If you're not into lists, don't buy this book. Hand That Rocks the Cradle is one of the longest lists you'll encounter, but it's also one of the most helpful and (if you're a list lover) most fun. What's in the list? 400 classic books to read aloud with your children. It might not be a comprehensive list, and not every title will appeal to every reader, but this is a great place to start if you're looking for great books to read and discuss as a family.
There are many reasons to read out loud. Many of the reasons author Nathaniel Bluedorn offers simply relate to literature in general, whether read aloud or not—good books teach good writing, good character, and comprehension skills. But he also suggests that reading aloud as a family is a great way to build familial bonds and memories. We'd like to add that reading aloud is a great way to teach children how to be attentive.
The books in Hand That Rocks the Cradle appeal to a variety of ages (pre-K to teens) and interests (adventure novels, historical fiction, family dramas, fantasy, etc.). There is only one list, arranged alphabetically by author, with brief synopses of the selected works as well as symbols representing suggested age-range, time and geographic setting of the story, and the book's publication date.
Titles range from classics like Charlotte's Web and Ben-Hur to lesser-knowns like Beau Geste and the true-life adventure Kon-Tiki. Each book is selected for the quality of its writing and the moral character of its content; that's not to say, however, that there aren't moral dilemmas and difficult concepts in these stories to provide fodder for excellent and wide-ranging family discussions.
Every title we carry is listed below. While we'd like to carry all of them (Hand That Rocks the Cradle is an excellent list), some of them simply aren't available or are very difficult to get. If you find one you particularly want and we don't have it, let us know and we'll do our best to bring it in. The author identifies this list as one his parents compiled during years of reading aloud; we're sure it will lead to many hours of enjoyment for your family as well, and maybe you'll find your own favorites to add.