This was posted on Sarah Smith’s blog titled Nourished and Nurtured
Because of the amount of information on this site, I’m breaking it down into several parts. Enjoyed reading many of these books to my classes when I was teaching. Have fun reviewing books you know and maybe finding new ones.
If I had to choose just one method for homeschooling, it would be reading aloud. With the right books, my kids can learn about anything. Even more importantly, books can teach kids about living with integrity, responsibility, joyfulness, and contentedness.
Through books, kids can be exposed to so much more than they see in their everyday lives. In this way, books help kids gain perspective on how their lives compare to others. They are able to see people overcoming tough challenges, to watch as others choose to keep their honor intact rather than taking the easy way out.
But there are an awful lot of books that I would NOT read to my kids. I find that, especially with many modern books, the standards are being set far too low. Those books glorify people behaving inappropriately and being inconsiderate. Even in many of the seemingly harmless series’ (such as Junie B. Jones), I find there to be an insidious undercurrent of disrespect towards others or the family. (Yes, I know I am a book snob.)
So I wanted to share our list of the books that we treasure. These are books that demonstrate people living with character and decency. These are books that expand my children’s horizons. I’ll start with picture books and then move on to chapter books in a following post. I’ve left off some of the well-known classics such as Corduroy and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, since everyone seems to know about those already.
Picture Books That Build Character
Dogger by Shirley Hughes – This is a fantastic book that tells of a little boy named Dave and his favorite stuffed animal, Dogger. When Dogger gets lost, Dave’s older sister chooses to make a sacrifice to get Dogger back. My kids relate well to Dave and his sister, and they are moved by this story.
Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter – Beatrix Potter’s stories are filled with animals who have all sorts of mischievous adventures, and have to pay the price for their misdeeds. This book is a collection that includes nineteen individual stories, along with beautiful illustrations. My kids request that I read this book very frequently.
Among the Meadow People by Clara Dillingham Pierson – This is a collection of stories from the early 1900’s that tells of all the living things in the meadow. My children are fascinated by these stories, and they have also learned a lot about the different creatures and plants through these stories. There are many more in the same series.
Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton – When the city gets completely snowed in, all of the truck plows break down. Only one could save everyone: Katy! My kids adore Katy and her perseverance to dig out the post office, the airport, the fire station, and the rest of the city.
The Little Soul and the Sun by Neale Donald Walsh – This is the story of a Little Soul who wants to experience forgiveness. In order to do so, another Little Soul must be willing to do something that needs to be forgiven. This story creates lots of thoughtful conversation whenever I read it to the kids.
Tootle by Gertrude Crampton – Tootle is a train that wants to learn to be a flyer, but first he has to overcome his desire to romp in the field with a horse! My son, especially, loves this story.
Madeline and the Bad Hat by Ludwig Bemelmans – When a little boy moves in next door to the orphanage where Madeline lives, he gets into all sorts of mischief. The little girls spurn him, but finally realize that he just needs a friend. My kids think the little boy’s shenanigans are hilarious, and they love to see the happy ending.