This is a list of books that my husband Doug and I have read to our kids over the years. Many of these books we have read to them more than once. Doug loves to read to the kids on Sunday evenings, but has recently been trying to read to them almost every night, because there are so many good books that must be read before they grow up and leave home!

Dibs in Search of Self by Virginia M. Axline

I don't remember when I first read this book, but I have loved it as long as I can remember, and I have read it many times. Dibs is a boy who is labeled retarded by many of those around him, but his mother is convinced that he is gifted. However, Dibs' mother finally decides to put him in a school for mentally retarded children, since nobody can seem to make any progress with him. Some of Dibs' teachers introduce him to Ms. Axline, and she uses play therapy to help Dibs come out of his self-imposed shell. I enjoy the stories and also enjoy watching Dibs learn to deal with social interactions. I was very shy when I was Dibs' age, and I see some of myself in him. Perhaps that is why I like the book?
The Cay by Theodore Taylor

This is a wonderful tale of a young boy who surived a shipwreck, but was marooned on a remote island with a simple-minded but very gentle and loving black crewman from the same ship. The young boy was blinded from the accident, and this wonderful man taught him how to survive on the island, devoting his remaining life and love to this little boy he had never met before.
Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers by Ralph Moody

This has got to be one of the greatest books to read to your kids. Ralph Moody tells true stories of his childhood, and intersperses them with many great nuggets of wisdom, honor, integrity, and excitement. His story about taking boards off of his "character house" is very profound. I also enjoyed Ralph telling about one particular Christmas where they were so poor they could not even afford an orange for everyone. Ralph noticed that everyone had an orange except his Dad. They all took a few sections from their oranges and shared with him. Ralph mentioned that even though they didn't have a lot of money, the family was together, they read books together, and he remembers it very fondly. Ralph Moody has written 8 of these books, this is only the first!
Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray

Adam is raised as the son of Roger the Minstrel in 12th century England. This is a great little adventure story as Adam learns to live on the road with his father, show proper respect to those who pay you, and he also learns about who he can trust, and who he cannot. As he chases Jankin, the man who stole his little dog, Adam learns many things, and my children really enjoyed reading about it.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London

"Dat Buck, Heem got two devils!" -- This is one of our favorite quotes from the book as the french trapper described the dog Buck. Jack London is a great author, and this book is full of great wisdom and action. The kids loved it, and I enjoyed reading it to them.
Holes by Louis Sachar

Holes is a great story about Stanley Yelnats, how he learns to cope at a reform camp for boys, how he clears his name, and also makes a life-long friend.
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham

This is a great book based on the true life stories about Nathaniel Bowditch. Nat learned that you can do anything as long as you're willing to "sail by ash breeze" and he proved this to be true over and over in his own life. A wonderfully inspiring story for people of any age.
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White

Wilbur is Some Pig! This is a fun story for kids, and packed with some great lessons. Charlotte, a spider, helps Fern save Wilbur's life. As the runt of the litter, nobody wanted him, yet eventually people came from miles around to see him. This is a story about friendship, life, and death.
Laddie, A True Blue Story by Gene Stratton Porter

Honestly, Laddie took me a while to get into it. The first 4-5 chapters seemed to drag on endlessly. Once Little Sister was done describing all the flowers, trees and animals around her, I enjoyed the book much more! It really is a wonderful book, and my kids loved it. One of my daughter's even named our rooster Bobby and taught him to crow on demand. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it. She says, "Crow Bobby, Crow!" and then he'd crow, just like Little Sister's pet rooster with the same name. There are many lasting principles to be learned from this book, and it was worth every minute to read it.
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

A wonderfully exciting and funny book with a profoundly sad and touching ending. This book is truly a classic and has some great things that can be learned by anyone who reads it. The story is about Billy and his heroic and loyal hunting dogs. Their devotion to Billy and their devotion to each other is wonderful. Wilson Rawls describes the action in this book in a way that make you feel like you're right beside Old Dan and Little Ann throughout the stories.
Farmer Boy (Little House) by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Farmer Boy tells about Laura's future husband, Almanzo Wilder. Nearly everything that they eat, use, or wear is produced on the farm. The vivid details of each of the tasks of milking, planting, weaving, washing, candle-making and building help the reader really live the story. This hardworking family teaches us some wonderful long-lasting principles.
Incident at Hawk's Hill by Allan W. Eckert

