#ReadKidsClassics, A Year in the Secret Garden

Read Kid’s Classics Challenge: March’s Selection (#readkidsclassics)

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Hello and Welcome to our first installment of the Read Kid’s Classics Challenge! I’m so glad you’re here and I can hardly wait to see what you’re reading as well. As many of you already know, I am a huge fan of children’s classics and over the years my family has actively read old classics and discovered new ones. In 2016 one of my many goals is to discover even more classics and share them with you, my valued readers.

So from now on, every month during my Read Kids Classic Challenge, I am going to present one classic that I simply can’t live without!


Joining me in this book-ish and fun campaign is a handful of powerhouse bloggers who are excited to share their very own #readkidsclassics picks!  Please feel free to visit these five #ReadKidsClassics bloggers to see what classic book reading fun they have created.

Read Kids Classics

I don’t think it will surprise anyone what my first Read Kid’s Classics Challenge pick is going to be, and I have a very good reason for that! I picked this book because it was my first kid’s classic and it became my favorite friend and companion throughout my childhood, ….no, throughout my life.

What could that incredible book be? Why The Secret Garden of course.

The Secret Garden

It was such a favorite book that I even wrote an activity guide to bring the entire book alive, month by month. What I would have done to be Mary and to live at Misselthwaite Manor but most of all to enter that garden.

OK, so knowing this about me, can you imagine my excitement this past November when I got to meet the author of the Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett) great grand-daughter? Oh it was really incredible. I had a little fan girl moment but then again so does her great grand-daughter Penny Dupree. Frances was just the most remarkable person and Penny has dedicated her life to getting her great grandmother’s story out.

Frances Hodgson Burnett

While writing A Year in the Secret Garden I discovered that Frances Hodgson Burnett (FHB) started her writing career here in East Tennessee where I live. Last November was the 150th anniversary of her move from England to America and I was honored to be invited to participate with all of the fine folks of New Market, and Jefferson City.

So Let Me Share a Little About Frances Hodgson Burnett (FHB)

Now that you’re in my inner reading circle we’ll always refer to Frances as FHB. So reading friend I have to share with you that FHB was a most remarkable woman. At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, FHB was accomplished woman. She started writing to support her family who had just immigrated to the United States. From the moment she penned and published her first word, she was never turned down by a publisher. At the time of her death she had over 1000 magazine articles, 55 books, and several plays.

Frances Hodgson Burnett

In her lifetime she was very well-known and admired as a writer as well as very wealthy. She was an adventurer crossing the Atlantic ocean round-trip 33 times. We owe a lot of thanks to FHB because she is the person who established copyright laws. Another writer tried to steal her story Little Lord Fauntleroy by turning it into a play. FHB wasn’t having any of that, she rewrote her own story into a theater piece and opened up directly across the street from the man who had stolen her story. She ended up running him out of business. Because of this she said that nobody should be allowed to steal another person’s work and so she established the preliminary copyright laws we now hold very dear. At the bottom of that statue are the signatures of some of the most famous writers of the time in the United States.

Frances Hodgson Burnett


Penny Deupree in her presentation also shared somethings that wouldn’t be considered good about her great grand mother such as she smoked, drank, and swore. She also suffered the death of one of her sons which left a huge hole in the family. The story has continued thru her great grand-daughter and now her great great grand-daughter who is writing a book about FHB.

During our time together I gave a copy of my book A Year in the Secret Garden to Penny and her family and they just loved it and were so moved. I have to share that I felt FHB was shining down on me and giving her two thumbs up. It was totally an affirmation. Since our time together in November I have felt her on a couple of occasions, like the idea of building a Secret Garden in the city where I live. I’m so glad that inspiration has led me into the Secret Garden and filled it with a lifetime of memories.

Frances Hodgson Burnett

(Photo of Penny Deupree and her grandfather Viven Burnett.)

I wish the very same for you. If you sign-up for our Read Kid’s Classic Challenge, this month I’ve prepared a beautiful Secret Garden PDF with loads of activities. It’s completely free.

What’s the Read Kid’s Classic Challenge ?

Every month during our Read Kids Classic Challenge we are going to present one classic that we can’t live without. We’d like you to join as well.



To Participate:We’d like you to share one kids classic that you can’t live without every month. Share it on your blog, vlog and social media using the hashtag #readkidsclassics once a month to let us know what you’ve been reading.

If you should choose to post about your kids classic choice, please let us know the following within your blog post:

  • WHEN  did you Discover This Classic?
  • WHY did you Chose to Read It with your Family?
  • WHAT Makes It A Classic?
  • WHAT did you Think of This Classic?

Here’s how I classify classics as old or new (this isn’t an official classification it’s just sort of the way I think of it):

Old Kid’s Classics are those books written before 1950. New Kid’s Classics are those books written after 1950.

But that’s not all

When you sign up for the 2016 Read Kid Classics Challenge every month you will get a PDF that you can download which will have loads of activities on the particular book we’ve chosen to share at Jump into a Book. Each edition of Read the Kids Classics will highlight the story, have good things to eat in our kitchen called Table of Contents, give behind the scenes gossip about the author, easy crafts that kids can do on their own in our craftiness section, questions for the curious, explorations into the world of our featured books, as well as further connections via books like this one and topic booklists so you can find more good reads and finally a visit to the word wizard for some word play.

And Still There’s More-Free Books!

Sign up and join Jump Into A Book’s #ReadKidClassics Challenge to participate in our monthly adventure of sharing personal classic children’s favorites and activities.

On the last day of every month, JIAB will go on a book adventure; an adventure that will put participants in the running to win a bundle of book classics to fill your shelves with. This adventure could be in the form of a Instagram scavenger hunt or as easy as commenting here on JIAB. We just want participants to have fun and earn free books!

As part of this fun book-ish adventure, I will be creating free monthly PDFs of a #ReadKidClassics book and book extensions to give to all participants for their own family reading and fun.

We’re so excited about our challenge. Sign up below and we’ll see you there 🙂


2 thoughts on “Read Kid’s Classics Challenge: March’s Selection (#readkidsclassics)

  1. Thank you for the fascinating info on Frances Hodgson Burnett! I absolutely adore The Secret Garden, both the book and the film adaptation. I grew up with The Secret Garden and A Little Princess but had no idea she wrote so many books!
    I just may participate in this challenge! I love children’s classics and have recently been reading some that I never got to read as a kid. 🙂

    1. Hi Stacy,
      So glad you are here. Yes FHB is one fascinating woman and a pioneer and trailblazer in Publishing !!! Oh please join the challenge. We’re having so much fun plus I’m finding some new books and remembering some old classics !!

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