Welcome back for another ten of my favorite books for families. I sincerely wish that the mind of every child could be sparked by the words of these magical stories.

Chapter books aren’t just for independent readers; the ongoing stories make exciting readalouds for even quite young children. For families with a range of ages to please, they are a boon. These are the ones to reach for when it’s a half hour before bedtime and everyone is cuddled on the couch and begging for a story.

Little Women

The quintessential American tale of family devotion and moral development, it is also a loving monument to the selfless care that makes a home.


A small hero, the struggle between light and dark, and the nourishing comfort of soup; this fast-moving modern classic has everything you need for a quest.

Farmer Boy

My far-away favorite of the Wilder books, this story of hard work and wholesome youth stands alone – and lacks some of the problematic attitudes of Laura’s story.

The Secret Garden

Sorrow and anger are softened by nature’s joys and the wonder of growing things. I never tire of discovering them afresh with Mary Lennox.

The Jungle Book

These stories are so much more than a lazy singing bear. They speak of respect and natural law, and the order that governs all creation. Spoiler: said bear is actually noble and wise. Please read it.

Where the Red Fern Grows

A heartbreaking tale of determination, devotion, and courage; this story is achingly beautiful in a distinctly American way.

The Wind in the Willows

Friendship, folly, and a sweet cast of animal characters boating on the river make this story a perennial classic; moreover, it is a well-penned tribute to the delights of everyday life.

Robin Hood

I love this version of the swashbuckling folk hero. The hearty language takes us right to Sherwood Forest, where we can see the justice and courtesy that really motivated our merry men.

The White Stag

A people seeking their promised land, a leader hunting his destiny, the clash of old faiths and new; this thrilling legend of the Huns is, in a sense, the story of humans everywhere.


Home isn’t always as cozy as Marmee’s parlor, or as grand as Mistlethwaite Manor… sometimes it’s a tiny cabin in the mountains, but it’s home just the same. Heidi’s winsome kindness restores everyone she meets.

I must stop myself there and I hate to, for are so many excellent books I want our children to devour. And not only children; every one of these books is well-written, and each is a testament to the human struggle to overcome adverse circumstances and do what is right. Grown-ups should be reading them too, for the best children’s books are never really just for children.

Join me tomorrow for my favorite series. May you homes be blessed in this season of Advent.

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