Alejandro’s Much Ado About Books


As next week is celebrating Children’s Day in Costa Rica (my country), I am dedicating the Literature Post this week to comment on book series’ suitable for children and encourage them in the habit of reading. And this is just a help to have to start, but as always I urge you to investigate on their own books to consider really suitable for children. All of us, or have children or nephews, godchildren, neighbors and/or friends with children, and why not, a child within us. As is always important to think about that habits are not created alone, someone should educate them and show that it is important to read. Of course, not force them and not to choose books for them, show them options that you deem appropriate for them, if you are unsure about a book or book series, consult in bookstores, talk with the children to know what kind of stories they want to read , you will be surprised that many of them know very well what they want to read, read books together if they are still too young and they can’t read for themselves yet. A child reading today is a man who thinks tomorrow.



Many of us grew up reading Mafalda in newspapers and/or purchasing collections of the comic strips. Do not be fooled thinking that children won’t understand the political humor behind each strip. You understood it at the time, no? Today’s children are even more aware of their surroundings and the world in which they are living than what we were. Besides that although the socio-political thinking is what has always distinguished Mafalda from other comic-strip characters, never forget that the genius writer, Quino, conceived Mafalda as a child, and as such along with their little friends, they are children and they do not become embittered by the world’s problems, and always they keep laughing and playing.


Tales of my Aunt Panchita

This book is the masterpiece of Costa Rican writer Carmen Lyra, whose real name was Maria Isabel Carvajal Quesada. This book was published in 1920 and although it is very likely that Costarrican children will read it sometime in the course of Elementary School, that does not mean that you can’t encourage your children to read it before it would become something “mandatory” and in that way to develop an appreciation for reading national stories and not miss an important part of its their national ethnic identity.

The similarities of some of the stories with legends and/or tales in other countries is intentional, as it was one of the intentions of Carmen Lyra was to develop Costa Rican native stories that are universally enjoyed by children of the world but with a clear and relevant national sense in our Costa Rican environment.


Alice in Wonderland

What is commonly known as “Alice in Wonderland” are two stories, where the first is formally titled “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and the second is “Through the Looking-Glass”, both written by the author Lewis Carroll, whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the first book in 1865 and second one in 1871, and although Lewis Carroll wrote other things, undoubtedly his most famous works are these two stories, sometimes even sold as one book, and have been one of the children’s stories more adapted to all media (film, TV, theater, radio, etc) and have also influenced thousands of writers to write their own books and have also inspired countless of parodies, reinterpretations and variations of the original story. Not only Alice, the main character, has become a favorite of many fans, but almost all the characters in the story such as The Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts, The Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, the Caterpillar, etc … are constantly mentioned and / or referenced in countless other stories, films and TV series.



The author L. Frank Baum introduced in the birth of the twentieth century, his series of stories set in the magical land of Oz. Precisely in the year 1900 is published his first book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”, and he published a total of 14 official books of the saga of Oz, where in 1920 the last book was published written by the original author. After this, many other books have been licensed, but the original series is still the favorite of the fans. Nevertheless it has also become quite popular many parodies, reinterpretations and variations of the theme of Oz by hundreds of authors. And certainly the saga of Oz, has also been referenced in countless media such as movies and TV.

Phrases like “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” and “No Place Like Home” have become part of popular culture that emerged from the pages of this book series.

The characters of Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, the Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West, Glinda the Good Witch, Ozma, Billina, Mombi, the General Jinjur, King Nome, the Hungry Tiger, and many others have become favorites of many, and in the saga of books they were exchanging roles between being main and secondary characters in the stories


Dr. Seuss

The famous author Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, was responsible for 44 books oriented for kids, but that they also can impact and give lessons to adults as well.

Some of his most famous illustrated tales were “The Cat in the Hat”, “The Lorax”, “Horton Hears a Who!”, “Green Eggs and Ham”, and certainly his most famous story is “How the Grinch stole Christmas!”.

