It’s Tuesday which means my sister Jennifer is back with us again!!! Woohoo!!!
Here’s her list of recommended chapter books for children! Jennifer writes:
My favorite part of the day with my children is when we turn on the little lamp on the side table, prop up the pillows, and snuggle together with a good book. I began reading chapter books to my oldest child, Johnathan, when he was about 4 years-old. The first chapter books that I read to him were talking animal books like Mouse and the Motorcycle, Charlotte’s Web, and Cricket in Times Square since these seemed to hold his interest at a young age.
Once Julianna was old enough to join us for our read-alouds, we made it a part of our bedtime routine. This often means that they begin getting ready for bed soon after dinner so that we have a half hour to read a chapter book and a Bible devotional book. This also limits the amount of television that they watch in the evenings. We have encouraged our children to be readers by limiting their amount of “screen” time which includes the TV, video games, and computer to a half hour on school nights and an hour on weekend and summer days.
It has been increasingly challenging to find the time every evening to read together as my children near the teen years and have more evening activities. We have continued to make it a priority to read at least three or four nights of the week, and sometimes we’ll read earlier in the day if we know that our evening is going to be busy.
Here are some of our favorites. We tend to read all of the books by a favorite author or in a series. I am sure you will recognize some popular titles and hope that you will find a few new titles to read to your children!
Homer Price and Centerburg Tales: More Adventures of Homer Price by Robert McCloskey – Both of these books take place in the small town of Centerburg in the simpler times of the 1940’s and tell about the funny adventures of a boy named Homer and his friend Freddy. My kids loved the humor, the interesting characters, the tall-tale-like stories, and McCloskey’s illustrations in these books.
Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott – Many people are aware of Little Women, but they don’t realize that there are two sequels to this classic. Little Men and Jo’s Boys focus on the silly antics and touching interactions of the children who attend Professor Bhaer and Jo’s Plumfield School for Boys. These books led to many valuable discussions about values and life’s lessons with my children. I would recommend waiting to read these until your children are slightly older since there is some romance in the first and last books of the series.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater – This humorous story tells about a house painter, Mr. Popper, who suddenly finds himself to be the owner of twelve penguins. This one had my children laughing out loud!
The Secret Garden and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – Both of these classic stories deal with overcoming hardship, loneliness, friendship, and kindness. Although the main characters are girls, boys will still enjoy the mystery and adventure of these classics.
Books by Beverly Cleary – Socks, Muggie Maggie, Henry Huggins, Henry and Ribsy, Beezus and Ramona, Runaway Ralph, and so many others – Beverly Cleary’s writing has a way of entertaining and amusing children with the everyday happenings in children’s lives and includes boys as main characters as well as girls. I would exercise some caution when reading books about Ramona since much of the humor comes from her misbehavior and sibling rivalry with her older sister Beezus. Be prepared to have discussions with your children about how Ramona could have handled situations differently.
Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder – My personal copies of these books are well-worn as we read these together, and my daughter read them several times by herself. A family favorite!
Sarah Plain and Tall, Skylark, Caleb’s Story, More Perfect than the Moon, Grandfather’s Dance by Patricia MacLachlan – If you like the Little House books, you’ll also enjoy this series about the the Witting family on the Western Frontier. It begins with Anna, Caleb, and their widowed father accepting a mail-order bride, Sarah, into their family and then follows the family as it grows in size and in love!
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson – This is a sweet story about a homeless, old man who befriends the three Calcet children, their dog JoJo, and their widowed mother who come to live under the same bridge as him. The themes of this book focus on friendship, responsibility, and family.
Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright – This Newbery Medal Award Winner is about the everyday life of a ten year-old girl named Garnet during one summer on a Wisconsin farm in the 1930’s.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – This is the only book of the Narnia series that we have read as my children tend to enjoy classics and historical fiction over fantasy, but they loved this story about four children’s journey into the magical land of Narnia where they encounter the evil White Witch and the majestic lion, Aslan. This books lends itself to sharing the gospel with your children!
Anne of Green Gables Series – This classic series follows the childhood adventures of the imaginative, orphan Anne Shirley as she is adopted by a brother and sister who live on Prince Edward Island. My son even enjoyed the humor in this one and found a boy character, Gilbert, that he could relate to.
Chapter Books My Children Read Independently:
Easier Chapter Books: The Cul-De-Sac Kids (mysteries) by Beverly Lewis, Little Animal Ark by Ben Baglio, Flat Stanley books by Jeff Brown, and Cam Jamsen books by David A. Adler.
My 10 year-old daughter really enjoys the Grandma’s Attic series by Arleta Richardson and the Mandie mystery books by Lois Gladys Leppard. When my son was this age, he was a big reader of animal stories like Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight, Angus and Sadie by Cynthia Voigt, Animal Ark books by Ben M. Baglio, and many of the books by Bill Wallace. They both enjoyed Ginger Pye, Pinky Pye, and Rufus M. by Eleanor Estes.
Some titles my 13 year-old boy has currently read are Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and other books by Mildred Taylor, Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. These books should be read with parental guidance as they do center around more mature topics like racism, death, and war.
Two excellent resources that can guide you in choosing books for your children are Gladys Hunt’s Honey For a Child’s Heart and Sarah Clarkson’s Read for the Heart. Both encourage you, as I would, to read to your children to reach their heart!
OH Wow – I LOVE this list and will use it! I needed something like this – thank you sis!
My son Alex (age 9) is enjoying the Narnia series and is in book 4 – Prince Caspian. He also enjoys the Sugar Creek Gang series and is on book 12.
Please chime in – what are some of your favorite chapter books that you have read to your children or your children are reading on their own?