Posts Tagged ‘book series’

Booklist: the American Revolution

  Living Books on the American Revolution

Adler, David. Picture Book of Paul Revere and Picture Book of Patrick Henry. Adler has a number of these biographies. Elementary.

Amstel, Marsha. Sybil Luddington’s Midnight Ride. Easy reader. Elementary.

Anderson, M.T. Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing. Has some mature content but we liked it. Teens +.

Benchley, Nathaniel. Sam the Minuteman and George the Drummer Boy. Easy reader. Elementary.

Blackwood, Gary. Year of the Hangman. Middle-teens.

Bodie, Idella. Secret Message. A girl in SC in 1781 has to deliver a secret message. Elementary.

Borden, Louise. Sleds on Boston Common. Fun  story. Elementary.

Brady, Esther Wood. Toliver’s Secret. Elementary.

Bruchac, Joseph. Arrow over the Door. A Quaker boy in 1777. Elementary-middle.

Bulla, Clyde Robert. Daniel’s Duck. Easy reader. Elementary.

Collier, James Lincoln. War Comes to Willy Freeman. Re an African American boy. Elementary (?).

Dahl, Michael. Row Row Row the Boats and Midnight Riders. Story songs. Elementary.

Dalgliesh, Alice. Adam and the Golden Cock and 4th of July Story. Elementary.

Fleming, Candace. Hatmaker’s Sign: A Story by Benjamin Franklin. Elementary.

Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain. Middle-teens.

Foster, Genevieve. George Washington’s World. Foster’s books make good spine books for a wide range of ages. Elementary +.

Fritz, Jean. Fritz has a lot of books on this era. Most are elementary with titles like: Can’t You Make them Behave King George and Why don’t You Get a Horse Sam Adams. Early Thunder is a slightly longer book.

Gauch, Patricia. This Time Tempe Wick. Elementary.

Griffin, Judith. Phoebe the Spy. Elementary.

Haugaard, Erik. Boy’s Will. Older hard to find book re John Paul Jones.

Hays, Wilma Pitchford. Hays also has a number of books on this era including George Washington’s Birthdays and Fourth of July Raid. Elementary.

Keith, Harold. Rifles for Watie. Middle years.

Krensky, Stephen. Dangerous Crossing. Re John Qunicy Adams. Elementary.

Kroll, Steven. By the Dawn’s Early Light and Boston Tea Party. Elementary.

Lasky, Kathryn. Voice of Her Own. Re Phyllis Wheatley. Elementary (?).

Lawson, Robert. Mr Revere and I and Ben and Me. Elementary.

Lomask, Milton. Charles Carroll and the American RevolutionThe First American Revolution, and Benedict Arnold: the Aftermath of Treason. I have not read these but Lomask is a favorite author. Middle-teens.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Paul Revere’s Ride. Picture book of the famous poem. Elementary.

Lowrey, Janette. Six Silver Spoons. Easy reader. Elementary.

Marrin, Albert. The War for Independence: Story of the Revolution. Marrin is just about my favorite author for history for teens. He also has books on Thomas Paine, Washington and more. Middle-teens.

Marshall, H.E. This Country of Ours. A good spine book for this era. Elementary +.

McGovern, Ann. Secret Soldier. Elementary. 

Miers, Earl. Magnificent Mutineers. Re Mad Anthony Wayne. Older, hard-to-find book.

Monjo. King George’s Head was Made of Lead and Namesake for Nathan. Elementary.

O’Dell, Scott. Sarah Bishop. Middle years.

Philbrick, Nathaniel. Ben’s Revolution. The Battle of Bunker Hill. Elementary.

Pratt, Mara. American History Stories. Older book. Elementary.

Paulsen, Gary. The Rifle. The title rifle is used in the Revolution though that is not what the book is mostly about. Middle-teens.

Quackenbush, Robert. Daughter of Liberty. Elementary.

Rappaport, Doreen. Boston Coffee Party. Easy Reader. Elementary.

Reit, Seymour. Guns for General Washington. Elementary.

Rockwell, Anne. They Called Her Molly Pitcher. Picture book. Elementary.

Roop, Connie. Buttons for General George Washington. Easy Reader. Elementary.

Schick, Alice. Remarkable Ride of Israel Bissell. Elementary.

Schurfranz, Vivian. Message for General Washington. Elementary.

Syme, Ronald. Benedict Arnold and John Paul Jones. Elementary.

Turner, Ann. When Mr. Jefferson Came to Philadelphia. Picture book. Elementary.

Vinton, Iris. Story of John Paul Jones. Older hard to find book. Elementary ?.

Walker, Sally. 18 Penny Goose. Easy Reader. Elementary.

Werstein, Irving. 1776: The Adventure of the American Revolution told in Pictures. I love Werstein. Not sure of the level of this one.

