During the winter holidays, the pleasures of a good children’s book are as close as your computer or tablet. Just go to Read.gov, a project of the Library of Congress, to find free classic books for readers of all ages that have been digitized for online reading by the Library. These treasures are available at home, in the classroom, or anywhere readers want them, without registration or cost. Here are a few of the many delightful books that you and your children can page through: The Snow Queen; A Visit From Saint Nicholas; A Christmas Carol; Wonders of a Toy Shop; and “Snowdrop” from Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. Non-readers can explore the winter scenes in The Children’s Object Book. I can hardly think of a more delightful activity on a wintry day than reading one of these books together!
Of course, books read during the holidays don’t have to focus on wintertime. My all-time personal favorite on Read.gov is Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, illustrated by John Tenniel. In fact, I found myself reading it again today! Another favorite is The Rocket Book; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone online to enjoy its zany story and illustrations once again. As you page through one of these classic books, relax and enjoy the literary and graphic artistry displayed by the authors and illustrators. Afterward, you might ponder one of these questions:
- Some of these stories are hundreds of years old. Why do you think people still read them?
- What were holidays like long ago? What was winter like?
- What are your personal connections to the story you just read?
- Do you recognize any of these stories? For instance, does Snowdrop remind you of another fairy tale?
Get a cup of tea and settle into a comfy chair with a child or two – or alone! – and page through one of these beautiful old books. Once you have, let us know your favorite classic book on Read.gov.