Little Ben is more like an animal than a human. He mimicks animals, walking like them and imitating their sounds. He is accidentally lost, and befriends a badger and goes through quite an adventure. This book has some sad parts, but also some fun and exciting parts. My kids really enjoyed it.
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Sara Crewe is clever, kind, and generous. She grows up quite wealthy and is given just about anything she asks for. However, she loses her fortune at eleven and isn't always an angel, yet still shows love and compassion. It is a great riches-to-rags story that teaches wonderful insights into integrity.
Classic Starts: Little Lord Fauntleroy (Classic Starts Series) by Frances Hodgson Burnett

A story very similar to A Little Princess, but your boys might like it better. Little Lord Fauntleroy is a great example of selfless love and compassion for everyone.
Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson, Garth Williams (Illustrator) by Natalie Savage

Book Description coming soon.
Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat

Jamie and Awasin are great friends, but their friendship is made even closer when they are forced to spend the winter together lost in the barren wastelands of Northern Canada.
Esperanza renace: (Spanish language edition of Esperanza Rising) (Spanish Edition) by Pam Munoz Ryan

A very thought-provoking riches-to-rags story. Inspired by true stories from Pam Munoz Ryan's grandmother, Esperanza Rising tells the story of a rich young girl in Mexico who loses everything and must learn to work as a migrant farm worker in California.
Under the Same Sky by Cynthia DeFelice

This is a story of Joe, a young teen-ager who is interested only in himself and earning money to buy a new motorcycle. His best friend gets whatever he wants for his birthday, but Joe's father decides to let him work on the farm over the summer to earn his own. Joe learns so much more about the lives of the migrant Mexican workers that live on his father's farm and finds that there is much more to life than thinking about yourself.
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

A bored young boy named Milo is transported into the Kingdom of Wisdom through the Phantom Tollbooth. While there he learns some valuable lessons with his friend Tock (the dog) and others that he meets along the way. A fun book with some plays on words and good lessons.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

We read this book together in just a few days over a vacation period once. The kids wouldn't let me put it down! The classic Tolkien tale of Bilbo Baggins the Hobbit who sets off on an adventure with 13 dwarves and the wizard Gandalf. Tolkien is a great storyteller, I have loved this book since I first read it when I was 9.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Barnes & Noble Classics) by Mark Twain

One of Mark Twain's many classic books. The language is a little difficult for some kids to understand, I had to stop and explain a few things along the way, but everyone enjoyed it. There are many great lessons to be learned, and fun adventures to experience.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Puffin Classics) by Mark Twain

My kids didn't like this as much as Tom Sawyer, but still enjoyed it. Huck sets off on many adventures down the river on a raft with Jim. There are many new adventures and excitement.
The Gift of the Magi and Other Short Stories by O. Henry

I love O. Henry's short stories! I have enjoyed reading many of them to my kids from the few O. Henry books that I have. In particular, The Gift of the Magi and The Last Leaf are my favorites and probably a couple of his most famous stories. I have also enjoyed The Green Door and Schools and Schools and The Third Ingredient which are found in other books.
American History Stories You Never Read in School but Should Have Vol.1 by Mara L. Pratt

This is a really great book. The stories are short, and compiled in chronological order, so they flow together nicely. Mara Pratt has a great way of telling these classic stories that should never be forgotten. This is a reproduction of the original 1890 story book.
The Chronicles of Narnia Box Set 1-7 by C.S. Lewis

My father read these to me when I was a kid, and now I've read them to my kids. We enjoyed them all, but The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was one of my favorites, as well as The Dawn Treader. C.S. Lewis fills the books with amazing symbolism and wisdom.
Homer Price by Robert McCloskey

