Summer Vacations are on and we have a list of few classic yet contemporary books for your little Shakespeare to read while sipping on that cold lemonade.
1) Charlotte’s Web- E.B. White
Image Source: https://www.harpercollins.com/9780064400558/charlottes-web
Charlotte’s Web is a classic of children’s literature. The story revolves around the life of a pig, Wilbur, who is born a runt of the litter, and therefore going to be killed by his owner, Mr. Arable. However, the daughter of the owner, Fern, refuses for this to happen because she believes he has a right to life and promises to look after him. When the pig becomes too large, he is sold to Fern’s uncle. The new farm is filled with cruel and unwelcoming animals, which makes Wilbur uncomfortable and miss his old home. Wilbur soon finds out he is going to be slaughtered for Christmas dinner. He sits in the corner of the barn crying, when to his surprise is greeted by Charlotte the big, hairy spider. She decides to help him and the story takes a turn of events.
For example, Fern’s caring nature for Wilbur teaches her responsibility, and she realizes that if she stands up for what she believes in she can make a difference in the world. Charlotte and Wilbur’s friendship, despite their differences in nature, teaches tolerance. As he grows up, like any child, Wilbur learns to cope with fear, loss, mortality, and loneliness. This story of life and death, however, is just as full of warmth.
2) Matilda- Roald Dahl
Image Source: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/319178/matilda-by-roald-dahl-illustrated-by-quentin-blake/9780425287675/
This is the story of a sweet little girl named Matilda, who is a child of infinite intelligence. She is an extremely keen learner and indulges herself in the world of book. However, she is different from the rest of the family, a daughter to grouchy parents and sister to a bratty brother. After a while, her parents send her to school with very kind friends, a sweet teacher and a kid-hating principal. In the midst of all this darkness at home and school due to her principal, Matilda is able to find light, with the help of her teacher, Miss. Honey, who recognizes the girl’s tremendous skills- including a very special talent that allows Matilda to turn the tables against the wicked grown-ups in her world.
The most important thing to take from this story is that it is okay to be different and being unique can be magical. If Matilda didn't embrace her differences, she wouldn't be able to stand up for herself. It also teaches us that you should always have confidence in your abilities. Believe in yourself and in your dreams. Lastly, make the best of every situation. We can break free from bad people and situations if we put our minds to it.
3) Wonder- R.J. Palacio
Image Source: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwirkbXe2NfaAhWBMo8KHcWHBdgQjRx6BAgAEAU&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thoughtco.com%2Fwonder-plus-auggie-and-me-by-r-j-palacio-627423&psig=AOvVaw1t8LPA_mGKVwty6gTU0VGl&ust=1524823555542793
Wonder tells the incredibly heartwarming and inspirational story of a young boy named August Pullman. Unlike most kids, Auggie is born with a condition called TCS, which has resulted in homeschooling up until now. Once Auggie is enrolled in mainstream school, life becomes rather challenging. Constantly being made fun of by his classmates and even betrayed by a friend, as well as a few family struggles makes Auggie feel defeated. However, as the plot progresses, his classmates and the larger community, all discover their compassion and acceptance of this unlikely hero. Auggie’s extraordinary journey will unite them all and teach us unbelievably spectacular things.
A life lesson to learn from this story is that never to judge anyone by their appearance. Auggie did have genetic facial deformities, but once people got to know him, they realised how fun and upbeat he was. His looks had nothing to do with his personality.
Most importantly, this book emphasizes on the groundless nature of terrible bullying and how it can make life hell. It shows us that everyone has their own struggles and you never know what someone is going through, so always be kind.
It further shows us that it is not your circumstance that determines your happiness, but your outlook and attitude towards life. Even though Auggie has been through so much, he chooses to be optimistic and look at the positive things, accepting himself for who he is.
Lastly, it teaches us the pure power of empathy. Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and really understand what they are facing, teaching you true compassion and acceptance.
4) The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas- John Boyne
During World War 2, Bruno, the son of a powerful man returns home from school one day, he notices his things are packed in crates and ready to be moved in a new home far far away as his father has received a promotion. This new home resides near a concentration camp. Unhappy and lonely, Bruno wanders out behind his house one day, only to find a barbed wire fence separating him and few people in the distance. Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this new desolate looking place. While exploring, he meets another boy, about the same age as him, but living a completely different life. This new friendship will end with devastating consequences.
The message of this story is that beneath it all, we are all the same, regardless of our color, religious preferences, sexual preferences, or gender.
By telling the story of Bruno and Shumel’s friendship, the author encourages its readers to see others through the eyes of a child, because children are innocent and unaware of racism, sexism, and other biases that separate people from one another.
In wearing the striped pajamas, Bruno has shown his father that his child and the children behind the fence are no different.
There is also a strong theme of friendship that comes forth throughout the book.
5) James And The Giant Peach- Roald Dahl
As the novel begins, the reader is introduced to a young boy named James, an orphan who is sent to live with his cruel aunts. Life away from home is difficult as he is incredibly lonely, but one day he is greeted by an old man who gives him a packet of magical green seeds as well as a set of instructions, which if James follows will lead to something spectacular. However, on the way back, James trips and the seeds are buried in the ground. A few hours later, he finds his aunts screaming, only to witness a huge peach growing from a barren peach tree until it is larger than his aunts’ house. One night, James sneaks out of the house to visit the peach. He sees a hole at the bottom of the peach, and he realizes that this hole is the opening to a tunnel. He begins to crawl through, and he eventually enters the hollow peach pit at the center of the fruit. He meets different creatures and they begin their journey to New York, with many obstacles on their way.
True friends like you for who you are and appreciate the differences that make us unique. You must face your fears to overcome them. There is cruelty and unfairness in the world, but there is also kindness, compassion, and true friendship.