Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Classic Comeback?

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte has always been one of my favorite books. So I've mentioned to friends and coworkers that I want to go see Jane Eyre currently in theaters, starring Mia Wasikowska aka Alice in Wonderland.  They give me this blank look. "Who's that?" they say. "Jane who?" I have not run into one person who has said, "Oh yeah, read the book, loved it," or any variation on that theme. Seriously -- this is Jane Eyre we're talking about.

This led me to wonder if children now have more exposure to classics because of classic e-books available for free. Almost every week since I started my Kids' E-Book Bestseller List, classics have been showing up in the top ten, such as:
  • The Complete Wizard of Oz Collection by L. Baum
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  • Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson
  • The Works of Beatrice Potter
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
  • Aesop's Fables
  • Grimm's Fairy Tales
  • And most recently a compilation caled 25 Favorite Kids' Books for Middle and Young Adult Readers, which includes such greats as Black Beauty, Heidi, Treasure Island, Secret Garden, Jungle Book and many more. (actually 20 more to be exact.)
And these haven't been one-week wonders. Most of them have shown up as e-book bestsellers for several weeks in a row.

I've alway told my kids, "Classics are classics for a reason."  The reason is they are usually compelling stories with timeless themes. Looking at the list above, these are books that kids have loved for decades, or even centuries. Hopefully the e-book format is helping children to connect with these great stories, giving them a love of classics that will carry on into adulthood.  That way, if a friend invites them to see Jane Eyre, they'll know the story. After all, who would want to miss a movie about a crazy spare wife in the attic?