Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Monastic Cell

Welcome to my monastic cell…don’t mind the boys playing soccer in the hall, I mean basketball with the hoop on the front door, the noises of violin, piano, and arguing,  the persistence of the phone ringing and another child asking me a question over and over. I also have a din of dialogue in my head composed of resurfacing anxieties.  Oh, the baby is on the table drinking out of leftover cups getting wet and fingerpainting with breakfast leftovers, and is that my dear husband standing at the door asking if he can process with me a difficult work situation for a minute?  Come on in, for any time is as bad as another.

My life may not seem to have anything in common with that of a monk’s, but over the years, I have realized that the monks and I actually have much in common.  A contemplative monk removes himself from the noise and demands of life so that in silence and the absence of what obscures God, he may be freed to find God.  I, on the other hand, cannot escape the needs and noise of other people and am forced to be freed from myself, which enables me to find God.  My monastic cell is crowded and how I sometimes dream of a private hermitage, but God has promised that he can meet me here just as easily.  It is where I am that I encounter God and he shapes and transforms me.  

All that obscures God is me.

It has taken me years to accept this cell and not think that I could be a much better Christian under different conditions.  I now accept it, but everyday I have to live it…and that is a different matter.  T.S. Eliot, in his poem, The Four Quartets, goes to four locations where suffering has occurred and his faith in a good God is tested.   Eliot concludes that in spite of the turning world, God is constant. He is the still point.

This blog is an extended reflection of finding our center in Jesus while all else scrambles and swirls.  Jesus promised to be with us where we are…not where we wish we were. 

It is the daily challenge to find him where I am and welcome his companionship, his light, his truth.  This does not mean I do not seek silence or stillness—these are so necessary for the shaping of a Christian.  But as mother of six children and wife of the pastor of a large church, with parents and relatives too far away to help, I cannot control what is asked of me and what I am called to do when I feel I have nothing left.  That is when I find that God has engineered this gap between what I am capable of and what he asks of me simply because he wants me to discover him.  All that comes forward when I am out of control—impatience, anger, frustration, fear, anxiety—is exchanged for his presence which can meet any situation with wisdom, peace, expectation, and the long view.  

God is glad to be right here, can I choose to be here with him?

A Christian friend of mine was invited to speak at a Buddhist monastery.  While there walking the gardens, one of the monks said, “Don’t you feel the peace?  How can you say that one cannot find peace here?”  My friend replied, "You are confusing peace with tranquility. Here in these mountains, surrounding by these idyllic settings, you have tranquility. When we are stuck in traffic, the daily trials of life, the unpaid bills, and do not lose our center, then we have peace. This is the Christian aim."

I hope in some way this blog will encourage you to find Christ with you in the circumstances of your own life so that you can experience his transformational presence just where you are. 

Got to go get the baby off the table…

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book List


Compiled by Katherine Ruch (and her children)
not exhaustive, growing longer as you read

(B): Primarily of interest to boys
(G):  Primarily of interest to girls
Otherwise, most likely of interest to both

Levels of enjoyment (not necessarily reading levels)
L1:  Level 1: Approximately ages 2-5
L2:  Level 2: Approximately ages 4-7
L3:  Level 3: Approximately ages 7-10
L4:  Level 4: Approximately ages 10 and up



Alsburg, Chris Van                       
            The Wretched Stone (L2 and up)
Anno, Mitsumasa
            Anno’s Journey (There are several Anno books.  Most are wordless and the reader
has to find Anno in various landscapes—very fun even for young  children) (L1 & L2)
Ardizonne, Edward
            The Tim series  (mostly B) (L2)
                        Tim and Ginger
                        Ship Cook’s Ginger
                        Tim and Charlotte
                        Tim to the Rescue
                                                …and more
Armstrong, Jennifer
            Pockets  (L2)


