Read-alouds: our favorites

Thus far my major accomplishment in the school-planning category {thank you, Lord!} is this: I have collected all the books we're going to be reading next year.  This includes our read-alouds, our history selections, and lists of books I'd like to check out at the library to accompany the books we own.  Also, the kids' assigned reading shelf is filling up (and Ella and Isaac are itching to get their hands on them).  I am so thankful because that is a HUGE part of my planning.  We read a lot of books, and this year we're tackling more than ever.

Today I sorted the books I'll be reading aloud and checked in with Mark to see what he'd like to read to the kids.  That got me thinking about some of our favorite read-alouds to date, so I thought I'd share them with you, with notes following some of the titles, especially the lesser-known ones:

* * *

Incident at Hawk's Hill and Return to Hawk's Hill, Allan Eckert
     -The story of a shy, six-year old boy named Ben who wanders from home one day and gets lost- for months, but befriends a badger in the process. (based on a true story.)  Our kids were riveted- and while we read this a few years ago, now- it remains a family favorite. 

Charlotte's Web, E.B. White 

Heidi, Johanna Spyri
     -I blogged about how much we loved this book here.

Toliver's Secret, Esther Wood Brady
     -I honestly can't even remember much of this book, but I starred it on my list at the time (a few years back) as a favorite of the kids'.  I double-checked with Mark, who had read it aloud to them, and he assures me they really liked this story.

Wait for Me, Watch for Me, Eula Bee, Patricia Beatty
     -from Amazon: "The heart-pounding story of a Texan boy's transformation to a Comanche brave and back again.  With Pa off fighting in the Civil War, Lewallen Collier and his little sister are captured in a bloody Comanche raid. Admiring Lewallen's courage, the Indians give him the name Sings His War Song and try to teach him the ways of a young brave. But Lewtie dreams only of escape -- and of the day he can return to rescue little Eula Bee."  Boys, especially, will love this book!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl

A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Little House series, Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Narnia series, C.S. Lewis

Treasures of the Snow, Patricia St. John
     -A powerful story of forgiveness.

The Sign of the Beaver, Elizabeth George Speare

     -Another great book.  Matthew is left to guard his family's cabin in the wilderness while his father retrieves the rest of his family.  (This is going on Isaac's assigned reading list for the year, though we've already read it together as a family.  He'll just love it all over again on his own.)

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Robert C. O'Brien

George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol's Orphans, Geoff and Janet Benge
     -I just love George Muller.  He inspires me to greater prayer and greater dependence upon God.  This is a great book for kids, detailing God's provision for the orphans even though Muller never ONCE asked for money- though the need was often great.  Throughout the book there are examples of times when they truly had no food at the orphanage and God would miraculously answer their prayers!  I loved reading this with the kids and we had great discussions throughout this book.

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, Margaret Sidney
     -from Amazon: "Since their father died, the five Pepper children and their mother have been living in poverty, with only potatoes and brown bread for supper. Ben chops wood to help support the family, and Polly looks after the little ones while their mother earns what she can by sewing. The Peppers are so poor, they've never even had a Christmas. But from measles to monkeys, through bad times and good, the cozy kitchen in the little brown house rings with laughter and hope."

Gentle Ben, Walt Morey

Summer of the Monkeys, Wilson Rawls (*also authored Where the Red Fern Grows)
     -Another great read-aloud.  We all loved this adventure of Jay Berry trying to capture those monkeys!

Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
     -One of my favorite books.  I had so much fun introducing Anne, Gil, Diana, Matthew, Marilla, Miss Stacy, and even Rachel Lynde to my kids!

Little Britches, Ralph Moody
     -If there was just ONE book from this list I would implore you to read-- outside of the Narnia series--- it would be this book.  Especially if you have boys.  It is thoughtfully narrated by an eight-year-old Ralph, growing and learning to become a man.  It is so full of wisdom and heart.  We all LOVED this book and it will ever be a favorite of ours.

The Railway Children, Edith Nesbit

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Barbara Robinson
      -This was a fun read-aloud--- mostly because my kids were so horrified by all the antics of the Herdman family.

God's Smuggler, Brother Andrew

Robin Hood, Howard Pyle

{Let me know if you've read any of these, or you can list one of your favorites in the comments!}


  1. How funny! I just blogged about Summer of the Monkeys today! When Ian was younger he did a report on George Mueller, I wish I had video taped it. It was priceless! I was hoping for some books we hadn't read yet. Five Little Peppers is one, the rest are our favorites too! Great Job planning my friend!

    1. Sorry I couldn't help you out on books you haven't yet read!

  2. Oh, thanks, Stacy! I've been pondering O's reading list (he's 9 but just became a reader- read the whole Warriors series this summer) and needed a reminder on some of these. Blessings, Annie

    1. Yes, that's it exactly. Sometimes I think "oh, I'll have to remember that when the time comes..." and then it falls completely out of my head when the time comes. :) Happy to remind you of some titles, Annie!

  3. Excellent- our read-aloud wishlist just grew by several books! ;) Thank you, kind friend.

    Five Children and It; oh, my, it was wonderful! The children never wanted me to stop reading- there were many groans and sad faces when we simply had to. Miracles on Maple Hill was also a wonderful read-aloud, as well as Gone-Away Lake and Return to Gone-Away; these were especially good for all ages in our family.

    I read Unbroken to my big boys this winter (oh, incredible- a must-read for you if you haven't already!), and since I was reading it aloud I was able to leave out a few details that were unnecessary for them to hear. And now I'm reading them The End of the Spear, and can hardly make it through each chapter without crying at some point. Cor has to say at least once each Sunday afternoon (that's my time to read aloud to the big boys while the littles and Daddy nap. :), Take your time, Mama, while I get all choked up. :)

    And Understood Betsy, of course, which we are on our second time through and Eliana is enjoying SO MUCH!! It's so lovely.

    Thank you for sharing- yay for finishing a big task that promises to bring so much joy! :) I can imagine the anticipation building in Ella and Isaac...

    Love you, friend.

    1. You're so welcome! I'm glad that some are new to you. :) You'll have to let me know what you think!

      Five Children and It is sitting on Isaac's assigned reading shelf at the moment, and he is itching to get to that shelf! (Ella has read it already.)

      I'll have to look into Gone-Away Lake again... I picked it up once and perused it for a read-aloud (probably after YOU recommended it!) but decided we were too young for it at the time.

      Unbroken is hands-down my favorite read within the past couple of years. I loved it. I'm so happy you're reading it aloud to your boys-- I can't wait to read it to all of my kids, but... in a few more years.

      Adding The End of the Spear to my list... we read a biography of Nate Saint a few years back and ended up looking information up online and found this video that was so, so touching:

      Understood Betsy is sitting on my to-read-aloud shelf for next year {Thank you!} Can't wait!

      Love to you, friend...

  4. I'm anxious to see your plans for the upcoming year. Will you be sharing?

  5. Thank you, Stacy!!! LOVE these lists!

  6. And out of curiosity... do you buy most of the books your family reads for the school year? You must have lots of books. :)

  7. We finished Because of Winn Dixie this morning. I had never read it, but it was wonderful! I was teary by the end.


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