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Book Tree

Unlike many books of its kind, The Book Tree doesn't waste time trying to tell you why reading is important, what makes a good story, or how the authors came to be interested in making a list of their favorite books—all that's relegated to the brief, straightforward preface. Instead, mother Elizabeth McCallum and daughter Jane Scott simply provide lists of titles accompanied by short synopses to whet your appetite.

The authors are Christian, and often they'll point out ethical or spiritual elements of the books they've chosen to include, but this isn't a "build-a-Christian-worldview-through-literature" kind of book. It's simply a guide to great literature for preschoolers, elementary and middle school students, and high school kids, divided into age-appropriate chapters for easy reference.

Six chapters are divided (very broadly) by grade-level and genre:

  1. Preschool Literature
  2. Elementary School Fiction
  3. Middle School Fiction
  4. Elementary & Middle School Biography
  5. High School Fiction
  6. High School Biography

Some parents will no doubt be surprised by the age-groups to which some titles are assigned. For instance, Anne of Green Gables is included in "Elementary School Fiction," and in middle school kids are supposedly reading Dickens and H.G. Wells. No doubt some students will be advanced enough for this timeline, but others will not; use your judgement, and don't adhere to the recommendations slavishly.

By high school, students should be reading almost exclusively "great books," and this list reflects that: recommended titles in the last two chapters include everything from Quo Vadis and David Copperfield to Foxe's Book of Martyrs and The Screwtape Letters. Many may balk at this level of reading, but if kids are taught a love of reading from an early age, they'll be ready for (and wanting) a challenge when they get older.

Three indexes covering titles, authors, and subjects help parents navigate quickly, finding similar books or works by one author. Older students can probably use The Book Tree on their own, finding books that sound interesting to them. This isn't school-related, and there aren't discussion topics or anything to help guide study; the point is to get kids reading, and to get kids to enjoy reading.

