Friday, November 12, 2010

Of books, there is no end...

Here's my theory and I'm sticking to it: the family that reads books together -- aloud -- as a part of their weekly fellowship, will always be 'on the same page.' I was read to often as a child and still love the sound of my mother's voice reading some favorite passage from a book, old or new. I am comforted and still inspired by the memory of my grandparent's voices as they read or quoted favorite stories, poems and passages from the Bible aloud. And visits home are never complete without my dear Papa's voice reading Scripture or Spurgeon's Morning and Eveningdevotional to the gathered family. Nothing makes me happier today than reading some of my favorite books and theirs to my grandchildren. But not just any book will do. I try to read stories to my grandchildren that are beautifully written with an underlying biblical theme, pleasing to the eye and ears. Books will influence us much like jumping into a strong stream that leads to an ocean: we will be carried along in one direction or another. Make sure you are aware of that as you read -- choose the 'ocean' towards which you want to be carried.

Reading aloud to someone is one of life's pleasures that brings blessings to both the reader and the recipient. And reading when you are alone is a treasured blessing like no other. Books can take you to places you may never visit except in your mind -- you can travel back in history or into the future; visit desert islands, medieval castles or lush forests in the Amazon valley or into hidden vallies in the Swiss Alps. Go wherever the skillful author takes you as you broaden your vocabulary, hone your writing skills and find opportunities to grow spiritually, socially and mentally as the Lord works noble thoughts and spiritual truths into your heart and mind through your reading.

My husband likes to say, "Those who read lead." And this is true. If you want to be a leader, you must be a reader. We are called as Christians, not only to follow our great Leader, the Lord Jesus, but to imitate Him in all our choices and even our preferences. Work on making wise choices in your reading preferences. Here are some lists of books I like and some that I love. They are far from complete, so check back occasionally for other recommendations.

First, I'd advise your purchasing two books that have done much of the work for us in sorting and choosing worthy books.  Honey for a Child's Heart, by Gladys Hunt was the first book I used to help in book selections when my children were small. Now in its fourth edition, you will find it spiritually uplifting as well as informative. I still have the first edition and cannot tell you about the more recent ones -- you are on your own here! A more recent one, written by friends of mine, The Book Tree: A Christian Reference for Children's Literature, by Elizabeth McCallum and her daughter Jane Scott, should be in every Christian home. Both of these books set out a Christian philosophy for choosing books as well as commentary on each selection.
I'll list a few books from my longer list in several blog posts. If your favorites aren't here, feel free to comment and ask me or inform me about them. I may not have gotten to your favorites yet, or I just may not know about them. Here goes:

Pre-school: (age 5 and under)

Winnie the Pooh and related titles, by A. A. Milne

Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle

Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey

The Child’s Story Bible, by Catherine F. Vos

Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney

Make Way for Ducklings, and other titles by Robert McCloskey

All the Places to Love, by Patricia MacLachlan

Little Bear, and other titles by Else H. Minarik

Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen

The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper

Peter and the Wolf (musical edition), Sergei Prokofiev

The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and other titles, by Beatrix Potter

Curious George, and other titles by Hans Rey

A Child’s Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Lord is My Shepherd, and other titles by illustrator Tasha Tudor

Elementary Fiction: (ages 6-12)

Aesop’s Fables, by Aesop

Treasury of Fairy Tales, by Hans Christian Anderson

The Mitten, by Jan Brett

Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink

The Pied Piper of Hamelin, by Robert Browning

Riding the Pony Express, by Clyde Robert Bulla

The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Incredible Journey, by Shelia Burnford

The Courage of Sarah Noble, and other titles by Alice Dalgliesh

Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates (DVD), Hans Brinker; Or, the Silver Skates, by Mary Maples Dodge

William Tell, by Margaret Early

The Matchlock Gun, by Walter D. Edmonds

Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson

Tanglewood Tales, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Saint George and the Dragon, by Margaret Hodges

Huguenot Garden, and other titles by Douglas M. Jones, III

The Jungle Book, and other titles by Rudyard Kipling

Frog and Toad, and other titles by Arnold Lobel

Hiawatha, and other titles by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Lost Princess, and most other titles by George MacDonald

