List of Recommended Chapter Books For Children

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!
~Jennifer

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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?

Walk with the King,

6 Lists of Great Picture Books For Kids

My sister Jen is back to share with us her favorite picture books!  She writes:

 

I love picture books and am so excited to share my family’s favorites with you.  I began collecting picture books when I worked at the local library during college.  As the library discarded old books, I would add them to my personal collection.  When I became a teacher, I would order books from the monthly book orders and gather books from garage sales.  It was such a blessing to have so many books on my shelves when my children were born!  Reading to your children should begin as soon as they are born or even before!! 

Here is a video that I made for my fifth grade class in 1999 to show what a day with my new baby was like.   As you can see, Johnathan seemed to enjoy being read to even as an infant! 

 

            I have so many favorite picture books that I have read to my children over the years.  Below, I organized them into categories and included some helpful tips about ways that you could use these with your own children.

  1. Infant/ Toddler Books When choosing books for your young children, try to find books that involve the stimulation of several senses. 

Like in the video, a book that squeaks or makes other noises will hold your child’s attention at this age (The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle). Also, look for books that have flaps that can be lifted (Spot books by Eric Hill) or patches that can be felt (Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings by Matthew Van Fleet).  Other books involve pointing at pictures to develop visual discrimination skills (I Spy Little Wheels by Jean Marzollo).  Some books encourage activities that develop fine motor skills (The Cheerios Play Book by Lee Wade).  Making reading fun at a young age will help children to continue enjoying reading as they grow!

 2.  Bedtime Books – As I gathered my books, these are the ones that brought back the sweetest memories of rocking my babies at bedtime.  The soothing, lullaby like rhymes in these books are wonderful ways to calm your baby before they sleep.  I also had several of these memorized so that I could recite them to my fussing baby in the car or at the grocery store.  It was amazing how they would stop crying to focus on a familiar rhythm and rhyme! (My FavoritesTime For Bed by Mem Fox, The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown)

3.  Christian Books – Many of these books were gifts from my parents to my children. They have been so useful in instructing my children in Biblical teachings and are sometimes used as our Bible story for the day.  (My Favorites:  I Believe in Jesus by John MacArthur, All the Way to God by Katie and Michael Giuliano, The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Hunt, Just in Case You Ever Wonder by Max Lucado, God’s Wisdom for Little Girls, Virtues and Fun from Proverbs 31 by Elizabeth George, and The Wemmicks Collection by Max Lucado)

4.  Holiday BooksOne of my favorite things to do at the holidays is to get out the picture books that have been put away all year and display them on my children’s book shelves in their rooms. The books are special because they are only out for a few weeks every year.  Thanksgiving Favorites: The Story of the Mayflower Compact by Norman Richards, Off to Plymouth Rock! By Dandi Daley Mackall, The Turkey Saves the Day by Shelagh Canning, Out and About on the Mayflower by Judy Veramendi   Easter Favorites: My Easter Basket by Mary Manz Simon, The Parable of the Lily by Liz Curtis Higgs, and What is Easter? By Lillie James  Christmas FavoritesThe Very First Christmas by Paul L. Maier, The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg, The Small One by Alex Walsh, Little Shepherd by Dandi Daley Mackall, Gigi, The Perfect Christmas Gift by Sheila Walsh, Christy: Christmastime at Cutter Gap by Nancy LeSourd

5. School-subject Related Books – When I was a classroom teacher, I liked to begin new units of study by reading a picture book to my students. (My Favorites:  Science/ Weather: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, Social Studies/ Immigration: Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen, Handwriting/ Cursive: Muggie Maggie by Beverly Cleary, Math/ Large Numbers: How Much is a Million?  By David M. Schwartz (includes a list of math activities), Math/ Division:  The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins, One Hundred Hungry Ants by Elinor J. Pinczes, Math/ Measurement: Counting on Frank by Rod Clement (includes a list of math activities) Math/ Calendar/ Days of the Week: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle)

6. Other Childhood Favorites –  There are certain book characters that have been family favorites.  Curious George and Clifford books have led to good discussions and life lessons.  My children also loved the Corduroy books and Amelia Bedelia books although the Amelia Bedelia books do involve a little higher vocabulary in order to enjoy the humor.  A few other titles that we have loved reading over and over are The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper, Harry by the Sea and Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton.

 

            A few more tips:  Develop a set time in your day for reading to your young children to develop reading as a habit.  As you read, point to the words to help your child develop sound/ symbol relationships and tracking skills from left to right and top to bottom of a page.  Also, make sure to read books like Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, and other Dr. Seuss books to reinforce rhyming skills as this is a foundational reading skill.  Enjoy the list of books, make a trip to the library, and snuggle with your little ones as you read together! ~ Jennifer

 

So those are my sister’s favorites!  Right now my absolute favorites for my 7 and 9 year old are Max Lucado’s Wemmick’s Collection, Elizabeth George’s “God’s Wisdom For Little Girls” (based on the Proverbs 31 passage – LOVE it!) and anything by Dr. Seuss!

