Let’s talk books.
Have you ever taken your kids to the library and been disappointed with the selection? Or have your kids wanted to check out dumb books with weird pictures that you think will probably end up making them less intelligent? Been completely overwhelmed with the sheer amount of vampire books that there are in the world, especially when your teen is trying to find something good to read? Or have you just not known what to check out?
Well my friend, here is the answer to all of your book-associated prayers: Book lists. Quality book lists. Emphasis on quality. Because quite frankly, there is an abundance of low-quality writing, complete with low standards. But happily, there is also an abundance of high-quality writing with correspondingly high standards. Yay! Sometimes it is hard to find good quality book lists, so today I am sharing some of my favorites. (If you are looking for ways to fit in extra time for reading as a family, check out this post here.)
Three Practical Tips for the Library
1. Print out the list(s) that speak to you. (Or if you are techy, put them on your phone.)
2. Put each page in a page protector and put your lists in a small 3 ring binder.
3. Put the binder in your library bag, or keep it on a shelf where you keep your library books. Then, when you go to the library, you have your nifty list already with you! Never again will you have lackluster books!
(Bonus tip: Put your child’s initial next to each book after they’ve read it-this way your binder can also double as a reading log for multiple children!)
Six Amazing Book lIsts
1. Jenny Phillips Good and Beautiful Book List
This is called “The Good and the Beautiful Book List” for a reason! Jenny Phillips is a parent and homeschool curriculum creator, who was concerned about what her kids were reading. So she developed this reading list as a solution.
All of these books have been carefully selected for their high literary, educational and moral content. If you are concerned about swearing, bad behavior, etc. being celebrated more and more in literature, then this is the list for you! This 150-page document has information and reviews on over 600 books that span all ages. Many of these books are older and not as well known now as they used to be. (Note: This booklist was generated with Christian families in mind, but most books are not of a religious nature.)
2. Thomas Jefferson Education
This book list is a compilation of classics. The homeschool mentors who compiled this list designate a “classic” as any book that you can return to over and over while learning new things, or renewing appreciation for a true principle. You will find familiar classics on this list, plus others that you will be delighted to find.
The authors have further differentiated their list by Children and Family reading, Youth, Adults and Math Classics for Kids and Math Classics for Adults! You will never need another book list again-this will keep you plenty busy and give you food for thought!
3. Newberry Award Winners
Pretty much every parent, teacher and librarian knows that you can’t go wrong with these books. Their touching, thought-provoking stories will help your children see different perspectives and learn something new. You will love them, guaranteed. They are so good, that they are probably on every book list ever made! (The actual list from American Library Association’s website can be found here, but it is harder to navigate; Amazon’s is much easier.)
4. Caldecott Award Winners
This is a pretty specific group of books: these are the most distinguished children’s picture books of every year. Inside, you will find beautiful and creative pictures, sure to engage even the most reluctant reader! (The actual list from the American Library Association’s website can be found here, but is harder to navigate; Amazon’s is much easier.)
5. Read Aloud Revival
Sarah Mackenzie is a homeschool mom (are any of you seeing a trend here? LOL!), who creates her family culture around reading excellent books together. If you want a surefire crowd pleaser, be sure to check out her website. Reading aloud as a family can be a wonderful memory-making, bonding time. She also has a great podcast dedicated to teaching parents how to use this tool better. Be sure to check it out!
6. Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum
Sonlight.com is such a fabulous resource. I know most of you probably don’t homeschool, but you guys! Homeschoolers have the best lists!
Sonlight is a “living book” based curriculum. That means they use the best books to teach children-no boring textbooks allowed! Even if you don’t homeschool, just go look at their website-please??? They have amazing books about history, other cultures, science, religion, and really fabulous family read-alouds.
How to find their lists: Pick a grade from their menu. Then click on “Whole Package” and then “What’s included”. Scroll down and you will get the most remarkable book list you’ve ever seen! I get a package every year, and we get well-known award-winning books as well as books I’ve never heard of that we absolutely love. They will make you laugh and cry. You can see if your local library carries any of them (and use them for free!), or look on Ebay- you can get them used for a really great price!
Love this! So excited I found your blog!
Great! Thank you! Please let me know if you are looking for anything in particular, and I would love to see if I can help. Thanks for being here!
I’m so glad I found your website! I’m inspired to do a better job teaching my kids to love the Constitution and liberty and reading and…
And I LOVE book lists! Jenny Phillips’ and the TJEd are among my favorites. It’s been a while since I’ve looked through them. I’ll put that on my to-do list for next week! Thanks!
Tina, I’m so sorry! I can’t believe I didn’t see your comment until just now! I would love to know what books are some of your family’s favorites!
I love using book lists to request books from the library. Then all the finding is done for me and I just have to pick them up!
What a fabulous idea! So efficient and slick- I love it!
I love this. I can’t commit now to homeschooling the way I’d like, I’m simply not together enough but, it’s happening. I love it that there are so many talented and committed mothers out there willing to share. Glad I stumbled on to this blog.
I’m not sure any of us teaches in our ideal way–life happens and we are all imperfect! I love learning from other mothers out there, too. It’s great not to have to re-invent the wheel. I’m glad you are here- please let me know if there is anything I can do to help!