“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” C.S. Lewis
This is a list of books… about books. Enjoy.
Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt
This book was my initial invitation to the banquet of beautiful children’s books. It gives a thoughtful and compelling case for why we need to read books, good books, in our homes. After educating as to the “why” regarding reading, the book gives an extensive age-appropriate list of “what” to read.
Last summer, in order to keep pace with my boys’ voracious reading appetites, I made a long list of great books from which they could choose to read at their own pace and for their own pleasure. It was Sarah’s book from which such a list was born. To say that Sarah grew up in a book-appreciating home is like saying that a student at Juilliard takes piano lessons. Sarah’s home was a rich environment in which her love for good books was organically grown, and Read for the Heart is an overflow of her personal experience. Its heart, content, and format make this book a pleasure to navigate. You can purchase Sarah’s book here.
Books Children Love by Elizabeth Wilson
This is a classic “book about books” that is a staple in our home library. It does an excellent job of categorizing books by over 2 dozen subject areas as well as by age group.
With tears in my eyes, I can tell you that my children’s childhoods, and yes our family, was changed forever because of Jan Bloom. We were fortunate enough to befriend her several years ago, and I have yet to meet someone who knows more about children’s literature. This is a one-of-a-kind reference tool that covers hundreds of authors, their history, and a complete listing of each author’s works. It also contains lists of great books for boys and lists of several series. Jan and her husband, Gary, travel across the country with over 4,000 out of print and vintage books. In addition to being booksellers, they speak at conferences educating families about how to create a quality home library. You can buy Jan’s books here.
A great book if you want to read out loud with your children and you’re not sure where to start…or if you love reading aloud and would like some great ideas for books. Includes lists of “Jim’s favorites.”
Children of a Greater God by Terry W. Glaspey
This book is out of print, but worth the work to find it. Glaspey’s approach (and I’d suggest to life in general) is refreshing and inspirational. In the book’s introduction, he states, “An old-fashioned phrase aptly describes the goal of this book: training the sensibilities. By this I mean the training of your child’s thoughts and feelings. By introducing your child to what is truly good, whether it comes in the form of moral character or great art or music, you further the process of training him to be a person whose heart will deeply resonate with the good.” Rather than parenting (and living) out of fear, we should fill our lives with that which is truly beautiful, and our children will learn to recognize and be drawn to it. I believe that the same principles apply equally to adults. A fairly good book list is embedded in the middle of the book as well as in the appendix.
The more we learn about truly great literature which is of moral value, the more discriminating we become in choosing books for our family. Lamplighter Publishing has served us all well by finding excellent (often out-of-print) literature, then reprinting the books in beautiful cloth-bound covers. Their online catalog is extensive, yet is organized in such a way that you’ll feel like you’re strolling through the aisles of a meticulously cared for old bookstore. You can buy individual books as well as discounted collections. If you’re not sure where to start, I’d recommend Teddy’s Button, which is just as relevant for adults as it is for children. I’ve never experienced such a simple, yet poignant description of the internal battle between good and evil which is ongoing in all of us. These books are worthy to pass down for generations, and they make excellent gifts.
I should note that all of the books mentioned above contain extensive reading lists which are as relevant to adults as they are to children. Don’t let the pictures on the covers deceive you… you can find a plethora of great literature in these pages from which to make your own reading lists for the next several years!
Websites on which to find out-of-print and used books:
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Just in time for summer reading, we’ll take the next two Fridays to focus on the much-neglected subject of books for boys. Plan on joining us. We’ll look forward to seeing you!
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