Marriage and parenting

Essential books—on both counts.

The Meaning of Marriage by Tim & Kathy Keller
Important reading—whether you’re married or not. For more, read Thoughts on Marriage in this post.

♦ The Babywise series of parenting books by Robert Bucknam and Gary Ezzo
These books are brilliant and immensely practical. Babywise, Toddlerwise, Childwise and more.

Reading to your family

Your family will never be too old to enjoy hearing you read these wonderful books and others like them. You can do it! Start small with one chapter at a time and build from there.

Family reading selections

The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
I read this charming book to Logan during the summer before kindergarten and before first grade. He loved it both times. So did I.

♦ The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
What a remarkable series. Truly. I’ve read these books to us by lantern light on Family Game & Reading Night. They bring peace, thoughts about what’s really important—and a good night’s sleep.

The True Gift by Patricia MacLachlan
I read this sweet book to our family while we vacationed on the boat one time. They didn’t want me to put it down.

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
I forget how long ago I read this book to us—with character voices and all. It was a big hit. Colorful small-town characters, new friends and more.

Arthur, for the Very First Time by Patricia MacLachlan
We really enjoyed this one.

Reading to your child

I started reading books to Logan when he was one month old. Your baby needs to hear you reading—hear the rhythm and sound of your voice—hear your love—while you hold your baby close. Read to your child every day. Your book choices and the softness of your voice can indicate to your baby or little one when it’s time to go to sleep. I read to Logan at bedtime for many years. We stopped sometime when he was in sixth grade. What a beautiful time it was…. And he’s still a reader today. I’m so thankful for that.

Choosing good, wholesome books
Choose age-appropriate, positive selections—nothing scary. If your child receives a book as a gift, make sure you read it first. My sociopathic mother-in-law gave a picture book to Logan when he was young that was absolutely unacceptable (i.e., violent). It went in the trash can before it was ever read to him. Be watchful. And feel free to stop reading a book mid-stream—when you realize it’s a no-no. Please see the important warning at the end of this page.

Books For little ones

This list starts with three classics, followed by a sweet book about animals preparing for Mary and Joseph’s arrival at the stable for the birth of baby Jesus. And the last book? A treasure, indeed.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Who Is Coming to Our House by Joseph Slate
If You Were My Bunny by Kate McMullan
This book includes reading parts and singing parts; what a sweet gift from my mom at one of my baby showers.

Featured books for little ones

Sandra Boynton board books are precious! We read quite a few, including these gems:
Blue Hat, Green Hat  ♦  But Not the Hippopotamus    The Going to Bed Book    What’s Wrong, Little Pookie?    A to Z   Hey! Wake Up!  ♦  One, Two, Three  ♦  Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs  ♦  Pajama Time!   Moo, Baa, La La La!

A little older

God Loves Me by Mary Alice Jones
We gave this classic book to Logan for Christmas when he was two years old. The illustrations are so sweet, showing God’s goodness—how he gives us mommies and daddies, food, our hands and feet, day and night, the Bible, church and more.

A Sleepy Story by Elizabeth Burrowes (A Golden Book)
My mom gave this book to Logan for Christmas when he was two years old. What a sweet Christmas!

Snuggle Up, Sleepy Ones by Claire Freedman
We loved this bedtime favorite with beautiful animal illustrations.

Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball by Vicki Churchill
Fun, with great illustrations. I still remember many of the lines. We read this one a lot.

James Herriot’s Treasury for Children
Precious beyond words. Enjoy it for many years. Logan named his favorite blanket after one of the characters—very high praise, indeed.

♦ Bear books by Karma Wilson
So good.

♦ Veggie Tales books
Enjoy different ones at different ages.

Late preschool and early elementary

Mr. Putter and Tabby books by Cynthia Rylant
Poppleton books by Cynthia Rylant
Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel
When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant
The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
Franklin Goes to School by Paulette Bourgeois
Chester’s Way by Kevin Henkes

See also: The Trumpet of the Swan and The True Gift in the Family Reading Selections above

Late elementary

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
While I’m only partially through The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe so far, I feel extremely confident recommending this series. The first book, The Magician’s Nephew, was brilliant and filled with beautiful imagery. Besides, the name C.S. Lewis says enough.

Hank the Cowdog books by John R. Erickson
Hilarious and highly recommended. I read these books to Logan at bedtime for quite some time—one or more chapters per night. It’s good to go to bed laughing. It really is.

See also: Family Reading Selections above

Do not have anything to do with Junie B. Jones or Wimpy Kid books. They encourage the worst behavior—hatefulness, rudeness, lying to parents, sneaking unapproved media into the house, etc. I’m serious. Please read this important Wimpy Kid review. It will tell you exactly why this series gets an F. Can I tell you something? It was extremely difficult for me to actually find this review. Even when I searched for “I hate Wimpy Kid books,” I was unsuccessful—finding only non-stop glowing search results.

These books are pushed tirelessly by Scholastic Book Fairs, many school librarians and teachers, and more. Why? Why would any sane adult push these books on elementary school children? Peaceful Readers, you can do the math. “Popular” books can be very insidious. One of the constant messages in Wimpy Kid books is “Parents are stupid.”

Be involved. Be discerning. Be the parent.