One way to encourage children to read is to buy them books of their very own. Books that are theirs. Every Christmas I sign my name and theirs in my children's book gifts. For at least six months those books stay in their bedrooms, then, depending on the child, they tend to migrate down to hang with rest of the books, but I still hear the kids refer to these books as theirs.
Lucy collects Andrew Lang's fairy books and Calvin collects animal encyclopedias. Shaemus collects mysteries, and Mary collects Shakespeare retellings (I'll have to do a list of those too), and if any of these books remain in any sort of readable condition, I hope my kids will read them to their own children.
If you have a child who is a collector, consider helping them collect types of picture books or novels. A great place to start is with fairytales as there are many, many versions of most fairytales, like the Three Little Pigs. (See last Tuesday's post)
But if you or they are tired of Cinderella books or the usual fairytales (there are five thousand of these), consider having them collect obscure fairytales—and I don't mean from other traditions or countries, that is worthy of an entire collection of its own, and I will have to post about that very soon—but I mean Grimm's more obscure fairytales or Hans Christian Anderson's. Fairytales where you'll be lucky to find one or two picture books about them.
Here are some of our absolute favorite more obscure fairytales, and I would love any additions to this list! It is far from complete. These sorts of longer fairytales aren't published like they used to be, so now is the time to scoop them up online. Most are out of print, but you can still buy them used! Often for as little as four dollars including shipping. And most of them ought to be in your library system. Check them out today!
Princess Furball by Charlotte Huck and the fabulous Anita Lobel. I wish I could make this picture larger. Look it up on Amazon. Immediately. We LOVE this fairytale. Love, love, love it. This team has also written The Black Bull of Norway and Toads and Diamonds, also great fairytales.
The Six Swans by Robert D. San Souci (love this one!!!)
The Talking Eggs by Robert D. San Souci
Iron John by Eric Kimmel (also really, really love this one)
The Fiddler and His Brothers by Tord Nygren (my kids LOVE this one)
The Red Thread by Tord Nygren
Nicholas Pipe by Robert D. San Souci (we really, really, really love this one)
The Red Heels by Robert D. San Souci
Sukey and the Mermaid by Robert D. San Souci (you will notice that San Souci writes a lot of these)
The Firebird by San Souci
The Tale of the Firebird by Gennady Spin
The Apple-pip Princess by Jane Ray
Baba Yaga and Vasila the Brave by Marianna Mayer