THE INESTIMABLE POWER OF GOOD BOOKS, AND SOME FAVORITES FOR ALL AGES

A child in the direst of circumstances, experiencing the darkest of childhood horrors, can learn of, and be programmed to seek, better worlds via the reading of good books.

But what is a good book?  One of sacrificial love, heroic acts, and a victorious ending.  One reflecting what and who we are – created in the very image of God to create new worlds, to overcome old evils, and most of all, to love forevermore.  Such a book, if we’re very lucky as adults, will be full of beautiful description, and if we’re children or reading along with children (yay!) will grant us the privilege of gazing upon anointed artwork.

Escape from “reality”?  Not so much as adventurous travel to a higher and more honest “reality.”  That’s because a good book, perhaps especially the most amazingly fantastical of them (think Tolkein, Lewis, Rowling) draws us into and takes us along with people becoming more than they ever dreamed or imagined they could be.  And that is what we really want in a book – humans being who we truly are, doing what we’re truly capable of doing.  More than conquerors.

Enough of such reading and a child will decide that the paltry, dingy, and the defeated is the fantasy, and that he/she is going to live on a higher plane, just like that hero and that heroine in that most excellent of gifts – a good book.

Toward the end of promoting your and your child’s literary delights, I have, with the assistance of my children (now more or less grown-ups) compiled an abbreviated list of excellent reading.  Many of these books are endorsed by not only all four of our (my and husband John’s) children, but by John and me as well.

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So, here goes, more or less ordered from early read-aloud picture books, to adult literature.

IF I HAD A LITTLE TRAIN by Larry DiFiori

GOODNIGHT GORILLA by Peggy Rathmann

BARNYARD DANCE by Sandra Boynton

GUESS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU by Sam McBratney

TIMOTHY TATTERCOAT by Maryel Cheney THIS IF ONE OF MY FAVORITE READALOUDS

HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON by Crockett Johnson

FROG AND TOAD (ALL OF THEM!) by Arnold Lobel ANOTHER FAVORITE READALOUD FOR MOM

LITTLE CRITTER (ALL OF THEM) JOHN’S FAVORITE READALOUDS

THE COMPLETE PETER RABBIT by Beatrix Potter

STELLA LUNA by Janell Canon

THE LADY AND THE LION by Jacqueline K. Ogburn and Laurel Long (marvelous illustrator)

FIVE DOLLS AND THEIR FRIENDS by Helen Clare

THE LITTLE WHITE HORSE by Elizabeth Goudge

BALLET SHOES by Noel Streatfeild

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING by Astrid Lindgren

MRS. PIGGLE WIGGLE by Betty MacDonald

THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE by Kate DiCamillo

MARY POPPINS by P. L. Travers

HANK THE COWDOG and all other books by John R. Erickson

BLACK BEAUTY by Anna Sewell

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA by C. S. Lewis

THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER AND HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain

A LITTLE PRINCESS and THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett

LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS, ON THE BANKS OF PLUM CREEK, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, and THE LONG WINTER by Laura Ingalls Wilder

LITTLE WOMEN and LITTLE MEN by Louisa May Alcott

A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle

TARZAN OF THE APES by Edgar Rice Burroughs

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L. M. Montgomery

KIDNAPPED and TREASURE ISLAND by Robert Louis Stevenson

THE GOOSE GIRL TRILOGY by Shannon Hale

HANS BRINKER AND THE SILVER SKATES by Mary Mapes Dodge

THE LEGEND OF HOLLY CLAUS by Brittney Ryan and Laurel Long

THE BLACK STALLION by Walter Farley

UNDERSTOOD BETSY by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST by Richard Henry Dana

LOVE, RUBY LAVENDER by Deborah Wiles

THE NICKEL PLATED BEAUTY by Patricia Beatty

THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON by Johann David Wyss

PRINCE ACROSS THE WATER and THE ROGUES by Jane Yolen

THE PERILOUS GARD and THE SHERWOOD RING by Elizabeth Marie Pope

RASCAL by Sterling North

THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND by Elizabeth George Speare

MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jean Craighead George

CROWN DUEL by Sherwood Smith

THE STORY OF KING ARTHUR AND HIS KNIGHTS by Howard Pyle

CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E. B. White and Garth Williams

ROBINSON CRUSOE by Daniel Defoe

OLD YELLER by Fred Gipson

THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY by Trenton Lee Stewart

BEAUTY by Robin McKinley

BY THE GREAT HORN SPOON and anything else by Sid Fleischman

THE MUSHROOM PLANET SERIES by Eleanor Cameron

A GIRL OF THE LIMBERLOST and FRECKLES by Jean Stratton Porter

RIFLES FOR WATIE by Harold Keith

ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS by Scott O’dell

DRAGON CODEX SERIES by R. D. Henham

THE HARRY POTTER SERIES by J. K. Rowling

JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte

JUBAL SACKETT and THE LAST OF THE BREED by Louis L’Amour

THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY by J. R. R. Tolkein

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen

DADDY LONGLEGS and DEAR ENEMY by Jean Webster – ALL TIME BEV FAVORITES

BLEAK HOUSE by Charles Dickens

STRANGER AT WILDINGS by Madeleine Brent (ANYTHING BY MADELEINE BRENT!!!)

THE P. G. WODEHOUSE COLLECTION by P. G. Wodehouse

ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL by James Herriot

WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte

 

These are a few books that at least two of us agree to be exceptional books.  Obviously this list could be much, much longer and include more of your favorites as well.  But I hope that you find something there you’d forgotten about and want to read again, as well as something you always meant to read, and something you never even heard of, such as Daddy Longlegs, or By the Great Horn Spoon.  Happy Reading Adventures!

 

 

 

 

 

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