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Chapter 49 - The Giver

I am a big fan of giving books as gifts regardless of the holiday but never more so than at Christmas. Toys break, clothes are outgrown, hobbies fizzle due to lack of time or interest but a book is often a gift that stays with you forever. Once you have read something interesting or profound in a book it will be with you, like a tattoo on your brain.

I am also a big proponent of children's classics from the well-loved Goodnight Moon for the very little ones to the Giver series by Lois Lowry, and everything in between. Sadly so many children are not getting a chance to read some of the best children's classics because people think they don't speak to children anymore. Here is a list of some of my favorites and the themes which surround them or lessons to be learned.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett - Sara Crewe is a rich little girl left at a London boarding school by her father who is an officer in India. He loses all his money and Sara is reduced to working at the boarding school for a living. How she works through her transition is a story of kindness and resilience.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum - I'm sure I don't have to summarize this great American fairy tale of Dorothy Gale who is taken to Oz by a Kansas tornado. The book is better than the movie, if possible, and there are 15 books in the series if you want to read more.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - Another American classic, "Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents." is the first line. Taking place during the Civil War, the four sisters - Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, are trying to find their places in the world.

The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney - This was a favorite of my grandmother who introduced the book to me. Written in 1881, the story tells about the Pepper family, the trials they faced, and the lessons they learned.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl - Another book which is better than either of the movies, Dahl's classic is the story of Charlie, his family, and how guts, determination, and honesty win him a chocolate factory of his own.

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh - Harriet is a spy, at least she feels like one when the eleven year old writes down everything she sees and hears in her trusty notebook. What happens when Harriet loses her notebook and her friends find out the truthful and hurtful things she has written about them? Well that is the story. This is the first in a series of four.

Do you have any books from your own childhood which you'd recommend? Please share.


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