I have been a reader almost all my life….really, since I unlocked the secrets of reading in first grade. If I have free time you’ll often find me snuggled up on the couch with a warm drink, a throw and a wonderful book….either in my Kindle or in actual book form. These are special books, both for children and adults, that I return to again and again. (I will always love these, I think!) Here is a list, for your Thanksgiving enjoyment, of 10 of my faves (along with their Amazon links, just in case!).
1. Understood Betsy Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s tale of a frightened young girl’s transformation into a confident and capable child still delights me. It was one of my first chapter books back in the day…but I have it on my Kindle now and just read it again last week. Not only a loving and encouraging tale, it’s also a beautiful illustration of the Montessori way of teaching and learning….and a reminder of just how much our children can do and learn.
2. A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter. A rich and full tale of Elnora, despised and neglected by her mother, who holds the loss of her husband against her daughter. The story of how Elnora makes her way in the world, winning life, love and joy, shouldn’t be missed. It’s also free for Kindle on Amazon, at least at the time of this post!
3. All the Little House books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read these as a young girl and an adult. I tried to interest Jackson in them repeatedly, and while we read them for school he just didn’t catch Wilder’s vision. Laura’s story, full of love, hardship, pain and perseverance, still warms my heart, as do Garth Williams’ accompanying illustrations.
4. The Secret Garden and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Burnett’s stories of lost little girls who, by faithfulness, friendship and perseverance, triumph in the end, still bring a smile to my face. Both are free for Kindle on Amazon.
5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. My beloved aunt Jane gave me this book several years ago…and when I finally picked it up and read it, I blew through it in just a couple of days…I could NOT put it down! Liesel Meminger is fostered by an unusual family following the death of her brother…and the world of books is opened to her amid the rise and terrors of Germany’s Third Reich. Her story is told by a very unusual observer in a book that is by turns haunting, engrossing, heartrending and gripping….and I fell in love with all of the characters. The movie version has just opened in the U.S. and while I haven’t seen it yet, it looks as though the director and cast caught the mood and nature of the book completely.
6. Sometimes a Light Surprises and No Dark Valley, both by Jamie Langston Turner. I stumbled upon Turner’s “Derby Series” 5 or 6 years ago at the public library (our home away from home), and I ended up buying these two, while still checking the others out from time to time. Turner writes full and redemptive tales of ordinary people with struggles both deep and defining…and the way a loving God moves toward them for healing, life, joy and salvation. Characters from each book are woven in and out of all the stories.
7. C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia stole my heart when I discovered them at camp, all the way back in 5th grade, and I’ve absolutely loved them ever since. We read them aloud as a family a couple of years ago….and I still cry every time Aslan shows up! ‘I am [in your world].’ said Aslan. ‘But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.’
8. Robert Whitlow’s “Tides of Truth” series: Deeper Water, Higher Hope, and Greater Love tell the continuing story of Tami Taylor, a homeschool graduate who goes on to law school, interning and the practice of law. While her homeschool family looks VERY different from ours, I love her faithfulness, innocence and passion for doing what is right. In each book she encounters some horrific crimes, yet God’s hand moves in some very visible and cool ways throughout the lives of the characters.
9. “The Occupational Hazards” series by Rene Gutteridge: Scoop, Snitch and Skid. Gutteridge has the gift and ability to write consuming stories of life and faith with occasional touches of absolute hilarity…the reader finds herself laughing out loud before she even knows she’s going to! These stories of the lives of homeschool graduates thrust into unusual (not to mention worldly) situations are both hilarious, faith-building and entertaining. These three plus 5 other Gutteridge tales sit on our shelves…and are reread yearly!
10. Last but definitely not least: the Bible. What would I do without my daily love letter from our Almighty God? I’m currently using the Homeschool Mom’s Bible, which I was thrilled to be able to review for TOS Crew. (Read my review here!) This is arranged with daily devotional readings, so that you can read through the entire Bible in a year. I started it in August, in the book of Jeremiah, and have progressed all the way to 2 Corinthians, and I can’t wait to make it all the way through. It’s shown me again the absolute value and importance of the full counsel of God. It’s a blessing every single day to me.
Pick up one of these…or more than one…for some fantastic reading time.