My Big List of Great Book Suggestions (For All Ages!)

A few weeks ago during a soccer game, my friend asked, “What books do you suggest as good family read-alouds?”

Bless my friend, for she did not know what she was getting into when she asked this question so innocently. See, sometimes I answer questions with much animation, with many flailing hands, as if I’m hopped up on caffeine and cannot find my way to the ground. Talking about books produces such a reaction in me, even while huddled under a blanket at a soccer game.

I started giving suggestions of books our family has loved through the years. My friend started jotting notes. I got more and more excited. I kept thinking of more books. She kept jotting. I couldn’t stop, and the list grew longer and longer.

I guess this is the part where I confess that when we got home from this soccer game and Malachi asked, “Did you see me score that goal?!” I suddenly came down off my Farmer-BoyBox-Car-Children high and had to say, “Oohh sorry, Buddy. I was talking again. But remember when we read the Little Britches series?!”


Well, he’ll score other goals and I’m likely to see them. In my defense, I have four soccer-playing sons, so no one can expect me to re-live every goal scoring moment with them, can they? And besides, I’ve read a lot of great books to them all through the years, so I haven’t failed entirely.

My Big List of Great Book Suggestions for all ages

Books, Books, Books

Today, with the help of a friend, we have put together a most amazing list of book suggestions for you and your family. Whether your kids are babies or teenagers, we’ve got book ideas for you. Beyond that, we’ve got book suggestions for grown-ups because sometimes we all need to grab some iced tea and have some down time in the form of a delicious read.

So peruse this list. Look into these books that my friend and I love. Leave comments on this post to tell us which books YOU recommend so we can all check those out too!

While we love checking books out from the library, sometimes it’s great to own a wonderful shelf (or eight) full of books! So we’ve included the Amazon links to each of these for your convenience. Some of these are listed at great prices!

Infant/Toddler Book Suggestions

that's not my book

I Spy Board Books

Goodnight Moon

Runaway Bunny

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (and other books by Eric Carle)

That’s Not My…series from UsBorne (some of which are available on Amazon)

Sandra Boynton’s Greatest Hits

DK Touch and Feel Series

Pre-School Book Suggestions

lift a flap book

Mouse Paint


Little Pink Pup

Richard Scarry Collection

Elephant & Piggie Collection

Knuffle Bunny Series

Lego City Book Set

Lift the Flap Bible Story Books from Reader’s Digest

Little Golden Book Collection

Early Elementary Book Suggestions

mr putney's quacking dog

There is overlap in the Pre-K and the Early Elementary list, so be sure to check both if you have kids in either of these age groups!

Kiss the Cow

The “I’m” Book Series by Kate and Jim McMullan

Mr. Putney’s Quacking Dog

Bad Case of Stripes

Uff Da!

Pinkalicious Storybook Series

Gigi Book Series

Little Bear Series

Frog and Toad Book Collection

Dr. Seuss Book Collection

Make Way for Ducklings

Madeline Book Collection

Curious George Book Collection

Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel

Click, Clack Moo Book Series

Henry and Mudge Book Series

Skippyjon Jones Book Collection

Amelia Bedelia Book Series

Fly Guy Book Series

Diary of a Worm Book Series

I Spy Books

Where’s Waldo Book Collection

Otis the Tractor Book Series

Daddy, Could I Have an Elephant

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Lego Beginning Readers

Later Elementary

boxcar children

Bill Peet Books

Magic Tree House Book Series

Magic School Bus Book Series

Box Car Children Book Series

Encyclopedia Brown Book Series

American Girl Book Series

Tales of Young Americans Book Series

“I Survived” Book Series

Sarah Plain and Tall Book Series

Chicken Squad Book Series

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Clyde Robert Bulla Books

Books by Andrew Clements

Middle School/High School

39 clues

Books by Cynthia Voigt

Mysterious Benedict Society Book Series

Penderwicks Book Series

Storm Runners Book Series

39 Clues Book Series

Secret Cipher Book Series

LOST (involves magic and wizardry)

Anne of Green Gables Book Series

Cooper Kids Book Series

Mandie Book Series

Grandma’s Attic Book Series

Great Family Read Aloud Book Suggestions

ralph moody

Any of the above books are great for reading aloud as well. In addition, I’ve found that if my kids have a hard time getting into a book or a series, I start out reading it to them and they take it from there!

