Thank you for following along this week as we page through some of my favorite family book selections. I’m rather choosy, as forming young minds and souls through literature is a serious business. But it’s also tremendous fun, as I found through the discovery of several wonderful series this year.

A good series often appeals to children and parents alike; the first because they love to immerse themselves further in the lives of favorite characters and places, and the second because it grants a short reprieve from wondering what everybody is going to read next. Last year I shared with you some of my very favorites, and this year I am eager to add to the list.

The Green Ember

When their cozy home life is suddenly destroyed, two young rabbits are chased into a world of danger and decision. Will they be as brave as the heroes in the old legends? This exciting series is extremely well-written, and everyone from my preschooler to my preteen begs me to keep going. The intrigue is thrilling and the character development is strong. There are four books in the original series (which are currently sold separately): The Green Ember, Ember Falls, Ember Rising, and Ember’s End; plus several spinoff titles. I can’t wait to read more.

Swallows and Amazons

This classic British series follows the adventurous imaginations of four siblings on holiday. A rowboat on the lake becomes a ship on the high seas in these wonderful stories that deftly combine old-fashioned outdoor playtime with genuine resourcefulness and skill. Find my full review of the first book here; there are twelve books in all.

Strega Nona

The world of children’s literature lost a gentle giant when Tomie dePaola passed away in March. Of his many rich folk tales – where kindness and gentle humor always triumph – his own Strega Nona is perhaps the most beloved. No children’s library is really complete without her magic touch. A treasury of six of the Strega Nona books is available, but there are other titles and I suggest collecting them individually. Read my review to see which ones should not be missed.

Anne of Green Gables

I just reread this classic for the first time in 25 years. It strikes me very differently now; then I admired and identified with the spunky redhead, but now I’m more of a Marilla and I see the real heartbreak in this story. I have some concerns about Anne’s unwarranted hatred of poor Gilbert, and the prim religion of the day; but the breathtaking descriptions that seized me as a girl are still there, and the warmth and love that pour out of Green Gables toward that little orphan girl are just as true as ever. Wherever you or your family might be in life, do give the whole sweet series a try (it’s also the only one available as a boxed set).

Tomorrow I will share my final wishlist for the year, and this one is for you: the parents and caregivers who have responsibility for the precious little souls in your charge. You must be nurtured yourselves, my friends. Please check back tomorrow, and sign up to receive new posts via email.