50 Book Recommendations for Young Readers

It is never too early to cultivate a culture of reading, especially in children. I was raised up in an environment of thousands of books. Reading, then, did not come up naturally (although it kinda did if I think about it), but it was instilled in us tactfully and intentionally, not puissantly. Books are man’s best friends. I’m sorry to all dog and cat owners. I’m of the strong opinion that mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and teachers should all strive to build an appreciation of great reading into young minds.

I hope this list will stir us to consider reading as part of our daily routine. For those who’ll take up the challenge and expose their young children to this list, do not be discouraged if some of them do not seem to “get it” as it were.

In fact, for some children, they can pick up immediately, others not so much. Children have varying cognitive abilities. This is where the parent and guardian comes in. Reading these stories aloud. Be intentional. You never know the amount of impact it will leave in your children.

Lastly, and this should be said louder: NEVER read to APPEAR smart-ER than the next man, but read because you love the process of reading. Books will not make us clever, but they can certainly make us wise. I’m not (and never will be) interested in men who read many books for show or pomp; but if a man after reading many books can in each be humbled and remain humble, then it is prolly good to be attracted in such-like fellows.

Humility and reading go together; prideful reading begets prideful results. Teach your children this. Reading is a skill, a science. Cultivate it. Avid reading is not reading without thinking, but thinking while reading. Books are full of corridors that must be toured; go further and you’ll see the unseen; if you can’t reach or go there, read.

Great Books for Young Readers: 50 Recommendations

(1) Aesop: Fables

This Greek classic is a collection of very short tales and proverbs which illustrate character strengths and flaws. It is a rich treasure of moral teaching for both young and old.

(2) Louisa May Alcott: Little Women

Book on family life. Provides realistic yet powerful example of morality for children and adults alike. Suitable for young teens.

(3) Anne Frank: Diary of a Little Girl

A heart warming and wrenching diary of a young girl in hiding with her family under the rule of Nazi Germany. The book teaches timeless lessons about tolerance, loyalty, and the value of human life. Note: Some editions have not included the whole material. You’ll need to pay close attention. Also, be aware some parts are a bit graphic, but not off-putting. Suitable for young girls.

(4) John Bunyan: The Pilgrim’s Progress

A timeless and rich classic that needs to be side-by-side with your Bible. This is an allegorical picture of the spiritual life, Christian life. ‘The adaptation called Dangerous Journey (published by Edermans) does a good job of putting the story within the reach of children without sacrificing its substance and power.’ Worth every buck.

(5) Hans Christian Andersen: Fairy Tales

Love fairy tales? Bed stories? Fancy this.

(6) Brothers Grimm: Fairy Tales

‘Two of the classic collections of fairy tales, these include most of the popular favorites. In their original versions they are more violent and less prone to “happy endings” than some of the modern versions of these tales. These stories make a good fodder for family discussions of moral values and of how to deal with difficult situations.’

(7) J.M. Barrie: Peter Pan

I still have my copy. A charming adventure tale about a young boy who doesn’t want to grow up. There are some films made out of the book, but read the book first.

(8) L. Frank Baum: The Wizard of Oz

Dorothy’s adventures in Oz make for delightful and imagination-stirring reading. Along the way, we are provided with a powerful picture of the human search to overcome our inadequacies, and a realization that the resources for change are within the grasp of us all.

(9) Micheal Bedard: Emily

Who is this unusual reclusive neighbor who writes poetry? A sweet little tale about a girl who discovers that her neighbor is the famous poet Emily Dickinson.

(10) Ludwig Bemelmans: Madeline

A brave girl who faces her appendix removed.

(11) William J. Bennet: The Book of Virtues

An indipensable collection of stories and extracts grouped together by the character qualities they teach. There are hours’ worth of valuable material for the whole family contained betwixt the covers of this hefty volume.

(12) R. Brasch: The Book of the Year

Do you ever wonder why we celebrate some holidays set aside in our calendars? This book covers every fact and detail where and why these sundry holidays are deeply held by the human species. It’s a fun and curious work.

(13) Charles Sheldon: In His Steps

A spiritual classic that sadly goes under the radar today. The penetrating and provocative question “What would Jesus do?” in all of life’s complex situation is the central theme of this book. It is the soul-stirring novel of men and women torn between their faith and the demands, compulsions, and temptations of life.

