The OF Blog: Books for an Imagined Future Niece or Nephew

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Books for an Imagined Future Niece or Nephew

Just over a week ago, my youngest brother got engaged, with tentative wedding plans for late this year or early next. That led me to think a bit about the possibility of having a niece or nephew soon and watching them grow up, either by living in the general vicinity or from afar. I remember the huge influence that my maternal grandmother had on my reading experience and I thought I'd just share some books that I conceivably could give to an imagined niece or nephew of mine from early childhood to their late teen years (presuming that they would be readers, that I would be willing to part with a few of these, and that these would all be appreciated, etc. I also should note that my brother and his fiancé are pretty close to being labeled as Evangelical, so certain obvious choices such as Pullman or Rowling's works might be iffy). These are not in any arranged order, other than how I wrote them down a few minutes ago when scanning my shelves. Feel free to suggest others as well:

1. Crockett Johnson, Harold and the Purple Crayon

2. H.A. and Margaret Rey, The Adventures of Curious George

3. Wilson Rawls, The Summer of the Monkeys; Where the Red Fern Grows

4. Ovid, Metamorphoses

5. Alexandre Dumas, The Three Muskateers

6. Anonymous, The Arabian Nights

7. John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress

8. Matthew Lewis, The Monk

9. Charles Maturin, Melmoth the Wanderer

10. Edgar Allan Poe, The Complete Stories of Edgar Allan Poe

11. Rabeleis, Garganta and Pantagruel (okay, this might be iffy, I know)

12. Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe

13. E. Nesbit, Five Children and It

14. Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

15. Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

16. Bulfinch's Mythology

17. Frank Stockton, The Lady or the Tiger and Other Stories

18. Jules Verne, Around the World in 80 Days

19. C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia (omnibus)

20. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit; The Lord of the Rings

21. Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book

22. Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

23. Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles; The Homecoming (illustrated)

24. H. Rider Haggard, King Soloman's Mines

25. Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island

26. Jack London, The Call of the Wild

27. T.H. White, The Once and Future King

28. Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

29. Catherynne M. Valente, The Orphan's Tale (duology)

30. Charles Shulz, Happiness is a Warm Puppy

31. James Thurber, The 13 Clocks

32. Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, The Shadow Speaker (review forthcoming)

33. Astrid Lindgren, The Brothers Lionheart

34. D.M. Cornish, Foundling (another I need to review soonish)

35. Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

36. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

37. Margo Lanagan, Red Spikes (or any of her other collections)

38. Patricia McKillip, Riddle-Master: The Complete Trilogy

39. G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday

Oh, and maybe the Marquis de Sade just for shits and giggles...

Any that you'd suggest that I consider reading/adding to this list for my hypothetical niece/nephew?


Unknown said...

Mazel Tov to your brother. Or something more appropriate.

Ah The Phantom Tollbooth. The memories! The memories! I'm having a Proustian moment here.

You already have Kipling, but you might add the Just So Stories. To be read aloud, with lots of beautiful pictures to show. "Once upon a time, O my Best Beloved..."

Anonymous said...

More Nesbit and Lindgren - I remember "Mio, My Mio" as my favourite.
Other favourite books of my childhood were Michael Ende - "The Neverending Story" and "Momo".
Also Erich Kästner – "The 35th of May, or Conrad's Ride to the South Seas".
Of newer authors I like Garth Nix - the "Old Kingdom" stories - "Lirael", "Sabriel" and "Abhorsen" and recent (and not yet finished but surely to be when your hypothetical niece/nephew grows up enough to be able to read it) "The Keys to the Kingdom" series. Both series have Christian undertones so should be fine.
Maybe also Jonathan Stroud's "The Bartimaeus Trilogy".
And then Erikson of course ;P

BTW I'm sure that by the time s/he will be old enough for you to give her/him de Sade s/he will be choosing book by her/himself.

Larry Nolen said...

Thanks, both of you, for the congratulations and for the suggestions, which are quite good ones! :D

Anonymous said...

The Man Who Was Thursday??

That's seems a little heavy...might as well get him 'Orthodoxy' or 'What's Wrong with the World.' (Father Brown sounds more like it)

Bulfinch's, though, that's impressionable. As a boy in elementary school I read Bulfinch's during the bus ride to and fro school, and the only part I remember is the fellow getting his beard tangled in a tree limb and dying! Maybe that's what sparked my love of story!

I remember really enjoying the works of George MacDonald. The Princess and the Ring, I think it's called. (Lilith and Phantases boggled my mind) Oh, and my favorite was 'At the Back of the North Wind.' I really saw myself as little Diamond. Oh, and Hawthorne wrote two incredible little works for children (A Wonder Book, and Tanglewood Tales.) Among my favorites. But I'm biased. Hawthorne is a deity of language, in my humble experience.


Unknown said...

I highly recommend these stories I enjoyed in my early years:
Enid Blyton (in particular the Wishing Chair and Faraway Tree series),
Roald Dahl,
Asterix & Obelix series,
Tintin series.

Larry Nolen said...

Some more good suggestions! And yeah, I debated on which Chesterton to include, but I thought around 15-16, maybe The Man Who Was Thursday would make for an interesting, subversive read.

And looking back at my list, I'm mortified that I left off Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows!

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