With summer holidays around the corner, and for some already set in, the eternal question of how to keep children engaged rages in every adult’s mind.
Well, it is not a day or two, but two months,60 long days. There may be travel plans, summer camps, visits to relatives, and sleepovers with friends, but all put together will suffice only for a month.
How about setting the tone for reading? It could be any genre that the child relates to and enjoys reading. There is no need to spend on buying each of the copies. There are plenty of lending libraries still in existence. Get the child a monthly membership or a yearly one too. The fascinating experience of going to a public library will be exciting. Unlike a school library, the formalities of issuing a book are different. Also, the child makes new friends there and acquires independence and responsibility in a fun way.
There are other options, like second-hand book shops that sell used books at nominal prices. By introducing the child to this concept, you are teaching the child simple elements of responsible living and taking pride in owning and reading more than spending and showing off the cost of it.
Each child has a unique taste and fondness for a specific genre and style. Of course, that depends on the kind of exposure they have had right from childhood. Nevertheless, it is imperative to expose them to different genres of books, ranging from fiction/nonfiction to self-help. Fiction could encompass everything from mystery to adventure, romantic to emotional, sci-fi to real-world narrations, biographies, and autobiographies.
Suggested reading recommendations for 10-15-year-old children:
1.Malgudi Days –R. K Narayan
R.K. Narayan’s collection of short stories titled Malgudi Days was released in 1943 by Indian Thought Publications, a firm he founded in 1942. The press is still in business and handled by Bhuvaneswari, also known as Minnie, Narayan’s granddaughter.
The 32 short stories in this collection are all set in the fictitious town of Malgudi in southern India. Each tale aims to capture a distinctive aspect of life in Malgudi. The project has undergone numerous adaptations to suit television viewers.
2.Matilda – Roal Dahl
Roal Dahl is one of the best children’s authors. His books, including The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The BFG, James, The Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, have sold over 250 million copies worldwide. In addition, many of Dahl’s stories have been adapted into full-length motion pictures, including Matilda.
Matilda, a children’s fantasy by Roald Dahl published in 1998, is the darkly funny tale of a bright and loving youngster who reads adult novels, pulls practical jokes on her emotionally abused parents, and uses her intuitive abilities to fight a tyrant school administrator.
- The Blue Umbrella – Ruskin Bond
Ruskin Bond is an accomplished modern Indian author of British ancestry. He produced many motivational children’s books and won the Sahitya Akademi Award for his literary achievement.
The narrative centers on a young girl named Binya, set in a Garhwal hamlet in Himachal Pradesh. She resides with her brother Bijju, their mother, and other impoverished family members. Beginning with Binya coming from the fields with her cattle, the narrative shows some Japanese city tourists having a picnic in a valley. She is drawn to their activities and is particularly enamored with a blue umbrella. They decide to speak with Binya after observing her innocent curiosity with the umbrella. The tourists trade the leopard-claw pendant she wears around her neck for the blue umbrella.
4.The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas –John Boynes
John Boyne’s Holocaust novel,” The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas,” tells the story of an unlikely relationship that develops between the son of a Nazi commander and a young Jewish prisoner at Auschwitz. The book was adapted into a movie in 2008, which debuted in North America as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. All the Broken Places, a follow-up book by Boyne, was released in 2022.
5. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
An Australian writer, Markus Zusak, published a young adult book titled The Book Thief in December 2007. Underdogs (1999), I Am the Messenger (2002), and Bridge of Clay (2018) are some of Zusak’s other works. His entire work has won numerous literary accolades and readers’ choice prizes from various nations.
The Book Thief takes place between 1939 and 1944 in Molching, a Munich suburb in Germany. The story of Liesel Meminger, an orphan who exhibits an unusual love for the written word and starts stealing books at the age of nine, is told from Death’s omniscient point of view. By the story’s conclusion, the girl has produced her book, The Book Thief, with the protagonist Death. He conveys the story to the reader after becoming engrossed in it. He also examines the human problem, the mortality of conflict, and, most importantly, the influence of language.
Other recommendations are
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift,
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens,
The 1000-year-old Boy by Ross Welford,
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen,
Slider by Pete Hautman,
Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud &John Townsend,
Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh,
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell,
Wise and Otherwise by Sudha Murthy,
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey
The Art of War by Sun Tzu,
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank,
The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger,
To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee
This list is only the tip of the iceberg. If you explore the world of books, you will come upon so many interesting, gripping novels, novellas, and collections of short stories that will keep you engrossed for hours on end. Schools could give reading a book as an assignment for the summer break, and when they return, it would be a fun activity to get every child to narrate their book. It will also create a ripple effect, where each child would be eager to read the other’s book to get hold of all the details.
At New Horizon Public School, it is customary for the children to read at least two storybooks and come back with it as a project, either through a PPT or illustration or a video recording of them narrating the story with voice modulation and expression. This practice serves as an icebreaker and has become an exciting way to begin a new academic year.
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