International Literacy Day: 5 Children's Books You Should Read Again

Sometimes, it takes a friendly reminder to take a step back from the fast-paced, Internet-first world we live in, and enjoy a good book. Thankfully, September 8 is International Literacy Day, and we're all for obliging.


Even though we may not have time to enjoy an entire book, this got me thinking about books I loved as a kid, and haven’t touched since. As much as we love reading on our tablets and e-readers, there’s nothing quite like cracking open a classic book, and flipping through the paper pages.

In honor of Read a Book Day, we’ve compiled the five best books from my youth that are timeless, and totally worth reading again.

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Before the 7-part Harry Potter series transitioned into mature storylines and gruesome deaths (after deaths after deaths), there was the original children’s novel that started it all. In case you have been living in a cupboard under the stairs, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone chronicles the journey of Harry, a young boy living in London who discovers he’s a wizard. Long before the Death Eaters took over London and Voldemort threatened to destroy pretty much everyone ever, there was just Harry, Ron and Hermoine navigating the moving corridors of Hogwarts, and trying to figure out whether their potions professor Snape is good or evil.

 

Of Mice and Men

Oh John Steinbeck, how you tug at our heartstrings. The harrowing novel tells the story of George Milton and Lennie Small’s friendship, two migrant field workers in California who dream of a better life. George is a smart and ambitious companion, while Lennie is a big strong man with a mental illness. Together, they work towards their dream of owning their own land one day – until unexpected tragedy strikes. Grab the tissues.

 

The Indian in the Cupboard

 

Long before Paramount Pictures turned the fantasy into a mediocre film (and well before anyone felt the need to use the politically correct term Native Americans), Lynne Reid Banks published The Indian in the Cupboard. The main character Omri discovers that when he locks his toy Iroquois Indian in a bathroom cupboard, he comes to life. The novel spawned four sequels, but the original was full of such imagination and excitement, we can’t wait to read it again.

 

Where the Red Fern Grows

There’s nothing more precious than the relationship between a boy and his dog, and Where the Red Fern Grows follows Billy Coleman as he buys and trains two Redbone Coonhounds – Old Dan and Little Ann -- to be his faithful hunting dogs. Through their adventures together, they learn about trust, companionship and love. The heart-wrenching ending proves there’s no love in the world more powerful than the love of a dog.

 

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

This book is geared towards a very young audience, but come on – the illustrations by Ray Cruz are phenomenal, and Alexander is pretty hilarious. Drawing an invisible castle in school? Falling asleep with gum in your hair? Threatening to move to Australia every two seconds? This kid was a curmudgeon before he entered middle school. It was published in 1972 (and Alexander’s dad’s mustache and work suit is pretty telling of the times), but it gets better and better each time I read it.

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