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A Classic List Of Must-Read Children's Books

Aug 12, 2009 (Morning Edition)

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As summer vacations draw to a close and school-age children begin the mad scramble to fulfill their summer reading obligations, author Lesley M. M. Blume recommends a few timeless books that may not be on the required book lists.

Blume, the author of several books for young adults, says that parents owe it to their kids to introduce them to the classics.

"It is our responsibility to introduce classics to the next generation, because there's such a flood of new titles on the book market right now, especially in young adult literature, and we have to make sure that the books that we love go into the hands of our own children," Blume tells Linda Wertheimer.

Her book list includes a fair number of books about orphans, because, as Blume says, kids seem naturally drawn to stories in which the parents are absent: "Any child can relate to the fantasy of creating a kids-only utopia from scratch in the woods... This is something you see over and over again in classic literature and films. No rules, no baths, no schoolwork."

Lesley Blume's Recommended List of Classic Children's Literature:

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner, paperback, 154 pages, Albert Whitman & Company, List Price: $4.99

The Witches by Roald Dahl, paperback, 208 pages, Puffin, List Price: $6.99

The Devil's Storybook by Natalie Babbitt, paperback, 112 pages, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, List Price: $7.95

Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster, paperback, 116 pages, Aegypan, List Price: $9.95

Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers, paperback, 176 pages, HarperTeen, List Price: $5.99

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer, hardcover, 256 pages, Random House, List Price: $19.95

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois, paperback, 192 pages, Puffin, List Price: $6.99

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg, paperback, 176 pages, Aladdin, List Price: $9.99

Watership Down by Richard Adams, paperback, 476 pages, Scribner, List Price: $16

The House with the Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs, illustrated by Edward Gorey, paperback, 192 pages, Puffin, List Price: $5.99

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