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on choosing the very best books for your children

July 20, 2012

Not long after learning that I was pregnant with Sam, can I recall spending hours in just about every bookstore I stumbled upon.  I knew I wanted to get a jump-start on what would one day be our children’s library, so with any free time I found, I would plop myself down in the middle of the bookstore aisles and start thumbing my way through countless stacks of children’s books.

What I found on these shelves, however, was an overwhelming amount of books that I would never want to spend my or my kid’s time reading (let alone our money on owning).  I once read that in 2009 alone (the year Sam was born), 21,878 children’s books were published!  How in the world does one avoid all the “twaddle” out there and still find the best kid lit available to share with your children?  Beyond the tried and true classics, I knew I needed some help.

I decided to start with compiling a list of trustworthy resources (in addition to recommendations from friends) that could help guide me in selecting living books- books that will respect the child’s intellect, engage and stimulate their imagination, and are beautifully written.  And since we have the wonderful provision of the Public Library (which makes all of these resources available for free!), why not put the very best books in the hands of our little ones?

Here is my go-to list of resources that I reference before loading up our online library cart.  I have been so helped by these books and websites that I wanted to pass them along in case any of these would be new to you.  And if you have any resources for choosing great books for your kids, please share!


Books Children Love: A Guide to the Best Children’s Literature

Honey for a Child’s Heart: The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life

Under the Chinaberry Tree: Books and Inspirations for Mindful Parenting


Ambleside Online

Caldecott Medal & Honor Books


Before Five in a Row

Five in a Row

Geisel Award Winners & Honor Books

Newberry Medal & Honor Books

Simply Charlotte Mason


Aslan’s Library

Here in the Bonnyglenn

Orange Marmalade

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Jessica permalink
    July 20, 2012 11:30 pm

    Great post, Jenny! Helpful to others of us who love to read to our children. =)

  2. July 21, 2012 7:49 am

    One of my favorites: “Read for the Heart: Whole Books for the Wholehearted Child” by Sarah Clarkson (Sally Clarkson’s daughter).


    • therigneys permalink*
      July 21, 2012 8:53 am

      Oh, thanks! I’ll have to check this book out!

  3. July 24, 2012 11:28 pm

    Hi Jenny! We have been using Sonlight for our home school curriculum and I have been impressed with their book lists. I’m not sure who likes the books more, me or my loves:)

  4. Anna Barber permalink
    October 2, 2012 11:31 am

    Hi Jenny,
    Except for the blogs, I’ve used almost all of these resources with my children. Another helpful book, right next to Honey for a Child’s/Mom’s/Teen’s Heart, is Who Should We Then Read? by Jan Bloom. I love your blog! It makes me laugh and hurt (in sympathy) and think!

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