Why Introduce the Classics to Young Children...And a Great New Kids' Books Series with a Giveaway (Literacy Musings Monday Linkup)

Walk through the children's section in any bookstore and take a look at the books around you. Many children's books now are written about popular children's television or movie characters. The text is cute and rhyming and the themes are all sunny, usually involving a simplistic moral to the story.

Rarely can you find classic literature in a prominent place in the children's department. It seems that the popular idea is that classics will be dull and boring to children. And so classics are relegated to a dusty corner if they're included at all in the children's department.

I think this is a mistake. Reading classic literature to children can be an awesome experience- for the kids and for us. Sharing classics with kids can have many benefits, but these are two of the most important.

Classic books for young kids

Why read classic literature to kids?

Kids will have a better understanding of classic literature later.

I've read through children's version of Pilgrim's Progress to my kids several times when the kids were different ages. We've enjoyed reading it and discussing it and talking about the original book as well. When my oldest daughter was a sophomore in high school, her curriculum scheduled the original Pilgrim's Progress. There were some reading notes to let the students know that the book was difficult to read and may be hard to understand. After she read the book, Kathryne came to me to say that she didn't know why the book was considered hard to understand. She hadn't had any trouble with it. 

I think that a large part of her ease of understanding was the fact that we had read the children's version of the book and had had some good discussions about the meaning of the book. Having read the book- or a version of it- as a younger child, she understood it more completely as an older student. 

When we read classics to kids, they may not understand the whole thing right then. We may have to explain bits and pieces or skim over some difficult passages. But, later, when kids are older and they read these books, the remembrance of what you've read before will come back and they'll have a more complete understanding.

Reading classics to kids can spark interest in quality literature.

It is likely that not too many children will pick up a huge, thick volume of classic literature on their own. But when we begin to read a classic out loud to the kids and they become spell-bound by a story that draws them in, they'll begin to realize that the classics really are worth reading. And then, when their reading level makes reading the classics independently a possibility, they'll know that those books are worth choosing. Exposing our kids to classic literature when they're young helps to stir their souls to want to read classic literature when they're older.

Bax Classics

Several months ago, I came across a new series of books. I first discovered them on The Rabbit Room- which is a blog you should definitely go read if you haven't already. When I read about their mission to introduce classics to young kids, I knew that I could identify with their purpose, and I wanted to find a way to help them spread the word about their awesome new book series. After you read about this series, enter the giveaway for a chance to win your own set of Bax Classics.

Bax classics books for kids

Introducing Bax Classics

These books feature Baxter Burns, otherwise known as Bax. He's a little kid who wants to read big books. Instead of the simple rhyming books that his teacher wants to read for story time, Bax wants to read the "big kid books." 

Bax is used to introduce the classics to young kids. He's the one who pulls out the big thick books and begins to draw his classmates to them. He shows kids how fun the big kid books are. With a simple version of the classic story, along with animated pictures, Bax opens up the world of classic literature to kids.

There are currently three volumes of Bax Classic- Moby Dick, Great Expectations, and Jane Eyre.

Bax Classic Volume 1 featuring Moby Dick

In the first volume of this book series, Bax and his classmates are gathered around listening to their teacher Mr. Carbunkel at reading time.  No one except Mr. Carbunkel is really interested in the rather dull book that he is reading. When Bax decides he's had enough he begins to search in the book bin for something a bit more interesting. Bax tells his friends that he's searching for the book about the "bone-legged captain and the beast of the deep." The kids in the class would much rather hear this story than the silly, rhyming one their teacher is reading.

And so Bax begins to tell the story, introducing his classmates to the story of Moby Dick. Although the story is summarized, the vocabulary used is still rich and not watered down. Bax sets the story up for his friends by telling them about the main characters and the beginning of the story. He takes them to the place where the action is just becoming intense. And then...he leaves them hanging, asking questions about what happens next.

Of course, Mr. Carbunkel has no choice but to pull out Moby Dick by Herman Melville. And story time becomes no longer boring and dull but exciting and spell-binding as he reads this classic book to the class.

Extra Resources

To accompany each of the books in the Bax Classics series, the authors are compiling a curriculum that parents can use as they discuss the books with their children. There is a sample of the curriculum that accompanies Moby Dick on the Bax Classics website, and there will eventually be a curriculum for each book. 

I am so super excited about these books, ya'll. I can't wait until more come out. Even though my kids are older, I'm definitely adding them to our library because I think that they are so valuable. The authors have generously offered a set of books for one of my readers. You can enter the giveaway below to win.

Giveaway of Bax Classics books


Now for this week's linkup...

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  1. Hi, I love a Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Thanks for the great giveaway opportunity.

  2. I have two...Jane Eyre and The Scarlet Pimpernel.

  3. Is The Hobbit considered a classic book yet? We surely do love that one.


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