Most of the books you'll find in The Book Tree are titles we carry at Exodus Books; many of them are among our staff favorites. We've listed what we have below, though if you find one we don't have we'd love for you to suggest it, and we'll do our best to bring it in. If you want kid who love literature but don't know where to start, this is a fantastic and easy-to-use resource you can use for many years to come.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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381 Items found Print
1984
Signet Classics
by George Orwell
from Signet Classics
for 10th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$9.99
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Sterling Classics
by Jules Verne
from Sterling Publishing Co.
for 5th-10th grade
in Sterling Classics (Location: A04-04A)
$14.95
Abel's Island
by William Steig
from Square Fish Publishing
Animal Fantasy for 3rd-5th grade
1977 Newbery Honor Book
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$6.99
Adam Bede
Signet Classics
by George Eliot
from Signet Classics
Realistic Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$6.95
Adam Bede
Everyman's Library
by George Eliot
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Realistic Fiction for 9th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$19.20
Adam of the Road
Puffin Newbery Library
by Elizabeth Gray
from Puffin Books
Historical Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1943 Newbery Medal winner
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
$7.99
Adam of the Road
Puffin Modern Classics
by Elizabeth Gray
from Puffin Books
Historical Fiction for 3rd-8th grade
1943 Newbery Medal winner
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
$6.99
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Puffin Classics
by Mark Twain
from Puffin Books
for 6th-10th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
$5.99
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Sterling Classics
by Mark Twain & Scott McKowen
from Sterling Publishing Co.
for 6th-10th grade
in Sterling Classics (Location: A04-04A)
$14.95
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Puffin Classics
by Mark Twain
from Puffin Books
Realistic Fiction for 6th-10th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
$5.99
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Sterling Classics
by Mark Twain & Scott McKowen
Unabridged from Sterling Publishing Co.
Realistic Fiction for 6th-10th grade
in Sterling Classics (Location: A04-04A)
$9.95
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Sterling Classics
by Lewis Carroll & Scott McKowen
Unabridged from Sterling Publishing Co.
for 4th-6th grade
in Sterling Classics (Location: A04-04A)
$9.95
All Creatures Great and Small
James Herriot Series Book 1
by James Herriot
from St. Martin's Press
Realistic Fiction for 8th-Adult
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$8.99
All Creatures Great and Small
James Herriot Series Book 1
by James Herriot
from St. Martin's Press
Realistic Fiction for 7th-Adult
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$15.99
All the Places to Love
by Patricia MacLachlan
from HarperCollins
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$17.99 $12.00 (2 in stock)
All Things Bright and Beautiful
James Herriot Series Book 2
by James Herriot
from St. Martin's Press
Realistic Fiction for 7th-12th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$15.99
Anak, the Eskimo Boy
by Piet Prins
from Inheritance Publications
Realistic Fiction for 2nd-4th grade
in Wholesome Reading (Location: A11-01B)
$8.95
And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?
by Jean Fritz & Margot Tomes
from PaperStar Books
Biography for 2nd-4th grade
in American Revolution (1765-1783) (Location: B01-09C)
$6.99 $3.50 (2 in stock)
Angus and the Ducks
by Marjorie Flack
from Sunburst Book
Animal Realistic for Preschool-2nd grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$7.99
Animal Farm
Signet Classics
by George Orwell
from Signet Classics
Utopian/Dystopian Literature for 9th-Adult
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$9.99
Animal Farm
by George Orwell
from Plume Books
Utopian/Dystopian Literature for 6th-12th grade
in 20th & 21st Century Literature (Location: CLT-20C)
$14.00
Anne of Green Gables
Anne #1
by L. M. Montgomery
from Bantam Books
Orphan Stories for 5th-9th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$6.99
Anne of Green Gables
Sterling Classics
by L. M. Montgomery & Scott McKowen
Unabridged from Sterling Publishing Co.
Orphan Stories for 5th-9th grade
in Sterling Classics (Location: A04-04A)
$9.95
Around the World in Eighty Days
Sterling Classics
by Jules Verne & Scott McKowen
Unabridged from Sterling Publishing Co.
Adventure for 6th-10th grade
in Sterling Classics (Location: A04-04A)
$9.95
Around the World in Eighty Days
Puffin Classics
by Jules Verne
from Puffin Books
Adventure for 6th-10th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
$5.99
Around the Year
by Tasha Tudor
Reprint from Aladdin Paperbacks
for Preschool-1st grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$7.99
Augustine
by P. de Zeeuw
from Inheritance Publications
Biography for 4th-6th grade
in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
$6.76
Augustine Came to Kent
Bethlehem Books Living History Library
by Barbara Willard
from Bethlehem Books
Biography for 5th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$10.75 $8.00 (2 in stock)
Banner in the Sky
by James Ramsey Ullman
from HarperCollins
Realistic Fiction for 4th-8th grade
1955 Newbery Honor Book
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
$8.99
Barnaby Rudge
Everyman's Library
by Charles Dickens
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$25.00
Bear Called Paddington
by Michael Bond
from HarperCollins
Animal Fantasy for 2nd-4th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: A07-02A)
$9.99
Bears on Hemlock Mountain
by Alice Dalgliesh
from Aladdin Paperbacks
Realistic Fiction for Kindergarten-2nd grade
1953 Newbery Honor Book
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$4.99 $3.50 (2 in stock)
Ben-Hur
Signet Classics
by Lew Wallace
from Signet Classics
Historical Fiction for 7th-10th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$8.95
Beowulf the Warrior
by Ian Serraillier
from Bethlehem Books
Fairy Tales, Fables, and Legends for 4th-8th grade
in Classics Retold (Location: A10-03A)
$9.00 $7.00 (1 in stock)
Best-Loved Doll
by Rebecca Caudill
from Henry Holt and Company
Personification Stories for
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$11.99
Betsy-Tacy
Betsy-Tacy #1
by Maud Hart Lovelace
2nd edition from HarperCollins
Family/Friendship Story for 3rd-6th grade
HarperTrophy
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$5.99
Bible Smuggler
by Louise Vernon
from Herald Press
Historical Fiction for 4th-8th grade
in Historical Fiction (Location: A05-01A)
$8.99
Big Red
by Jim Kjelgaard
from Holiday House
Realistic Animal Stories for 4th-8th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$8.95
Billy and Blaze
by C. W. Anderson
from Aladdin Paperbacks
for 1st-3rd grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$7.99
Billy Budd
Signet Classics
by Herman Melville
from Signet Classics
Realistic Nautical Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$4.95 $3.00 (1 in stock)
Billy Budd, Sailor, and Other Stories
by Herman Melville
from Bantam Books
Realistic Nautical Fiction for 10th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: CLT-19C)
$4.95
Birds' Christmas Carol
by Kate Douglas Wiggin
from Houghton Mifflin
Christmas/Advent for 3rd-6th grade
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$8.95
Birds' Christmas Carol
by Kate Douglas Wiggin
from Grosset & Dunlap
Christmas/Advent for 3rd-6th grade
in Christmas & Advent (Location: APO-02B)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Birthday for Frances
by Russell & Lillian Hoban
from HarperCollins
Animal Fantasy for 1st-3rd grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$6.99
Black Beauty
Puffin Classics
by Anna Sewell
from Puffin Books
Realistic Animal Stories for 4th-8th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$5.99
Black Beauty
Sterling Classics
by Anna Sewell & Scott McKowen
Unabridged from Sterling Publishing Co.
Realistic Animal Stories for 4th-8th grade
in Sterling Classics (Location: A04-04A)
$9.95 $6.50 (1 in stock)
Black Pearl
by Scott O'Dell
from Dell Publishing
for 4th-6th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
$4.50 (1 in stock)
Black Pearl
by Scott O'Dell
Reprint from Houghton Mifflin
for 4th-6th grade
in Adventure Stories (Location: A04-01A)
$7.99 $4.50 (1 in stock)
Black Stallion
Black Stallion #1
by Walter Farley
from Yearling
Realistic Animal Fiction for 5th-6th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$7.99
Blue Willow
Puffin Newbery Library
by Doris Gates
from Puffin Books
for 4th-7th grade
1941 Newbery Honor Book
in Realistic Fiction (Location: A09-01A)
$6.99 $3.50 (1 in stock)
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