(14) Pamela McQuade: The Top 100 Women of the Bible

Meet the greatest women of the Bible: some you could hug, others you’ll admire, and a few you’d probably run from, screaming. Get to know: Abigail, beautiful and wise, but married to a fool; Hannah, childless and desperate; Jochebed, defying the law to save her baby; Pilate’s wife, speaking truth despite public opinion; Sapphira, victim of her own greed and deceit; Zilpha, staying positive in a negative world, and many more, etc.

(15) Christina Bjork: Linnea in Monet’s Garden

This charming story about a young girl who visits the garden of the great painter Monet affirms the importance of great art.

(16) Micheal Bond: A Bear Called Paddington

The humorous misadventures of a loveable, but none-too-bright bear, known for his oversized hat, blue duffle coat, and red Wellington boots.

(17) Jan Brett: Beauty and the Beast

Although prone to many interpretations, this book will show us that beauty is more ‘than skin-deep and that true love involves sacrifice. A light reading.

(18) Margaret Wise Brown: Goodnight Moon

Good for bedtime tales and tell. Warming and soothing book.

(19) Jean de Brunhoff: The Story of Babar

The life story of a talking elephant’s adventures in France and as king of the elephants. Delightful illustrations.

(20) Sheila Burnford: The Incredible Journey

An exciting tale about a dog and a cat who brave the wild in search of their owner. Little children will enjoy this.

(21) Lewis Carrol: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Alice Through the Looking Glass

The Alice stories are marked by a seemingly endless supply of wit and invention. They can be thoroughly enjoyed by all ages, but most children will enjoy them more when they are a bit older.

(22) Susan Coolidge: What Katy Did

A wonderful book that follows the development of character and virtue in a young girl after a crippling accident.

(23) Roald Dahl: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

A delightful and humorous tale about a young boy whose goodness and decency earn him his dream. His fate is contrasted with those who are greedy, gluttonous, self-absorbed, and disobedient.

(24) Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe

This is the fascinating tale of a man stranded on a desert island who must learn to survive with his meager store of food and tools. Defoe’s tale has explicit references to the sovereignty of God and our need to trust in Him. The story raises many moral issues.

(25) Tomie dePaola: The Clown of God

The very moving story of a beggar boy who becomes a famous juggler and learns to dedicate his gift to God.

(26) Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol

The classic tale of a cruel and selfish man who discovers what is really important in life. A Tale of Two Cities is more difficult, but very rewarding.

(27) Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes stories

Beginning with A Study in Scarlet, Doyle wrote four novels and numerous short stories about his fictional detective. Holmes is a model of how to use logical deductive thinking to solve problems. The books are exciting as well as intellectually challenging. The vocabulary is sometimes diffcult, so they are recommended for older children.

(28) Clifton Fadiman: World Treasury of Children’s Literature (2 Volumes)

Fadiman has gathered together in these two volumes some of the finest children’s writing of all time. The set includes poetry, short stories, myths, and selections of longer stories. Both classic and modern pieces are included in this cornucopia of fine children’s literature.

(29) Don Freedman: Corduroy

An adorable bear finds the home he has always dreamed of.

(31) Charles and Mary Lamb: Tales from Shakespeare

The Lambs manage to capture much of the power and beauty of Shakespeare’s dramas in their prose renditions. While no subsitute for the bard himself, they are a great introduction to the riches your children can find later in reading the original plays for themselves.

(32) John Brown: The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas

If you start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine year old boy named Bruno. (Though this isn’t a book for nine year-olds.) And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence.

(33) Clive Staples Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia [The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; The Magician’s Nephew; The Horse and His Boy; The Last Battle]

A wonderful series of books about some children who find their way into the land of Narnia, where they experience exciting adventures which teach us and them a great deal about redemption, salvation, and the life of faith. These are powerful theological insights artfully cloaked in delightful allegorical tales. Every child should be exposed to the spiritual and moral lessons taught in these classics. Older children and adults will gain much pleasure and insight from Lewis’s space trilogy and others of his many great books.

(34) Clive Staples Lewis: Letters to Children

Children who enjoyed the Chronicles of Narnia will probably be interested in these letters, many of which discuss the meaning and origin of the Narnian tales.

(35) Arnold Lobel: Frog and Toad Are Friends

A collection of simple stories demonstrating the power of true friendship.

