I'm ecstatic that all three of my children like to read, but I've noticed that they tend to gravitate toward the same kinds of books time after time.
So for our next 6-week school term, I decided to help them expand their book repertoire a bit. I still gave them some freedom in choosing which books to read, but I guided their choices a bit more than I have in the past. I aimed at including at least one biography, one non-fiction, one 'classic', and one historical fiction in each list.
So here's what's on deck for each of them.
Booklist for 12-year-old boy
Jaden has been reading a lot of books in the fantasy genre lately. Most of the books he's been reading have been recommended to him by my husband who is an avid fantasy reader. So with his list I'm trying to expose him to some more reality-based, historical fiction.
- Abraham Lincoln, by James Daughtery. A very well-written biography about our 16th president.
- The Story of Flight: the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, by Judith E. Rinard. This short non-fiction book is full of interesting photographs depicting the history of flight as well as concise chapters describing the fascinating evolution of flight.
- Across Five Aprils, by Irene Hunt. Historical fiction about a young boy coming of age during the Civil War.
- Twice Freed, by Patricia St. John. Historical fiction about Onesimus, the freed slave mentioned in the Bible in the book of Philemon. I read this book in high school and remember it fondly.
- Theras and His Town, by Caroline Dale Snedeker. Jaden just finished read Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, so this historical fiction about a young boy born in Athens is a nice segue.
- The Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes (9 selected stories), by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Jaden hasn't seemed interested in mystery books, but he has been intrigued by humor in writing, so he just might enjoy Doyle's tongue-in-cheek style, even if the narrative is a bit more challenging than he's used to.
Booklist for 11-year-old girl
Jerah's been an avid reader for years, and she's been fairly good at choosing books from different genres already, but planning this list out ahead of time will help her focus specifically on variety. Jerah chose all these books on her own and decided she wanted to read seven books this term, not just six.
- If Animals Could Talk, by Dr. Werner Gitt. Jerah's an animal lover, so this treatise on the complexity of animals is right up her alley.
- The Runaway, by Patricia M. St. John. This historical fiction book follows the life of Philo, a first-century Phoenician boy, and his experience with Jesus of Nazareth.
- The Hidden Girl: A True Story of the Holocaust, by Lola Rein Kaufman. This biography is about a young Jewish girl whose mother is killed by the Gestapo during World War II.
- Crying Wind. This is an amazing autobiography of a twentieth century Navajo Indian who is abandoned by her parents. Her life is an amazing testimony to the saving grace of Christ.
- One More River, by Lynne Reid Banks. This book follows the story of a young girl who emigrates to Israel with her parents to live in a border kibbutz. This is definitely not a typical youth fiction book.
- Soft Rain: A Story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears, by Cornelia Cornelissen. Historical fiction following the life of a young Cherokee girl as she struggles through the Trail of Tears.
- Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell. This classic book has been on Jerah's shelf for years, but she's never made it all the way through it before.
Booklist for 7-year-old girl
Joely loves to read, but she has a hard time finishing a book. She loves to start them though! Hopefully this list will give her a goal that she can work hard to meet.
- Laura Ingalls Wilder: a Biography, by William Anderson.
- Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
- Christian Liberty Nature Reader, Book 3. Like her sister, Joely loves animals, so she was really excited to see this on her reading list.
- The Light Princess, by George MacDonald. We all love George MacDonald's books, and this unique, classic fairly tale is no exception.
- James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl. Jerah read through all of Dahl's books a few years ago, so we have almost all of them on our bookshelves at home. This is the first Dahl book Joely will have read.
- James Herriot's Animal Stories, by James Herriot. I read all of James Herriot's books when I was a child, and loved each and every one of them. This book is a great introduction to his works.
Do you have any book suggestions to add to future booklists?
What a fantastic list of books! My daughter has read several of the books listed and has enjoyed every one of them. She is in love, love, love with Roald Dahl! I hope Joely enjoys James and the Giant Peach so it will open her up to more of his fabulous works.
The Hidden Girl is an amazing story. Here is a very good video with the author and Ms. Rein, although it cuts off about 20 minutes in and you don't get to hear too much from Ms. Rein. http://www.nysoclib.org/notes/2009/hidden_girl.html
Nonetheless, it's very good.
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Fenomenal idea of including historical fiction. Great lists!
I meant phenomenal! (I wrote in Spanish, 'perdón", sorry 😉
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I love this list! I have two 7 year olds soon to be in a couple of weeks and some of the books you listed we have. I would like to read the Laura Ingalls Wilder bio. Especially after we finish the Little House series. We will be starting By the Shores of Silver lake on Monday. We have the James Herriot books and love them. I'm looking forward to hearing about The Light Princess. Thanks for sharing your list.