The books of Dr. Seuss have been characterized to achieve with effectiveness, important lessons denouncing the dangers of materialism, environmental pollution, militarism, racism, etc … in the midst of creating whimsical characters and unusual places where even within a tiny snowflake, big stories may occur.


Little House

One of the most recognized authors by name, even if you have never read her books is Laura Ingalls, this due to the popular TV series “The Little House on the Prairie” inspired by the books written by the real Laura Elizabeth Ingalls-Wilder.

Laura Ingalls-Wilder narrated in nine books, her life since childhood, when she was only 5 years old, until becoming an adult, even reaching the first four years of her life as a married woman. A detail is that the second book in the series, “Farmer Boy”, is dedicated to tell the life of her husband, Almanzo Wilder, before he met Laura.

Unlike what occurs in the TV series, Laura Ingalls-Wilder tells that the known town of Walnut Grove, was just one of several towns where her family lived.

The series of books called “Little House series” or “The Laura Years”, are an excellent example of western novels showing a more realistic narrative of how was life really like in the United States during the settlement of the West, with all the good but also the bad that this implied in history. It’s also is a great example of literature in the field of moral values ​​and the importance of family life.


Roald Dahl

The writer Roald Dahl came to fame through his book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), but is also the author of many other books have also had a positive impact with children and also have been adapted to different environments.

Among the most famous books of Roald Dahl include: Matilda, Fantastic Mr. Fox (The Fantastic Mr. Fox), James and the Giant Peach (James and the Giant Peach), and of course “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and its sequel “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” (Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator).

A detail often not known is that the first book written by Roald Dahl called “The Gremlins,” which was to be part of a promotion for a film by Walt Disney Productions that never came to fruition, but made ​​such an impact then part of the premise for some Looney Tunes cartoons was used, as well as inspire one of the most memorable episodes of Twilight Zone (Twilight Zone) as well as films directed by Joe Dante using the basic idea of the creatures that appeared in history Original.


The Worst Witch

Before “Harry Potter” … there was “Mildred Hubble.”

The British writer Jill Murphy published in 1974, when she was only 15 years old at the time, her first book in the series known as “The Worst Witch” following the adventures and antics of Mildred Hubble, a young girl who comes to study witchcraft in the famed Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches, where sadly she holds the title of being “the Worst Witch” among all students.

The series since its inception in 1974 has been very popular, especially in England, when there have been 7 books so far, where the seventh was published in 2013.

The book series has spawned a TV movie, in 1986, on England, with the participation of Fairuza Balk, Tim Curry and Diana Rigg. Also, a TV series, produced in England as well, lasting from 1998 to 2001 and generating two spin-offs TV series.

Besides Mildred Hubble, the main character, other characters are Ethel Hallow, her main rival; Maud Moonshine, her best friend; Enid Nightshade, one of her best friends; and among the most famous teachers are Miss Hardbroom, the fearsome vice principal, and Miss Cackle, director of the Academy.


The Borrowers

The writer Mary Norton, published in 1952, the first book in the series what is known as “The Borrowers”. The series remained as 4 books for several years, where the fourth book had been printed in 1961, but a fifth book was published in 1982, all by its original author.

The books follow the life of the Clock family: Pod (the father), Homily (the mother) and Arriety (the teenage daughter). They are “little people”, a kind of beings who live in homes in secret, thanks to its tiny dimensions, they can easily hide, and at night they “borrow” things that they need to survive.

The saga of the “Borrowers” has been very popular and appreciated, so it has been adapted several times: A TV movie in 1973, then two TV series produced by the BBC in 1992 and 1993 with the notable participation of Ian Holm (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), then another film in 1997 in the cast including John Goodman, then in 2010, the mega popular Japanese studio Ghibli made ​​an animated adaptation known as “The Secret World of Arriety”, and finally in 2011, another TV show with the participation of multifaceted comedian Stephen Fry (V for Vendetta).