Booklist: the Settlement of the US

Living Books on the Settlement of the United States

Aliki. Story of William Penn. Picture book. Elementary.

Avi. Finding Providence. Re Rhode Island. Easy Reader. Elementary.

Brill, Ethel. Madeline Takes Command. Re New France. Middle years.

Bulla, Clyde Robert. Bulla is a favorite author for elementary. He has books on John Billington and Squanto (Plimoth colony) and Pocahontas and the Jamestown colony (A Lion to Guard Us) is about the latter. Elementary level.

Campbell, Elizabeth. Carving on the Tree. About the lost colony of Roanoke. Elementary.

Coatsworth, Elizabeth. Wishing Pear. New Amsterdam. Elementary.

Curtis, Alice Turner. Little Maid of Massachusetts Colony. There are a number in this series. Elementary-middle.

Dalgliesh, Alice. Courage of Sarah Noble. A girl in the early 1700s. Elementary. Her America Begins is talked up a lot in homeschool circles and it is a good book if you can find it but not worth the jacked-up prices. Also elementary.

d’Aulaire, Ingrid and Edgar. Pocahontas. The d’Aulaires’ books are lovely long picture books. Elementary.

de Angeli, Marguerite. Elin’s Amerika and Henner’s Lydia. Wonderful books on Swedish immigrants. Set in Pennsylvania I believe. Elementary. See also her Bright April about a black child in Philadelphia.

Edmonds, Walter. Matchlock Gun. 1750s New York. Elementary.

Field, Rachel. Calico Bush.  Set in Maine. Middle years.

Foster, Genevieve. The Year of the Pilgrims, 1620, World of Captain John Smith and The World of William Penn. Foster’s books make wonderful spine books because they cover so much territory, often including international events too. I use them even with older children and they would work well for a family with a wide range of ages. Elementary +.

Friskey, Margaret. John Alden and the Pilgrim Cow. Elementary.

Fritz, Jean. The Lost Colony of Roanoke and Who’s That Stepping on Plymouth Rock. Fritz is a prolific author. The Roanoke book is one of her longer ones and is middle school level. The Plymouth one would be elementary. She also has one on Pocahontas; I don’t remember the level of that one.

Guerber, Helene. Stories of the Thirteen Colonies. A good spine book. Elementary.

Hays, Wilma Pitchford. A favorite author with a lot on this period. Look for her books on Plimoth colony and Seige The Story of Saint Augustine 1702 for the settlement in Florida. Elementary. She also has one on the French-Indian wars called Drummer Boy for Montcalm and one set in New Hampshire — Trouble at Otter Creek.

Howard, Ginger. William’s House. House building in the 1600s. Early elementary.

Leeper, John. Meet the Dudleys, Not quite living but tells how a family in Connecticut lived. Elementary (?).

Lobel, Arnold. On the Day Peter Stuyvesant Sailed into Town. From the author of the Frog and Toad books. Re New Amsterdam. Elementary.

Lomask, Milton. Cross among the Tomahawks. Re missionaries in the 1600s. A hidden gem of an older author if you can find his books. They tend to be middle school level but this one might be elementary.

Longfellow, Henry Wordsworth . “The Courtship of Miles Standish.” The poem itself is quite long but you should be able to find a picture book version.

Marshall, H.E. This Country of Ours. A good spine book for this era. Elementary +.

Monjo. House on Stink Alley. The Plimoth colonists before they came over. Elementary.

Moskin, Marietta. Lysbet and the Fire Kittens. New Amsterdam. Easy reader. Elementary.

North, Sterling. George Washington Frontier Colonel. Washington’s early career. From another wonderful author. Elementary (?).

O’Dell, Scott. Serpent Never Sleeps (re Jamestown) and Carlota. Middle years.

Otis, James. Ruth of Boston. Middle years.

Pratt, Mara. Stories of Massachusetts. Probably not necessary if you don’t live in MA. She also has American History Stories. Elementary-middle.

Pumphrey, Margaret. Pilgrim Stories. Elementary.

Quackenbush, Robert. Old Silver Leg Takes Over. Re New Amsterdam. Elementary.

Sewall, Marcia. James TowneThe Pilgrims of Plimoth and Thunder from the Clear Sky.(also re Plimoth).  Picture books. Elementary.

Spier, Peter. Legend of New Amsterdam. He has lovely books. Elementary.

Syme, Ronald. John Smith of Virginia and William Penn. Elementary.

Vinto, Iris. Boy on the Mayflower. Older book. Elementary.

Winter, Jeanette. Klara’s New World. A Little girl emigrates from Sweden. Not sure of the time frame. Elementary.

Yates, Elizabeth. Sarah Whitcher’s Story. Set in New Hampshire. I loved this one. Elementary.

Yolen, Jane. Roanoke: the Lost Colony. Elementary.

