We all remember the books in grade school that left a long-lasting impact on us. Here are five elementary books to read – even as an adult!
- THE SNOWY DAY By Ezra Jack Keats
- JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH By Roald Dahl
- ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY By Mildred D. Taylor
- THE YEAR WE LEARNED TO FLY By Jacqueline Woodson
- CHARLOTTE’S WEB By E.B. White
THE SNOWY DAY By Ezra Jack Keats
First published in 1962, THE SNOWY DAY revolves around a young Black boy named Peter and the wintry adventures he encounters one day in his local neighborhood. Between the delightful story itself as well as the vivid illustrations, Ezra Jack Keats created a memorable tale that resonates even with adults, taking them back to simpler times in their lives. As winter approaches, it’s the perfect book to snuggle up with on cold day.
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH By Roald Dahl
Something people may not know or be aware of is that Roald Dahl dedicated JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH to his six-year-old daughter who passed the year prior from sickness. One can say this adds to the concept of death in the story as the main character, James, is orphaned.
Though the story focuses on more serious issues such as parent death as well as child neglect and abuse, every kid will enjoy the overall tale of a young boy who discovers a larger-than-life peach and goes on a venture with his life-sized insect companions. First published in 1961 and turned into a feature film decades later, Roald Dahl’s classic book will wow readers for generations to come.
ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY By Mildred D. Taylor
Set in 1930’s Mississippi during the Jim Crow era and the Great Depression, ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY centers around nine-year-old Cassie Logan, and the trials and tribulations her and her family endure as Black people in the south at this time.
The story doesn’t shy away from some harsher themes, but there is trust in knowing that elementary school kids are able to handle such concepts as long as they are placed within the story tactfully and with grace. Mildred D. Taylor’s first installment in the Logan family series does a phenomenal job at finding that perfect balance.
THE YEAR WE LEARNED TO FLY By Jacqueline Woodson
THE YEAR WE LEARNED TO FLY is slightly reminiscent of THE CAT AND THE HAT by Dr. Seuss, but with no magical talking cat, and with real-life issues. Instead, the two siblings in this story use their imaginations to have fun and make the best of their situation.
Though it is the most recently published out of every other elementary-level book listed here, Jacqueline Woodson weaves together a thrilling and powerful story told in verse that holds the keen potential to easily become a classic down the line.
CHARLOTTE’S WEB By E.B. White
Calling all vegetarians! CHARLOTTE’S WEB is about Wilbur, a farm pig considered the runt of the litter when he was born, and his tender and resilient friendship with a spider named Charlotte who knows the farmer of the land will eventually want to slaughter Wilbur and uses her own tactics to convince the farmer to let him live.
Like JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH and ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY, this story was adapted onto the big screen, performing just as well as the original source material. Audiences of every age will enjoy this bittersweet tale of love, life and true companionship. Aside from the story itself, CHARLOTTE’S WEB is an excellent choice for elementary kids to practice vocabulary!
These awesome elementary titles can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike! It’s even better when you and a child you love can read and experience the same stories together, undoubtedly creating wonderful memories to cherish and hold onto forever.