Barker, Cicely Mary
            The Lord of the Rushie River (L2 & L3)
Barklem, Jill
            The Brambly Hedge series (the illustrations are exquisite)  (mostly G) (L2 & L3)
                        Poppy’s Babies
                        Summer Story
                        Sea Story
                        Autumn Story
                        The Secret Staircase
            Children of the Forest
                        Winter Story
                        The High Hills
                        Spring Story
            Varenka (a Russian story of a delayed answer to prayer and the miracle that results)(L2 and up)
Beskow, Elsa (all I’ve read of hers are great) (L1 & L2)
            Pelle’s New Suit
            Peter’s Old House
Bishop, Jennie  (These books are about preserving purity) (L2)
            The Princess and the Kiss
            The Squire and the Scroll
Bolton, Michael
            The Secret of the Lost Kingdom (L2)
Brett, Jan
            A Christmas Treasury (this includes most of her great stories with their gorgeous,
            lush illustrations;  you can easily find many of her individual books.) (L1 & L2)
Brisley, Joyce Lankester (L2)
            Milly-Molly-Mandy and sequels (G)
Brown, Margaret Wise (L1)
            The Little Fur Family (a house favorite)
Brumbeau, Jeff
            The Quiltmaker’s Gift            (phenomenal illustrations) (L1 & L2)
Bunting, Eve
            One Candle (a Hanukkah story—very moving) (L2 & L3)


Cannon, Janell (L1 & L2)
Caudill, Rebecca
            A Certain Small Shepherd (Christmas) (L2 & L3)
Caseley, Judith
            Mama Coming and Going (L1)
Celenza, Anna Harwell
            Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (C.D. incl.) (L3 & L4)
Collington, Peter
            A Small Miracle (wordless Christmas story—a family favorite) (ALL)
Cooney, Barbara
            Miss Rumphius (L 2 & L3)
            Eleanor (about Eleanor Roosevelt’s life) (L2 & L3)
            Basket Moon (L1)
Craft, Charlotte
            King Midas and the Golden Touch (L2)
Cullen, Lynn
            The Mightiest Heart (L2 & L3)


Deedy, Carmen Agra
            The Yellow Star (L2 & L3)

DePaola, Tomie  (many Christian themes and saints’stories;  great illustrator;  a few
 suggestions:) (L1 & L2)
            The Clown of God
            Pascual and the Kitchen Angels
            The Holy Twins
            Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland
            The Night of Las Posadas   (Christmas)
DeRico, Ul
            The Rainbow Goblins (L1 & L2)


Early, Margaret
            Robin Hood (medieval looking illustrations—one plate per story) (L2 & L3)
Everett, Gwen
            John Brown:  One Man Against Slavery (L2)


Fair, Sylvia
            The Bedspread (G) (L2)
Field, Rachel
            Hitty (I like the one rewritten by Rosemary Wells and illus. by Susan Jeffers—a
            cross betw. a picture book and a chapter book—lovely, full page illustrations)  (G) (L2 & L3)


Gilman, Phoebe
            Something From Nothing (L1)
Gruelle, Johnny
            Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy series (L2)
            Wooden Willie (a little known one, but a family favorite) (L2 & L3)
            The Paper Dragon (L2 & L3)
Guarnieri, Paolo
            A Boy Named Giotto (L2 & L3)


Haas, Irene
            The Maggie B (L1 & L2)
Hall, Donald
            The Ox-Cart Man (L1)
Herriot, James
            A Treasury for Children  (great retellings from his veterinarian books) (L2-L4)
Hest, Amy
            When Jessie Came Across the Sea (L2 & L3)
Hissey, Jane
            Little Bear’s Trousers (L1)
Hoban, Russell
            The Frances books (mostly L1)
Hobbie, Holly (The Toot and Puddle series is good, but these are our favorites)(L1 & L2)
            Toot and Puddle
            Wish You Were Here
Hodges, Margaret (great retellings of many stories) (L2 & L3)
            Merlin and the Making of the King
            The Kitchen Knight
            Saint George and the Dragon
Houselander, Caryll
            Petook, an Easter Story (illus. by Tomie dePaola) (L2)
Hyman, Trina Schart (mostly an amazing illustrator) (L2)
            Retellings of Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Red Riding Hood
Hughes, Shirley (a house favorite—author and illustrator) (L1 & L2)
            All About Alfie (This is a compilation of Alfie stories.  They also are published
            individually as Alfie Gets in First, Alfie’s Feet, Alfie Gives a Hand, and
            An Evening With Alfie or individual stories)
            Dogger (had to read this one every night for weeks)
            Alfie Wins a Prize
            The Big Alfie Out of Doors Storybook
            The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Storybook
            Tales of Trotter Street
            Alfie and the Birthday Surprise