(36) George MacDonald: The Golden Key; The Princess and the Goblin; The Princess and Curdie; At the Back of the North Wind; Sir Gibbie

These make good reading as pure fantasy-adventure, but on a deeper level they are powerful images of the spiritual life and the path to spiritual maturity. At the Back of the North Wind  is helpful for children trying to deal with death. MacDonald is a writer of peculiar depth and insight.

Sir Gibbie, one of the most accesible of MacDonald’s many novels written primary for adults, will also be enjoyed by children for its portrayal of a young orphan who learns about his magnifiscent and unexpected identity.

(37) Catherine Marshall: Christy

A novel based upon the true experiences of a young woman sent to teach in the Appalachian mountain in 1912. This warmhearted novel is one of several fine books by Catherine Marshall.

(38) Robert McCloskey: Make Way for Ducklings

A family of ducks face perils of city life.

(39) Henrietta C. Mears: What the Bible is All About for Young Explorers

A great resource for helping children to better understand the Bible, this fine reference work contains overviews of each book of the Bible, themes, outlines, and important background information. Parents be warned: You’ll learn a lot too!

(40) A.A. Milne: When We Were Very Young; Now We Are Six; Winnie the Pooh; The House at Pooh Center

No child should grow up without a familiarity with the marvelous ryhmes and poems contained in Milne’s When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. They are charming, disarming, and funny. The warm and humorous adventures of Winnie the Pooh and his friends are among the best.

(41) Chaim Potok: The Chosen

Older readers and listeners will gain much from this powerful novel about the physical, spiritual, and intellectual coming of age of two young Jewish boys. A book full of rich insights and a valuable statement about toleration.

(42) Maurice Sendak: Where the Wild Things Are

Some parents have found this book about friendly monsters to be an antidote to fear of nightmares. There’s a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer is equally good for this problem issue.

(43) Howard Pyle: The Adventures of Robin Hood

The exciting adventures of the man who “stole from the rich to give to the poor.”

(44) Beatrix Potter: Peter Rabbit and Other Tales

Peter is an overly curious rabbit who disobeys his mother and almost get caught by Mr. McCregor. Lovely illustrations highlight these simple tales.

(45) Barbara Robinson: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

The story of how the mean and unruly Herdman kids taught the rest of the church the true meaning of Christmas is a fall-down funny book with a powerful message.

(46) Doctor Suess: The Cat in the Hat; Horton Hears a Who

These are good introduction to the pleasures of language, filled with nonsense and creativity. Many, like Horton Hear a Who, teach important lessons. The message “a person’s a person, no matter how small” has special poigancy in this day of rampant abortions.

(47) Anna Sewell: Black Beauty

A good story and a passionate critique of cruelty to animals.

(48) Margery Sharp: The Rescuers

An adventure story about the brave mice of the Prisoner’s Aid Society, who help mice all over the world out of various troubles.

(49) Isaac Bashevis Singer: Children’s Stories

The gifted Yiddish storyteller tells humorous and poignant tales, including the classic story of loyalty, “Zlateh the Goat.”

(50) The Holy Bible: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit

It is fitting to close this list with the Book of books. A mini-library consisting of 66 short books. If for some reason you cannot locate some of these titles, surely you can the Bible. Let you and your children know the Bible; the mind of God, the way of God, our salvation for all eternity.

Happy reading!

Solitary Rambles

Photo by Nick Fisher on Unsplash.

Do enjoy yourself, and let this be our rendezvous. I may be absent a month or two; but do not interfere with my motions, I entreat you: leave me to peace and solitude for a short time; and when I return, I hope it will be with a lighter heart, more congenial to your own temper.

Ardent Curiosity

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash.

I shall satiate my ardent curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never before visited, and may tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man. These are my enticements, and they are sufficient to conquer all fear of danger or death, and to induce me to commence this laborious voyage with the joy of a child feels when he embarks in a little boat with his holiday mates, on an expedition of discovery up his native river.

Artificial Intelligence & Human Ignorance

Ours may become the first era of producing ignorant teachers who are teaching nonsense to a generation of dangerous “stupid” youth—sophisticated modern non-logical youth.

In an age of enormous progress in artificial intelligence, we are becoming more dumb, not better! A stupid mass gathered together under the umbrella of a “sophisticated” people!

It amazes me that grown (sensible?) men cannot identify simples but endorse evil as right and condemn right as wrong. Well, all these is not “new under the sun!”

You’re wise and know how to apply.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

– 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.