Booklist: Exploration and Discovery

Living Books on Exploration and Discovery

New World Exploration

Adler, David A. Picture book of Christopher Columbus. Adler has a lot of biographies that make good introductions. Elementary.

Averill, Esther. Cartier Sails the St Lawrence. An older, hard to find book. Middle years (?).

d’Aulaire, Ingrid and Edgar. Christopher Columbus. Wonderful books. Elementary.

Foster, Genevieve. World of Columbus and Sons. Foster’s books are wonderful because they give so much of the historical context of what is going on in an era. I use them even for older grades. They make great spine books. Elementary+.

Fritz, Jean. Around the World in 100 Years and Where do you think you’re going Christopher Columbus. Fritz had a lot of good books. Around the World is longer than her usual and is middle school-teens. Where do you . . . is elementary.

Lawson, Robert. I Discover Columbus. A harder to find book by a good author. Middle school (?).

Lomask, Milton. Ship’s Boy with Magellan. Another good author. Middle years.

Noble, Iris. Honor of Balboa. We like this older author. Middle years.

O’Dell, Scott. King’s Fifth. Re Conquistadors. O’Dell has lots of good historical fiction. Middle years.

Syme, Roald. Amerigo VespucciCartier, Syme is a wonderful older author and has books on just about every explorer you could name. Elementary.

Arctic and Antarctic Exploration

Burleigh, Robert. Black Whiteness. Elementary.

Curlee, Lynne. Into the Ice. Elementary.


Bulla, Clyde Robert. Viking Adventure. Elementary.

Coatsworth, Elizabeth. Door to the North. Elementary.

d’Aulaire, Ingrid and Edgar. Leif the Lucky. Elementary.

Steele, William O. Story of Leif Ericson. Steele’s books are usually middle school level but this one might be elementary.


Gerrard, Roy. Sir Francis Drake His Daring Deeds. Elementary.

Monjo. Sea Beggars Son. We like Monjo too. Re a Dutch sea captain fighting the Spanish. Elementary.

Noble, Iris. Spain’s Golden Queen Isabella. Middle years.

Syme, Roald. Captain Cook and Francis Drake. Again, wonderful biographies. Elementary.

Booklist: Native Americans

Living Books on Native Americans

Averill, Esther. King Phillip: the Indian Chief. A wonderful older author but may be hard to find. Elementary?

Bruchac, Jospeh. Arrow over the Door. Elementary.

Colver, Anne. Bread and Butter Indian. Illustrated by Garth Williams. Chapter book. Elementary.

Garst, Shannon. Picture Story and Biography of Red Cloud. Older book. May be hard to find. Elementary?

Hays, Wilma Pitchford. Little Yellow Fur. Wonderful author. Elementary.

Holling,  Holling C. The Book of Indians. I don’t love all of Holling’s books but I do like this one. Elementary.

Lenski, Lois. Indian Captive and Little Sioux Girl. We love Lenski’s books. Elementary-middle.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Hiawatha’s Childhood. A famous poem about a Native American boy. There is a lot of idealization here but it is worth reading because a) it is famous and oft-quoted and b) you can discuss how Hiawatha is portrayed and if this is fair and/or accurate.

McGovern, Ann. Defenders. Another good author. Her books are usually chapter books. Elementary.

Monjo. Indian Summer. Love Monjo too. Elementary.

O’Dell, Scott. Zia and Thunder Rolling in the Mountains. O’Dell has lots of wonderful historical fiction. Middle years.

Speare, Elizabeth George. Calico Captive and Sign of the Beaver. Middle years.

Spradlin, Michael P. The Legend of Blue Jacket. Long picture book. Elementary.

Steele, William O. Flaming Arrows and Buffalo Knife, et. al. Steele has wonderful, adventurous books. Middle years.

Syme, Roald. Geronimo. Older author. Syme writes great elementary level biographies.

Turner, Ann. Dakota Dugout and Sitting Bull Remembers. Elementary.

Various. If You Lived with the . . . (series). Maybe a little less living but a good series for reading about how various tribes lived. Elementary.

Whelan, Gloria. Indian School. Middle years (?).

Booklist: the Middle Ages

Living Books about the Middle Ages

The first time we studied the Middle Ages, I went to Heritage History for a lot of our resources. If you are willing to use older books (which are often better anyway) and don’t mind have them in a digital format, this is a wonderful site.  We went through the Middle Ages once in broader perspective in the first 12-week term and then once focusing in on specific countries in our second term.

Ackroyd, Peter. The Canterbury Tales . There are of course other versions of these classic stories. I happened to find the version edited by Peter Ackroyd  so that is what we used. The original tales are bawdy and this version includes those bits so I was discriminating. We did not read every tale and I occasionally edited on the spot while reading aloud.

Armstrong, Karen. Islam: A Short History. This time period is as good as any other for covering Muslim history. I have liked many of the short books in this series. Middle-teens.