Iwamura, Kazuo  (for young children—cozy family stories and illustrations) (L1)
            The 14 Forest Mice and the Summer Laundry Day
            The 14 Forest Mice and the Spring Meadow Picnic           
            The 14 Forest Mice and the Winter Sledding Day


Johnson, Crockett
            Harold and the Purple Crayon (L1)
Johnston, Tony
            Yonder (L1)


Kellogg, Steven
            Paul Bunyan (B)(L1 & L2)
            Mike Fink (B) (L1 & L2)
Kinsey-Warnock and Helen Kinsey
            The Bear That Heard Crying (based on a true story about Sarah Witcher) (L2)
Krauss, Ruth
            A Hole is to Dig (L1)


Lasker, Joe
            A Tournament of Knights (L1 & L2)
Lindman, Maj (L2)
            Flicka, Ricka, Dicka (and all the different stories)
            Snip, Snap, Snurr (and all the different stories)
Lunge-Larsen, Lise
            The Race of the Birkebeiners (L2 & L3)


Mayer, Marianna
            Beauty and the Beast (beautiful illustrations) (L2)
MacLachlan, Patricia (I find her books painfully beautiful)
            All the Places to Love (L2)
            Through Grandpa’s Eyes (L2)
Mazer, Anne
            Salamander Room (B)(L1)
McClintock, Barbara
            Dahlia (L2)
McCloskey, Robert (L1 & L2)
            Make Way for Ducklings
            One Morning in Maine
            Blueberries for Sal
McLerran, Alice
            Roxaboxen (L2)
Meisel, Paul
            Zara’s Hats (L2)
Mills, Lauren
            The Rag Coat (L2)


Nesbit, E.
            The Book of Beasts (B) (L2)
Northcote, Nancy
            Pottle Pig  (hilarious stories with great illus. about a very mischievous pig) (L2)


O’Connor, Sandra Day
            Finding Susie (L2)
Oram, Hiawyn
            Badger’s Bring Something Party (L1 &L2)


Paterson, Katherine
            The Angel and the Donkey  ( a wonderful, beautifully illustrated retelling of the
            story of Balaam and his donkey) (L2)
Peet, Bill
            Capyboppy (L2)
            Chester, the Worldly Pig (L1)
Philbrick, Margaret  (All)
            Back to the Manger (lovely Christmas story with great local references & illus.)
Phillips, Mildred
            The Sign in Mendel’s Window (L2)
Potter, Beatrix (try getting the very small books as she published them) (L2)
            Peter Rabbit
            all her other books

Polacco, Patricia  (great current children’s author who illustrates her own books; appeals
to a broad range of children; celebrates family, miracle, and heritage.  I do not like all of her books because they express attitudes or moral choices with which I disagree, but the ones listed below are excellent.) (L2, unless otherwise noted;  enjoyed by all)
            Uncle Vova’s Tree            (an Epiphany story)
            The Trees of the Dancing Goats
            Betty Doll   (G)
            The Keeping Quilt
            Thunder Cake
            Rechenka’s Eggs
            Just Plain and Fancy
            Chicken Sunday
            Thank you, Mr. Falker
            The Christmas Tapestry (an amazing Christmas story)
            An Orange for Frankie  (a touching Christmas story)
            Tikvah Means Hope
            The Butterfly (heavy subject matter—Jews plight during the Holocaust) (L3)
            Pink and Say (for older children—a Civil War story) (L2 & L3)
            The Bee Tree
            January’s Sparrow
Poole, Josephine
            Joan of Arc (illus. by Angela Barrett) (L2)

            The Master Swordsman and The Magic Doorway   (B) (L2)


Rand, Gloria
            Sailing Home (L2)
Riordan, James
            Jason and the Golden Fleece (a beautifully illustrated retelling) (L2)
Robertson, Bruce
            Marguerite Makes a Book (beautiful in showing how illumination was done) (L2)
Robinson, Joan
            Teddy Robinson (an easy chapter book—a house favorite) (L1 & L2)
Rogasky, Barbara (L2)
            Sleeping Beauty (illus. by Trina Schart Hyman)
            Rapunzel (illus. by Trina Schart Hyman)
            The Water of Life:  A Tale of the Brother’s Grimm
Rylant, Cynthia
            Let's Go Home (L1 & L2)
            Cobblestreet Cousins series (L2 & L3)
            The Relatives Came (L2 and up)


