Many of today’s popular books are just not good. More and more of them contain violent and depressing themes instead of inspiring and joyful ones.  And, while the heroes of these stories may be strong and courageous, the ideas behind their stories are not exactly wholesome. 

As parents, we might be worried that childhood and young adult literature is turning down a dangerous path, as these stories get darker and darker.   For that reason, I feel it is a great time to dig through some of our dusty classics and encourage our kids to experience the stories we know and love.  You may be surprised to find that many of the books you loved as a kid will still be enjoyable and meaningful to today’s readers.  Here are four of my favorite literary series that I think kids will still love today.  Because, here’s the thing: they’re just better.

“A Wrinkle in Time”

Madeleine L’Engle’s wonderfully woven fantasy series is great for developing imaginations in your little ones.  Her characters themselves, the O’Keefes and the Murrys, are quite young and have real-world experiences that will resonate with children of all ages.  Their experiences in fantastical worlds highlight the importance of independence, leadership, righteousness, and love.  Also, Charles Wallace.  Enough said?

“The Chronicles of Narnia”

C.S. Lewis’ stories are not only beautifully-written and imaginative, but they also bring a sense of wonder to every day life.  The dangers in the world of Narnia are not violent or hopeless ones, like those in many of today’s stories, but are more metaphorical and meant to highlight elements of human nature.  These stories encourage gratitude and friendship above all else.  Plus British kids are just more adorable than American ones.

“The Lord of the Rings”

J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved tales of Frodo and his hobbit friends of Middle Earth will always be relevant for older kids and teenagers.  Aside from being super supportive of short people, these stories contain the most beautiful characters and lands, with intricate histories and languages all their own.  The ring brings about evil in the world, but only through characteristics Tolkien thoroughly discourages – selfishness and hatred.  The series teaches timeless lessons of strength, courage, and loyalty.  These are great books and films for more independent and motivated readers.

“Harry Potter”

J.K. Rowling’s series will always be meaningful to our children, and it’s difficult to find a more captivating story for all ages.  The world of witches and wizards involves dedication to learning the art of magic in order to fight off the dangers that arise.  The detailed plots may be difficult for younger readers to keep up with, but the foundational lesson of friendship and sacrifice will be universally significant.  Plus the movies are all out now, so it’s a great time to get involved with both your children’s reading and viewing habits.  They’ll have you running into brick walls at train stations for days!

Stop letting your kids read depressing fiction when you got to read the best of the best during your childhood.  Be a friend to them and pass on your favorite books.  Trust me, they’ll thank you.