Avi. Crispin (series). We loved these books. Middle years.

Baldwin, James. The Story of Roland. Version of the medieval tale. Middle years-teens.

Bonner, John.  A Child’s History of Spain. Middle years (?).

Cushman, Karen. Catherine, Called Birdy and The Midwife’s Apprentice. Middle years.

D’Angeli, Marguerite. Door in the Wall. Upper elementary-middle.

Demi. Marco Polo. Demi mostly does picture books on China. Elementary.

Doyle, Arthur Conan. White Company. From the author of Sherlock Holmes. Middle years +.

Florian, M. The Moors in Spain. Available from Heritage History. Middle years.

Gray, Elizabeth Janet. Adam of the Road. Historical fiction. Middle years.

Harding, S.B.  Story of the Middle Ages. Another older book. Middle years.

Kelly, Eric. Trumpeter of Krakow. A wonderful, don’t-miss book on Poland. Middle years but you can read it aloud earlier.

Konigsburg, E.L. Proud Taste of Scarlet and Miniver. Historical fiction re Eleanor of Aquitaine. Middle years +.

Marshall, H.E. The Story of Europe. An older spine book. She also has books on specific countries, eg. The Story of Germany and Scotland’s Story. Our Island Story covers English history. Heritage History uses Marshall’s books and I find them very engaging. Middle years but could be used with a wide range of ages.

McCaughrean, Geraldine. El Cid. Spanish hero. McCaughrean has lovely illustrated books. Elementary.

Meigs, Elizabeth. Crusade and the Cup. Older book. Middle years.

The Middle Ages: An Illustrated History of the Church from 900 to 1300. This is a book I stumbled across some years ago. It is not the best living book though it is somewhat engaging. I like that it gives church history. Middle years but can be used for a wide range of ages.

Mills, Dorothy. The Middle Ages. Middle years.

O’Dell, Scott. The Road to Damietta (about Francis of Assisi) and Hawk that Dare Not Hunt (about Tyndale). Middle years.

Paterson, Katherine. King’s Equal. Chapter book. Upper elementary-middle.

Pyle, Howard. Men of Iron and Otto of the Silver Hand. An older author. Middle years.

Riley-Smith, Jonathan. Crusades, Christianity and Islam. A good, scholarly consideration. Teens.

Scott, Sir Walter. Ivanhoe and Talisman. Classic. Teens.

Seraillier, Ian. Beowulf, the Warrior. A fairly short version of the story. Various ages.

Seredyk, Kate. White Stag. Re Attila the Hun and the Huns and Magyars in modern day Hungary. Elementary.

Skurzynski, Gloria. Minstrel in the Tower. Upper elementary-middle.

Stanley, Diane. Saladin and Lionhearts. Stanley had lots of biographies. Elementary.

Tappan, Eva Marie. When Knights were Bold. Middle years.

White, T.H. The Once and Future King. Classic version of the King Arthur tales. Middle-teens.

Withrow, Mindy and Brandon. Monks and Mystics. This volume of the Withrows’ church history series fits the period. Elementary-middle.

Booklist: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Dystopian

As I work on this quarantine project of posting lists of the books we’ve read over the years, I have put off this particular collection. Fantasy, and those other similar genres like science fiction and dystopian, is such a huge category in children’s and young adult literature these days and so much of it is so bad.  But fantasy itself is something I support. Books which take us to other, completely fictional worlds with different rules than our own often have a lot to say about the real world. I am trying to edit this list as I go and to give you only that best, or at least to provide honest assessments. I am sure there are many more which could be added to this list but here are some of our favorite fantasy and dystopian books.

To keep things as simple as possible, I divide the books into four ages ranges: preschool to early elementary; elementary; middle years (roughly 5th-8th grades); and teens. Keep in mind that many harder books can be read aloud to younger children and that older ones can still enjoy and get a lot out of easier books.

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Dystopian Books

Adams, Douglas. Hitchhiker’s Guide (series) and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (series). We love these books. They are a bit atheistic. Dirk Gently is probably less so. Teens.

Alcock, Vivien. The Stonewalkers. Older book about statues that come to life. Middle years.

Alexander, Lloyd. Time Cat, Arkadians, and Prydian (series). Alexander is a good author. Elementary-middle years.

Babbitt, Natalie. Search for Delicious. Not sure of the quality of this one my daughter read. Middle years.

Baker, E.D. Frog Princess (series). I am not sure they are great but my daughter liked them. If you have a girl that insists on princess stories, they are probably a safe choice. Middle years.

Banks, Lynne Reid. Fairy Rebel and Indian in the Cupboard (series). Elementary-middle years.

Barrie, J.M. Peter Pan. Classic fantasy. Middle years.

Bode, N.E. Anybodies (series). My daughter loved these. Middle years.

