The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis recently came back into the spotlight after the release of the movies a few years ago. Many adults have grown up reading the series, and younger adults might have even grown up watching the movies, but this is the series that made me fall in love with reading when I was a kid. I don’t know how many times I’ve reread this series; the spines of my old boxed set of books are all cracked and some pages are dog-eared. The Chronicles of Narnia might not be the first books kids pull off the shelves (I feel so old), but the series is a classic that somehow manages to be relevant almost seventy years after they were first published.
I recommend reading in publication order rather than chronological order, so start with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Even if you haven’t read the book, you most likely know the story anyway. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie are sent away to the country from London to live in safety during the Blitz and World War II. The children arrive at the Professor’s house and begin exploring the expansive grounds and rooms, filled with antiques and treasures. During one of these explorations, the youngest, Lucy Pevensie, finds a wardrobe. Instead of finding the back of the wardrobe, however, she stumbles into Narnia, a magical land filled with ice and snow, where the White Witch has ruled for a hundred years in cruelty. Now it’s up to Lucy to convince the rest of her siblings that Narnia is real and that they must save it.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was first published in 1950 but were not immediately popular due to the fact that other children’s novels were written in a way to be more realistic so as not to frighten children or give them a false sense of reality. However, it has been widely accepted that C.S. Lewis was one of the pioneers in the genre of fantasy. The series also has strong parallels with stories and images in Christianity.
The original reading order of the series is:
The chronological order of the series is:
When I was younger, I always read the series in chronological order because that’s how my boxed set came. I think that it would be interesting to reread the series how it was supposed to be read, which is the original publication order. The Aurora Public Library District has the series both available as physical copies or digital downloads (audio books or digital books) from the Indiana Digital Download Center. We also have copies of all three movies available for check out. Either way you read it, the series will take you right back to being a child again. I can’t wait to read it again!