
    The Aesop for Children (Milo Winter)
    Charlotte's Web (a sentimental favorite)
    Just So Stories
    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
    The Wind in the Willows
    Classic Myths to Read Aloud
    #20 -- this is hard. Either Peter Pan or A Bear Called Paddington.

    This is what goes through my head when I am pregnant and lying awake at 2:00 a.m. Now tell me what you would change.
    Blessings,
    Jude
    DD24
    DS21
    DS18
    DS16
    DD14
    DS11
    DD9

    #2
    Jude,

    How fun! I'd have to go with Paddington.

    Tanya

    Comment


      #3
      a solution

      I just remembered that many of the fairy tales in Lang's books are by the Grimm Brothers. So i can take that one off of my list and keep both Peter Pan and Paddington.
      Hurray!
      Jude
      DD24
      DS21
      DS18
      DS16
      DD14
      DS11
      DD9

      Comment


        #4
        Only one change for me: I'd reserve Wind in the Willows for later and add A Little Princess. Sara Crewe can still choke me up 35+ years after I first read her.

        I think Wind is a little tough for Little 'Uns, but that could just be me wanting to sneak Sara in there.


        SaintJude7, I can see we are in agreement on K-2nd RA lists!
        DS, 28 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace)

        DS, 26 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

        DD, 23 yrs, graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; 2nd grade teacher.

        DS, 13 yrs, 9th grade; attends a private classical school, 7th - 12th.

        All homeschooled for some/all of their K-12 education.

        Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling, now a high school chemistry teacher at a large Catholic high school

        Comment


          #5
          20 possible titles

          I know that some of these selections will appear odd. I have my reasons for all of them.
          For example, I chose Roller Skates because beyond being a good story, it serves as a good introduction to William Shakespeare's play The Tempest. I believe that young children are fully capable of enjoying Shakespeare in the original if it is presented in the right way. It needs to be introduced through storytelling. Children can become familiar with the plots and characters and begin acting it out. They can then gradually learn some of Shakespeare's actual text if it is presented in an exciting way.

          Children’s Bible
          Bible
          Once Upon a Time Saints
          Brian Wildsmith’s Mother Goose
          Eloise Wilkin’s Poems to Read to the Very Young
          The Harp and Laurel Wreath (Collection of Poems)
          Ox Cart Man
          Miss Rumphius
          St. George and the Dragon
          The Clown of God
          The Tasha Tudor Book of Fairy Tales
          D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths
          Complete Chronicles of Narnia
          Little House in the Big Woods
          Carry on Mr. Bowditch
          Witch of Blackbird Pond
          A Christmas Carol
          Roller Skates
          Collected works of William Shakespeare
          A one volume encyclopedia (Colombia or Britannica)

          Comment


            #6
            Desert Island Lit

            I'd take out Wizard of Oz and put in both Paddington and Peter Pan. I'd also be missing The Little House on the Prairie and the Chronicles of Narnia.....

            Shaina

            Comment


              #7
              early years

              I like Once Upon a Time Saints, and might have picked it if there was a combined volume that contained all of the More Once Upon a Time Saints stories as well. The Harp and Laurel Wreath is an excellent choice.
              I have honestly never seen the Tasha Tudor Book of Fairytales. But now I am going to have to hunt that one down. Her "One is 1" would definitely be included if I could have a separate list of concept books for little ones, along with "A is for Annabelle." I considered including Shakespeare, but figured that, if I was going to get off the island in time for 3rd grade, I could safely wait. But my top choice for retellings of Shakespeare is "Shakespeare Stories" and "Shakespeare Stories II." I am not crazy about the Lamb book or even the Edith Nesbit book.
              Jen mentioned that The Wind in the Willows was kind of difficult for little children, so she might substitute A Little Princess. When I thought about it, I realized that it is on my list mainly because it is so good at putting little ones to sleep. I guess it is the lovely rhythm of the words. I think we would all have some nostalgia choices as well. I include Charlotte's Web, not because it is actually classical literature. My grandmother was a public school teacher for many decades and read that book to all of her students, children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren She told me when she was in her nineties that in all those years she had never been able to read the part where Charlotte dies without crying. So that book makes the cut.
              I had to really weigh whether or not to put D'Aulaire's Greek Myths on my list. My kids love the pictures in that one. But I like the way William Russell retells the myths in "Classic Myths to Read Aloud." And the "A Few Words More" sections at the end of each of the myths is really fun. For example, after the story of Halcyone and Ceyx, he explains that the Greek god of sleep, Somnus, is where we get the term insomnia.
              Do they still put out actual Encyclopedias? Wow, I haven't seen those in a long time. There is a set (not terribly recent) in the children's section of our library. I have never seen one removed from the shelf. Maybe we could have a separate list for non-fiction. Sidebar: Do you know that G.K Chesterton quote, where someone asked him about what book he would want if he was stranded on a desert island? His answer was "Thomas' Practical Guide to Shipbuilding." He definitely makes my list of dead people it would be great to have at a dinner party.
              Blessings,
              Jude
              DD24
              DS21
              DS18
              DS16
              DD14
              DS11
              DD9

              Comment


                #8
                Narnia

                I actually left the Narnia Chronicles out on purpose, but only because whenever I have tried to read it aloud to my children, they end up taking the book and reading it on their own. They do that a lot, even if I try to hide the read-aloud books, and it really kind of steals my thunder. Maybe I should just read the Narnia books when they are in Kindergarten and can't read them on their own?
                Blessings,
                Jude
                DD24
                DS21
                DS18
                DS16
                DD14
                DS11
                DD9

                Comment


                  #9
                  I tried to find Tasha Tudor's fairytale book, but it appears to be out of print. You can find one used online, but that doesn't do me any good as a publisher. We need an inventory!