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I have to thank you for these lists. Many of the books for your older two are new to me. I may need to add them to my wishlists. 🙂
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I loved Number the Stars when I was 6th grade (ish) It is another holocaust book. It's been a long time since I read it, so double check it before giving it to your kids, but if your 11 year old likes the holocaust book on her list she will probably like it.
@Lee, Oh, yes, Number the Stars is already on our bookshelf in the 'queue' to read. 🙂
We did read aloud The Hiding Place a couple years ago, and my children really liked the book. I read The Hiding Place in high school and it left a really big impression on me. I've always been very drawn to books about WWII and apparently Jerah is too.
Hmmmm You are making me think! I have been debating on making a book list of books to read for the next year.. But to do it your way sounds SOOO much better! I HATED trying to make that list and saying YOU HAVE to read these books.. THANK YOU!
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Great lists. Like Jimmie, lots that I hadn't heard of before. Which brings me to my question. How did you find the books you chose? Did you search your library's website, use book lists, or what? I'd love to do this same thing with my son, who is also an avid reader, but I am overwhelmed by how to give him the choice. Ideas appreciated.
@Joni, Actually, each of these books came from our own bookshelves at home. My husband and I are avid book collectors, so we've been collecting good books for years and years.
As for how I chose them? Wish I could answer that better than just to say I perused my shelves and chose the books that I thought my kids would enjoy and that weren't the same ol' same ol' they have been reading recently. Many of the books I chose are ones I've read before myself, so I know they're good reads.
In the past I've used this list here to find good books: http://www.classical-homeschooling.org/celoop/1000.html Many of the books I already have on my bookshelves at home which I don't have to worry about the kids reading them before they're due back at the library! 🙂
melissa stover says
i love to see what kids are reading. i'm adding several of these to our list. thanks for posting about it.
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lexi peterson says
you better put Precy Jackson on your list too it's like thebest book I have ever read.
Thanks. Great ideas.
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Are the Sherlock Holmes stories edited somewhat for the age group? If I remember correctly he was a heavy opiate user in the original books.
@Kim, No, the Holmes stories are in their original form.
If there are any opiate-use references in the particular stories that Jaden reads, we'll simply use it as a discussion starter. It'll give us a good opportunity to not only talk about drug use, but to discuss the history of drugs like opiates which have not always been illegal.
Interesting. I do not yet have a 12 year old so no one in my home is ready for Sherlock Holmes. We also prefer the read and discuss method in our family. My husband teaches 5th and 6th grade and opted not to keep Sherlock in the classroom due the drug use, primarily because only a handful of students are able to read comprehensively at this level, and he would not be able to easily engage in discussion. Just came across your blog today via happy housewife. We are also big readers. I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog.
@Kim, I just did a little more research on the drug use in Shelock Holmes. This article (http://www.bakerstreetdozen.com/coca.html) says that "Holmes’s much publicised [sic] drug habit is directly observed in only two stories: The Sign of Four (1890) and A Scandal in Bohemia (1891) with vague or historical references in seven other tales." (I checked the TOC in the book my son is reading, and neither The Sign of Four or A Scandal in Bohemia are included. ) You might also find the rest of that article an interesting read as it discusses the possible motivations Doyle had in including this character flaw in his main character.
Actually, now that you've brought this up, I'm thinking about picking up the Complete Sherlock Holmes that I have on my shelf already and reading those two stories to see exactly how Doyle writes about it. I really do thank you for commenting about this as it will very likely lead to an interesting discussion at our house. Plus, I learned a lot in researching this, and I always love doing that! 🙂
What a great list. My 10 yo ds has really gotten into the Civil War and WWII after studying them in 5th grade this year. I have been looking for some books to extend this interest. I can't belive I forgot about Across Five Aprils!!!! We will be checking these out over Spring Break.
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For a 12-year-old boy: White Fang, Black Stallion, Chronicles of Narnia, The Yearling…
What a good idea. I love that you still let your children chose the books they were to read and that you gave them guidance in making their choices by topic. It is also most impressive that you already had this set of books in your home library. Your children have surely learned the value of reading from you and your husband. Great job parents!
You have already listed some of my own personal favorites but I would also include some other classics such as Treasure Island, The Jungle Book, The Yearling, Old Yellar and one I am challenging my 9 year old granddaughter to read, The Miracle Worker. Your list is wonderful and I plan to forward this post to my daughter-in-law so she can see the list. Thanks for sharing.