When my kids were small, introducing classic literature to them was very important. I scoured lists of classic books for elementary age kids. Finding abridged versions of classic works wasn't always easy. The used book section of my library was often helpful, but I didn't feel like I was exposing them to as many classics as I wanted.
Then I stumbled upon a collection of classic stories. Buying collections is a much better way to expose kids to classic books. This is a list of some wonderful classics collections aimed at elementary school aged children that made it easy for me to introduce dozens of classic works to my kids.
Of course, you can read the original versions of classic children's stories. The problem I ran into was having to explain too many archaic words to my kids. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because it can expand a child's vocabulary. But constant explanations and definitions of words take away the enjoyment of reading a classic story. If a child doesn't enjoy listening to classic works, they may start to dislike them. Some kids may enjoy the challenge of wading through classics, but others won't.
Classics Collections List
- Usborne Illustrated Classics for Boys and Usborne Illustrated Classics for Girls - don't worry about boys and girls being in the title. It's worth it to get both. The boys book has Moonfleet, Around the World in 80 Days, Robin Hood, Gulliver's Travels, The Canterville Ghost and Robinson Crusoe. The girls version has Heidi, Little Women, The Railway Children, Black Beauty, The Secret Garden and The Wizard of Oz. According to Usborne, these books are for ages 6+. See sample pages.
- Shakespeare for Kids - Usborne has a couple of different collections of Shakespeare's works. I got Usborne Stories from Shakespeare. It includes A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, As you like it, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, The Winter's Tale, Macbeth and The Taming of the Shrew. This book is probably best for ages 7 and up. See sample pages.
- Usborne Illustrated Stories from Dickens - this book has wonderful retellings of Oliver Twist, Bleak House, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield that's most appropriate for ages 6 and up.
- Favorite Greek Myths by Mary Pope Osborne is an excellent introduction to mythology for young children. It has a dozen stories.
- Classics to Read Aloud to Your Children: Selections from Shakespeare, Twain, Dickens, O.Henry, London, Longfellow, Irving Aesop, Homer, Cervantes, Hawthorne, and More - this book is most appropriate for 3rd grade and up, but that depends on the child. It has shorts stories, excerpts from novels, myths, and poetry.
- Aesop's Fables for Children: Includes a Read-and-Listen CD - this is an excellent collection of Aesop's Fables. It's very nicely illustrated and the CD is nice to listen to in the car.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2012 JoanCA
Stephanie Bradberry from New Jersey on August 26, 2012:
It's always great to find ways to introduce kids to books and reading.
JoanCA (author) on August 15, 2012:
Thanks midget38 and MG Singh. Hopefully this will provide parents with a convenient way to read more classics to their kids.
MG Singh from UAE on August 14, 2012:
I liked your hub. Classics are bady ignored. I am glad you advocated it
Michelle Liew from Singapore on August 14, 2012:
Wonderful for kids who do not have the reading habit, and with the advent of technology and social media, they read so much less. Sharing!
JoanCA (author) on August 14, 2012:
I fondly remember reading a lot of classics as well, especially Dickens. You probably can't go wrong with a book that generations of readers have loved.
I.W. McFarlane from Philadelphia on August 14, 2012:
Thanks JoanCA for sharing this hub. You have certainly brought me way back to my childhood days -- the days when I myself were reading most of these Books that you have mentioned above. Some of my favorites were: Romeo & Juliet, Wizard of Oz, Robin Wood, Merchant of Venice, Around the World in eighty days and more. I even enjoyed reading Tom Sawyer, The Tale of Two cities etc.