Recommended Book Lists

In some ways, we're more careful about choosing which reading lists we carry than actual titles. Everything we do should be honoring to God, and that includes choosing the books we read—it's important, therefore, that assemblers of booklists share our values and Christian worldview, as well as our love for reading quality material.

Our best advice for choosing books is summed up by the apostle Paul: "Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8).

This verse addresses the two essential elements of good literature: good content and good style. Obviously, we shouldn't read garbage, novels and stories filled with unwholesome content, especially if unrighteous behavior is glorified; but at the same time (and this is a crucial element Christians often overlook), our reading material should be well-written and pleasing to hear.

A book that promotes good morals but is sloppily constructed won't do much toward helping us model the attitudes it supports. Because our human minds are made in God's image, we're drawn to beauty and goodness, and a classic novel like To Kill a Mockingbird is much more likely to help us see our own prejudices and bigotry than one that simply says "racism is bad," or that presents stock characters, or that doesn't read as much like poetry.

Booklists like The Book Tree and Honey for a Child's Heart have been compiled by educators who understand the need for good content and good style, and also understand that reading is part of an individual's growth as a person of virtue and character. Titles are selected accordingly, and only books that will have a positive impact are chosen, while morally ambiguous stories are generally avoided.

That's not to say you won't have to discuss everything your children or family reads, however. One of the ways children are able to understand and internalize the messages of good books is by interacting with them, and with others who've read them. You don't want to give your kids The Wind in the Willows and never talk about it; you want to know they learned what they were supposed to learn from Mr. Toad's wild antics.

We've managed to assemble a list of guides that reflect every stage of literary development and education, from preschool to the elementary grades, and from high school through college and adult study. A few are more education-oriented (like All Through the Ages, which is specifically for choosing history books), but most are simply literature-related, and can be used to choose both school and free-time reading.

Not every family or individual shares the same tastes, not by a long shot. None of these booklists are intended to be rigorously followed; each one contains more titles than anyone can read, but enough information is provided for individual books to help you make educated choices about which ones you'll have your kids read. These are invaluable tools, and especially if you're new to homeschooling, we recommend purchasing one or two to help you get started.

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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22 Items found Print
1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up
1st edition from Universe Publishing
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
All Through the Ages
by Christine Miller
3rd edition from Nothing New Press
World History Reference for All grades
in World History Reference (Location: B02-01A)
Book Tree
by Elizabeth McCallum & Jane Scott
2nd edition from Canon Press
for Preschool-12th grade
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
Book Tree (old)
by Elizabeth McCallum & Jane Scott
from Canon Press
for Preschool-12th grade
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
Booklist: Recommended Reading for Children and Young Adults
by Institute of Reading Development
for 3rd-9th grade
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
Books Children Love
by Elizabeth Wilson
2nd edition from Crossway Books
for Kindergarten-8th grade
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
Christian Reading Companion for 50 Classics
by James Stobaugh
Reprint from Master Books
for 9th-Adult
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
Give Your Child the World
by Jamie C. Martin
from Zondervan
for Adult
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
Hand That Rocks the Cradle
by Nathaniel Bluedorn
from Christian Logic
for Kindergarten-7th grade
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
Honey For a Child's Heart
by Gladys Hunt
4th edition from Zondervan
for All ages
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
Honey for a Teen's Heart
by Gladys Hunt & Barbara Hampton
from Zondervan
for 7th-Adult
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
Invitation to the Classics
by Louise Cowan & Os Guinness
from Baker Books
for 11th-Adult
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
Let the Authors Speak
by Carolyn Hatcher
for Kindergarten-12th grade
in World History Reference (Location: B02-01A)
Once Upon A Heroine
by Allison Cooper-Mullin
from Contemporary Books
for 1st-7th grade
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
Outside of a Dog Booklist
by Eli Evans, C. Hollis Crossman
from Exodus Books
for 1st-12th grade
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
Read for the Heart
by Sarah Clarkson
from Apologia Educational Ministries
for Nursery-6th grade
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
Read for Your Life
by Barbara Hampton, Gladys Hunt
annotated edition from Zondervan
for 7th-12th grade
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
Read-Aloud Handbook
by Jim Trelease
7th edition from Penguin Putnam
for Kindergarten-6th grade
in Reading Aloud & Story-telling (Location: B18-09A)
Reader's Guide
by Dr. Christopher Perrin & Leslie Rayner
from Classical Academic Press
for Kindergarten-12th
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)
Reading Between the Lines
by Gene Veith
from Crossway Books
for 10th-Adult
in Literary Analysis & Reference (Location: B18-10A)
Teaching U.S. History Through Children's Literature - Post-World War II
by Wanda Miller
for 4th-8th grade
in American History Reference (Location: B04-03C)
Timeline of Classics
by Gail Ledbetter
2nd edition from Institute for Excellence in Writing
for 1st-12th grade
in Recommended Book Lists (Location: A06-00A)