I am a stay at home, homeschooling mother of ten children. We do many things together, but I think my favorite has always been reading to them. They curl up on my bed, I can usually talk someone into scratching my back, and off we go into a book, traveling to other lands, other times, and other cultures.
One thing I learned early is that if I am going to spend so much time reading to my children, I needed to read books that I enjoy too. I want to read character building books, books that teach them a good work ethic and to be kind people. I have found a few that we have read many times over the years. Here is a list, and why I enjoy them.
The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls has always topped my list. Children from the age of three all the way up to adulthood have enjoyed these books at our house. I have always loved reading about life during simpler times, when there weren’t so many things to distract families away from each other.
The Little Britches series by Ralph Moody is another set of books we have enjoyed. These are more boy type books, for boys from around six and up. The true stories in these books portray the life of a family whose father dies early on, and how they managed to scrap out a living without him. The children step up to help their mother, who is a woman to be admired.
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings is a book I love. This book is for older children, maybe ten and up. It won a Pulitzer Prize in 1939. The story of a boy coming of age and his pet deer is a sweet, touching story, especially understood by animal lovers.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a good book for young girls from the age of six and up. It tells the story of four sisters growing up in the late 1800’s, and is loosely based on the author’s life. Children learn how the sisters overcome various character flaws.
Pollyanna by Eleanor Hodgman Porter is a special favorite of mine. Orphaned Pollyanna goes to live with her aunt, who does not want her, but is determined to do her duty. Pollyanna was taught to play “the glad game” by her missionary father before he died, and ultimately teaches it a whole town. Many times in my life, I’ve remembered this little book, and have tried to play the “glad game” myself. Children from three years old and up should love this book.
The Bobbsey Twins series by Laura Lee Hope was the favorite of my five year old daughter. The stories of two sets of twins who always solve mysteries are outgrown fairly quickly, but are entertaining to younger ones.
The American Girl collection by Janet Shaw is dearly loved by the little girls in my family from ages about five to twelve. These books teach history as well as tell nice, well written stories. My six year old son also enjoyed some of these books.
Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilberth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey is an immensely entertaining book that will be enjoyed by all ages. This funny story of a family with twelve children, a famous efficiency expert father, and a loving, long suffering mother has been loved by generations.
The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett has sections on many character traits. It has stories for all ages, although I sometimes have to flip through for stories younger children can understand. I read this book to my children as part of our homeschool curriculum, and I’ve never gotten tired of it.
The Moral Compass by William J. Bennett is another book along the same lines of The Book of Virtues and by the same author. I use this book too for the moral education of my children. I will tend to skip certain stories that have too much magic or mythical creatures or gods and goddess’, but there are still plenty of stories for all ages.