I was on another forum and a mother asked for good reading lists for her 5-6 year old boy, she wanted picture books and children’s literature of quality, as well as suggestions for science, social studies etc… For those who aren’t familiar with the Charlotte Mason homeschool approach, one of the biggest focuses is on quality literature – not “twaddle”.
In the homeschool world there are many definitions of twaddle, but they all boil down to this simplified explanation: a dumbed-down (in terms of the vocabulary it contains), senseless book, devoid of any rich meaning, thought or relation. The majority of children’s books today are considered twaddle. They’re written for mindless entertainment purposes only.
Don’t get me wrong, we have many twaddle books, and the children enjoy them, but just as we want to feed our children’s bodies wholesome foods – fruits and vegetables instead of candy and pop, likewise we should want to feed their minds rich, wholesome books. Therefore in the last year, I have made a real conscientious effort to improve the quality of books that we buy.
I decided after reading this woman’s post, that I would share the books that we own. Now, this is far from a complete list, my children own roughly 1000 books combined – I’m not including the twaddle books, or bedtime stories, holiday books (though that’s another list I plan to work on at some point!) etc… But rather I’m including some of the books that I consider quality children’s literature, as well as good living books (educational books) that we would use in our homeschool. The age range on these books varies. Some of these books touch on sad topics (death of a loved one for example), but I don’t believe in shielding even young children from life, and these books do a wonderful job of touching on the subjects, in a gentle manner. Hopefully you’ll find something that piques your interest, and your children will be able to enjoy these great books as well!
* I have linked many books to Amazon so you can see a preview, however, I find www.abebooks.com to be the best source of used books.
**I have updated this list to include some of our toddler/preschool favorites, as well!
The Big Book of Animal Devotions by William Coleman
Children’s Guide to the Bible by Robert Willoughby
Day by Day Devotions (we use this for a combined Bible/Character Training)
Animals, Animals by Eric Carle
Any original classics by Dr. Seuss
Anything by Eric Carle
Anything by Margaret Wise Brown
The “My First Little House” series
Fritz and the Beautiful Horses (and anything else by Jan Brett)
It’s Mine by Leo Lionni (or other books by him)
Chester’s Way (and most other books by Kevin Henkes)
Blueberries for Sal (and any other book by him)
Three Names (or any other book by Patricia MacLachlan)
Curious George (or the other original books written by H. A. Rey)’
We also love the Berenstain Bear books, and the original Raggedy Anne & Andy series
Make Way for Ducklings (and any other book by Robert McCloskey)
The Song of Francis (and many other books by Tomie dePaola)
The Ugly Duckling (and any other classic fairy tale)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Chapter Books/Read Alouds
Little House on the Prairie series
Any of the Classics in an Early Reader format
The Lighthouse Family series (The Storm, The Turtle, The Eagle, The Whale, The Octopus)
Anything by Thornton Burgess, Clara Pierson, Arthur Scott Bailey
Anything by E.B. White
Classics like The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, The Railway Children etc…
Any of the Let’s Read & Find Out About series (ex. How a Seed Grows)
Any of the Magic School Bus series (ex. In the Time of the Dinosaurs)
Any of the Smithsonian Backyard series (ex: Canada Goose at Cattail Lane)
Any of the Cat in the Hat Know-It-All books (ex: Hark! A Shark!)
Any of the Know It Alls! series (ex: Lizards!)
A Butterfly Is Patient (or any of her other books on natural science)
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Planting the Trees of Kenya (The Story of Wangari Maathai)
History/Social Studies: Canada
Any of the Stuart Murphy MathStart books