Timeless Tales: Children’s Stories That Still Captivate Us

Timeless Tales: Children’s Stories That Still Captivate Us

What were your favourite books when you were a kid? Not the first book where you learned the alphabet or how to rhyme with “Hop on Pop” by Dr. Seuss. I mean the first book with an actual story. As a child, there was nothing better than diving into the pages of a good book and getting lost in a story.

In this blog post, I’ll take a trip down memory lane and share some children’s stories that have stood the test of time and captured our hearts.

Classic Children’s Stories

Generations have loved these classic children’s stories that continue to be popular today.

Alice in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland whisks readers away on a wild and wonderful journey through Wonderland, where they meet the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and the Queen of Hearts.

The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden is a beautiful story of friendship and recovery, when Mary Lennox finds a secret garden and helps her cousin Colin come out of his shell.

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis is a classic fantasy series that’ll take you on a wild trip through a magical land with talking animals, mythical creatures, and epic wars.

    Little Women

    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott tracks the lives of four sisters as they age and face life’s struggles, showing the strength of family and bond of sisters.

      Modern Children’s Stories

      Modern children’s stories have also made a big impact on young readers.

      Harry Potter

      Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling is a super popular series that’s beloved by millions. It’s the story of young wizard Harry Potter, who heads off to Hogwarts and takes on the wicked Lord Voldemort.

      Percy Jackson and the Olympians

      Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan is an exciting series that takes Greek mythology and makes it real, as Percy Jackson finds out he’s a demigod and goes on a journey to save the world.

      The Hunger Games

      In The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, we follow the journey of Katniss Everdeen as she fights to stay alive in a deadly arena, emphasizing the power of determination and grit.

      Diary of a Wimpy Kid

      Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid is hilarious and follows Greg Heffley’s misadventures of being a middle schooler.

      My Favourite Kids Books

      I can’t remember every book I’ve ever read since I was a child, because let’s face it… it’s been a while since then. But here are a few that have stuck with me.

      Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

      I am sure you all know this story about Charlie Bucket, a poor boy who lives in a small house with his parents and grandparents. Charlie’s life changes forever when he finds a golden ticket that allows him to visit the famous chocolate factory run by the eccentric Willy Wonka. Along with the other winners, Charlie goes on a magical journey of the factory, seeing incredible sights and taking on various challenges.

      What I loved most about this book was it’s vivid descriptions, witty humor, and memorable characters, (Willy Wonka, the Oompa-Loompas, and the spoiled Veruca Salt, among others).

      The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

      The four Pevensie sibs – Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy – get into a wardrobe and end up in Narnia, where they run into an evil White Witch who’s made it winter all the time. With the help of Aslan, a lion, the kids go on a risky journey to take down the Witch and bring spring back to Narnia.

      The best part for me was picturing a new world beyond ours. This book’s got a magnificent world, awesome characters, and covers courage, friendship, and being saved.

      Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

      Black Beauty, a beautiful black horse who tells the tale of his life and the experiences he had with different owners, some kind and some cruel. Throughout the book, Black Beauty endures many hardships, including being overworked, mistreated, and sold into difficult situations.

      The best part for me was when it highlighted animal welfare, emphasizing the need to be kind to animals. It was one of the first books to advocate for animal rights.

      Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene

      Various authors penned Nancy Drew under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene.
      The series follows the adventures of Nancy Drew, an amateur detective, as she solves various cases and puzzles using her intelligence, wit, and determination.

      The best part for me was that Nancy was a female protagonist, plus I also love mysteries. It also has timeless themes of justice, friendship, and adventure..

      1001 Arabian Nights

      This is a compilation of folktales from the Middle East and South Asia. The stories revolve around Shahrazad, who tells her husband King Shahryar a new tale each night in order to stay alive and avoid execution. Everyone knows the stories like Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and Sinbad the Sailor.

      I loved the mix of fantasy, adventure, romance and morals in these stories

      .

      Final Thoughts

      Children’s literature has the power to transport us to different worlds, introduce us to unforgettable characters, and teach us valuable life lessons. I’d love to hear about your favourite children’s stories in the comments!

       

      Until next time
      Frankie

      Feature photo by Lukas from Pixabay.

      15 Christmas Trivia Questions

      15 Christmas Trivia Questions

      After the Christmas presents are opened and dinner is over, how do you spend your time? Think about adding Christmas trivia to your party or family event. Trivia is a great way to unwind and connect with other people, and it’s fun to test your memory.