Iron Scouts of the Confederacy, by Lee McGiffin

Sarah, Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan

Anne of Green Gables, and other titles by L. M. Montgomery

The Railway Children, and other titles by E. Nesbit

Annie Henry and the Redcoats, and other titles by Susan Olasky

Two Little Confederates, by Thomas Nelson Page

Treasures in the Snow, by Patricia St. John

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, and other titles by Margaret Sidney

The Bronze Bow, and other titles by Elizabeth Speare

Heidi, by Johanna Spyri

Little House in the Big Wood, and other titles by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Middle School Fiction: (ages 12 +)

Little Women, and other titles by Louisa May Alcott

Coral Island, and other titles by R. M. Ballentyne

The Pilgrim’s Progress,
by John Bunyan

Canterbury Tales, adapted by Barbara Cohen, by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins

The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe
Any book by Charles Dickens except Great Expectations

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Count of Monte-Cristo, and other titles by Alexandre Dumas

Johnny Tremain, by Esther Forbes

Lieutenant Hornblower, and other titles by C. S. Forester

The Gift of the Magi, and other titles by O. Henry

The Dragon and the Raven, and other titles by G. A. Henty

All Things Bright and Beautiful, and other titles by James Herriott

Hind’s Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard

Tales From Shakespeare, by Charles and Mary Lamb

Brothers of the Sled, by John Leeper

The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

The Girl of the Limberlost, and other titles by Gene Stratton Porter

A Lantern in Her Hand, and other titles by Bess Streeter Aldrich

Men of Iron, and other titles by Howard Pyle

Light in the ForestThe Light in the Forest, by Conrad Richter

Beowulf, the Warrior, and other titles by Ian Serraillier, translator

Kidnapped, and other titles by Robert Louis Stevenson

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and other titles by Mark Twain

The Princess Adelina, by Julie Sutter

Around the World in Eighty Days, and other titles by Jules Verne

Augustine Comes to Kent, and other titles by Barbara Willard

The Horn of Roland, and other titles by Jay Williams

The Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann R. Wyss

Elementary and Middle School Biography: (ages 12 +)

Augustine: The Farmer’s Boy of Tagaste, by P. de Zeeuw

The Talking Wire: The Story of Alexander Graham Bell, by O. J. Stevenson

Daniel Boone, by James Daugherty

Carry on, Mr. Bowditch, by Jean Lee Latham

Alone, Yet Not Alone, by Tracy Leininger

John Bunyan, Author of Pilgrim’s Progress, by Sam Wellman

The Columbus Story, by Alice Dalgliesh

A Confederate Trilogy, by Mary L. Williamson

Robert Fulton, Boy Craftsman, and other titles by Marguerite Henry

George Fredric Handel: Composer of Messiah, by Charles Ludwig

Stonewall, by Jean Fritz

Johannes Kepler: Giant of Faith and Science, by John Judson Tiner

Robert E. Lee: Christian General and Gentleman, by Roddy Lee

Eric Liddell, by Catherine Swift

Queen of the Reformation, (Katherine Luther), by Charles Ludwig

Most of the books above are for high school age and above as well. I love some children's books as much as those targeted for adults. The simplicity of style is often refreshing and adult-aimed humor in children's books usually makes me smile. One such book, targeted perhaps for a children's audience but with a deep and abiding message is Matthew Wheelock's Wall - 1992 publication written by Frances Ward Weller and illustrated beautifully by Ted Lewin. You will want to purchase several of these for gifts. The message of the book always brings tears to my eyes -- building for future generations.

We'll stop there for now...this should give you plenty of reading materials to get you started for your long winter's reading by the fireside or under a cozy quilt. I pray that finding and reading good books will be an adventure for you that will never end!
Happy Reading!!


Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your lists but I am 30 years old do you have a list for us?

Johanna said...

Thank you so much for the list of books dear Mrs. Morecraft!

I just wanted to stop by and say thank you SO much for doing these online classes, as I watched the last one today draw to a close a tear crept to my eye, for you have blessed me greatly!