So tell us – what picture books are you reading or are your favorites?

Walk with the King,

5 Spiritual Reasons To Read To Your Child

 

 

My sister Jennifer ————>>

…is back this week to lay the foundation for why it’s important to begin reading to our children at a very young age.

     Jennifer writes:     

             The most important thing I can share about our parenting is the priority that we as a family have placed on reading together.  It is the thing that has shaped our children the most. 

Reading together has served to develop their minds, their hearts, and their souls.  It touches them not only intellectually but also spiritually.  Most of the research and studies that show the importance of reading to your child stress the academic benefits of this activity, but I would like to show you that there are also eternal benefits of reading to your child

 Reasons to read to your children:

  1.  To develop skills which will allow them to read and understand the scriptures. 

It brings me such joy to walk into Johnathan or Julianna’s bedroom and see that they have chosen to read the Bible on their own!  This is how they will come to the knowledge of all of the wonderful truths about our Savior that are written on those pages and hopefully make their faith their own. 

Joshua 1:8a – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. NKJV

2.  To develop their ability to express their own ideas both verbally and in writing. 

This equips them to clearly communicate the truths of the gospel with others.  The ability to organize, sequence and clearly express their thoughts, develops as they are exposed to the rich language of experienced writers.  Johnathan has had several school assignments in which he has had to write about his beliefs, and it is such a blessing to see how clearly he can articulate his understanding of what we have read to him and taught him over the years.

I Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. NIV

3.  To develop their listening and auditory processing skills. 

They are better able to listen and think about information as well as sustain attention for longer periods of time if they have practiced routinely listening to you read for 20 to 30 minutes. 

Sometimes I feel like our preacher’s sermons may be a little above Julianna’s level as a 10 year-old, but I have been impressed with her ability to focus, listen, and take notes during Sunday morning worship services.  Here is a picture of the front page of her notes from last Sunday.  Look how much they can learn even at a young age if they are trained to listen!! 

4.  To lead to teachable moments and discussions for training your children in righteousness. 

We have a routine of reading together nightly at bedtime.  So many times, when I am tucking the children into bed, they will ask a question about what we have read, or they will share something about their day that relates to what we read.  These still, quiet moments are wonderful times to reach their hearts with the truth, and though I love a schedule and getting them to bed on time, I am willing to ignore these things to work with their hearts while they are soft and moldable! 

5.  To create lifelong memories. 

My mom has allowed me to borrow the volumes of Bible storybooks that she read to us when we were children (which I will share with you in a later post), and as I turn through the pages with the familiar pictures and stories, I remember the snuggles with mom, the giggles of three little girls with curlers in their hair, the talks about our Lord, and the bedtime prayers said while kneeling beside the bed. These are the types of precious memories that I hope I am creating for my children when we spend time reading together.

          In parenting, we always have to keep eternal purposes in mind. 

What is our true goal of parenting?  Why do we do what we do?  What is our motivation?  With these thoughts in mind, I encourage you to read even more to your children! 

~ Jennifer

You may have tangible wealth untold,

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.

Richer than I, you can never be-

I had a mother who read to me.

From Teddy to Ready (2002) by Susan Martelli

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Thank you sis! 

Alright mamas – I encourage you to grab a good picture book or chapter book and pull your chicklets in close to you and enjoy a moment of bonding together!

Some readers have asked for book recommendations, well hold tight, cause Jen will be giving them in coming weeks :)  But we’d love to hear what you are reading right now to your children - feel free to share it in the comment section!  Currently we are in the middle of the book titled Mrs. Piggle Wiggle – it’s our second time through – the kids begged to hear it again :) .

Walk with the King,

My Favorite Easter Breakfast – Resurrection Rolls

Every year we make these Resurrection Rolls - they are quick, easy and taste great!
Here’s my kids making them 3 years ago at our old house.

And here they are making them last year!
These are so fun because when the rolls are done baking – they are empty inside…
JUST like Jesus’ tomb!

You need just 5 ingredients: crescent rolls, marshmallows, sugar, cinnamon and butter

 

Give each child one triangle shaped section of crescent roll.

This represents the tomb.

 

 

Each child takes one marshmallow.

This represents the body of Christ.

 

Dip the marshmallow in the butter and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture.
This represents the oils and spices the body was anointed with upon burial.

Lay the marshmallow on the dough and carefully wrap it around the marshmallow.

 

Make sure all seams are pinched together well. (This is a REALLY important step! Otherwise the marshmallow will “ooze” out of the seams)

Bake according to package directions.

Cool.

Break open the tomb and the body of Christ is no longer there!!

Celebrate God’s love! 
Walk with the King!


If you are in need of some fresh new recipes – then visiting Janelle’s blog at Comfy In the Kitchen is a must! She also has a Feasting In Fellowship Friday Link-Up Party happening right now – join the fun!!