Classic Children’s Books No Longer Popular
I did a post a few days ago on Top 10: Best Old Fashioned Children’s Books based on the books that I loved as a child and now my kids do too. This is the ugly stepsister version.
I thought about why a book might lose its appeal to a younger generation. In the case of these picture books, I truly believe that the simple 2 color illustrations don’t appeal to this generation. A simple but sweet story that unfolds slowly also gets rejected because this new generation of readers need to be pulled in at page 1 or 2 to keep going. Perhaps our kids have more choices such that books with humor slightly too sophisticated as in the case of Amelia Bedelia, or plots that are too layered as in the case of The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, or plots that have scary bad guys as in the Nancy Drew series are easily rejected.
It pains me that my kids don’t like these books at all. These are great picture and chapter books and get listed as Best Book on many a reading list. But, it’s true. My kids (and others that we know), do not like these books. They are still wonderful books so I hope that you have better luck with your kids. I have listed my kids’ objections below.
Do you have any favorite books that your kids have rejected? Award-winning gems? And do you also have an entire bookshelf of the Nancy Drew series because it was at Costco and it will never be that cheap again so you bought it when your oldest was a baby and saved it for her only to find that NO ONE wants to read them?! OK, maybe that is just me. I can live with that.
10. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsberg
“I’m confused.” “Huh?” “I don’t get this book. What is going on?” [Newbery Honor Book chapter book, ages 10-14]
9. Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
“I tried it but I didn’t like it. Can you choose another book for me?” [award winning chapter book, ages 9-12]
8. Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
“Too scary. Can we read something else?” [a classic chapter book series but with bad guys, ages 10-14]
7. Babar series by Jean De Brunhoff
This book just never gets chosen by my kids. When I chose it, it gets kicked off the bed in disgust. [a classic and wonderful picture book series, ages 3-8]
6. Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
“It’s so boring.” [A wonderful chapter book series on every Top 100 list, ages 8-12]
5. One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
“Do we have to read this book?” Me: It’s a wonderful advanced picture book, with literacy rating of “L.” “It’s so boring.” [picture book written by one of my favorite children’s authors of all times, ages 5-9]
4. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
My two girls did not like this book, but my youngest son does. The girls would just reject it as a bedtime story. [picture book, ages 4-7]
3. Flat Stanley series by Jeff Brown
I bought the entire chapter book series but I can’t get any of my kids to read them. [picture book for the first book, ages 3-7; chapter book series as well, ages 7-10]
2. Amelia Bedelia series by Peggy Parish
“I don’t get it.” [picture book with advanced humor based on homonyms, ages 6-9]
1. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
My middle daughter’s book club picked this book when she was in first grade. I was excited. I LOVED this book as a child. The Spanish Bullfighters with their costumes and all the different costumes. “Boring.” “I hate this book.” “I refused to read it.” [a wonderful and classic picture book about being true to yourself, ages 4-9]
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.