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. I read this one aloud to my high schoolers (yes! you can still do read alouds with high schoolers, and you get to do more meaty books). It is a fairly slim book and we all enjoyed it. I do edit some as I read for mature content but I don’t think this one had much. Teens.

Bradbury, Ray. Martian Chronicles (series). We actually only listened to the first one but they seem to wonderful older sci-fi with nothing disturbing or mature. Middle-teens.

Buckley, Michael. Sisters Grimm (series). The whole family loved this series in which fairytale characters play a major role. Teens (but we did them as audio books much younger).

Burnett, Frances Hodgson. Rackety-Packety House. Dolls come alive. From the author of The Little Princess. Elementary.

Cameron, Eleanor. Court of the Stone Children. Statues coming alive is a popular plot. Middle years.

Collins, Suzanne. Gregor the Overlander (series). My son loved this series. Teens.

DiCamillo, Kate. Magician’s Elephant. Elementary-middle years.

DuPrau, Jeanne. City of Ember. Dystopian. For a modern book this was is decent. It is written for a slightly younger crowd than ost dystopian I think. There is a series but I can only vouch for the first one. Middle years.

Eager, Edward. The Well-Wishers and Half-Magic. Middle years.

Farris, Jean. Once Upon a Marigold (series). Another okay one if you have a girl that insists on princesses. Middle years.

Funke, Cornelia. Inkheart (series). My boys liked these. A four book trilogy (I know, it bothers me too). Teens.

Gannett, Ruth. My Father’s Dragon (series). Wonderful chapter book level choice. Elementary.

Grahame, Kenneth. The Reluctant Dragon. Another good elementary choice. Elementary.

Hale, Shannon. Goose Girl. My daughter liked these. Middle years.

Ibbotson, Eva. Secret of Platform 13. Ibbotson is prolific. Elementary-middle years.

Jinks, Catherine. How to Catch a Bogle (series). We loved these. Middle years.

LaFevers, R.M. Theodosia (series). My son liked these. Not sure of the quality. Middle years.

Langton, Jane. Astonishing Stereoscope. Middle years.

LeGuin, Ursula. Catwings (series). Elementary-middle.

Lewis, C.S. Narnia Chronicles  (series). Classic Christian fantasy. Young children will not get all the imagery and that’s okay. Let them get what they can from it. Elementary-teens.

Lowry, Lois. The Giver. Award-winning dystopian. Middle years +.

Keyes, Daniel. Flowers for Algernon. This is a wonderful, thought-provoking sci-fi book but it does have mature content. Teens.

MacDonald, George. The Light PrincessThe Princess and Curdie, and The Princess and the Goblin. Another Christian writer. Elementary-middle.

Mayne, William. Hob Stories (series). We loved Hob. Elementary.

Meloy, Colin. Wildwood (series). My son liked these. Not sure of the quality. Middle-teens.

Nesbit, E. Enchanted Castle and Psammead (series). Nesbit is wonderful. Middle years.

Orwell, George. Animal Farm. A great first dystopian book because there is no mature content and with animals as the main characters it can appeal to a lot of ages. We used it for literature study (see here). Middle years +.

Riordan, Rick. Kane Chronicles and Percy Jackson. Mythological characters. We liked these when we listened to them though I hear later books get more sexual and not necessarily in traditional ways. Teens.

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter (series). I know there are mixed feelings on such things. I am okay with positing a world of magic, even if it is ostensibly within this real world. My boys loved these books and read them again and again. Middle years+.

Selfors, Suzanne. To Catch a Mermaid and Fortune’s Magic Farm. My daughter liked these. Not sure of the quality. Middle years.

Sendak, Maurice. Brundibar. Dystopian picture book from the author of Where the Wild Things Are. I love this book. Elementary+.

Selznick, Brian. Invention of Hugo Cabaret. Wonderful book. Elementary-middle.

Slobodkin, Louis. Round Trip Spaceship. Wonderful older author. Elementary-middle.

Thurber, James. Thirteen Clocks. Wonderful. Elementary-middle.

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (series). More classic Christian fantasy. Middle years +. Look also for his lesser known books which tend to be easier: Smith of Wootton MajorLeaf by Niggle, and Roverandom.

Ursu, Anne. Breadcrumbs. My daughter liked this. Not sure of the quality. Middle years.

White, T.H. Mistress Masham’s Repose. Wonderful older book. Middle years.

Wilson, N.T. 100 Cupboards (series). I have been told he is a Christian. Elementary-middle.

What would you add to this list?

Booklist: The Life of Girls

We looked at boys’ life books so now it’s the girls’ turn.  These are books which depict a girl’s life and/or in which girls are the main characters.

To keep things as simple as possible, I divide the books into four ages ranges: preschool to early elementary; elementary; middle years (roughly 5th-8th grades); and teens. Keep in mind that many harder books can be read aloud to younger children and that older ones can still enjoy and get a lot out of easier books.

