As parents of four children, my wife and I search the internet, shelves of bookstores, pages of catalogues, and home school and Christian conferences trying to find books for our youngsters that are enjoyable and will inspire them to stay true to their Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s both a fun and serious minded endeavor, for within the pages of many books lurk the enemies of a Biblical Worldview.
Granted, there are not many books available that inspire, but we want there to be at least a semi regular diet of these precious works that will speak into their lives.
We don’t always read books before our children sit down with them, but we do try to teach them to ‘prove all things’. Then when something seems amiss, they bring it to our attention and we discuss it in light of scripture.
One of my daughters wanted to try a Choose Your Own Adventure Novel called ‘The Mystery of Ura Senke. I opened to the first page and read the following …
You lie on the couch staring out the window. Another cold gray day. It’s January third, the last official day of New Year’s celebrations in Japan. Your family is spending the year in Kyoto, and even if Japanese school is three times harder than school in the United States, you’ll almost be glad when classes start again in two days. Anything is better than a boring vacation. – page 1
So I asked my girls if they could tell me what was being taught here? What world view was being promoted?
I don’t want my children absorbing that worldview. Not letting them read it is one way. Educating them about what is being taught to them and discussing it in light of what God says on the matter is another. Both are valid methods, depending on the child and the material. With God’s help, we hope to make the right decisions with our children.
Well, I got a little wordy. I better get to the point. Every once in a while I get asked about exciting books that I would recommend for young readers. So here is the list so far. Please feel free to discuss my choices and add your own recommendations.
Be warned that many of the books I’ve listed were read out loud, by my wife, to the whole family. She is very good at skipping inappropriate content, so I don’t know what those things were and Cassandra can’t remember either. It would be too much work to read back through everything in order to analyze each book, so prayerfully ask God for discernment.
I’m also going to keep the list almost entirely in the fictional genres, though there are some great biographies and other non fiction works out there.
I will start with my absolute favorites (inspiring):
– The Spanish Brothers by Deborah Alcock (slow to start)
– The Spanish Cavalier, A Story of Seville by A.L.O.E.
– My Escape From the Auto De Fe’ by Don Fernando de la Mina
– The Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan
– The Heroes of Castle Bretten by Margaret S. Comrie
– The Haunted Room by A.L.O.E. (slow to start)
– The Lamplighter by Maria S. Cummins
– The Stolen Child
– A Charge to Keep by Isabella Alden
– Hebrew Heroes by A.L.O.E.
– True to the Last by Evelyn Everett Green
– Buried in the Snow by Franz Hoffman
Next, I’ll list some other favorites, but not necesarilly inspiring:
– Ishmael by E.D.E.N. Southworth (part one)
– Self Raised by E.D.E.N Southworth (part two)
– Seven Days Left by Charles Monroe Sheldon
– Prisoners of the Sea by Florence Kingsley
– The Lost Clue by Mrs. O.F. Walton
– On His Own by Horatio Alger, Jr.
– Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle
– Trailblazer books by Dave and Neta Jackson (I didn’t read, but my kids did)
– The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter
– Many of the G.A. Henty books (warning: sad views on race)
– The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
– Sir Nigel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
– The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper
– Men of Iron by Howard Pyle
– The Hidden Hand by Emma Southworth (part one)
– Capitola’s Peril by Emma Southworth (part two)
– Down the Long Hills by Louis L’Amour
– Nobody’s Boy by Hector Malot
– Scout books by Piet Prins (I didn’t read, but my kids did)
– Chuck Black books (I read some of these)
– Ed Dunlop books (my kids read these)
– Allen French books
– Douglas Bond books
– To Have and to Hold by Mary Johnston (heavier edits)
Well, I hope you enjoy trying some of these. I would love to hear what people think.
Grace, peace and blessings,
In Jesus, Matt