With the world in a state of perpetual lockdown and weary parents looking for a way to entertain their children that does not involve video games or binge-watching Netflix, I figured I would offer up some of my favorite children’s books to keep children busy during the quarantine. Some of these fiction books are strictly for middle-grade readers, while others crossover into the YA (Young Adult) realm. That being said, do your research before handing these over to your young ones.
5 Children’s Books for the Apocalypse
Keeping your children occupied during quarantine is no simple task. How many hours can they spend playing video games, streaming movies, and wrecking your freshly cleaned home? 23 hours, with an hour for a nap, is probably the correct answer. Wouldn’t it be nice to find some way for them to rest their eyes from the technicolor glow and maybe, just maybe, get a little bit of reading in? With that in mind, I have compiled this list of Young Adult and Middle-grade fiction books to occupy your kids during quarantine.
These are all books I have read and loved as an adult, which either means I have the mind of a 12-year-old or that these books hold up even into adulthood. Some of these books were around when I was a child and others are more recent, but I can’t imagine how excited I would have been to have read them as a young adult, had I known they existed. Instead, I had my head buried in books by Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Anne Rice, who were definitely for an age group well beyond where I was when I discovered them.
Quarantine Books for Children #1: Once and Future King by T.H. White
The Once and Future King by T.H. White is one of my all-time favorite books. It is the first book. It is divided into four or five parts depending upon the version that you purchase; when I first read it twenty years ago, it consisted of: The Sword in the Stone, The Queen of Air and Darkness, The Ill-Made Knight, and The Candle in the Wind. After finishing the book, I went on to discover the “fifth part” of the book, The Book of Merlyn as a separate book unto itself that concluded the story of King Arthur, whom the book is based.
Most people are probably more familiar with the story of the Once and Future King from movies such as Camelot or Sword in the Stone, which chronicles the fictitious King Arthur’s life from his humble beginnings as a young squire learning the ways of the world from the wise wizard Merlyn (probably the greatest wizard of all time in my book) to Arthur’s rise to king and the formation of the Knights of the Roundtable.
Depending upon the age and maturity of your child, you may want to have them just read the Sword in the Stone part of the book (I am sure you can find just that section in book form), which covers Arthur’s youth and tutelage under the magician Merlyn. After this part of the book, things turn a little bleaker, as topics such as murder and infidelity begin to rear their ugly heads.
The Sword in the Stone version of the book is suggested for readers between 10 and 13 years of age.