Girl’s Life Books

Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women. A classic girls’ book. Middle years +.

Banks, Lynne Reid.  Farthest Away Mountain. From the author of The Indian in the Cupboard. Fantasy. Elementary-Middle years.

Birdsall, Jeanne. The Penderwicks (series). We loved these (the boys too). Middle years.

Burnett, Frances Hodgson. A Little Princess, Sarah Crewe and  The Secret Garden. More classic girl books. Elementary-middle.

Creech, Sharon. Ruby HollerChasing Redbird, et. al. Creech is a modern author with lots of good books featuring girls. Elementary-middle.

Enright, Elizabeth. Thimble Summer. Enright has lots of good books. This is one of my favorites. Elementary-middle.

Estes, Eleanor. One Hundred Dresses. Estes has lots of good books. Elementary.

Gaiman, Neil. Coraline. For the most macabre girl.  Middle years.

Gates, Doris. Blue Willow. Elementary-middle.

George, Jean Craighead, Julie of the Wolves. A well-known book about an Eskimo girl. The plot includes a rape scene. Middle years.

Hirsch, Odo. Hazel Green (series). My youngest loved these. Elementary.

Horvath, Polly. Canning SeasonEverything on a Waffle, and One Year in Coal Harbor. Horvath has a lot of good books. Elementary-middle.

Lenski, Lois. Strawberry Girl. Old-time Florida. A classic. Middle years.

Lovelace, Maud Hart. Betsy Tacy (series). An older series which has seen a revival. Elementary-middle.

Lowry, Lois. Goonie Bird Greene  (series) and Anastasia Krupnik (series). My youngest loved the Goonie Bird books especially. Elementary.

MacLachlan, Patricia. Sarah, Plain and Tall. My oldest loved this one. Look for the sequels too. Elementary.

McCloskey, Robert. Blueberries for Sal. Classic picture book. Early elementary.

McKay, Hilary. Saffy’s Angel and sequels. We really liked this series. Middle ages.

Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Green Gables (series) and Emily (series). You know Anne of Green Gables, but my daughter tells me her other series are even better. Middle years.

Paterson, Katherine. Jacob I Have Loved, Paterson has a lot of good books. Middle years.

Porter, Eleanor. Pollyanna and Pollyanna Grows Up. Despite the negative connotation of the name Pollyanna, these are good books. Middle years (read aloud earlier).

Rylant, Cynthia. Cobble Street Cousins (series). I don’t love all Rylant’s books but these are decent easy chapter books. Elementary.

Snyder, Laurel. Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains. Elementary-middle.

Spyri, Johanna. Heidi. Classic. Middle years.

Stratton-Porter, Gene. Freckles and Girl of the Limberlost. Wonderful older books. Middle years.

Streatfield, Noel.  . . . Shoes (series). Older books with names like “Ballet Shoes.” Middle years.

Umansky, Kate. Clover Twig (series). Silly. She has a great boys’ series too. Middle years.

Vanderpool, Clare. Moon Over Manifest. Middle years.

Whelan, Gloria. Listening for Lions, et. al. Whelan has a lot of good books, often historical. Elementary-middle years.

What would you add to this list?

Booklist: Family Stories

Today’s topic is family stories: books that feature good, wholesome family relations.

To keep things as simple as possible, I divide the books into four ages ranges: preschool to early elementary; elementary; middle years (roughly 5th-8th grades); and teens. Keep in mind that many harder books can be read aloud to younger children and that older ones can still enjoy and get a lot out of easier books.

Family Stories

Alcott, Louisa May. Little WomenEight Cousins, So many family books here. Middle years.

Birdsall, Jeanne. The Penderwicks (series). They have some issues but we love the Penderwicks. Middle years.

Carlson, Natalie Savage. The Family Under the Bridge. Set in Paris. Elementary-middle years.

Caudill, Rebecca. Fairchild Family (series). The first book in the series is Happy Little Family which says it all. Elementary.

Enright, Elizabeth. The Melendy Quartet (series). A fun series. Elementary-middle.

Estes, Eleanor. The Moffats (series). My daughter liked these. Elementary-middle years.

Horvath, Polly. The Pepins and Their Problems. We have really liked Horvath’s books. This one is pretty silly. Elementary-middle.

Langton, Jane. Hall Family Chronicles (series). She writes adult mysteries too. Middle years.

Nesbit, E. The Railway Children. I love Nesbit. This one is a don’t miss. Elementary-middle years.

Norton, Mary. The Borrowers (series). Tiny people. Middle years.

Peterson, John. The Littles (series). More tiny people. Elementary.

Ransome, Arthur. Swallows and Amazons (series). The parents don’t play a large role but the series is very good. Middle years.

