About The Family Bookshelf


Welcome to The Family Bookshelf! On my shelf you’ll find thoughtful reviews of quality children’s books: from epic tales to bedtime stories, new releases to treasured classics. Reading with the youngsters in your life is important, but there are so many options – how do you choose which books they need? I hope my recommendations can help.

I have read thousands of books with my five children, and I have enjoyed most of them. Others, perhaps not as satisfying, still presented valuable opportunities for discussion; and some just weren’t worth the time. A few simply are not allowed. As my own children begin to read independently I am just one step ahead of them, constantly searching for constructive and well-written books that will nourish their hearts and minds. Here at The Family Bookshelf I am delighted to share my findings with anyone looking for wholesome and enriching literature for children.

Few things are as powerful as the stories we pass down to our youth. Storytelling is how a culture teaches what it believes and values, how it forms the next generation. As adults we must consider this responsibility with great care, selecting books that convey a healthy influence. I seek out books that gently inspire young readers to grow in character and wisdom; to respect others and to appreciate the world around them. I want our children to feel ennobled; to become as courageous, compassionate, resourceful, honest, patient, kind, simple and generous as their favorite storybook heroes. What they read today should lead them to create a better tomorrow.

With this in mind, I post reviews of picture books and chapter books for children under the age of fifteen. I hope that these will help your family to spend more time reading together and less time wondering what to read. Whether you’re shopping for a birthday gift, headed to the library, or searching for the perfect family read-aloud, please browse The Family Bookshelf first. Together, we can build a better world by sharing good books with our children.

About Ashley Canter

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I am a farmer’s wife, a stay-at-home mother, and a regular library patron. Raised and homeschooled in Ohio, my parents saw to it that my childhood was rich with literature. I read Jane Eyre when I was eleven, but still loved those stacks of illustrated picture books. I kept reading as I grew up, earning a BA in history from Ohio University and working in three different libraries. When my husband and I welcomed our first child, I was delighted at the prospect of revisiting those books from my youth, and discovering all the new ones that had been written since.

Over my ten years as a parent I have lived on both coasts and in between, faithfully toting my ever-growing collection of children’s books along the way. I now make a home for my family on our dairy farm in rural southwestern Wisconsin, where my children attend a small Catholic school. My favorite part of my job as a mother is still snuggling up to read with my brood. I often ignore piles of dishes and sticky floors for the sake of reading Goodnight Moon one more time. My dearest friends include Lucy Pevensie, the March sisters, and Jemima Puddleduck.

Family photo credit: http://www.nicoleelizabethphoto.com