Sanderson, Ruth  (L2)
            The Crystal Mountain
            The Twelve Dancing Princesses
            Rose Red and Snow White
San Souci, Robert D.
            A Weave of Words (L2)
Sherman, Josepha
            Vassilisa The Wise (L2)
Steig, William (L1 & L2)
            Brave Irene
            Dr. DeSoto
            The Library
Stewart, Sarah (L2)
            The Money Tree
            The Gardener
            The Journey


Thayer, Jane
            The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy (precious story) (L1)
Tudor, Tasha (mostly known for her lovely illustrations) (All)
            Pumpkin Moonshine
            A Time to Keep
            A Doll’s Christmas
            Wings from the Wind (an anthology of poems)


von Stockhum, Hilda
            A Day on Skates (L2 and L3)


Waddell, Martin
            The Hidden House (G) (L2)
Wangerin, Walter, Jr. (L2--L4)
            Peter’s First Easter
            Mary’s First Christmas
Wells, Rosemary
            My Very First Mother Goose (L1)
            Lassie Come Home (a retelling—beautifully illustrated) (L2 & L3)
Wilde, Oscar
            The Selfish Giant (retold by many different authors;  I like the one by Fiona
            Waters, illus by Fabian Negrin, but I have seen others I love). (L2)
Wildsmith, Brian
            Joseph (a beautifully illus. retelling of the story of Joseph and his brothers)(L1)
Williams, Margery
            A Velveteen Rabbit (this is a lovely story; just make sure you find one with
            equally beautiful illustrations, as the options are plentiful.)(L2)
Wheeler, Lisa
            Sailor Moo: Cow at Sea (L1)
Wise, William
            The Black Falcon (from the Decameron, retold by Wise) (L2 & L3)
Wood, Audrey and Don
            Elbert’s Bad Word (great story, and they never tell you the bad word—yea!)(L1)
            King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub (L1)
           A Cowboy Christmas: The Miracle at Lone Pine Ridge (Christmas)(L2 & L3)
Wynne-Jones, Tim
            The Zoom Trilogy  (B) (L1 & L2)



