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Great Adventure Stories

by Miriam Downey 24. April 2012 11:19

As a young boy, my brother was a great reader--still is today. When he was quite young, he had a book about pirates that he read many times over, and mother probably read it to him as many times as he read it to himself. Lately, he has specialized in books about ultimate adventures, like mountain climbing and exploring. He has become a bit of an expert on Shackleton's adventures in Antarctica.

There are many adventure books that have stood the test of time, books like Kidnapped, Moby Dick, and Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea. These books are addictive. If you can get a young person to begin reading one of them, he won't be able to quit. The books on this list are available online and are included in the FWU library. These are also great books to listen to as audio books. The audio version of your chosen book will most likely be available at your public library. And, for most of these books, there is a movie available as well; sometimes, several movies have been made of the classic adventure stories.

I recently read some interesting advice from Judy Blume, the children's author, about how to get your child to read a classic book. "First, invest in one with a new cover. Even if you like the old, original covers. Second, don't give it to them. Just leave the books strategically placed around the house and then occasionally say: 'Oh, no. You're not raading that--you're not ready for it yet.'" I might also add, make sure you find a version with illustrations. For a book like Moby Dick, illustrations really help. I particularly like the classic illustrations by N.C. Wyeth which can be found in many of the books by Robert Louis Stevenson, like Treasure Island and Kidnapped.

Some of the best authors in history have written adventure books. Children should be exposed to Jules Verne, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, James Fenimore Cooper and Herman Melville. They should know about Captain Nemo, Huclkeberry Finn, Phileas Fogg and his valet, Passepartout.

The following list of books includes classic adventure stories that can be accessed online. Just click on the book titles, and you will be taken to the book. You can find more classic books in the FWU library. The next blog posting will be about modern adventure stories that you can find in your library or local book store.

Grades 4-6

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. A balloon trip around the world.

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. An expedition descends into a subterranean world.

Heroes Every Child Should Know by Hamilton Mabie. Hero stories.

Kidnapped ; Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Pirate stories.

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Gray. One of many cowboys Gray wrote about the Old West.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Life on the Mississippi.

Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne. The story of Captain Nemo and his submarine, Nautilus.

Grades 7-12

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain. Time travel in medieval times.

Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. An adventure tale during the War of 1812.

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad. The adventures of Jim, a seaman.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville. A classic tale of the sea.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac. The classic road trip. This is a book for High School students.

The Odyssey by Homer. The adventure story upon all which all adventure stories are built.

  

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Finding Free Books Online: Project Gutenberg and Others

by Miriam Downey 3. February 2012 15:22

The library of Free World U is composed of three parts: a section for books available online, a section of recommended books that are available elsewhere, and a section of research websites. In creating FWU's library, I have utilized several sources to find the books that are important to the curriculum.

Today I would like to share some of my sources for finding books that are available free online. Although I have mentioned this in previous postings, copyrights for books last for 75 years. This means that a book is not legally available to be free online until it is 75 years old. The good news is that most literature we consider to be classic may be available online if it has been digitalized.

Occasionally, authors allow their out-of-print books to appear on book websites, or occasionally books by publishers that have gone out of business will also show up on free websites. This is particularly true of picture books. There are websites of of out-of-print stories as well.

Here are some places to find free ebooks

The most prominent place to find classic ebooks is Project Gutenberg. Thousands of out-of-print books and books whose copyrights have expired can be found on Project Gutenberg. For instance, if you are looking for a book of Mother Goose rhymes, you would would type in Mother Goose in the Gutenberg's book catalog search and up would come a listing of all the editions of Mother Goose Rhymes that are available in their database. There are many choices, and after you pick the one you want, you can either read the book online or download it to your computer or device.

Another way to access classic books is to go to Amazon and search for the title. Recently, I was looking for Wuthering Heights for my Kindle. I went to Amazon and was able to choose the free version which then downloaded to my Kindle. This process is the same as going to the Project Gutenberg website.

My favorite source for picture books that can be read online is We Give Books. For every picture book read online, a book is sent to a prominent charity. I am noticing more and more current books appearing on this website. For instance, the great children's book The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper can be found on We Give Books. Another site for classic books is Lit to Go.This site is sponsored by the Universitiy of South Florida, and it has a lot of Spanish editions as well as English editions. It also has books on audio.

Starfall is a website that has a lot of easy reader books for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. Starfall utilizes phonics and simple stories to teach reading. The stories are cute, and the settings are fun.

Another great source for online reading is East of the Web. This is a site for short stories, which are arranged by categories, including children's stories, crime, fiction, horror, humor, nonfiction, romance, sci-fi, and interactive. It is very user friendly and a delight for the reader.

If your older child is really into science, history, or social science and you are having a hard time finding materials to satisfy his/her quest for knowledge, I've got a treat for you. One of the best kept secrets on the Internet is the World Catalog, which is a catalog of the holdings of most of the libraries in the United States. For instance, my brother is a fanatic reader of Arctic exploration. By access the World Catalog, he is able to borrow books about Arctic exploration from any library in the United States.

To use it, simply type in a subject in which you are interested and your ZIP code. The search engine will tell you the books on that subject available, beginning with books in libraries closest to you. You can write down the title you are seeking and take it to your local library. They will be able to get it for you using Interlibrary Loan. Swift and nifty.

Perhaps you have discovered another source of online literature that I haven't discussed. Send me a comment, and I will check it out and post it in this blog.

 

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