Ask Reading Kingdom

Jonathan (a parent) asks: If children were only going to read 3 books in their entire lives to make the greatest impact, and you were the one providing the 3 books, which books would you choose?

I am drawn to challenges but I must admit that this request had me stymied. Out of the wonderful world of books, it seemed impossible to pick only three. Then as I thought about the issue, I realized that one of the great attractions of books, for me, is their power to reveal aspects of the world and despite the many challenges that exist convey a sense of hope and wonder. With that criterion as my guide, I would select,

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It is the fairy tale story of a little boy from an asteroid who before reaching Earth, has visited other planets and met some very odd people. His journey exposes the strangeness of the adult world and in the process some of the most important aspects of a meaningful life via ideas such as “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”


Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. This book details the life of a Jewish family in hiding during the Nazi takeover in the Netherlands in World War II. Despite the horrors the family is facing, Anne retains a love of life that represents an amazing tribute to the human spirit.


The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba. This is an inspiring story of a teen age boy who brings electricity to his poverty stricken village in Africa. Despite lacking the money to attend school, he uses old science textbooks and scrap parts and determination to create a miracle that changes the lives around him. It is amazing story of the power of perseverance.


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