The Classics Club
There is nothing like being immersed in a great story! Your imagination running wild from the first letter of the first line to the final period. Reading is one of the most popular pastimes and for good reason. It isn’t every day a dragon flies through your village and whisks you off to a distant island full of pirates, brave knights, and beautiful palm trees heavy with coconuts. Unless, of course, you are reading a book!
Thousands and thousands of amazing tales have been told from the dawn of time. The greatest storytellers have always had a way of igniting one’s imagination and bringing them deep into the story and helping kids and adults alike see a wonderfully, fanciful world apart from the one they live in.
In this series, The Classics Club, all of the books we cover were written at least 100 years ago! That’s right…100 years! Over the centuries, children from around the world have been entranced by the very same stories, characters, and magical worlds you are about to discover.
Perhaps, many of these stories entertained your parents and grandparents when they were your age. Maybe you have already read some of these classic tales as well! If not, you are in for a real treat!
The Secret Garden
By Frances Hodgson Burnett
“She made herself stronger by fighting the wind.”
- Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson was born in 1949 in Cheetham, near Manchester, England. When she was 16 years old, her family emigrated to the United States and settled in Tennessee. To help her family financially, a young Miss Hodgson began writing stories for magazines at age 19.
Frances Hodgson married Swan Burnett in 1872. He later became a doctor and together they moved to Paris where their two sons were born before returning to the United States. Ms. Burnett and her family lived in Washington D.C.. It was there she began writing novels. An avid traveler, Ms. Burnett began making regular trips back to England. In the 1890’s, Ms. Burnett purchased a home in England where she settled in and wrote The Secret Garden.
After facing an unimaginable amount of trauma in her early life, spoiled, rude, and unlovable Mary Lennox is discovered living alone in her home in India following a cholera epidemic that killed her mother, father, and all her servants.
She is sent to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven, at his desolate manor in Yorkshire, England. Still unhappy about her surroundings and the people she is being forced to live with, Mary is told she must stay in her two rooms in the massive manor. If she does, nobody will bother her. Most of the rooms in the quiet, sad manor have been locked anyway.
One of the few people Mary has interaction with his her young maidservant, Martha. Martha begins telling Mary stories about a secret garden on her uncle’s property. The garden has been locked up for years, the key hidden. Intrigued by the thought of a “secret garden” and the beauty it once held, Mary’s abrasiveness and hardened exterior begin to fade.
Mary soon makes friends with several people at her uncle’s estate including Martha, Dickon-Martha’s younger brother, Ben-the old gardener at the estate, and a red-breasted robin. Her curiosity of the garden and her new friendships drive her out of her two rooms and into the fresh air and surrounding grounds.
However, there is one more thing Mary is curious about…the strange, child-like cries she keeps hearing from somewhere in the manor. What are they? And, where are they coming from? Desperate to find a way into the garden and to discover the source of those mysterious cries, Mary chooses to defy the house rules.
If this story sounds like something you would like to read, I encourage you to head on over to your local library and check the book out. As an alternative to just “renting” the book for a bit, you can add it to your personal collection by purchasing the book at a bookstore or online. Classic books never go out of style!
A great place to start with these classic tales is the book series, Classic Starts. Classic Starts books are easy to read and understand for readers, like you, who are just launching into the fabulous world of reading. They are a perfect introduction to the most amazing stories, tales, and adventures you are sure to read, love, and cherish!