Hollywood often turns to literature for inspiration. In the past two months we’ve seen new versions of Little Women and Dr. Doolittle. The newest adaptation of Jack London’s Call of the Wild will be released in theaters on February 21st and looks very promising. Call of the Wild is a very short novel; it was first published in four installments in the Saturday Evening Post. That makes it a great book to read with your family before seeing the film!
Jack London had spent a year in the Yukon at the height of the gold rush, and he wrote Call of the Wild after returning to California. He sold the publishing rights in 1903 and the book has been in print ever since.
The book is obviously in the genre of animal fiction, but can also be looked at as a hero story, and it follows the example of other American classics like Huckleberry Finn in its depiction of a hero returning to nature.
After reading Call of the Wild, you’ll want to also check out London’s other dog story, White Fang.
The Aurora Public Library District has wonderful holiday stories to share with children of all ages, from The Night Before Christmas to newer books like Santa’s Story by Will Hillenbrand. When you’re choosing the stories you want to share or the stories you want to read, don’t forget to include some of these classic stories. They range from a few pages long to a story that will require several sittings to complete, but they are guaranteed to help you think about Christmas in a new way. Who knows? You might start a new holiday tradition with your family.
Before it was a ballet, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King was a story written by E.T.A. Hoffman. We have several retellings of this at the library, including ones illustrated by Maurice Sendak and Mary Englebreit. For adults, there is a Nutcracker origin tale written by Gregory Maguire, the author of Wicked.
You probably know Pearl S. Buck as the author of the Pulitzer-winning novel The Good Earth. Did you know she also wrote a lovely Christmas short story called Christmas Day in the Morning? Another great read-aloud is The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, a touching story of the power of kindness.
For many of us, Christmas is not complete without some version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Read it, or perhaps watch the DVD. We have the George C. Scott version as well as Disney and Muppet versions. Another Christmas classic is The Gift of the Magi, complete with O. Henry’s signature ironic twist.
Other books in the Library offer collections of holiday stories and poems. You can find tales by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Henry Van Dyke, Madeleine L’Engle, Lois Lenski, and others. You’re sure to enjoy old favorites and discover new timeless tales to brighten your holiday season.