Rylant, Cynthia. The Lighthouse Family (series). Rylant is prolific and I don’t like all her books but this series is good. It is an easy chapter book level. The Cobble Street Cousins series by her is also not bad and the same level. Elementary.

Sidney, Margaret. Five Little Peppers (series). An older series. Middle years.

Taylor, Sidney. All-of-a-Kind Family (series). The good family series par excellence. Elementary-middle years.

Warner, Gertrude. The Boxcar Children (series). Classic mysteries. Choose the earliest books only. Elementary-middle years.

Waugh, Sylvia. The Mennyms. Middle years.

White, E.B. Stuart Little. A good family with one mouse child (though it is actually my least favorite of White’s books). Elementary-middle years.

Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Little House on the Prairie (series). Elementary-middle years.

Wood, Mary Rose. The Incorrigibles (series). Okay, they are an odd family with some issues but we all adored this series. It is probably our family favorite of all the series/books we have read over the years. Middle years +.

What would you add to this list?

Booklist: The Life of Boys

We continue today with booklists I have put together over the years. Today’s topic is the life of boys, those books which depict a boy’s life and/or in which boys are the main characters. I also have a couple of older posts on books for boys: Book Series for Tween and Teen Boys and Classics for Boys.

To keep things as simple as possible, I divide the books into four ages ranges: preschool to early elementary; elementary; middle years (roughly 5th-8th grades); and teens. Keep in mind that many harder books can be read aloud to younger children and that older ones can still enjoy and get a lot out of easier books.

Boy’s Life Books

Alcott, Louisa May. Little Men. A book about boys from the author of the most famous girl book. Middle years +.

Blume, Judy. Fudge (series). Okay, these are probably not living but they are a lot of silly fun. Elementary-middle years.

Brown, Jeff. Flat Stanley. The first in the series isn’t bad. Elementary-middle.

Burnett, Frances Hodgson. Little Lord Fauntleroy. Another girly writer turns her subject to a boy’s life. Middle years.

Butterworth, Oliver. Enormous Egg. A wonderful story about a boy who finds, wait for it, an enormous egg. Elementary-middle.

Dickens, Charles. David CopperfieldOliver Twist and Great Expectations. I love Dickens. Middle-Teens.

Dodge, Mary. Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates. A classic. Elementary-middle.

Fitzgerald, John D. The Great Brain (series). A boy in Utah in settler times. Elementary-middle.

Fleischman, Sid. Whipping Boy. The prince doesn’t get punished, his whipping boy does. Elementary-middle.

Kipling, Rudyard. Kim. Classic. Middle years.

McCloskey, Robert. Homer PriceCenterburg Tales and Lentil.  All his books are wonderful. Centerburg Tales is the sequel to Homer Price. They are elementary-middle years. Lentil is a picture book.

Milne, A.A. Winnie the Pooh. Christopher Robin, need I say more? Elementary.

O’Dell, Scott. The Black Pearl. All his books are good. Middle years.

Paterson, Katherine. Jip, His Story. Another author who usually writes more girly books. Historical fiction re the mid 1800s. Middle years.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The boys’ life books par excellence. Middle years but read loud earlier.

Umansky, Kate. Solomon Snow (series). We loved this silly mystery/adventure series. Middle years.

What would you add to this list?

Booklist: Favorite Adventure Stories

As a quarantine project, I went through some old records of books we read as my kids were growing up. I will be publishing these over the coming weeks in sections. There are probably many other wonderful choices out there, but these are some we enjoyed. Feel free to comment with your suggestions and we can keep the list going.

Today’s topic is adventure stories. Some of these are books my kids read themselves but many were family read-alouds or audiobooks. If you think reading aloud is just for little kids, I beg you to reconsider. I always used lunchtimes as a chance to read. The kids are a captive audience and it is a good diet aid for mom 😉

To keep things as simple as possible, I am going to divide the books into four ages ranges: preschool to early elementary; elementary; middle years (roughly 5th-8th grades); and teens. Keep in mind that many harder books can be read aloud to younger children and that older ones can still enjoy and get a lot out of easier books.

Favorite Adventure Stories

Adams, Douglas. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (series) and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (series). These books have some adult content, more in terms of theology than  . .  . er, gender relations but we really like them. Dirk Gently is a lesser known treasure and light be a better place to start. Teens.

Aiken, Joan.  Wolves of Willoughby Chase (series). My daughter read this series. Wolves, sea voyages, orphans. All sorts of good elements. I believe she has other series as well. Middle years.

Appleton, Victor. Tom Swift (series). These are older boys’ adventure stories that my older son enjoyed. I believe there is a newer series too so look for the older one. Middle years.

Baum. L. Frank. The Wizard of Oz (series). The original series is a bit bizarre and not much like the movie. Middle years +.

