I listen to many many audiobooks while I’m working on my English and Spanish corpus, driving kids hither and yon, sewing and hammering and on roadtrips. There is this conundrum for reading books: you’re more likely to finish reading it if you are enjoying it. I’ve staked my language learning approach for any age based on reading books at a grade five level. This is when vocabulary levels explode – when kids start to read chapter books at this level. My kids also happen to be chewing through these books, so I’m getting great feedback on what they motor through, and which ones they leave in the middle.
I started my research based on others’ opinions of good books, and discovered that I disagree with some time-honored classics even. Award-winning books are sometimes terrible, in my opinion. Books written fifty years ago have strange roles for their female characters. I didn’t consider myself a feminist until I started reading the Narnia series and Peter Pan. I’m a girl, so some of the books I like don’t appeal to my husband or boys, and I admit I do like strong female or at least intelligently written female characters. Tricky, sticky, unexpected. I decided that if I’m going to recommend that kids or adults read books in Spanish, they are going to appeal to a wide audience, and I will stop apologizing that my opinion will come through in the choices I recommend. I read 104 books last year, and wrote at least a few words about each of them on goodreads.
I had both my boys, yep, 13 year old boys, read A Little Princess. Their response – ‘So good!’ and ‘This book made me smile because bad things happened and it didn’t magically get solved for the main character.’ Good books should be celebrated, even if they aren’t award winning, published last year, character building, or made into movies.
My challenge to you – leave a comment with one of your favorite books you think everyone should read.