I am a father to a one year old girl. I am determined to engage her in reading throughout the first ten years of her life. I especially would like to be able to read to her often as she grows older. Once we move beyond the children's books that stimulate learning, I would like to read books to her that both pique her interest and enrich my own reading experience. Do any of you readers and parents know of literature that can strike this balance? I particularly would be interested in suggestions within the realm of classic literature. I would greatly appreciate any input. Thank you.
"Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" are great for children as is Winnie the Poo and Kipling's "Just So Stories". The Little House on the Prarie books are especially appealing to girls and are light and interesting. Mother Goose and Howard Pyle's books on King Arthur and Robin hood are good for children and are literary. Fairy tales, like Grimm's, are excellent. "Later, Jane Austin's stuff is nice as is Frances Burney's, a little of the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens (really great for vocabulary and learning to read complex sentences), Jack London, Damon Runyon. Stay away from the "Young Adult" genre and the watered-down abridgements of literary classics; modern literature in general isn't well-suited to youngsters. Also, some stuff is only good for kids when they're older; Cormac McCarthy springs to mind.
My father read me the Laura Ingalls Wilder books - Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Praire etc; he would read every night a chapter or two, from the time I was three years old and received the books for Christmas. We were about 5 books in before I was reading them on my own. My copies are now quite worn out but well loved. I'd also suggest "Peter Pan" by JM Barrie- it's a lot deeper than most would think. The Wizard of Oz series, the Box Car Children, Misty, Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer, are all good books - I would suggest visiting your local library and wandering around the shelves in the children's section - or ask the librarian to make some suggestions as your daughter grows.
Enjoy your time together - some of my fondest memories are listening to my father's voice as I fell in love with books.