Treasure Seeking: How to Find the Best Children’s Literature

I can never seem to find enough good books for my children. My daughter can devour an entire chapter book in a day or two. My  sons can, too, but they tend to be more picky. Or perhaps there just isn’t a whole lot of wholesome quality literature written for boys between the ages of 8 and 12. Unfortunately,  many books written nowadays just don’t make the cut. I want my kids to read books that will inspire and ennoble them, books that show them what it is to be heroic, courageous, and generous, books that help them develop a moral compass while appealing to their imagination. Books that preach without preaching.

So here is where I go when I’m treasure seeking:

Websites/Blogs that Give Lists of Quality Books

Read Aloud Revival  – Who doesn’t love Sarah Mackenzie and the awesome work she’s done at The Read Aloud Revival?  Be inspired to read aloud to your children and get all the help you need to do so.

Reading Matters: Great Reading for Your Children – This website offers detailed, thoughtful reviews and rates each book as highly recommended, recommended, acceptable, some reservations, or not recommended.  I find  their reviews of new and recently released books particularly interesting and helpful.

The Heights School for Boys offers “A list of truly great and very good books for young men in grades three to twelve.”  They also have a list of Summer  Reading Books. These are two lists of books that really appeal to boys. And while you’re at it, check out the amazing parenting articles, book reviews,  and podcasts at the Heights Forum.

1000 Good Books – This is a list put together by 25 homeschooling moms who used the following criteria:

Does the book have literary value? Does the book re-emphasize a Biblical worldview or the Judeo-Christian heritage in some way? Does the book teach, through whatever means, what is moral or just or true? Does the book encourage to love and good works? Does the book exemplify warmth, tenderness, courage, humor, and other values and characteristics that we desire our children to be exposed to? Does the book nourish the intellect and fire the imagination? Does the book cross age barriers to be enjoyed by all?

Storyformed Library – Sarah Clarkson offers mini book reviews categorized by age, genre, historical period, etc. Here’s a great way to find books that cater to your children’s special interests.

Books on books:

For the Love of Literature

This wonderful resource lists books by subject and by historical period. Maureen Wittmann also gives approximate grade levels for each book.

A Picture Perfect Childhood

No one is too old for picture books! Cay Gibson gives us a plethora of excellent picture books by topic and theme. I especially like her list of books by month.

Books Children Love

This book gives detailed descriptions of  many of the best books in children’s literature. Elizabeth Wilson  also recommends books on various subjects.

A Mother's List of Books by Theresa Fagan - 1999 - from Adoremus Books and
A Mother’s List of Books

A simple, straight-forward list of wholesome books.

Catholic Publishers of Children’s Books

Bethlehem Books

Hillside Education

Next week I’ll start sharing with you some of my children’s favorite books. Watch out for the next post: 12 Books my Boys Couldn’t Put Down.  In the meantime, I hope  you’ll be able to dig up some literary treasures for your kids to enjoy.

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