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14 Lessons Kids Can Learn From Classic Novels

classicnovels-01I hope my kids will make their way through all of these classic novels because I still believe we can learn a lot from books—even from old books.

I don’t care if they read them on a Kindle or an iPad or listen to the audiobook. Reading about different people and places gives kids a jump start on life experience. Unless you’re actually planning a vacation to  Lilliput, reading is the only way to pick this stuff up.

Have you read all of these? If not, they might be good inspiration for bedtime stories. Older kids can read them on their own or you could read them out loud as a family. Trust me, it will make 8th grade Honors English so much easier for them.

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  • Be Open-Minded: Gulliver’s Travels 1 of 14
    Be Open-Minded: Gulliver's Travels
    The story of Gulliver teaches kids to be open-minded. Maybe you're the biggest in the class. Maybe you're the smallest. Maybe you'll meet someone who is very different from you. Give people a chance and try to do what's right, instead of just stepping on tiny people. Plus, this book talks a lot about poop and potty, your son, especially, will love it.
    Available at Amazon for $3.50
  • Use Your Imagination: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe 2 of 14
    Use Your Imagination: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe
    The Christian allegory in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is not subtle, but this story also encourages imagination and empowers kids to believe that they can actually do brave and meaningful things.
    Available at Amazon for $13.60
  • Patience: David Copperfield 3 of 14
    Patience: David Copperfield
    If your kids make it through this book they will definitely learn patience. It took me a year to get through David Copperfield's antics. But this book is so worth it. You learn about different personality types and motivation. Also, this story teaches about equity between classes and men and women. A reader of Dickens becomes more compassionate, guaranteed.
    Available at Amazon for $19.99
  • Don’t Hold a Grudge: The Count of Monte Cristo 4 of 14
    Don't Hold a Grudge: The Count of Monte Cristo
    Live isn't fair and revenge ain't sweet but jail breaks are AWESOME.
    Available at Amazon for $5.95
  • Survive: Robinson Crusoe 5 of 14
    Survive: Robinson Crusoe
    If your kids are into Survivor, this is the story for them. Try surviving on an island for 28 years! Robinson Crusoe is kind of racist. Kids pick up on that. Sometimes literature can safely teach us what not to do.
    Available at Amazon for $10.95
  • Girls Can Do Anything: Little Women 6 of 14
    Girls Can Do Anything: Little Women
    Read Little Women to your daughter right now. It will give her a framework for thinking about gender stereotypes and, hopefully, give her a hero to look up to: Jo!
    Available at Amazon for $14.92
  • Don’t Be So Judgy: Pride and Prejudice 7 of 14
    Don't Be So Judgy: Pride and Prejudice
    Introduce children to the joy of analyzing the minutia of every social interaction they have and this skill will serve them well for the rest of their lives. Also, not too much pride and ease up on the prejudice, kids.
    Available at Amazon for $4.00
  • Um, Be Chaste?:The Scarlet Letter 8 of 14
    Um, Be Chaste?:The Scarlet Letter
    So, yeah. Don't sleep around. The social stigma surrounding it probably isn't fair but [remember, this is your daughter we're talking to] please don't get a scarlet letter or I'll be mad. But I'll still love you.
    Available at Amazon for $3.50
  • There’s No Place Like Home: Watership Down 9 of 14
    There's No Place Like Home: Watership Down
    What I love most about this story is the emphasis on home—the rabbits' search for a comfy, safe, home drives the story. Maybe it will make your kids appreciate their home a bit more? Prolly not. But they'll pick up on Hazel's leadership skills for sure.
    Available at Amazon for $10.98
  • Love is Complicated: Wuthering Heights 10 of 14
    Love is Complicated: Wuthering Heights
    Reading this book is a much better use of time for your teenager daughter than stalking boys on Facebook. And she'll learn a lot more about love form Catherine and Heathcliff than any Bachelor or Bachelorette.
    Available at Amazon for $7.20
  • Money Isn’t Everything: The Great Gatsby 11 of 14
    Money Isn't Everything: The Great Gatsby
    Rich people are snobs. The End.
    Available at Amazon for $8.67
  • Don’t Play God: Frankenstein 12 of 14
    Don't Play God: Frankenstein
    Monstrosity, secrecy, unnatural creatures, grave digging, the supernatural—Kind of makes the zombie craze seem a little 1-dimentional. Let Mary Shelly show your kids how it's really done, 18th Century stye.
    Available at Amazon for $12.76
  • Maintain Civility: Lord of the Flies 13 of 14
    Maintain Civility: Lord of the Flies
    With its exploration of civilization vs. savagery, Lord of the Flies should be required reading for all kids before they start jr high, and I am not EVEN kidding. (Have you been to jr. high?)
    Available at Amazon for $10.88
  • True Love Endures: Jane Eyre 14 of 14
    True Love Endures: Jane Eyre
    There is so much that is good in Jane Eyre, but what I think angsty teens will find most reassuring is that the passionate, appealing, interesting central characters in the story are ugly.
    Available at Amazon for $13.29

Read more of my writing at Babble and at my blog, Every Day I Write the Book.

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