Magazine September 13, 2021, Issue

Time-Tested Children’s Literature

(Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
Before Austen Comes Aesop: The Children’s Great Books and How to Experience Them, by Cheri Blomquist (Ignatius Press, 272 pp., $17.95)

Nearly everyone has one. That book that was the bane of your existence in high school. Academics raved about its depth, rich words, and intriguing characters. Your teacher said it inspired other famous authors and is a pillar of Western lit. But you? You still shudder when someone references the Wife of Bath.

Western literature is full of influential books, from the Bible to Paradise Lost to the Divine Comedy to Pride and Prejudice. Yet as important as these works are, why do we so often insist on requiring our high-schoolers to read them without the proper foundation? Perhaps students at

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Sarah Schutte is the podcast manager for National Review and an associate editor for National Review magazine. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, she is a children's literature aficionado and Mendelssohn 4 enthusiast.

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