      Definition of Trivia

      The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines trivia as: 

      A. unimportant matters: trivial facts or details
      B. facts (as about people or events) that are not well known
      Chalkboard with trivia written on it.

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      15 Christmas Trivia Questions

      Here are fifteen Christmas trivia questions for you to try. Click on the plus sign in the answer box for the answer.

      1. Can you name the popular Christmas song that was actually written for Thanksgiving?
      A. Jingle Bells
      B. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
      C. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
      D. Away in the Manger

      Answer

      A. Jingle Bells
      James Pierpont composed the song in 1857. It was originally called One Horse Open Sleigh.

      Related Story: Top 30 Christmas Songs

      2. Which Christmas tree fact is NOT true?
      A. Artificial Christmas trees have outsold real ones every year since 1991.
      B. Nova Scotia leads the world in exporting Christmas trees.
      c. Franklin Pierce was the first president to decorate an official White House Christmas tree.
      D. They chose the Christmas tree to represent this holy holiday because its shape points the way to heaven.

      Answer

      B. They chose the Christmas tree to represent this holy holiday because its shape points the way to heaven. Though this one sounds like it could be true.

      3. Good King Wenceslas was king of what country?
      A. Bohemia
      B. England
      C. Germany
      D. Morocco

      Answer

      A. Bohemia.
      Although, history has it that Wenceslas, who lived in the 10th century, was only a Duke, and not a King.

      4. In 1897, the New York Sun newspaper wrote a famous response to a little girl’s question: “Yes, _______, there is a Santa Claus.” Can you name that girl?
      A. Mary
      B. Charlotte
      C. Vidalia
      D. Virginia

      Answer

      D. Virginia
      Virginia O’Hanlon to be exact!

      5. Taylor Swift grew up on what type of farm?
      A. Peanut Farm,
      B. Corn Farm,
      C. Potato Farm,
      D. Christmas Tree Farm

      Answer

      D. Christmas Tree Farm.
      Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a Christmas trivia question.

      6. What Dr. Seuss character steals Christmas?
      A. The Grinch
      B. Cindy Lou Who
      C. Max
      D. Horton

      Answer

      A. The Grinch
      This question was too easy.

      7. Name Scrooge’s dead business partner from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol?”
      A. Jacob Marley
      B. Tiny Tim
      C. Bob Cratchett
      D. Old William

      Answer

      A. Jacob Marley
      The first of four spirits to appear to Scrooge that fateful Christmas Eve was that of Jacob Marley, his old business partner.

      8. Electric Christmas tree lights were first used in what year?
      A. 1865
      B. 1895
      C. 1905
      D. 1932

      Answer

      B. 1895
      American Ralph E. Morris had the bright idea (pun intended) that electric Christmas lights would be safer than using candles.

      9. Many people are familiar with the term “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” but not everyone knows where it originated. Can you pick out the right explanation?
      A. The Twelve Days of Christmas represents the number of days Joseph and Mary travelled to Bethlehem.
      B. The Twelve Days of Christmas represents the time that the three wise men from the East travelled to reach Baby Jesus after his birth.
      C. The Twelve Days of Christmas represents the number of reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh.
      D. The Twelve Days of Christmas represents the time required to celebrate Good King Wenceslas’ birthday.

      Answer

      B. The Twelve Days of Christmas represents the time that the three wise men from the East travelled to reach baby Jesus after his birth.

      10. Who started the Christmas gift-giving tradition of giving sweaters for Christmas presents?
      A. Those three wise men who visited the stable where Jesus was born.
      B. The ancient Romans who exchanged gifts to bring good fortune for the new year.
      C. Mark Antony, who was always looking for new ways to please Cleopatra.
      D. The ancient Greeks who sought to placate the gods on Mount Olympus.

      Answer

      B. The ancient Romans who exchanged gifts to bring good fortune for the new year.

      11. One of the pagan traditions that Christians have incorporated into their Christmas celebration includes hanging mistletoe. Which of these is NOT a former pagan belief?
      A. Ancient Europeans believed that the mistletoe plant held magical powers to give life and fertility as well as protect against disease.
      B. French girls used to slip branches of mistletoe beneath their pillows to dream of their future husbands.
      C. The Celts believed mistletoe brought about peace and goodwill.
      D. Northern Europeans associated mistletoe with the Norse goddess of love, Freya and developed the custom of kissing underneath mistletoe branches.

