Tuesday, November 3, 2015

100 of Our Favorite Books

Our family is crazy about books.  True fact. 

It's rare to find someone in this house without a book in their hands.  Okay, okay we probably would need to count electronic devices in that too, but it's safe to say that we are always reading!!  We try so hard to all have dinner together as a family but there is always someone (usually the youngest) that just can't put down the book because "I just got to the best part!".   I admit we usually end up with a quiet dinner while everyone reads their own book of choice.   I've heard it said that if kids see their parents reading, they will develop their own love of reading as well.  Making sure your kids have good, rich, character-building literature is an excellent way to help your kids grow up in this crazy world with a bit better sense of self and with strong character formation.    If they start out early with rich literature, that is what they develop an appetite for.  

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde 

I believe that reading aloud to your kids is one of the best ways you can spend time with them.  Not only is it time spent together, but it is also a great conversation starter.  I absolutely love when someone will quote some wonderful line from a shared book we have read together.  Our latest one I love is from "The Count of Monte Cristo" - anytime we come upon something chaotic or crazy one of us will blurt out "What is this fresh new disaster???!!!!"  It's such a fun way to connect with your kids through the day to day.  You just simply have more to talk about when you are sharing in great ideas and great stories together.   It will open up new worlds and big ideas.  Your kids will develop a life long love of learning and reading.  It is crucial that our kids develop a love of reading that which is true, good and beautiful.  Letting them read fluff (in the words of Charlotte Mason) is much like letting your kids get their nourishment from junk food instead of rich wholesome nourishing healthy food. I let my kids check out whatever they want from the library (within reason) and soon found that after they read the fluff, eventually they lost an appetite for it.  Kids long for adventure, their imagination is just waiting to be fed and fueled.  When their imagination grows, so does their mind, then so does their spirit and their soul.  Don't be afraid to let them ponder over what may seem scary or gruesome in classic literature.  They need to encounter big ideas in thought-provoking literature at every stage they are in and form their own opinions on them.  We tend to want to spoon feed them the underlying message - but don't! Letting them figure it out for themselves is where the richness lies, while also leaving room for the Holy Spirit to do His work in the hearts of our children. 

"As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells... and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower, both strange and familiar."  Cornelia Funke 

There is just nothing as rich and educational as classical literature.  Introducing it to young children carefully is important.  Several of our classics are the children's abridged versions for younger readers.  Giving young ones a big picture of what a story is about can lead to a great love of the original version later as they grow. 

One of my favorite times of the day is that early morning hour, as we are waking up with our hot tea and nibbling on some breakfast, I read aloud to Boo from a favorite book.  I usually have three dogs on my lap keeping me cozy and warm, which lends itself to my not wanting to get up and get moving - which makes us read aloud even longer!  Reading aloud to your kids every day - even if it is just for ten minutes - adds up to over sixty hours in a year.   Plus, that time becomes almost sacred - we hardly miss a day - we love it so much.  Sometimes we go through a phase when our read-aloud happens at bedtime.  During different times of the year, such as the upcoming Advent season - we will even read aloud at dinner time. 

One of our family traditions that has gone on for probably ten years now is Sunday night reading.  It doesn't happen every Sunday night, but we try hard to make it happen as often as we can.  We try to shut out all the noise of the week and light some candles and get cozy while listening to Dad read to the entire family.  I know this isn't easy - we have three kids at three very different stages of life so choosing something that will interest everyone is always a challenge.  It has become a treasure to us and the kids will often ask for it themselves.  When it's nice in the summer we will throw pillows and blankets on the deck and enjoy reading as we watch the sun set.  In winter we snuggle around the fireplace with hot chocolate.  Letting little ones play quietly with small toys or coloring is very helpful for them to be able to listen.  My girls had so much fun helping me come up with a list here.  It just shows again their love for reading.  Here is a list of just SOME of the books we have enjoyed together as a family. 

For Younger Children

Milly Molly Mandy
The Boxcar Children
Little House on the Prairie (series)
The Penderwicks (series)
The Wizard of Oz
The Blue Fairy Book
Grimms Fairy Tales
Pippi Long-stocking
The Secret Garden
The Green Book
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
A Little Princess
Greek Myths - A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls 
The Swiss Family Robinson
Treasure Island
Charlotte's Web
Anne of Green Gables (series) 
Island of the Blue Dolphins
The Hedge of Thorns
The Chronicles of Narnia (series)
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh
Where the Red Fern Grows
 Harry Potter (series)
Percy Jackson (series) 
A Series of Unfortunate Events (series)
Bridge to Terabithia
The Classic Collection of Winnie the Pooh
Number the Stars
Little Women
The Wind in the Willows
Stuart Little
Redwall (series)
The Borrowers
My Side of the Mountain
The American Girl Historical Series
Mary Poppins
The Dragon of Lonely Island
The Dragon Returns
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Across Five Aprils
Black Beauty
Caddie Woodlawn
The Hundred Dresses
In Grandmas Attic (series)
James Herriot's Treasury for Children
My Book House (series)
Strawberry Girl
The Door in the Wall
The 21 Balloons
A Cricket in Times Square
Out of the Dust
The Happy Prince 
The Call of the Wild 
King Arthur
The Three Weavers
Favorite Poems Old and New 
The Shakespeare Stealer 

For Older Children
All Quiet on the Western Front
The Iliad and The Odyssey 
Pilgrims Progress
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Grapes of Wrath
Buried in the Snow
Sense and Sensibility
The Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings (series)
Animal Farm
The Help
The DaVinci Code
A Basket of Flowers
The Lamplighter
The Princess Bride
The Great Gatsby
Stepping Heavenward
A Wrinkle in Time
Tale of Two Cities
Julius Caesar
The Hiding Place 
The Diary of Anne Frank
Mara Daughter of the Nile
Gullivers Travels
To Kill a Mockingbird
Wuthering Heights
Don Quixote 
A Christmas Carol
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Catcher in the Rye 
Great Expectations
The Portrait of a Lady

“Perhaps there's another, much larger story behind the printed one, a story that changes just as our own world does. And the letters on the page tell us only as much as we'd see peering through a keyhole. Perhaps the story in the book is just the lid on a pan: It always stays the same, but underneath there's a whole world that goes on - developing and changing like our own world.”
Cornelia Funke


dawn said...

This is a wonderful list. Thank you!

Heather O'Steen Photography said...

Thank you Dawn!!