As time permits, I shall list more of my favourite books along with information about why I consider them to be good reading material.
The Sibling Society by Robert Bly
Robert Bly details very deep and meaningful, long term insights into the causes of many of the problems we see in our daily lives, and connects them to the more important and less obvious aspects of human psychology that are typically written off by the majority as insignificant.
This book should be required reading for all post-secondary students because it provides the needed perspective to young people to not only understand why things are going wrong in society today, but also hints at simple solutions that can provide long term social benefits for both present and future generations.
Lord of the Rings, The by J. R. R. Tolkien
A very well-written set of six books that, along with excellent dialogue and fantastic descriptions of nature, take the reader simultaneously through the heroic journeys of a few characters that stray onto different paths throughout most of the story. These books, which some people mistakenly refer to as a "trilogy," should also be read in the order they were published.
There is a keen focus on friendship, and Frodo, a Hobbit who journeys with his faithful friend Sam throughout the entire story, is charged with carrying the most powerful ring to the lands of the enemy where it can be destroyed. The ring proves, however, to be an incredible burden, and the story demonstrates how the friendship between Frodo and Sam barely overcomes its evil influence.
Many other obstacles along the way, along with a wide variety of characters who only appear once or twice throughout the whole story, make things more realistic. The descriptions of the environment are detailed enough to give the reader a general sense of what the world looks like, and leaving plenty of room for the imagination to fill in the rest of the picture. Unlike other stories, geographical maps are included that help give the reader a better idea of where each character is at, where they came from, and their destinations.
In particular, I really enjoyed reading about Tom Bombadil, who I believe is a Sage, but the author left out a lot of history for this and many other characters purposely as "mysteries" for the fans to debate (or perhaps there were plans to write additional short books for those who were interested?).
Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
These books are excellent for children of all ages because they focus on how a variety of characters work together to overcome their problems in adition to being heors who save the world from the forces evil. I enjoyed the entire series, and recommend reading them in the order they were published because the storyline will be easier to understand.
Unlike most stories typical of current times, the characters in Harry Potter's world remain consistent in their roles instead of "turning over a new leaf so that everyone can live happily ever after." These particular character traits, which mirror reality, give the entire story more authenticity, which provides especially important perspective to children that will be useful to them later in life.
As a parent, I also like the way in which children are portrayed as behaving respectfully, not only to one another but also to adults whether in a position of authority or not. By reading these books and learning about the characters, children also observe an important attitude of being considerate to both loved ones and strangers, while also getting a sense of the potential dangers of being too trusting of the wrong people.
If you'd like to contact me to share your perspective, I'd be delighted regardless of whether you agree with me. You can send an eMail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.