I like to choose excerpts from classic works in the hope of leading young readers to them. This excerpt, from the myth of Atalanta, may trigger lively discussions of gender issues.
Mythology: Timeless tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton
Atalanta’s father, whatever his name was, when a daughter and not a son was born to him, was, of course, bitterly disappointed. He decided that she was not worth bringing up and had the tiny creature left on a wild mountainside to die of cold and hunger. But, as so often happens in stories, animals proved to be kinder than humans. A she-bear took charge of her, nursed her and kept her warm, and the baby grew up thus into an active, daring little girl.
from Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
This description of Long John Silver offers the opportunity to introduce this classic adventure tale by British author Stevenson and to discuss differences between US and British spelling.
I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following behind him in a hand-barrow—a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown man, his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulder of his soiled blue coat, his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and the sabre cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white. I remember him looking round the cove and whistling to himself as he did so, and then breaking out in that old sea-song that he sang so often afterwards.