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle

Charlotte’s Web

All of a Kind Family Book Series

Little House of the Prairie Book Series

Little Britches (Ralph Moody) Book Series

Swiss Family Robinson

Chronicles of Narnia Book Series

Adult Fiction

sherlock holmes

Sherlock Holmes and the Needle’s Eye: The World’s Greatest Detective Tackles the Bible’s Ultimate Mysteries

My friend Kim’s review: What if Sherlock Holmes was called in to solve some of the mysteries of the Bible?  IN this book, he answers ten different questions from the Bible.  Even if I did not agree with his answers, I found the writing well done and, more importantly, I found myself searching the Scriptures to find evidence that supported or conflicted with his answers.

Forevermore by Cathy Marie Hake

Kim’s review: Even though this book is part of a series, you can jump right into this one without reading the others.  The main character in this book, Hope, will have you laughing and rolling your eyes at the nonsensical truisms she dispenses.  Heartwarming and kind, this book is a feel-good book.  (PS- The rest of the series is good, too, but this one is my favorite.)

The Cat Who Book Series by Lillian Jackson Braun

Amelia Peabody Book Series by Elizabeth Peters

Mrs. Pollifax Book Series by Dorothy Gilman

This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti

Kim’s review: This series challenged my thinking on the power of prayer and the unseen world of angels and demons.

Overton Window and Agenda 21 by Glenn Beck

The Illuminati by Larry Burkett

Restoration Book Series by Terri Blackstock

Kim’s review: What if something happened and suddenly there was no electricity, no running water, no cars, no cell phones (or landlines), no computers, no electronics of any kind?  What if banks shut down, the post office did not work and there was no more McDonalds or WalMart?  Big life changes for many…  Where would God be in all this?

Adult Non-Fiction

dave ramsey

Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson

Bringing Up Girls by James Dobson

Dare to Discipline by James Dobson

Parenting by the Book by John Rosemond

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover (or take Financial Peace University)

Your Turn!

Leave comments letting us know what books you love and recommend!

Some of these links are my affiliate links.


Our 2011-2012 School Year Schedule

If you’ve been reading here long, you know that I keep a very loose schedule during our school days. I like to have a general routine in place, but just about every day looks different depending on the needs of the moment.

For instance, this week our family is helping with our local Meals-on-Wheels. Matt’s been taking two boys with him each morning. We’re just rearranging the schedule a little bit to make this happen. We want our boys to understand that serving others comes first (and that they still have to get the school work done later!).

As is our tradition, we hit the store last week to purchase a few school supplies, then went out for lunch.
We’ve had this before-school tradition for at least seven years and we look forward to this treat every year!

Here, without any specific hour of the day assigned to each line item (because it truly is different each day), is what I’ve outlined for our routine this year. (Read the specifics about the curriculum we’ll be using here.)

1. I wake up first in our household. After beginning my morning with prayer and Bible reading, I use this quiet time to check email and do website work.   (one hour)

2. The boys wake up and spend time reading their Bibles while I fix breakfast. (20 minutes)

3. We eat breakfast together and during this time, I read the Bible and a devotional book to everyone. (We’re reading through the book of Matthew and More Than a Carpenter, by Josh McDowell right now.)  We work together to clean up the kitchen. (one hour)

4. Asa, Justus and Elias begin working through their assigned school lessons – doing what they can do on their own (math, English, etc.). I work with Malachi on reading, phonics and math. (one hour)

5. I read History/Geography to Justus and Elias. Malachi does individual work (if possible) or plays legos. Asa continues to work on his own. (30 minutes)

6. Justus and Elias work together on their History/Geography projects (Eastern Hemisphere Explorer, adapted from Sonlight). I read History with Asa (mostly because I want to learn myself!). Malachi does puzzles or magnetics. (45 minutes)

Malachi had a great time working on these Three-Letter Words Puzzle Cards today.
I highly recommend them if you have a beginning reader. I think I got them at Walmart,
but linked them to Amazon if that’s easier for you, and so that you could see what I was talking about.