What a fun book! I have enjoyed this since I was very young, and now my kids enjoy it as well. The stories are funny, and fun to read, especially the sherrif when he gets his mords wixed up... er I mean his words mixed up. The kids laugh right out loud at many of the funny parts. Also try More Adventures of Homer Price, it's just as good.
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

A great story about Wanda Petronski, a poor and friendless little girl. The story is told through the eyes of Maddie, her classmate. Maddie has seconds thoughts about being mean to Wanda, but does it anyway to divert attention from herself for being poor. Wanda claims to own 100 dresses, and her classmates tease her about the obvious lie since she always wears the same faded dress to school. One day there is a dress designing contest, and although Wanda has suddenly moved away, she surprises them all with her contest entries and the children determine to be better to others and stand up for those who need their help.
Fanny's Dream (Picture Puffins) by Caralyn Buehner

A fun story about Fanny who has a dream to become a princess. Her fairy god-mother is late, and Fanny finds a man who will make her feel like a princess. She finds that her real dreams can be achieved through hard work, love, and kindness. Fanny is a great role model for others who realize that waving a wand to find happiness only happens in the movies and fairy tales. We also learn that a happily-ever-after ending is still possible for ordinary people.
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

This is a fun and interesting prequel to the Peter Pan story. We don't really know who wrote which sections of the book, but we do know that Dave Barry has a quirky sense of humor. Whenever something silly happens in the story, we all say, "Yep, that must have been Dave Barry's idea" An example is when Smee is trying to bring out the Union Jack to fly on the mast, his pants keep falling down because the british uniform he is using as a disguise doesn't button around his fat belly. That just sounds like something Barry would write.


The books listed below are in the queue, and we will read them next in no particular order. Sometimes I choose the book, sometimes I let the kids vote.

My Side of the Mountain (Puffin Modern Classics) by Jean Craighead George

It has been a long time since I read this book, but I enjoyed it very much. Sam runs away from home and learns to live on his own in the mountains. Sam's best friend and helper is a falcon that he calls Frightful. Sam learns many things in order to survive, and the adventures he has are interesting to read.
island_of_the_blue_dolphins.jpg by Scott O'Dell

I read this story, realizing that it was like a Robinson Crusoe story told about a young girl. However, when I finished it, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was based on a true story. This story is written from what little facts are known about the Lone Woman of San Nicholas Island. Karana's people were evacuated from their island, but she swam back to shore when she discovered that her younger brother was not on the ship. Tragically, he dies shortly afterwards, and Karana lives for 18 more years alone on the island until she is rescued.
Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls

A great story about a young boy working hard to earn some money by trapping some lost circus monkeys. The adventures are funny and charming. Wilson Rawls is a great story teller.
Walk Two Moons by Marshall K. Hall

Marshall K. Hall writes a great story about a young girl coping with the reasons why her mother will never return. Her friend in school has a mother that recently left mysteriously and they commisserate together. The story wonderfully portrays the wisdom, "Don't judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins."
Washington Putter by Aaron J. Tolson

I was surprised to learn that my old scout friend Aaron Tolson had written this book about our days as scouts. He's a great writer, and I enjoyed reading about myself and my really funny brother Jona. These stories are fictionalized, but Aaron has some good wisdom to impart, mostly stuff he learned during adventures that really happened.
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

If I were to be marooned on a desert island and could only take 5 books, this would be one of them. Corrie Ten Boom tells an amazing true story of herself and her family as they try to save a few special Jews from the Holocaust. Her sister Betsy is a tremendous example of pure love and forgiveness. As they struggle together to thank God for everything -- even the fleas -- Corrie learns some life lessons that she wisely passes on to the rest of us to learn and live.
The Little Prince: Sixtieth-Anniversary Gift Edition by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I have always loved this book. I first read it in french, but have enjoyed it in English as well. There are some great lessons to be learned from this little prince.

Few things in life are more fun and rewarding than curling up on the couch with your kids and a good book. If you truly want your kids to learn to read well, then READ TO THEM EVERY DAY! There is no better way to teach your kids that reading is fun and interesting.
Click here to see a list of ALL the books we have read to our children.

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