Ella's book list, 2011-present

Recently my sweet Ella, 10, closed the book she'd been reading, let out a satisfied sigh, and announced that she had finished it.  When I asked her why she liked it, she simply said, "Because it was about a family."  Of course.  It's what she knows: brothers and sisters and their interactions, a mother and a father and a home.  It's why she's not interested in an animal story- though she loves animals- unless there's also a family tucked into the story.  It's why she continues to pick up Boxcar children books off the library shelves-- the children in the stories are siblings, experiencing adventures together. 

Ella has a binder in which she records each book she's read throughout the year, and she's read a lot.  Over 100 books.  Some of them are from our our own shelves and are re-reads, some we've found throughout the year at Goodwill or garage sales, some from the library.  Some we assigned to her and she would not have read it otherwise.  I've tried to categorize the ones I could, and I'll start with her favorites, which were marked in her binder with stars and notations to me such as "This is was so good", or "Read this book", or "You have to read this book", or "I love this book!" Without further ado, here they are:

{Ella's favorites}

A Way Through the Sea, Beyond the River, Into the Flames, Far From the Storm, Chasing the Wind, A Light in the Castle, Follow the Star, and Touch the Sky, from The Young Underground Series, by Robert Elmer~ currently out of print, but our library still had them and she loved this series of 8 books.

The Borrowers, by Mary Norton

The Cottage at Bantry Bay and Francie on the Run, by Hilda van Stockum

Bridge to America, by Linda Glaser

The Moffats, The Middle Moffat, and Rufus M., by Eleanor Estes


That ends her marked favorites.  The rest of these to come?  She liked them, too- and many of them got happy sighs, also.  I have starred (*) the ones I know for sure were re-reads for her, which likely means they're on her bookshelf and thus were already favorites.

from the Five Little Peppers series, all by Margaret Sidney:
Polly Pepper's Book, Five Little Peppers in the Little Brown House and Five Little Peppers and Their Friends (the first book in this series, Five Little Pepper and How They Grew, is one we've read aloud and Ella has read several times by herself.  It's a favorite!)

from The Boxcar Children series, Gertrude Chandler Warner:
The Honeybee Mystery, *Blue Bay Mystery, *The Boxcar Children, The Mystery at the Mixed-up Zoo,
*Schoolhouse Mystery, The Woodshed Mystery, The Pet Shop Mystery, The Mystery of the Hidden Beach and The Mystery in the Snow

from the Heroes of America series, biographies of:
Benjamin Franklin, Jackie Robinson, Clara Barton and Daniel Boone

from the Childhood of Famous Americans series, biographies of:
Sacagawea, Buffalo Bill, Louisa May Alcott, Betsy Ross and Molly Pitcher

Other mostly stand-alone books, alphabetized by author:

the books of Daniel and Titus, from the Bible (these we did NOT assign, and are not on our Bible reading list, so I love these entries.)
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Aiken
The American Schoolhouse Reader, Allie
Bunnies in the Bathroom and Kittens in the Kitchen, Baglio
Corrie Ten Boom, Benge
*New Beginnings, Brunstetter
The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat and The Adventures of Prickly Porky, Burgess
Happy Little Family (1), Schoolhouse in the Woods (2), Up and Down the River (3) and School Room in the Parlor (4), Rebecca Caudill
*The Courage of Sarah Noble, Dalgliesh
Family Reminders, Danneberg
Adopted Jane, Daringer
Kisses from Katie, Davis
Because of Winn-Dixie, Dicamillo
Five Smooth Stones, Gregory
Trouble at Otter Creek, Hays
Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley, Henry
Survival in the Storm, Janke
Nellie the Brave, Jones
The Jungle Book, Kipling
*Almost Home, Lawton
A Light Kindled, Leininger
The Children of Noisy Village, Lindgren
Secrets of the Woods, Long
Three Against the Tide, Love
*Little Town in the Ozarks, MacBride
The Princess and the Goblin, Macdonald 
Gentle's Holler and Louisiana's Song, Kerry Madden
Whitetail, McClung
The Triplets Fly High, Moore
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, O'Brien
Island of the Blue Dolphins, O'Dell
*In Grandma's Attic, *More Stories from Grandma's Attic and *Still More Stories from Grandma's Attic, Richardson
(plays) The Taming of the Shrew and Measure for Measure, Shakespeare
Gentle Annie, Shura
Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Good Queen Bess, Diane Stanley
American Tall Tales, Stoutenburg
Hadassah, Tenney
The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic, Trafton
Meet Molly, Tripp
Pegeen, van Stockum
Tapenum's Day, Waters 
The Kings Daughter and Other Stories for Girls, White
*Across the Puddingstone Dam, Wiley
My Name is Sally Little Song, Woods
Jotham's Journey, Ytreeide


  1. Love love love love love LOVE this list! I think I love Ella, too. And you as her mama- what a beautiful foundation for literature she has! Thank you for sharing this list that is promptly being starred and if I could write in the margin "You have to read this!" for Eliana I would. Come to think of it, I think I'll use that for the title of the folder. :)

    Has she read Understood Betsy? I'm reading it aloud (again) to the whole family, and we just love it. One of the best pieces of fiction we've ever read that describes the heart of our Ambleside-style education to a "t". Love it.

    Love you!

    1. Aw, I am so glad I posted it, then!

      As for Understood Betsy, Ella read it a couple years ago, but I have never read it. I've already pulled it off the shelf so that I can add it to our read-aloud list for this year.

  2. I too am really happy when you post these lists! I've added books to Sadie's list.
    Thank you!

    1. Oh, you're welcome, sweet Dana!
      Blessings to your and your sweet girl!

  3. Thanks for posting this, Stacy! I have used many of the lists you've shared in the past, and they have been so helpful.
    I think my Bre and Ella would be good friends. :)

  4. Thank you for these recommendations! My daughter is not yet 10 but these titles will come in very handy in a few years!


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