7. Matt does Spelling with Justus and Elias, then works with Asa on Science, Spelling and/or Spanish (depending on the day). Malachi is assigned to work in his Explode the Code books. I check email and take care of any pressing website work, then I work on fixing lunch. (one hour)

8. Lunchtime! Matt leads us through Bible memory work. While we eat, I read a read aloud. (I eat a little faster than my kids, by the way. That’s why I’m able to read while we have meals. Plus, this helps mealtime be a little more…calm.)  ;)

9. I read Science to Justus, Elias and Malachi, then they work on their Science Animal Project, with help from me as needed. Asa works on his own.  (30 minutes)

10. Justus and Elias have their reading time. Asa works on his own. I read to Malachi. (30 minutes)

11. Everyone finishes their assignments for the day and works together to put away books and tidy up the house. (however long this takes)

12. Downtime, Curious George time, trampoline time, mess the house back up time – for the boys. I try to get some writing done or answer emails. (2-3 hours)

13. Work together to make dinner, then eat together. We visit or read aloud while we eat.

14. Evening times look different every day depending on whether we have company, soccer games, Bible class or a free evening. Bedtime is therefore flexible, but always includes family prayer time and sometimes more reading aloud.

15. After the boys are tucked in, I do more website work while Matt gets any work done that he needs to do.

Here are all of my past home school posts if you’d like to read through them to learn more about how this works for us!

I’ll be sure to let you know if ever a day actually goes exactly according to schedule. Don’t get your hopes up.

Do you like to keep to a strict schedule each day, or do you hold a loose routine like we do?

Our Favorite Books This Year (and what we’re reading this summer)

I say this every year, so I just wouldn’t dream of let you down by failing to repeat myself. I must say it again:  This has been my favorite year of home schooling so far! (Just pretend you’ve never heard me say that before.)  Either the books keep getting better or I keep forgetting how good the other books were or I just like one-upping myself. Either way, our family had a great year of reading and learning.

If you’re new here, you may want to go back and read my Homeschool Hubbub posts to learn more about how school happens (or tries to happen) at our house, and to learn about our curriculum of choice.

I want to share with you my favorite pile of books for this year so that if you haven’t read them yet, you can look them up, and if you have read them already you can say, “I KNOW, that IS an awesome book! I’m not posting all the books we read, and that doesn’t mean I didn’t like all of them, these were just my very favorites. Here they are in no particular order (because by the end of our school year, our book shelf is not at all organized!):

The Great Turkey Walk, by Kathleen Karr

We read this book as a family and got a big kick out of this adventure. I love books that crack you up and make you think all at the same time.


Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor

We also read this book as a family. Our kids were able to understand better the turmoil in the U.S. that was still going on years after the Civil War. Fantastic book.


The Journeyman, by Elizabeth Yates


Elizabeth Yates is an awesome writer, helping the reader fit right into the shoes of the main character all while teaching important facts of history. I never knew what a journeyman was before this. We learned about that and so much more.

Mountain Born, by Elizabeth  Yates

Another great one by Elizabeth Yates! This book was absolutely precious. Our boys could completely relate to the main character in this book, as the story was told through his point of view. This was one of those that I choked up at several times while reading it out loud. My boys love it when I do that {cough}.

Helen Keller, by Margaret Davidson

Justus and Elias declared this to be one of their favorite readers this year. They found it so interesting they could barely put it down. That rarely happens for my boys. (It’s usually pretty easy for them to put a book down and start kicking a ball instead.)  I love the understanding they gained and the inspiration they felt by reading Helen Keller’s story.

