Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Great Classic Kindle Books I've Read to My Son

We have a long way to go figuring out this parenting thing.  In fact, I'm hesitant to dole out advice on something I so clearly am just "winging it" on myself.  But one thing I think we get right is reading.  We read tons to our two kids (1 and 4 years old).  They always have fresh library books. However, starting when he was about about 2 and a half, I began reading night-time books that are way over my eldest's age, and this has been great on many fronts.  There is the obvious reasons:  science shows reading is good for kids.  Increased brain development, imagination, and social awareness can be linked back to reading.

But less obvious are some bonuses that reading "older kids" books brings.  A book with few pictures will often put kids to sleep with no fussing. You can read a chapter or two in a nice dark room and the kid will be droned to sleep before they know it.  It's as close as I've found to a magic trick when it comes to The Bedtime Wars.  Also, it can be "incentive" for other bedtime routines.  "If you hurry up and get your pajamas on, we'll have more time to find out where the submarine goes next".  I won't say this always works for ours, but it has helped.  Finally, it's also good for you: an excuse to catch up on those classics you never read as a kid, or don't remember from when you were little.  I've come to see bedtime reading as a good respite from a hectic day at work and other duties.

But this is a nerd blog, and so I have to involve some gadgetry.  Our reading is done primarily on Kindle.  This works great because it's easy to read with the lights out, and is available on iPad, Kindle, iPhone or laptop. Plus, while I am a fan of dead-tree books, I've lugged enough boxes of once-read books to appreciate having my library in the cloud and accessible from a 12oz gadget. I recommend either getting a Kindle Paperwhite or an iPad Mini and downloading the Kindle app. Even though Apple has their own bookstore, I like the ability to take my books to any device - Kindle, Windows and Mac laptops, iPhone and iPad.

 The downside is that not all titles are available on Kindle.  Apparently some publishers are trying to wait out this whole internet thing to see if it's going to really take off.  This is especially the case for lots of classics.  Here, Kindle and the rest of the online bookstores seem to have a gap.  Lots of out-of-copyright books exist, and are even free.  However, many of these are not well edited and contain errors.  Some even look like they were scanned in and never checked for accuracy.  Newer books are often (but not always) available, but many of these are not what I would call "timeless classics"

To that end, I've put together a list of  "older" books I've read to our now-four-year-old, and I'm sure yours will enjoy as well.  If you have suggestions of other Kindle books that kids may enjoy, leave them in the comments below!

22 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
 This was the first "older" book I read to ours, and he loved it. He obviously didn't grasp the whole story, but to this day, he wants to be a submarine driver when he grows up.

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (or any Narnia book).
 A timeless classic, and one of my all-time favorite series.  Lesser known is the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis, though these may not be quite as approachable by younger audiences.

The Hobbit.
Another classic made popular nowadays by the movies.  This does contain some elements that may be scary to younger kids, but the overwhelming arc of the story is perseverance and bravery of unassuming, simple Bilbo. 

Caddie Woodlawn.
I was a little skeptical of this at first,  but ended up enjoying it.  A pioneer tomboy staves off war with Indians.

Flood Friday
This one is about a massive flood in the Northeast. May be heavy subject for sensitive children, but mine does not seem traumatized.

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi (Illustrated)
A heroic Mongoose saves a family from deadly cobras. There's just something about this Rudyard Kipling classic that mine enjoy.  

The Borrowers
Ever wonder where your clothespins, paper clips, and knick-nacks go?  This series has spurred little imaginations with a creative new look at everyday objects.  

The Mouse and the Motorcycle
What's more fun than a mouse that rides a toy motorcycle around?

My Father's Dragon: The Classic Story for Children (Illustrated)
We've read this short crazy story a couple times now. A young man sneaks away to Wild Island to rescue a dragon from a host of cruel animals.

The Sign of the Beaver
A pioneer boy survives alone with the help of an Indian friend.

Chibi: A True Story from Japan
A True story about a duck that captivated Japan.  Very -erm- stereotypical Japanese, but a cute fun story.

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