      Answer

      Answer
      B. French girls

      12. While today the Christmas tree is an enduring symbol of the season, it wasn’t always a holiday tradition. Which historical fact is NOT true?
      A. According to legend, Martin Luther, the founder of German protestantism, while walking through the forest on Christmas Eve, was so moved by the starlit fir trees he brought one indoors and decorated it with candles to remind his children of God’s creation.
      B. In 1841, Prince Albert of Germany gave his wife, Queen Victoria of England, a gift of a Christmas tree. This was reputedly the first Christmas tree in England, but the custom quickly spread.
      C. German immigrants brought the Christmas tree to Europe, the United States and Canada, where it soon became a popular tradition.
      D. On a bet, 11-year-old P. T. Barnum started hawking trees in Connecticut in 1821, telling his marks they were all the rage. Soon the fashion spread throughout the country and it became a tradition, thus establishing his motto “There is a sucker born every minute.”

      Answer

      D. P.T. Barnum
      P. T. Barnum tried to sell just about everything, and may in fact have sold Christmas trees, but I doubt he sold them that young!

      13. Who do we NOT have to blame for sending Christmas cards?
      A. Medieval Europeans who exchanged wood prints of religious themes for Christmas.
      B. English illustrator John Calcott Horsley, who created the first modern Christmas card in 1843 that depicted a family celebration with the caption “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.”
      C. German-American printer Louis Prang, who made advances in colour lithography, allowing him to mass-produce colorful Christmas cards in 1875.
      D. Desmond Hallmark, who had a surplus of cards left over from Arbor Day depicting a fir tree and unloaded them by the box by simply printing Merry Christmas across the trees in red ink.

      Answer

      D. Desmond Hallmark
      You can blame everyone else, thank goodness for the e-cards.

      14. Where does the name Santa Claus come from?
      A. Clauslass
      B. Sinterklaas
      C. Nicholaas
      D. Santerklass

      Answer

      B. Sinterklaas
      They derived the name Santa Claus from Sinterklaas, the Dutch term for the ancient Christian figure of Saint Nicholas who was famous for his generosity to the poor.

      15. Bing Crosby wrote the most recorded and well-known Christmas song of all time
      A. Silent Night
      B. Joy to the World
      C. White Christmas
      D. Blue Christmas

      Answer

      C. White Christmas
      Sales are now over 50 million copies worldwide.

      Final Thoughts

      How many questions did you get right? Let me know in the comments.

       

      Until next time
      Frankie

      Feature photo by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay.

      Why Does Fiction Matter?

      Why Does Fiction Matter?

      Why does fiction matter? There are some strange folks out there who don’t like fiction. Or rather, they don’t understand the purpose of stories that aren’t true. In this post, we will explore why reading fiction matters.

      What is Fiction?

      Merriam-Webster defines fiction as something invented by the imagination or feigned specifically: an invented story.

      So… fiction is a story.

      The Value of Fiction

      While everyone can agree that reading is an important part of developing a successful life, not everyone can agree on the value of fiction.

      Some celebrities like Oprah and Reese Witherspoon have their own book clubs, while others like Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk share their reading lists.

      Still others like Kanye West and Meghan Trainor say they never read fiction because it isn’t true, so there is no point.

      5 Reasons People Don’t Read

      The following is a list of why people don’t read:

      1. Lack of time
      2. Reading is too much work
      3. I don’t see the point of reading
      4. I don’t know what to read
      5. Watching the movie is quicker

      You can read more here.

      I’ll Wait for the Movie

      To any writer, this attitude that people don’t like to read is baffling. Unfortunately, it is also common. How many times have you heard the phrase ‘If it’s any good, they’ll make a movie out of it’?

      The implication here is obvious; it’s not the writing that’s important. It’s the story. While great writing might profoundly impress you or me, most people just want the message, rather than the medium.

      A map of Westeros and and a science fiction photo

      Created in Canva.

      Why Fiction Matters?

      People like stories for many reasons:

      1. Different World

      Fiction matters because it helps us enter a different world. It helps us imagine, and possibly understand, people to a greater extent. The power of fiction lies in its ability to make the world a more plausible place to live.