Alcott, Louisa May (G) (L3 & L4)
            Little Women
            Little Men
            Jo’s Boys
            Eight Cousins
            Rose in Bloom
            Jack and Jill
Alexander, Lloyd
            The Pyrdain Chronicles (several books) (B) (L3 & L4)
Atwater, Richard
            Mr. Popper’s Penguins (L2)
Banks, Lynne Reid
            The Indian in the Cupboard (and sequels;  one of them has some weird spiritual
            aspects—may want to skip that one) (B) (L2 & L3)
Beatty, Patricia
            Turn Homeward, Hannalee (L3)
Blyton, Enid (a British author born at the turn of the century who wrote around 800
             books.  She has a cult following; worth exploring.)(L2 & L3)
            The Famous Five series
            The Children of Cherry Tree Farm
            Tales of Betsy Mae
Birdsall, Jeanne
            The Penderwicks (and sequels) (L3 and up)
Bond, Michael
            A Bear Called Paddington stories (L2)
Brink, Carol Ryrie (L3)
            Caddie Woodlawn
            Magical Melons
Brooks, Walter (L2—L4)
             Freddy series (aprox. 20 in the series;  written in the 1920’s—about a poet
             detective pig--humurous and clever) some of our favorites:
            Freddy goes to Florida
            The Clockwork Twin
            Freddy Goes to the North Pole
            Freddy, the Detective
            Freddy and Mr. Camphor
Browne, Frances
            Granny’s Wonderful Chair (fanciful stories) (L2 & L3)
Burnett, Frances Hodgson
            The Little Princess (L3)
            The Secret Garden (L3)
            The Racketty-Packetty House (L2)
Cassanova, Maria
            Moose Tracks (and sequel) (L3)
Caudill, Rebecca
            Happy Little Family (L2)
           Up and Down the River (others in this series, as well) (L2)
Cleary, Beverly (L2 & L3)
            Henry Huggins
            Henry and Ribsy
Dalgliesh, Alice
            The Silver Pencil (L3—L4)
            Bears on Hemlock Mountain (great boy story) (L1 & L2)
            The Courage of Sarah Noble (L2)
deAngeli, Marguerite
            Door in the Wall ( L3)
            Thee, Hannah (L3)
            (others, as well)
Dicamillo, Kate
            The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (L3 & L4)
            Mercy Watson series (L2)
Dillon, Eilis
            A Family of Foxes
            The Lost Island
Eager, Edward
            Knight’s Castle (L3)
            The Well-Wishers (L3)
            Half-Magic (L3)
Eckert, Allan W.
            Incident at Hawk’s Hill
Enright, Elizabeth (L3 & L4))
            Gone Away Lake
            Return to Gone Away Lake
            The Melendy Quartet (The Saturdays, The Four-Story Mistake, Then There Were
            Five, Spider Web for Two)
Estes, Eleanor (L2 & L3)
            The Hundred Dresses
            The Moffats and all the sequels
Fisher, Dorothy Canfield
            Understood Betsy (L2)
French, Allen (L3 & L4) (excellent boy stories!)
            The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow
            The Red Keep
Goudge, Elizabeth
             Linnets and Valerians
            The White Horse
Gallico, Paul
            The Man Who Was Magic
            The Snow Goose (L3--L4)
George, Jean Craighead
            My Side of the Mountain (and sequels) (L3 & L4)
            Julie of the Wolves (and sequels) (L3)
Gipson, Fred
            Old Yeller (L3 & L4)
Godden, Rumer
            The Doll’s House (G) (L3)
Goudge, Elizabeth
            The Little White Horse (L3 & L4)
            Linnets and Valerians (L3 & L4)
            Gentian Hill (G) (12 and up)
Graham, Kenneth
            The Wind in the Willows (I do like the one abridged and illustrated by Inga
Moore.  She doesn’t change the language, but does edit out lengthy description that for some children is cumbersome—including mine.) (L2 & L3)
Green, Roger Lancelyn  (one of the Inklings; wrote great versions of these and many
            other classics) (L3 & L4)
            The Adventures of Robin Hood
Grover, Wayne
            Dolphin Adventure (great short books;  true stories) (L2)
            Dolphin Treasure (L2)
Haywood, Carolyn
            “B” is for Betsy (and all the sequels) (G) (L2)
Harrison, Michael
            Don Quixote (a retelling of the Miguel de Cervantes tale) (B) (L3)
Henry, Marguerite
            Misty of Chincoteague (and sequels) (L3)
            King of the Wind (L3)
Henty, G.A. (the books are dense;  we prefer Jim Weiss’ edited & audio versions)(B)(L4)
            The Lion of the North
            The Reign of Terror
            The Young Carthaginian
            many more
Jacques, Brian
            Redwall (and all in the series) (great boy books!) (L3 & L4)
Jefferies, Richard
            Bevis, the Story of a Boy (written in 1906) (B)(L3)
Jewett, Eleanore M.
            The Hidden Treasure of Glaston (L3 & L4)
Jones, Elizabeth Orton
            Big Susan (G) (L2)
            Twig (G) (L2)
Konigsberg, E.L.
            The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (L3)
Larson, Kirby
            Hattie Big Sky (L3 & L4)
Lawhead, Stephen (though the writing is not completely even, these are solid page-
              turners) (L4)
            The Pendragon series (Taliesen, Merlin, King Arthur, etc.—Christian worldview,
             portrays the Druids as early Christian mystics)
            The Robin Hood series (Hood, Scarlet, Tuck)
LeFeuvre, Amy
            Teddy’s Button (great boy story) (written in 17th century? republished by
            Lamplighter Publishing) (L2 & L3)
Lewis, C.S.           
            The Narnia Chronicles (All)
            All of his books as soon as children can read them, esp. The Screwtape Letters and The Great 
            Divorce (L4)
Lovelace, Maud Hart