                  Tanya

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by SaintJude7 View Post
                    Sidebar: Do you know that G.K Chesterton quote, where someone asked him about what book he would want if he was stranded on a desert island? His answer was "Thomas' Practical Guide to Shipbuilding." He definitely makes my list of dead people it would be great to have at a dinner party.
                    Blessings,
                    Jude

                    And Wodehouse. Definitely Wodehouse. Oh, and CS Lewis. And Thomas Merton. Ahhh... I'm starting a Dinner Party List now. STOP ME, QUICKLY!
                    DS, 28 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace)

                    DS, 26 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

                    DD, 23 yrs, graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; 2nd grade teacher.

                    DS, 13 yrs, 9th grade; attends a private classical school, 7th - 12th.

                    All homeschooled for some/all of their K-12 education.

                    Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling, now a high school chemistry teacher at a large Catholic high school

                    Comment


                      #11
                      books

                      There are so many good books that are out of print. It is quite sad. I'm hoping that Tasha Tudor's fairy tales will be reprinted soon since many of her other books have been reprinted recently.

                      I do think that the parents' personal preferences should influence the lists. My dad absolutely loved Wind in the Willows. He read it to us each winter because he found Toad to be so amusing. My dad's enjoyment of the story added to my own. I probably wouldn't have liked the story as much if it wasn't for my dad's dramatic reading.

                      My personal favorites for read alouds when I was 5-7 included A Little Princess as well as A Secret Garden, Heidi, and 5 Little Peppers and How They Grew.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Oh, most definitely Wodehouse!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Another book and dinner guest

                          I just finished reading "Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child." Definitely a book that you want to read with a pencil in hand to underline all the things he writes that perfectly sum up why we give our children a classical education. My fifteen-year-old daughter read it at the same time and loved it as well. In it he mentions Tolkien quite a few times. The more I read about Tolkien, the more he fascinates me. I admit I have NEVER been able to make it more than halfway through the first book of the Lord of the Rings. (I get bogged down in all those descriptions of how this part of the forest looks, how the turf smells on this morning, which direction they are headed, etc...) "The Hobbit" is more to my taste. But this quote makes me think that he would need to be added to the dinner party list as well: "Tolkien , you see was a linguist, fascinated by the power and beauty and structure of language, especially as he saw it at work in the medieval epic."
                          If I didn't bring "The Hobbit" along with me to the desert island, I would have to put a copy in my child's hands as soon as we arrived home.
                          Blessings,
                          Jude
                          DD24
                          DS21
                          DS18
                          DS16
                          DD14
                          DS11
                          DD9

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Since Tolkein and CS Lewis were writing buddies (and when you *know* you know a quote and then have to go looking for it

                            "At all ages, if [fantasy and myth] is used well by the author and meets the right reader, it has the same power: to generalize while remaining concrete, to present in palpable form not concepts or even experiences but whole classes of experience, and to throw off irrelevancies. But at its best it can do more; it can give us experiences we have never had and thus, instead of 'commenting on life,' can add to it."

                            ~C.S. Lewis~
                            "Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's to Be Said"
                            Of Other Worlds
                            1966




                            IMO, this is why the preK - 2nd grade lists need more fairy tales, myths, and legends.



                            Of course, one must include another Chesterton quote to shore up the evidence:

                            "If you happen to read fairy tales, you will observe that one idea runs from one end of them to the other--the idea that peace and happiness can only exist on some condition. This idea, which is the core of ethics, is the core of the nursery-tales."

                            ~G. K. Chesterton~
                            All Things Considered
                            1908





                            Ah! Teaching a child to Think! How novel.

                            <smile>




                            Maybe we should invite Dorothy Sayers to the Dinner Party, too?
                            DS, 28 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace)

                            DS, 26 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

                            DD, 23 yrs, graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; 2nd grade teacher.

                            DS, 13 yrs, 9th grade; attends a private classical school, 7th - 12th.

                            All homeschooled for some/all of their K-12 education.

                            Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling, now a high school chemistry teacher at a large Catholic high school

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Yes! Yes! Yes!

                              I once participated in a particularly troubling discussion at the CLAA forum, in which the director expressed the view that having children read anything other than the Bible or the writings of the saints was all a waste of time. He even questioned the value of seeking "the true, the good, the beautiful." My argument was that one could find the truth, beauty, and benevolence of God in much great literature. (I got out of CLAA as fast as I could process the paperwork for the refund!)
                              Peace and happiness require a moral framework, and some of the earliest lessons of this are taught not only the Bible, but also in fairy tales, fables, myths, and legends. It saddens me to realize how many of the children I know are being denied these early formational experiences, because our local school district is all about multiculturalism and political correctness when it comes to teaching literature. Such twaddle. No fairy tales or mythology, but then expect them to understand Shakespeare in high school.
                              Blessings,
                              Jude
                              DD24
                              DS21
                              DS18
                              DS16
                              DD14
                              DS11
                              DD9

                              Comment

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