      Fiction is an amazing medium for conveying important things to readers. It condenses events, juxtaposes them, and paints them with clarity.

      2. Enlightenment

      Stories can explain the complexities of relationships, wars, and even allow the exploration of different cultures and peoples. Fiction books can show us things we didn’t know about ourselves and others. We may gain valuable new perspectives to help us better understand our neighbours, foreigners, and even our enemies.

      Unlike any other form of communication, fiction takes the reader into another character’s mind. Through their perspectives, they define the world. This allows them to see it in new ways and gain new insights.

      3. Exploration

      Fiction also allows the reader to experience a different culture and lifestyle. They can become an explorer, a scientist, an artist, or an orphan cabin boy. They can also experience the emotions of a person they may not have otherwise experienced.

      The power of fiction lies in the ability to create believable characters who are more dramatic and interesting than real people. A talented writer can help a reader understand their own perspective.

      4. Entertainment

      Books divert our attention from the mundane and take us out of ourselves for a while. They allow us to get lost in the story and forget about reality for a while.

      5. Validation

      Finally, we need stories to help us make sense of life and the world. As a species, we need stories to make us feel better about ourselves—as human beings, as well as personalities. That’s why we like to identify with heroes and warriors—indeed, anyone who can show us how to overcome obstacles.

      Stories ‘frame’ real life into manageable chunks that have tangibility, involvement and purpose, whether for us individually or as a race.

      Final Thoughts

      Fiction is an amazing way to send a message to readers, make a social statement or purely entertain. Why does fiction matter to you? Let me know in the comments.

       

      Until next time
      Frankie

      Feature photo by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay.

      How to Discover New Books to Read

      How to Discover New Books to Read

      How do you discover new books to read? Maybe you have read every book on your bucket list or maybe you are looking at your pile of books, but nothing grabs your attention. Or maybe you have exhausted the book recommendation from your friends and family. Finding a new author or book to read can be a challenge. In this post, we will investigate alternative places to search for your next great read.

      What Are You Looking For?

      Before you look for new books, it is important to understand what you are searching for. Are you looking for a book that quickly pulls you into the story and doesn’t let go until you turn the last page? A book that will leave you wanting more. Maybe you are looking for a similar book to the one you just finished. Or an author who writes in a similar style.

      The good news is that they published new books every day, so there is an endless supply of books to read.

      Kids reading, library

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      How to Discover New Books to Read

      There are several ways you can discover new books worth reading.

      1. Book Lists

      There are tons of book lists on the Internet. You can Google ‘top 100 books of all time’ or
      ‘top romance books’ or ‘top science fiction books’ and multiple lists will pop up. Popular Websites include:

      2. Online Websites

      There are plenty of online platforms that will allow you to read book blurbs, see reviews and find similar books. Here are three of the best ones.

      Goodreads
      With a free Goodreads account, you can keep track of all the books you’ve read, the books you’re reading, and the books you want to read. You can also follow people to see what they’re reading, plus see reviews and comments written by other readers.

      WhichBook
      WhichBook uses a unique mood and emotion search to find great books that match what you’ve asked for.

      Fantastic Fiction
      Fantastic Fiction allows you to browse bestselling fiction authors, series, and books. Sign up to follow authors, keep track of your books, or discover new books.

      3. The Library

      Libraries can be a great place to find new books to read. Go to your local library and browse through the stack of books until something captures your attention. Or, better yet, talk to your librarian and have them point you in the right direction. If you can’t make it to your local library, you can scroll through online libraries. Here are a few.

      4. Facebook Groups

      Facebook has a book group for every genre under the sun. Post in the group exactly what you are looking for. For example: High Fantasy, with no romance, writes like George R.R. Martin. Book lovers love to talk about books and they are always generous in giving recommendations to help fellow readers. Just beware that some fandoms in Facebook Groups are toxic if you mention you don’t like an author or a certain book.

      5. Podcasts

      Just like there are Facebook groups for every genre, there are also podcasts. Podcasts for book reviews or book recommendations can be a great way to learn about new books. Here are a few good ones.

      6. Reddit

      Reddit is an online network where like-minded people can ask questions and receive answers. You can just browse the existing threads or you can use the subreddit dedicated to book suggestions to make a new thread. Tell them what you are looking for and add in past books and authors that you have enjoyed. Two big subreddits are

      7. Book Clubs

      Books clubs have been around for a long time and are pretty straightforward. They tell you which book to read, and then you discuss it as a group. The best part of a book group is getting book recommendations from other members who have similar tastes. If you can’t get to an in-person meeting, try an online book club. They have become more popular since the beginning of Covid.