            Betsy-Tacy (and all the sequels) (G)(L2 & L3)
MacDonald, Betty
            Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (and sequels)(L2)
MacDonald, George 
            The Princess and the Goblin (L2 and up)
            The Princess and Curdie (L2 and up)
            The Light Princess (L2 and up)
            Wise Woman (L4)
            all the books edited by Michael E. Phillips (ie. The Fisherman’s Lady, The
            Marquis’ Secret, etc.) (L4)
MacLachlan, Patricia (L3 & L4)
            Sarah, Plain and Tall (and all the sequels—painfully beautifully)
            Edward’s Eyes (beautiful, but very heavy subject matter—a child dies)
Mains, David and Karen (Christian fantasy for older children)(L3 & L4)
            Tales of the Kingdom
            Tales of the Resistance
            Tales of Restoration
Martin, Ann M. and Laura Godwin
            The Doll People (L3)
McCloskey, Robert
            Homer Price (L3)
McGraw, Eloise Jarvis (books have an Egyptian belief system—easy to discuss with
             older children) (L4)
            The Golden Goblet
           Mara, Daughter of the Nile
McSwigan, Marie
            Snow Treasure (WWII) (L3 & L4)
Milne, A.A.
            Winnie-the-Pooh (Certainly this is one of the best children’s books of all time.
Make sure to read the real version, not just all the picture book selections.  The whole family can enjoy the different levels of humor.)(All)
Montgomery, Lucy M.
            Anne of Green Gables series (L3 & L4)
            Emily of New Moon (and all the sequels) (L3 & L4)
Moody, Ralph (L3--L4)
            Little Britches (and all the sequels) (great boy books, though not exclusively so)
            Shiloh trilogy
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds (L3 & L4)
Nesbit, E. (L3 & L4)
            The Enchanted Castle
            The Railway Children
            Five Children and It
            The Phoenix and the Carpet
Norton, Mary
            The Borrowers (and all in the series) (L2 & L3)
O’Brien, Robert C.
            Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (L3)
Park, Linda Sue (L3 & L4)
            A Single Shard
            The Kite Fighters
Pearce, Phillipa (L3)
            Tom’s Midnight Garden
            Minnow on the Say
Peck, Richard (L3 & L4)
            Way Down Yonder
            A Long Way From Chicago
Perkins, Janet and John
            Haffertee Hampster Diamond (and sequels) (L2)
Peterson, John
            The Littles (and the sequels) (L2)
Pyle, Howard
            Men of Iron (L4)
            The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (L3--L4)
            King Arthur (L3--L4)
Ransome, Arthur
            Swallow and Amazons (and all in the series) (L3 & L4)
Rawling, Wilson
            Where the Red Fern Grows (L4)
Ray, Mary (historical fiction) (L4)
            The Ides of April
            Beyond the Desert Gate
Reilly-Giff, Patricia (L3 and up)
            Nory Ryan's Song
            Maggie's Door
            "R" My Name is Rachel
St. John, Patricia (L3 & L4)
            Treasures of the Snow
            Star of Light
            several others
Seldon, George
            A Cricket in Times Square (L3)
Shemin, Margaretha
            The Little Riders (a WWII story about a girl who is very courageous)(L3)
Seredy, Kate
            A Tree for Peter (an amazing redemptive story; a generational favorite in our
            family) (L2 & L3)
Sidney, Margaret
            The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (and sequels) (L3)
Speare, Elizabeth George (L4)
            Calico Captive (a story of a woman captured by American Indians)
            The Bronze Bow (set in Jesus’ time; excellent story)
            The Witch of Blackbird Pond (set in medieval times in which people assumed
                     anyone strange was a witch;  this woman was a Quaker.)
            The Sign of the Beaver
Spyri, Johanna
            Heidi (not all sequels are written by Spyri, but are good) (L4)
Steig, William
            Abel’s Island
Stratton-Porter, Gene (L4)
            Laddie (one of my all time favorites)
            Keeper of the Bees
            Girl of the Limberlost
            The Magic Garden (G)
Sutcliff, Rosemary (wrote more than 60 children's books;  the ones we have read are amazing.  Here
             is a sampling):
            Black Ships Before Troy (retells The Illiad;  not for the faint of heart) (L2—L4)
            The Wanderings of Odysseus (retells The Odyssey) (L2--L4)
       these books are excellent historical fiction:  (L3--mostly L4)   
           The Eagle of the Ninth
           The Lantern Bearers
           The Shield Ring
Taylor, Sidney
            All of a Kind Family (and sequels) (L3)
Tolkien, J.R.R. (PLEASE do not let your children watch these movies until they have read the books!)
            The Hobbit (L3 & L4)
            The Lord of the Rings (L4 and up) (try the audio version read by Rob Inglis!!)
Von Trapp, Maria
            The Story of the Trapp Family Singers           
Von Stockum, Hilda
            The Winged Watchmen (WWII) (L4)
            The Mitchells series
White, E.B. (L2—L4)
            Charlotte’s Web
            The Trumpet of the Swan
White, John
            Archives of Anthropos
Wilder, Laura Ingalls
            The Little House books (all of them)(L2 & L3)
Wiggin, Kate Douglas, ed.
            The Arabian Nights (L4)
Williamson, Joanne (writes amazing historical fiction;  slowly being republished by
            Bethlehem Books—check their website)(L4)
            Hittite Warrior
            God King
Winthrop, Elizabeth
            The Castle in the Attic (L3)
Wright, Harold Bell
            Shepherd of the Hills (a generational family favorite) (L4)



