Do you introduce vintage and classic books to your kids?
You know, those books we so LOVED as children during a time when the characters set off on their own adventures and didn't have cell phones, or tv in some cases, so they had to make their own fun.
Sharing vintage books with kids is such an important way to build their love of reading and also share fond memories of how their parents and grandparents were raised.
Since we've curated a number of book lists featuring classic reads for kids over the past year, I wanted to bring them all together in one post for easy reference.
55 Vintage & Classic Children's Books
Why Read Old Books?
That's a question I hear quite a bit from both parents and from kids.
There are three key reasons to read vintage literature --
First, you will be introduced to some outstanding books!
So many AMAZING authors have written wonderful stories over the years. Many of these authors have passed and are no longer writing so the only way to experience their works are to seek out books from the past. Publishers are doing a better job at re-introducing older classics.
Some chapter books will even have new cover art when they are republished to appeal to a new audience. And I can thank Richard Scarry for helping them to learn all sorts of words at a young age -- Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever was well read and loved in our home (that's an affiliate link in case you're not familiar with Richard Scarry -- awesome author!)
Second, it's important for kids to have a variety of literature in their reading diet.
Just like you vary the foods they eat, incorporating all types of books is an important step to raising a reader.
When my kids first started reading on their own, they only wanted to read non-fiction books. Part of that was due to the fact that we had introduced them to non-fiction at a young age and they enjoyed that type of literature. So we were very conscious to introduce fictional stories, biographies and other types of books as they continued to read.
Last, classic books open up a world unknown to our children.
There are so many rich cultural, societal and historic traditions shared in older books. For example, kids are often introduced to children who play outside unsupervised (gasp!), who are responsible for making dinner on their own and a time when tv and smart phones did NOT exist (it's sometimes hard for them to understand a time without these convenience items).
Older books allow children to communicate with relatives at family gatherings -- they will recognize some of the details of family stories and be able to relate to discussions that involve words such as walkman, ice box and making your own Halloween costume :)
Vintage Books for All Seasons
We have four vintage booklists (actually there are now five as we added a special Easter edition and will soon have a holiday list too) -- one for each season along with strict criteria for choosing which books will 'make the cut'.
In order to be included on one of the lists, a book must be at least 40 years old and still available (many can be found in the library as they are the main keepers of classic literature). And the books remind us of a season -- sometimes due to the fact that the book's setting occurs during a specific season of the year. Other times, it may be a memory we have of reading that story at a specific time of year (quite a few of them were popular as classroom read-alouds).
For each book on the list, I've provided the date it was first published, a brief summary and affiliate links so you can learn more before adding it to your home library.
AUTUMN BOOKS: Vintage Fall Books for Kids
The stories on this list remind us of back to school, cool fall days, trick or treats, being thanksful and the colors of the season!
WINTER BOOKS: Wonderfully Warm Winter Books
These are books you'll love to read while cuddled in a blanket sipping cocoa! Stories that share the beauty of snow and winter.
SPRING BOOKS: Spectacular Spring Classics
A wonderful set of books about new beginnings, exploring and the joy of being out in nature!
If you celebrate Easter, you'll also enjoy our Vintage Easter Books for Kids!
SUMMER BOOKS: Vintage Summer Reads
Probably one of my favorite book lists because the stories focus on the slow part of summer -- enjoying the long days, stopping to take notice of the world around you and relishing in family vacations and time off from school!
Doing a Seasonal Book Exchange with your Kids
One tradition we've always had at our home is to group books with seasonal themes and change the books out every few months so this is why I decided to group our Vintage Book Lists in this way.
In the Fall, we bring down books that highlight back to school, leaves, Halloween, apples and Thanksgiving. Winter includes books about the holidays, snow and hibernating animals.
It's a wonderful family tradition our book exchange and one the kids look forward to with the start of every season -- once a season is over, they quickly remind me that it's time to switch out current seasonal books for the next season and put the others away.
We store seasonal reads together usually in a basket or bin that can be carried around the house for the first few weeks as the kids are always excited to re-read some of their favorites.
This system helps to keep our bookshelves under control (although I will happily bring down any book if the kids request it no matter what the season). And another up-side to this book rotation is that the kids will spend a whole afternoon pouring over the new season's books on the day we bring them out (really, quiet reading time is always extended on those days!).
I'd love to know your favorite book from childhood -- I'm always seeking out old stories I have not yet read!
Here are a few of our favorites!