      Final Thoughts

      These are some ways how I discover new books to add to my reading lists. How do you discover new books to read? Let me know in the comments.

       

      Until next time
      Frankie

      Feature photo by Oli Götting from Pixabay.

      15 Thought-Provoking Dystopian Quotes

      15 Thought-Provoking Dystopian Quotes

      Do you ever wonder if events from a dystopian movie or book could happen in real life? With some of the recent world events, reality is beginning to sound more like fiction. In this post, we will explore 15 thought-provoking dystopian quotes.

      What is Dystopia?

      The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines dystopia as “An imagined world or society in which people lead wretched, dehumanized, fearful lives.” Dystopia is a speculated community or society that is undesirable or frightening. It usually involves people rebelling against the systemic and societal oppression it has forced them to live with. Authors write dystopian fiction as a cautionary tale of a future to avoid.

      Dystopian Themes?

      There are many types of dystopian novels, but most of the themes revolve around environmental disasters, government control, technological control, survival, and loss of individualism.

      Environmental Disasters

      Environmental disasters include events such as climate change, disease, asteroids, comets, droughts or famine. Books such as The Road by Cormac McCarthy and The Maze Runner by James Dashner would fall under this category.

      Government Control

      The government plays a big role or no role. There are usually different classes, oppression, dictatorships, war or overpopulation. There could also be religious control through cults, sects, and extremists.

      Books that fall under this category include 1984 by George Orwell, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

      Technological Control

      Technology control explores the world of constant surveillance. Where technology has advanced to the point where everything you say or do is recorded. Where life and technology are so interwoven that you don’t know where one begins and the other ends. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley does an excellent job of exploring this theme.

      Loss of Individualism

      This theme happens when the collective becomes more important than the individual. When society values conformity above all else. The Giver by Lois Lowry is an incredible story using this theme.

      Survival

      People are left to fend for themselves after the world falls into chaos and destruction. The novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding is a great example of this theme.

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      15 Thought-Provoking Dystopian Quotes

      Science fiction can be frighteningly detailed at times, especially when depicting an imperfect future. Here are 15 quotes to get you thinking.

      Hate looks like everybody else until it smiles.
      ― Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me)

      Every faction conditions it’s members to think and act a certain way. And most people do it. For most people, it’s not hard to learn, to find a pattern of thought that works and stay that way. But our minds move in a dozen different directions. We can’t be confined to one way of thinking, and that terrifies our leaders. It means we can’t be controlled. And it means that, no matter what they do, we will always cause trouble for them.
      Veronica Roth, Divergent

      Which is better–to have laws and agree, or to hunt and kill?
      William Golding, Lord of the Flies

      Did you ever feel, as though you had something inside you that was only waiting for you to give it a chance to come out? Some sort of extra power that you aren’t using – you know, like all the water that goes down the falls instead of through the turbines?
      Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

      We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.
      Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

      That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.
      Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

      Tell freedom I said hello.
      Lauren DeStefano, Wither

      I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running, not staying, but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield.
      Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave

      The life where nothing was ever unexpected. Or inconvenient. Or unusual. The life without colour, pain or past.
      Lois Lowry, The Giver

      Perhaps the logical conclusion of everyone looking the same is everyone thinking the same.
      Scott Westerfeld, Uglies

      You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope.
      Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

      You get your name back in a day or two. It’s the one thing they let us keep.
      James Dashner, The Maze Runner

      Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.”  He looks toward the railway car’s open door, where streaks of dark water blanket the world. “You try to walk in the light.”
      Marie Lu, Legend

      The problem, as I see it, is that you’ve been told and not told. You’ve been told, but none of you really understand, and I dare say, some people are quite happy to leave it that way.”
      Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

      All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
      George Orwell, Animal Farm

      Hollow Edge

      It is possible for a story to combine themes. Hollow Edge tells the story of an environmental disaster that leads to government and technological control and a fight for survival. 

      Hollow Edge Book Cover on a Park Bench

      Final Thoughts

      Do any of these quotes sound like something out of the news? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments.

       

      Until next time

      Frankie

       

      Feature image by brands amon from Pixabay.