Goscinny, R. and Uderzo, A.  (These comic books are translated from the French and are
                                                 clever stories set in the ancient world.)  (B)
            Asterix and Obelix and all the sequels (L4)

Herge  (These comic books, first written in 1929, are translated from the French.)
            The Adventures of Tin Tin  and all the sequels (L4)


D’Aulaire, Ingre and Edgar
            Book of Greek Myths
Ferris, Helen
            Favorite Poems Old and New
Kennedy, Caroline, ed.
            A Family of Poems
Kennedy, X.J. and Dorothy
            Talking Like the Rain:  A Read-to-me Book of Poems
Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales
            Find a well illustrated anthology
Perrault, Charles
            The Complete Fairy Tales
Rosen, Michael
            Classic Poetry:  An Illustrated Collection
Stevenson, Robert Louis
            A Child’s Garden of Verses
Tudor, Tasha
            Wings from the Wind:  An Anthology of Poems


There are many great Bible story books.  Here are some that might be less familiar.

Bible Experience (an audio reading of the Bible by African American actors—annointed,
                             phenomenal;  my children love it)
Lindvall, Ella K.
            Read-Aloud Bible Stories (several volumes) (These are great for young children,
            ages 2-5)
The Picture Bible (yes, a comic strip Bible.  Surprisingly, this is an excellent source for
                              children to learn the Bible stories, and they love it.)
Hartman, Bob
            Early Saints of God (excellent stories of different saints with reflective questions
                                                and prayers) 
Jackson, Dave and Neta
            Hero Tales (a whole series of great biographies)
Lloyd Jones, Sally
            The Jesus Storybook Bible (fantastic storytelling, shows the unfolding story of Jesus even
            throughout the Old Testament;  the audio is exceptional)
Martin, Mildred A.
            Missionary Stories with the Millers (Excellent.  Avoid chapter 17, “Martyred at
                                  Midnight,” in which children watch the murder of their father.)
Tada, Joni Eareckson and Bobbie Wolgemuth
            Passion Hymns for a Kid’s Heart (several hymn volumes w/ accom. C.D.)
Vos, Catherine
            The Child’s Story Bible
YWAM publishers have amazing biographies of missionaries and heroes of faith

A Visit With Mrs. G (some of the best audio Bible story telling I’ve ever heard)



Focus on the Family Radio Dramas (very well done, but abridged;  I much prefer having children listen    to these read first) Narnia series, Secret Garden, Little Women, Les Miserable, The Hiding Place, Ben Hur, Anne of Green Gables
Look for all of the chapter books above in audio version;  many are available.



Wilson, Elizabeth

Books Children Love

Kilpatrick, William

Books That Build Character

Michael O’Brien
            Landscape With Dragons (book list in the back)
Sonlight curriculum catalog (this is a homeschooling curriculum, but the booklists in
 their catalog are phenomenal)
            consult website:
Chinaberry catalog (great suggestions for early books;  some great suggestions for older
 children, but use caution.)
            consult website: