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The Most Important Books, Listed by Age (Part 2: Of my Required Reading List)

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on January 8, 2011

     Here is the second half of my list of the most important books, listed by age.  The last age range was the hardest (high school level.)  I added and took out books more times than I can count.  As I said before, the difficulty is in choosing books that are classics, that have literary value, that teach us or make us think–without compromising our family’s values!

    It’s not that I don’t want my children to know the realities of the world; it’s just that there are certain realities that I don’t want them to dwell on. 

    Anyway, here’s my list.  I’m sure that many of you will disagree with some of my choices, or believe I’ve left some out.  I’d love to hear some comments and suggestions.

Longer Picture Books AND First Chapter Books

Listening Level: First through Fourth

Independent Reading Level: Grades 3-5: 

Note:  I added books by the same author on this list, too; longer chapter books are followed by a star*

 1.  A House Inside Out, by Penelope Lively and David Parkins*

2.  Album of Horses, Born to Trot, Misty of  Chincoteague, Stormy, Misty’s Foal, and many others by Marguerite Henry*

3.  Bears on Hemlock Mountain, The Courage of Sarah Noble, by Alice  Dalgliesh*

4.  Billy and Blaze (part of a series of Billy and Blaze Books) by C.W. Anderson

5.  Boxcar Children, The, (look for the original books by Gertrude Warner)*

6.  Catwings, (a series) by Ursula K. Le Guin*

7.  Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, by E.B. White*

8.  Hank the Cowdog (series), by John R. Erikson (a favorite of our family; very funny.  Contains mild “swearing” such as darn it, dang, etc)*

9.  Happy Hollisters Series, by Jerry West*

10.  Holling C. Hollings books:  Minn of the MississippiPaddle to the Sea, Pagoo, Seabird,Tree in the Trail

11.  Encyclopedia Brown, (part of a series of mystery books) by Donald J. Sobal*

12.  Keep the Light Burning, Abbie, by Peter and Connie Roop and Peter E. Hanson

13.  Kildee House, by Rutherford G. Montgomery and Barbara Cooney*

14.  Little House in the Big Woods and others by Laura Ingalls Wilder*

15.  Little Rascal, by Sterling North*

16.  Matchlock Gun, by Walter Edmonds*

17.  Mousekin Takes A Trip, and other “Mousekin” books by Edna Miller

18.  Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, by Betty MacDonald  (Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is a “Mary Poppins” type “witch”; she “cures” children of their bad manners and naughty behavior; an all time favorite.) *

19.   Poppy, Poppy and Rye, and Ereth’s Birthday, by Avi* (contains a porcupine that “swears” in alliteration–“slimy slug snot!”–that type of thing.  Not for everyone, I suppose, but my boys think it’s hilarious.  The books include themes of friendship, bravery etc).

20.  Runaway Ralph, Mouse on a Motorcycle, and many others by Beverly Cleary *

21.  Toliver’s Secret, by Esther Brady*

22.  They Were Strong and Good, by Robert Lawson

23.  Velveteen Rabbit, The, by Margery Williams and William Nicholson

24.  Winnie the Pooh (part of a series of Pooh books) by A. A. Milne*

25.  Yonnie Wondernose, Thee, Hannah, and others by Marguerite de Angeli 


Listening Level:  Grades 3-5

Independent Reading Level:  5th-7th

(Note: My reading levels are based on unabridged versions)

1.  A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

2.  21 Balloons by William Pene Dubois

3.  Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell

4.  By the Great Horn Spoon, by Sid Flieshman

5.  Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Brink

6.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl

7.  Carry On, Mr. Bowditch , by Jean Lee Latham

8.  Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis (contains a “witch”/ fantasy elements that some families might find offensive)

9.  Favorite Poems Old and New,  by Helen Ferris

10.  Gone Away Lake, by Elizabeth Enright

11.  Ginger Pye, Pinky Pye, the Moffats, by Eleanor Estes

12.  Heidi, by Joanna Spyri

13.  Hollings C. Holling’s Indian Book and Cowboy Book, by Hollings C. Hollings

14.  Homer Price and Centerburg Tales, by Robert McKloskey

15.  Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O’Dell

16.  Johnny Tremaine, by Esther Forbes

17.  Journey to the Center of the Earth, Around the World in 80 Days, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Vern (does include some evolution) 

18.  Justin Morgan Had a Horse, by Marguerite Henry

19.  Kildee House, by Rutherford George Montgomery

20.  Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson

21.  Pollyanna, by Eleanor Porter

22.  Summer of the Monkeys, by Wilson Rawls

23.  Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann David Wyss

24.  The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley

Others I am considering for the list but which I have not read—

Ink on His Fingers and others by Vernon

 The Hatchet

Listening Level: Grades 6 and up

Independent Reading Level:  Grades 7-9

1.  Adam and His Kin, by Ruth Beechick

2.  Anne of Green Gables (series) by L.M. Montgomery

3.  Cheaper by the Dozen, by Frank Gilbreth

4.  Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank

5.  Genevieve Foster’s “World” books (George Washington’s World, The World of William Penn, The World of Caesar Augustus and others) 

6.  In His Steps, by Charles Sheldon

7.  Kidnapped, Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

8.  Life with Father, by Clarence Day

9.  Little Women and others by Lousia May Alcott

10.  Mama’s Bank Account by Kathyrn Forbes

11.  Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan

12.  Pollyanna and others by Eleanor Porter

13.  Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, by Kate Douglas Wiggen

14. The Cay, by Theodore Taylor

15.  The Hobbit   by J.R.R. Tolkien

16.  The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, by Howard Pile

 17.  The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells

18.  The Prince and the Pauper, Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain

19.  The Yearling, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

20.  Watership Down, by Richard Adams

21.  Where the Red Fern Grows, by (read this one aloud and discuss it.)  

22.  Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George

High school – Through Adult

1.  Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell

2.  Christy, by Catherine Marshall

3.  Daniel Boone and others by James Doughtery

4.  I Kissed Dating Good-bye, by Bret and Alex Harris

5.  Evidence that Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell

6.  Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

7.  God’s Smuggler, by Brother Andrew

8.  Hinds Feet in High Places, by Hannah Hurnard

9.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

10.  Joni, by Joni Erekson

11.  Keeper of the Bees and others by Jean Stratton Porter

12.  Moby Dick, by Herman Melville

13.  Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and others by Jane Austen

14.  Much Ado About Nothing and others by William Shakesphere 

15.  The Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life, by Hannah Whitehall Smith

16.  The Hiding Place, (and others) by Corie ten Boom

17.  The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawerence

18.  The New Answers Books, volume 1, 2, and 3, by Ken Ham

19.  The Trap Family Singers, and Family on Wheels by Maria Augusta Trap

20.  Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe

21.  Sergeant York and the Great War, by Alvin C. York and Richard Wheeler

22.  Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations and others by Charles Dickens

23.  The Hawk and the Dove Trilogy, by Penelope Wilcock

24.  The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity and others by C.S. Lewis (read aloud and discuss)

25.  To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (read aloud and discuss)

     We also use many (but not all–for instance, NOT The Scarlett Letter) of the books included in the Notgrass curriculum (World History/Lit, and American History/Lit.)

© 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.  Copyrighted materials may not be re-distributed or re-posted without express permission from the author.


4 Responses to “The Most Important Books, Listed by Age (Part 2: Of my Required Reading List)”

  1. A said

    just fyi, Chronicles of Narnia is by C.S. Lewis(LOVE his other writings too) JRR Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. 🙂 I think they were friends though. 🙂

  2. Ember said

    I’m so pleased to see the Hawk & the Dove trilogy on your list alongside all those wonderful books, many of which are favourites of mine too.
    Just to let you know that this summer the Hawk & the Dove series will be extended. Three more books are with the publisher now. The first of them, The Hardest Thing To Do, will be published in July. The publisher, Crossway, has made a really beautiful cover for the new book that can be seen any time on Amazon.

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