I love reading. I grew up with my nose in a book and nothing has really changed now that I am an adult. I also love reading to my kids. Every night we read something new, or we move onto the next chapter in whichever book we started.
The world of kid's books has changed a lot since I was young, and ever more so from when my father (who instilled my love of reading) was a child. Here are 15 children's books that no one reads to their kids anymore.
1. The Adventures of Pinocchio
Long before Disney put the story of Pinocchio on the big screen, it was a children's book written by Carlo Collodi, published in 1883. It was one of the best selling books in the world at its peak, having sold more than 35 million copies worldwide. Unfortunately, this classic children's tale has become obsolete as no one ever reads it (or watches it for that matter) anymore.
2. The Story of Little Black Sambo
Likely the most controversial book on this list, this story published in the late 1800s has somehow never gone out of print. The story is nothing special, but it is the illustrations that most people remember. Even though the story is set in India, all of the illustrations depict the stereotypical "pickaninny" African-American, likely in an attempt to amuse young white children at the time. Luckily this book is no longer popular with anyone.
3. Hitty, Her First Hundred Years
Before there was Toy Story, there was Hitty, Her First Hundred Years. This story of a little wooden doll coming to life and going on wild adventures captured the attention of children during decades past. Hitty even got to meet Charles Dickens, and she survived a shipwreck.
4. The Touch Me Book
Published in 1961, The Touch Me Book was somewhat of a novelty item because you could physically interact with the book: snapping a rubber band, feeling sticky tape, or squishing a dry sponge. It did sell over 2 million copies, but it just can't seem to compete with today's interactive entertainment.
5. A Pretty Little Pocket-Book
The original children's book, written by the father of children's literature, John Newbery, this book was published in 1744. This book was just a simple series of simple rhymes that enabled common born children to learn how to read.
6. Raggedy Ann
Most people are familiar with the Raggedy Ann doll, but few remember the original stories written by Johnny Gruelle. The first series of stories about this doll came out in 1918, and they were followed by the stories of Raggedy Andy in 1920. Since then, over 60 million books, dolls and other paraphernalia related to the dolls have been sold.
7. Caddie Woodlawn
Caddie Woodlawn won the Newbery Medal for children's literature in 1936. The story focuses on the exploits of an 11-year-old pioneer child who was based on the author's grandmother.
8. The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes
We have all either been called, or called someone else a "goody two-shoes", but few of us know where the saying originated. It comes from a story of an orphan girl published in 1765. The character was so poor that she couldn't even afford a pair of simple shoes, but in the end she marries rich. It was an attempt to show children that being "virtuous" pays off in the end.
9. Read with Dick and Jane
This book (and the ones that followed about the characters) was so dull and boring that Theodor Geisel (also known as the late, great Dr. Seuss) started writing his first book The Cat in the Hat.
10. Orbis Sensualium Pictus
The first visual learning aid including illustrations aimed directly at children. It was originally published in 1658. Though it came out of Germany, by 1659 it had already been translated into multiple other languages.
11. The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale For A Land-Baby
Published in 1862, the author viewed his work as satirical in support of Charles Darwin. It is basically unreadable today because of the clear prejudice shown throughout the pages, including segregating characters into racial hierarchies.
12. The History of Sandford and Merton
Published in 1783, it follows the story of two six-year-old boys who become friends despite their completely different economic situations. In under 100 years the book had been re-printed 140 times and inspired multiple generations of children's writers.
13. The Hardy Boys
The Hardy Boys would be 90 years old now, and few if any of today's children would be interested in reading these stories. Most of the sales of the books today are made by nostalgic parents hoping to share a bit of their childhood with their own children.
14. When We Were Very Young
This book of poetry came out two years before Milne's seminal works of Winnie-The-Pooh. This book of poetry was just as popular as the stories set in the Hundred Acre Wood, but were quickly eclipsed by Pooh-bear and his friends.
First published in 1945, this book was once "on track" to be one of the best-selling kid's books of all time. But it was quickly eclipsed with the advent of Thomas the Tank Engine.
How many of these did you read as a child? Any books you think we should add?