Choosing books for Ella

Now that school has ended and summer is here, I must find some books for Ella to read. I handed her a 200-page book yesterday and by this afternoon she was done with it. Sheesh. I can't keep up.

I've been more than a little lax in this department of late. These days, our trips to the library are rare. What I often do is put books on hold (from my computer) and Mark picks them up and brings them home. What I sometimes do is take all five kids to the library, and we end up with a stack of random books and a frazzled mama. What I infrequently (but oh-so-delightfully) do is sneak away with just Ella or the older three and sit amongst the books and take our time, finding just the right books.

What happens in that sometimes category is that Ella ends up pulling what I would consider twaddle off the shelves. [Lately, that's been a lot of Boxcar Children, American Girl series, and Mandie books.] While those books are fine, there are just too many other truly good books out there that I don't want her to miss out on. I really want her reading good literature.

What that requires is some forethought from me, and so tonight I've been perusing some of my go-to books full of book lists and trying to come up with a summer reading list for her.

Here are those above-mentioned go-to books:

Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Nathaniel Bluedorn

Read for the Heart, Sarah Clarkson

Honey for a Child's Heart, Gladys Hunt

Just because a book is listed in one of these three books doesn't automatically mean we'll bring it home from library. What I generally do is this:
1) peruse the lists in these books
2) put a bunch of books on hold at the library (maybe 8-10 books at a time)
3) bring them home, skim through them
4) then choose the ones I approve of, or think Ella will be interested in, and/or are age and subject appropriate.

I completed step 2 tonight, and will await the verdict when the holds are ready for me at the library. :)

Some previous posts containing lists of books we've read and loved:
Reading list
Book list for a seven year-old girl
School after breakfast: Books we've read aloud


  1. You are so wise! I too have a hard time finding good books. They are into the early Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew right now which is not my first choice but it buys me some time. Thank you for the resources.

  2. I read some great books for my Children's Literature class that I have been taking this quarter. Two ones that may be prospects for Ella are "Elijah of Buxton" by Christopher Paul Curtis and "Project Mulberry" by Linda Sue Park. Elijah is about a boy growing up in a freed slave settlement in Canada. Mulberry is about two friends who raise silkworms for a state fair project. Both books touch on some sensitive issues so I would recommend reading them first, but they deal with things in a sensitive and meaningful way. Both are at the public library.


  3. Sounds great. Do you ever take your approved list and hand it to Ella letting her choose what book she'd like to read? I remember getting lists and scouring over which one fascinates me the most and that was part of the fun. It's like when kids get those Scholastic pamphlets at school.

    But wow 200 pages in one day--she's a reader indeed (sounds like Ben).

  4. I love this picture of your girls with Ella reading away at the beach!
    Cuties, all of them!

  5. Carolynn~ I read all the Nancy Drew books when I was younger and loved them. I'm actually thankful Ella hasn't discovered them, yet. (I can't help it, but every time I think of Nancy Drew books in relation to my daughter, I think: "Nancy had a boyfriend!";)

    Helen~ Thank you! I'll check into both titles. They sound really good.

    Kamille~ Yes. She occasionally thumbs through a catalog (homeschooling or CBD) and circles the books she'd like to read. Then I check them out at the library for her. :) But because she's my girl I also know what she likes to read (anything Pioneer related, for instance) so it's easy for me to choose for her, too. :)

    Rebecca M~ Thank you! I love it, too. :)

  6. Thanks for posting about good book guides. I must admit I have become lax, especially with my oldest son. I really don't think there are as many interesting *good* books for boys as for girls. I look forward to the day when he's ready for G.A. Henty. Those'll keep him busy for awhile! :)


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