This isn’t a list of THE ten books you should read, but just ten of the thousands of books you should read. I do not dare suggest that I know everything about literature. But I do know that:
1. My life has been changed by the books I’ve read
2. Most books stores do a poor job offering quality literature choices to their patrons and
3. Children who read make adults who read
Not all of these books have religious themes, although many have hints of faith in them. All are books about goodness, strength, struggle and courage. And, if you look them up on Amazon and find that they are categorized as ‘juvenile fiction’, be not afraid! I think the book industry has done many a fine novel a great injustice by placing it on a strictly “children’s lit” shelf. There is much more to literature than reading level and the number of pages! One of the shortest books on this list is also the most beautiful (I’m not going to tell you which one… you’ll just have to go read them all to find out!).
This is a list of my favorites, for young and old alike! I love these books with all my heart. As I was writing and compiling summaries of the list below, I found myself typing: “This is my favorite!! I love this book sooooo much!” after each and every title! So, you can just take that for granted. I love each and every one of these books as if they were written just for me. But they weren’t, they were written for you, too. So, go read them, every one!
Do you have a beautiful book to share? Please do so in comments!
An Episode of Sparrows by Rumer Godden
(I love this book so much that if I won the lottery I’d buy a copy for all of you! Really!)
Someone has dug up the private garden in the square and taken buckets of dirt, and Miss Angela Chesney of the Garden Committee is sure that a gang of boys from run-down Catford Street must be to blame. But Angela’s sister Olivia isn’t so sure. Olivia wonders why the neighborhood children—the “sparrows” she sometimes watches from the window of her house —have to be locked out of the garden. Don’t they have a right to enjoy the place, too? But neither Angela nor Olivia has any idea what sent the neighborhood waif Lovejoy Mason and her few friends in search of “good, garden earth.” Still less do they imagine where their investigation of the incident will lead them—to a struggling restaurant, a bombed-out church, and at the heart of it all, a hidden garden. (Amazon)
I Am David by Anne Holm
(Oh my. This book is stunningly beautiful! And there’s a movie, which is fantastic, but it does leave out some of the beautiful religious moments, which is a shame.)
The Winged Watchman by Hilda van Stockum
(Such an exciting book! I learned a lot about the underground resistance and the beautiful Catholic roots of The Netherlands.)
The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden
(This book makes you wish there were gypsies living in the field behind your neighborhood. I can’t love this book any more than I already do!)
The Kitchen Madonna by Rumer Godden
(I love this book so much, I can hardly stand it! (Can can you tell I love Rumer Godden?))
The Story of the Trapp Family Singers By Maria Trapp
(You think you know the story, but if you haven’t read the book, then you don’t know it all! Even better than the movie!)
With nearly 1,500 Broadway performances, six Tony Awards, more than three million albums sold, and five Academy Awards, The Sound of Music, based on the lives of Maria, the baron, and their singing children, is as familiar to most of us as our own family history. But much about the real-life woman and her family was left untold. Here, Baroness Maria Augusta Trapp tells in her own beautiful, simple words the extraordinary story of her romance with the baron, their escape from Nazi-occupied Austria, and their life in America. (Amazon)
Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer Holm
(I ran across this book at a used bookstore. I’m so thankful I did. About immigrants from Finland to Washington State. )
It isn′t easy being a pioneer in the state of Washington in 1899, but it′s particularly hard when you are the only girl ever born in the new settlement. With seven older brothers and a love of adventure, May Amelia Jackson just can′t seem to abide her family′s insistence that she behave like a Proper Young Lady. She′s sure she could do better if only there were at least one other girl living along the banks of the Nasel River. And now that Mama′s going to have a baby, maybe there′s hope.
Inspired by the diaries of her great-aunt, the real May Amelia, first-time novelist Jennifer Holm has given us a beautifully crafted tale of one young girl whose unique spirit captures the courage, humor, passion and depth of the American pioneer experience. (Amazon)
Mama’s Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes
(A semi-autobiographical book, written by Mama’s daughter. A short, easy read that you will find yourself thinking about for years.)
The charming adventures of the Mama of an immigrant Norwegian family living in San Francisco in 1910. Mama’s Bank Account tells the story of how a Norwegian mother Americanizes her family with her charm and understanding. Truly delightful!
Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers by Ralph Moody
(This autobiographical novel is so well-written and inspiring. A great book for anyone, but especially for boys.)
Ralph Moody was eight years old in 1906 when his family moved from New Hampshire to a Colorado ranch. Through his eyes we experience the pleasures and perils of ranching there early in the twentieth century. Auctions and roundups, family picnics, irrigation wars, tornadoes and wind storms give authentic color to Little Britches. So do adventures, wonderfully told, that equip Ralph to take his father’s place when it becomes necessary.
Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett
(I realized just a few years ago that I thought I knew this story, but I really didn’t! I read it aloud to my children and loved it just as much as they did!)
The transformation and redemption of a curmudgeonly Earl comes through the innocence of a poor boy living in New York City during the late 1800’s. Devoted to his American mother, who has never been recognized by her aristocratic British father-in-law, Cedric Fauntleroy is summoned to England to assume the mantle of future Lord of the manor. Beguiling all he meets with his selflessness and goodness, he becomes the vehicle for reconciliation between his mother and grandfather, while rekindling the true meaning of “noblesse oblige” in his lineage. (Amazon)
(Of course, parents are the best judge of what is appropriate for their children to read, so please take the time to look over any book you give your child to make sure it is a good choice.)
Do you have a beautiful book to share? Please do so in comments!