Blyton, Enid. Famous Five (series). Older books about kids adventuring/solving mysteries. She has other series as well. Middle years.

Buchanan, John. The Thirty-Nine Steps. We really enjoyed this mystery. Middle years +.

Burroughs, Edgar Rice. Tarzan of the Apes. I read this one myself and found it a bit pulpish but it is a classic book and not bad. Middle years +.

Cameron, Eleanor. Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet and Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet. Another older book. Space travel. I believe there are more in the series but  I am not sure how they are. Middle years. Could definitely be enjoyed by elementary ages too.

Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. A weird classic. Middle years.

Christie, Agatha. And then There were None, et. al. More mystery than adventure but these classic books are good for kids too. Middle years +.

Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Lost World. A great book from the Sherlock Holmes author. Middle years.

du Bois, William Pene. Twenty-One Balloons. A wonderful older book about a hot air balloon flight and the eruption of the volcano on Krakatoa. Elementary-middle years.

Fleischman, Sid. By the Great Horn Spoon. Historical Fiction re the CA Gold Rush. Funny. Elementary to middle years. He has other books which may be good as well.

Funke, Cornelia. Theif Lord. Street urchins in Venice. Funke had many other books as well, some easier, some harder and they vary in quality. Middle years.

Gaiman, Neil. Odd and the Frost Giants. A fantastical Viking tale. Try Coraline as well though it is a bit bizarre. Elementary-middle years.

Goldman, William. The Princess Bride. The book on which the famous movie is based. As good as the movie is, my daughter tells me the book is much better. Middle years.

Haggard, H. Rider. Allan Quartermain (series). Haggard is an older author with a number of good books. King Solomon’s Mines is a favorite. Middle years +.

Hammett, Daschell. Maltese Falcon. Classic noir book. Teens.

Hilton, James. Lost Horizon. I loved this older classic about a kind of Utopia in the mountains of Nepal (?). There’s a lot to think about here. It’s not a hard read. Middle years and up. See how our literary discussion went here.

Hirsch, Odo. Bartlett (series). Funny adventurous stories. Some of his other series are good too. Elementary-middle years.

Horvath, Polly. My One Hundred Adventures and Northward to the Moon. Horvath has lots of good books. Middle years.

Juster, Norton. The Phantom Tollbooth. A don’t miss class. Elementary – middle years.

Kipling, Rudyard. Captains Courageous and The Jungle Book. Classic tales. Middle years.

Konigsburg, E.L. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Wonderful, fun story. Middle years.

Lawson, Robert. The Fabulous Flight. Lawson has lots of great books, often featuring animals. In this one a boy shrinks and has an adventure on a seagull. Elementary-middle years.

Lindgren, Astrid. Ronia: The Robber’s Daughter. From the author of Pippi Longstocking. Elementary-middle years.

London, Jack. Call of the Wild and White Fang. Classic dog stories. Middle years.

Merrill, Jean. Pushcart War. I am not sure it is quite adventure but we loved this book about a kind of kids’ crusade. Elementary-middle.

Nesbit, E. The Story of the Treasure Seekers. All of Nesbit’s books are wonderful. Middle years.

Norton, Mary. Bedknobs and Broomsticks. The book the old Disney movie is based on. Elementary-middle years.

O’Dell, Scott. Island of the Blue Dolphins. O’Dell has lots of wonderful books, many of them historical fiction. Middle years.

Orczy, Emma. The Scarlet Pimpernel. Wonderful books set during the French Revolution (I will have another historical list but I couldn’t resist including this one here too.) Middle years +.

Paulsen, Gary. Rifle, Hatchet and Mr. Tucket (series). Paulsen has wonderful outdoorsy adventure stories that boys will love. Middle years.

Reaves, James (ed.). Exploits of Don Quixote. My kids really loved this edition of the classic novel. Though I would call it even high school level we read it when they were in elementary.

Sachar, Louis. Holes. Again, maybe not adventure per see but there are adventurous things that happen. I have a friend who hated this book but we liked it. I’m not sure about the sequels. Middle years. His Wayside School series are decent chapter books as well.

Scott, Walter. Ivanhoe and others. Classic Scottish novels. Teens.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. Kidnapped and Treasure Island. Classic pirate stories. I found my kids didn’t appreciate them till at least upper elementary. Middle years +.

Thurber, James. Wonderful O. The story of a land without the letter O. Middle years.

Twain, Mark. The Adventure of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. These will also be included in my boys’ books list but they are must-reads for everyone so I am including them ere too. Middle years.

Verne, Jules. It is hard to pick just one book by this author. His name should be synonymous with adventure tales. Some of our favorites are 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in 80 Days. Middle years +.

Wells, H.G. The Time Machine. Wells is more science fiction than adventure. He has a number of classic books. Teens.

Woodfine, Katherine. The Clockwork Sparrow. Set in Victorian England. Middle years.