Indian Captive, by Lois Lenski

Wow, this book still haunts me and I can’t imagine that this “happened in real life”. And yet, what a story of love and courage. You’ve gotta read it. (Our eighth grader read this on his own – I read it too. I wouldn’t recommend it for younger grades. There’s a lot to chew on in this book.)


Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse

This was another book our eighth grader read this year. I believe he read it in two days…I read it in one. It is incredibly written and heart jolting. And obviously, hard to put down.








The Story of US, by Joy Hakim

Asa (8th grade) and I read through this series during the year as a part of his history program. I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again:  Never did I know that studying history could be so intriguing. Joy Hakim is a fantastic writer. These books were so simple to understand and taught us so much. I recommend this series as a great set of books to have on your shelves to read and re-read through the years.


Books we’ll be reading this summer (this of course is not an exhaustive list, just some I’d really like to read through with the kids):

What have been some of your favorite books you’ve read during the past few months? Are you reading anything exciting this summer that I should add to my list?! :)

Homeschool Hubbub: Our Five Year Old

I thought I’d take a little time to share with you some of the things we’re doing for school this year with each of our boys. We’re working hard around here, gearing up for a new school year. I figure I need to organize my thoughts and plans anyway…I may as well type them out here and bore you with all the details. Or excite you with the possibilities. Or a little bit of both. ;)

I’ll start with Malachi, our littlest guy who will officially begin kindergarten this year. Of all my boys, he’s the one I’ve done the least “formal schooling” with because there simply hasn’t been time. (Or I haven’t made the time.)  Want to know a little secret? It doesn’t matter. He does not appear to be suffering any damage from the fact that I was rarely able to sit down and talk about colors and shapes with him.  He has somehow learned many of these lessons with or without me as he’s hung out with his brothers while they were learning.


And yet, I feel that it is important for me to begin to work with Malachi one-on-one for a little bit each day now that he is showing interest in learning to read and do math. In fact, he began to show so much interest in reading early in the summer that I pulled out my very favorite book and started teaching him to read!! Three cheers for getting a head start on the school year with Malachi!! We’ve started going through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and Malachi is SO eager and doing SO well, that we’re already on Lesson 48! I’m so thankful that reading seems to be coming easily for him….and can I just give a big shout out for Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons?! 


This is the book I’ve used to teach all four of my boys to read and I just LOVE it. It doesn’t work for everyone, but somehow it has worked for all of our children. It’s simple, the lessons take just a few minutes to work through, and they are so easy for the parent to guide the child toward reading. The child usually sees success within the first few lessons as they learn to put simple words together. Confidence grows because suddenly they have figured out how to put letter sounds together to make a word!! Oooh, I love those light bulb moments! 

Once we work our way through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, I’ll pull out our collection of Bob Books for him to work through.

For math, I’m going to try going through the first Miquon Math book with him. I’ve loved the Miquon Math books for the early grades, simply because they teach math in a way that makes sense. It may appear to be a little bit backward compared to they way we normally see math taught…but it helps the child understand the concepts. I love it.

Beyond reading and math…I’ll be reading some great read-alouds to Malachi and doing some phonics lessons using Explode the Code books.

AND…we’re very excited because we’ll be using Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve with Malachi (and the whole family) as we pick someone to serve each week, working our way through the alphabet. I’ll be buying Malachi a little notebook so that we can journal about who we serve and what we did. We’ll also be working through the memory verses in the kit and doing various other activities mentioned. I’m so excited to revisit this, since the last time we did something this thorough with our alphabet service was when Justus was three. Justus is ten now. Wow. :)

That about wraps up Malachi’s school year plans. Stay tuned to hear what Elias, Justus and Asa will be working on. And while I’m at it, I may as well “type out loud” as I figure out a schedule for this year. Because somehow, we will get it all done. Or not. Or whatever. ;)