Books I read my children

I recently had the pleasure of listening to Andrew Pudewa, the director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing and a father of seven, speak at an education conference on the importance of reading aloud to your children. As he spoke, I recalled with delight the many hours I spent reading to my four children before they went to sleep. My eldest is about seven years older than the youngest. I would first read the Bible, making sure I at least turned the page every night. We read it all the way through, Genesis to Revelation, over and over again (once we finished it in an airport), occasionally changing the translation. We would pray and sometimes sing, and then I would read a story, alternating each night between the boys’ room and the girls’ room (I tried to keep track by which room my chair was left in, only later learning that my girls would move my chair to the boys’ room during the day so that I would move it back to their room so they could be in their own beds as I read).

I am thankful that I kept a record of the books I read to them. I have listed them below, for anyone who might somehow benefit from knowing the stories that shaped my children (and me). They are listed roughly in the order that I first read them over the years. The underlined books are favorites that I read more than once. No doubt some books went unrecorded (I’m pretty sure I read some missionary biographies, but I cannot recall which ones). You can see that I would sometimes get on a theme. I do not offer these as the best books, and I would not even offer all of them as suggestions (were I to do it over, for instance, I would not read Pollyanna to the girls). But they are all worth considering. Anyway, here they are.

Titles linked to Amazon. 

1. Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White
2. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
3. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
5. The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling
6. The Mouse and the Motorcycle – Beverly Cleary
7. Mr. Popper’s Penguins – Richard and Florence Atwater
8. Five Little Peppers and How They Grew – Margaret Sidney
9. Heidi – Johanna Spyri
10. Pollyanna – Eleanor H. Porter
11. Adventures in the Big Thicket – Ken Gire
12. Misty of Chincoteague – Marguerite Henry
13. Where the Red Fern Grows – Wilson Rawls
14. The House at Pooh Corner – A. A. Milne
15. The Black Stallion – Walter Farley
16. Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
17. The Princess and the Goblin – George MacDonald
18. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
19. Huguenot Garden – Douglas Jones
20. Scottish Seas – Douglas Jones
21. The Incredible Journey – Sheila Burnford
22. The Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum
23. In Freedom’s Cause – G. A. Henty
24. Robin Hood – Paul Creswick
25. Peter Pan – J. M. Barrie
26. Mary Poppins – P. L. Travers and Mary Shepard
27. Mary Poppins Comes Back – P. L. Travers and Mary Shepard
28. Watership Down – Richard Adams
29. Little Pilgrim’s Progress – Helen L. Taylor
30. Black Ships Before Troy – Rosemary Sutcliff
31. The Wanderings of Odysseus – Rosemary Sutcliff
32. The Enormous Egg – Oliver Butterworth
33. The Chronicles of Narnia (7) – C. S. Lewis
34. Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates – Mary Mapes Dodge
35. The Hobbit – J. R.R. Tolkien
36. The Lord of the Rings (3) – J. R.R. Tolkien
37. Redwall – Brian Jacques
38. The Indian in the Cupboard – Lynne Reid Banks
39. The Prince and the Pauper – Mark Twain
40. The Runaway – Patricia St. John
41. Little House in the Big Woods – Laura Ingalls Wilder
42. Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder
43. Farmer Boy – Laura Ingalls Wilder
44. On the Banks of Plum Creek – Laura Ingalls Wilder
45. By the Shores of Silver Lake – Laura Ingalls Wilder
46. Little Town on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder
47. These Happy, Golden Years – Laura Ingalls Wilder
48. The Story of My Life – Helen Keller
49. Dear Dr. Bell…Your Friend, Helen Keller – Judith St. George
50. The Yearling – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
51. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
52. Swallowdale – Arthur Ransome
53. Penrod – Booth Tarkington
54. Dutch Color – Douglas Jones
55. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
56. The Trumpet of the Swan – E. B. White
57. The Great Divorce – C. S. Lewis
58. Cheaper By the Dozen – Frank B. Gilbreth
59. Stuart Little – E. B. White
60. The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
61. Wise Words – Peter Leithart
62. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
63. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – Barbara Robinson
64. Blackthorn Winter – Douglas Wilson
65. Time at the Top – Edward Ormondroyd
66. A Little Princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett
67. Come On, Seabiscuit – Ralph Moody
68. Leave it to Psmith – P. G. Wodehouse
69. The Wheel on the School – Meindert DeJong
70. Holes – Louis Sachar
71. Goodbye Mr.Chips – James Hilton
72. Parnassus on Wheels – Christopher Morley
73. Journey to the Center of the Earth – Jules Verne
74. Around the World in 80 Days – Jules Verne

jimJames B. Nance is a curriculum Developer with Roman Roads Media. Jim received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Washington State University in 1984, and after working for Boeing for five years, moved to Moscow, Idaho where he taught Logic, Rhetoric, Calculus, Physics, and Doctrine at Logos School for almost twenty-five years. During that time he developed several curricula, including the award-winning Introductory and Intermediate Logic. He enjoys teaching, reading, acting, and playing games with his friends and family. He and his wife Giselle have four children: Jamie, Josiah, Jacqueline, and Jonathan, and three grandchildren (so far). More recently he authored Fitting Words: Classical Rhetoric for the Christian Student, a complete Rhetoric curriculum for high school students.

2 thoughts on “Books I read my children

  1. If I recall (and it has been many years), the main character was too groundlessly cheerful. I was comparing it to Heidi, which I had just read and enjoyed, and it didn’t fair well by comparison. To critique it further, I would have to reread it. I just remember finishing it and thinking, “Well, that wasn’t what I was hoping from this story.”

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