I can not wait to attend your next sessions in January, and am looking forward to them VERY much! Meanwhile, I plan to get a few of the books you have recommended, especially 'The Roar on the Other Side' it looks VERY good!


Lauren Ashley said...

Why The Secret Garden? Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote it with a Hindu worldview.

Becky said...

Lauren,wow, you have taught the teacher! I was not aware of what exactly bothered me about this book -- now I know! While it's important to know what the world-view of an author is, it doesn't automatically exclude reading the book. Thanks for pointing out the flaw in this one -- we'll certainly be on our guard while we read it or perhpas decide not to read it at all.

Johanna, I'm so thankful you've enjoyed the classes -- so have I! Yes, the Roar From the Other Side is truly wonderful, applicable not only to poetry writing but very helpful with writing better prose. I'll look forward to 'seeing' you in January, Lord blessing.

'Dreameagle,' I just ran out of steam before I got to the 'older' book recommendations. Of course, many of the 18+ ones are still great for us older ladies, but I also love book such as St. Elmo, by Augusta Jane Evans, written during the Civil War (or War of Northern Aggression depending on your perspective ;-) and anything else she wrote. I like most all Christian biographies, especially those about missionaries or historical ones such as Fair Sunshine by Jock Purvus, on the Scottish Covenanters. I like some modern authors but read them with my 'guard up,' both theologically and in other important ways. Usually, I don't recommend everything an author has written but only books I have either read myself or that have been read by someone I trust. I'll try to get a more complete list out as soon as I catch my breath.
Mrs. Morecraft

Shanna said...

Could you please provide links to your other posts containing book lists?

Thank you for taking the time to provide such a wonderful list.


Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity: Why not "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens?

Becky said...

Hi, Shanna,
This site is the only one I have with lists of recommended books -- I will continue to add others as time goes on. My next list will be for adults in various categories. You would enjoy the two books of lists I recommended in the blog above -- click on the links and check them out.
Mrs. M.

kcookt said...

Mrs. Morecraft,

I know you said that in the fourth edition of Honey for a Child's Heart we will find it spiritually uplifting as well as informative but I was just curious if it is true that there are recommendations for Harry Potter. I have once read that to be true but never did check it out for myself.


Esther said...

Dear Mrs. Morecraft,

There's nothing I like better on a rainy day than a good book! Thanks for all the book recommandations, I'll be sure to check out some of them!

Writing for His glory,
Esther Liao

Becky said...

Hi, Tami,
I'm so sorry that I don't have an answer for you on this question -- thanks for alerting me to this. We'll check it out and try to let you know as soon as possible. Meanwhile, I know I can highly recommend the first edition which was invaluable to me as a young mother. I know the author is a precious Christian lady, so I doubt that she would recommend HP, but don't know for sure.
Thanks for the question.
Mrs. Morecraft

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Morecraft,

I am wondering why you like all the Charles Dickens books except "Great Expectations". What do you have against it?

SarahElisabeth said...

Thank you for these lists-some of our favourites are here and some to explore.
Do you know the Milly Molly Mandy series by Joyce Lankester Brisley? These are suitable for elementary age and are set in England in about the 1920s. Short stories about a little girl living in the white thatched cottage with her mother, father, grandparents and aunt and uncle.
Another English author that we enjoy is Shirley Hughes whose books are mainly for the under fives. Probably her most famous series is the "Alfie" series but there is also a book of poetry about the seasons, for little ones, called "Out and about." There is one reference to halloween which is easy to alter or miss out but otherwise we love this book with its beautiful pictures.

Becky said...

Thanks for the question -- it was a 'slip of the lip,' or in this case, the fingers. This was from a list used for an English literature class and I forgot to scratch the comment -- the entire class read and studied "Great Expectations" together so it wasn't to be read as a 'bonus' book. I'm glad you asked! It's a great piece of literature and I hope you'll read and enjoy it.

Shannon said...

Mrs. Morecraft,

Thank you so much for this wonderful list of books. Reading is such a gift, and I cherish books that are pure and exciting, and deepen my love for Christ. This list was so helpful, and I am sure that I will go back to it many times!

Many Blessings In Christ,