Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Favorite Children’s Books ~ Take 2

Read the first installment here.


Early Readers

  • The Fire Cat was first published in 1960. Pickles is a cat who wants to do big things!

“One day Mrs. Goodkind said,
'Pickles, you are not a bad cat.
You are not a good cat.
You are good and bad.
And bad and good.
You are a mixed-up cat.
What you need is a good home.
Then you will be good.' ”
Esther Averill, The Fire Cat


Beginning Chapter Books


  • Jenny and the Cat Club, also by Esther Averill, tells about the adventures of a sweet and shy black cat with a red scarf. Classic (the first stories were written in the 1940s) and lovely—my boys enjoyed the whole series. (Pickles, the fire cat, even makes an appearance!)


Chapter Books


  • Emily's Runaway Imagination, one of Beverly Cleary’s lesser known books, is set in Pitchfork, Oregon in 1920.
  • I loved reading The Saturdays aloud to Levi several years ago, wishing that I had read it as a child. I know I would have loved it! Be sure to check out the rest of the books in the series!
  • The Moffats was published in 1941. Be sure to check out the whole series and more by Eleanor Estes.



  • The Freddy the Pig books by Walter R. Brooks are hilarious and full of witty adventure and rich vocabulary. The books make great read-alouds because the parents will enjoy them as much as the kids! The 26 books in the series were first published between 1927 and 1958.


Chapter Books from My Childhood


  • The Cricket in Times Square—about a mouse, a cat, a boy, and a cricket in New York City—was a favorite from my childhood, and I was excited to share it with my boys! And I discovered that there were more books in the series!
  • The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is a deliciously haunting book (not too scary, or I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as a kid) about two little girls who are left in the care of an evil governess. And there are more book in the series! (Am I the only one who gets excited about series? It’s tough to keep kids in books when you have voracious readers, and series are a blessing!)



  • I Am David, the story of a 12 year-old boy who escapes from a prison camp in Eastern Europe, had me mesmerized! I loved it just as much when I read it as an adult. (And the movie is wonderful, as well.)
  • I read several books by Meindert DeJong as a child, and The House of Sixty Fathers was one of my favorites. The story follows a young Chinese boy and his pig who get separated from his parents during the Japanese invasion of China in the 1930s.


Fantasy and Adventure

(from literary artists who happen to be Christians)


  • My husband read The Wingfeather Saga aloud to the boys, and they’ve been begging me constantly to check on the status of book four for months. They’ll be on pins and needles until July. This series is written by singer-songwriter Andrew Peterson, who has a gift of words and imagination!



Young Ladies

I had a lengthy Facebook conversation recently with a couple friends/blog readers. One asked about book recommendations for a sensitive 12-going-on-16-year-old girl who has exhausted the regular feminine book-list classics (and then some), but isn’t quite ready for more mature fare. I had to think beyond boys and fantasy books and relive a bit of my own childhood and early adulthood, but we came up with a long list to keep her busy all summer long. (P.S. I love my Facebook world.)

So, for young ladies who have exhausted All-of-a-Kind Family, Understood Betsy (adore!), The Railway Children (by E. Nesbit, one of her only non-fantasy books), Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Heidi (of course), Cheaper by the Dozen (and sequel), and books by L.M. Montgomery, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Louisa May Alcott, and even Jane Austen, may I suggest:


The novels listed, most of them romance novels, are certainly idealistic and occasionally preachy. But I loved them as a sensitive young lady who did not enjoy tragic or dark stories, and I still enjoy a clean romance story!

Have you read any George MacDonald, Gene Stratton-Porter, or E.P. Roe novels?
What were your favorites?


Pamster said...

I loved earnest, moral stories as a kid. Macdonald and Stratton-Porter were big faves. I absolutely adore Girl of the Limberlost.

Danielle said...

I loved The Girl of the Limberlost!!!! When I was in high school I also loved the Jan Karon books and Dorothy Sayers mysteries. Lord of the Rings too!

Anonymous said...

So since we chatted she and I came up with a few more ideas as well (Rosamunde Pilcher, Vilette, The Help, etc.) but I am so thrilled by all the used books arriving at my door right now for the summer. : ) I'll have to take a picture. I am so glad you did this post!

Also - had to tell you - I cleaned out my L's room and found a couple more ideas for your boys I wondered about. I need to text them all to you bc I took pics of the covers since we were on a roll with cleaning and I couldn't slow that train down to take notes! : )

You're a gift. Big hugs.

Ariana Rose said...

I absolutely love book lists, especially really good book lists! I know how time consuming it is to put together a post like this so thank you for doing it! It's an invaluable resource and I appreciate you sharing! :)

Dawn said...

love this list! Have you read "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" By Grace Lin? It was published in 2010 I think. Oooh it was so good for my girls. And it has such a positive theme.

Heidi said...

Donica~ That's the book that Luke read and then read the prequel (Starry River of the Sky) and found out where the china bowl and two copper coins came from...and then compared it to another series with a prequel (City of Ember) and we talked about The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and the Magician's Nephew, too. Fun stuff! :D

Dawn said...

She has written so many books. I can't wait to read the prequels...I'm thinking of buying them. For some time now I have been a person who says, "why have books on my shelf, when I can get them from the library?" "and why buy books when little children don't care for them and they get torn?" But I do say that I value books. However, after discussing this topic of "Do I really value books if I don't own very many? (and this by choice not by circumstance) I came to the conclusion that I must not have read enough wonderful books to inspire me to purchase. However, this book "where the mountain meets the moon" has changed me and I can't wait to own it. It makes me excited about reading to my kids and I am excited to have all your suggestions as well so that I can inspire my children by having a book collection to read, and re-read! Your teaching on Rhetoric at the CC Practicum and the discussion time in the afternoon really brought awareness to the value of literature in getting our children to think, imagine, create and communicate. :)

Heidi said...

That's exciting to hear, Donaca! (Sorry I misspelled your name earlier!!)

I definitely think getting books at the library can be a wonderful thing, but there is something special when a child holds a book in their hands and knows it is *theirs*. And that they can revisit it at any time. Or even just be reminded of the story when they look at the book on their shelf! I still go through books at my mom's house and I love the flood of memories they bring back! We definitely have "well-loved" (abused) books at our house, but I've always said that it is a small price to pay for boys who love to read. :)