The Importance of Reading Great Books

Reading Aloud to Your Children

Children's Literature Resources for Parents

Great Read-Alouds

Favorite Books for All Ages

Favorite Books for Preschool and Early Elementary

Favorite Books for
Late Elementary

Favorite Books for Middle School

Favorite Books for Upper Middle and High School

Caldecott Award Winners

Award Winners

College Bound Reading List

Valerie Bendt on Reading Great Literature to Children

Valerie Bendt's Book Recommendations, Preschool/Early Elementary

Valerie Bendt's Book Recommendations
, Elementary/Middle School

Valerie Bendt's Book Recommendations, High School

Our Favorite Books for Upper Middle School and High School

By age twelve, the types of books children like are split along gender lines. Boys like to read about humorous subjects, war, space travel, adventure, and fantasy. Girls tend to like some mystery and adventure stories, but they prefer novels about relationships, moral issues, love and personal identity.

The Hawk and the Dove by Penelope Wilcock. Our friend Carole Seid calls this one of the best books she’s ever read, and she reads more than anyone we know. It is a superb tale of monastic life in 11th century Britain and of learning to love God and one another, as well as learning to receive God’s grace.

The Best of James Herriot. James Herriot chose his favorite stories from all of his other works for this huge (501 pages) hardcover treasury. There are stories from his early days as a veterinarian in Darrowby, of his courtship, of his experiences in wartime, and of his return to Darrowby. Not only are these the very best excerpts from his other books, but the book is beautifully illustrated with color photographs, many drawings, and a field guide to the plants and animals Herriot mentions. (Contains several curse words.)

Ben Hur by Lew Wallace. An injustly imprisoned Judah Ben Hur spends his life seeking revenge until he is transformed by seeing Christ on the cross. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.

Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz. The lives of Christians and ungodly Romans intertwine during the days of Peter and Paul.

Books by Corrie Ten Boom
Here are three best-selling biographies of Corrie Ten Boom. In The Hiding Place, Corrie tells of her growing-up years and survival in a Nazi death camp. In Tramp for the Lord, Corrie shares about the post-war years as she travels about proclaiming the love of Jesus Christ. Jesus is Victor shares testimonies of the Lord’s power and presence as Corrie traveled the world.

Books by Ralph Moody
This series is based on the author’s growing up years in the early 1900s. Families love the Moody saga for its lessons in good living, character in the face of adversity, and humor. Deeply inspiring and full of powerful lessons. (Contains several curse words.)
Little Britches. The Moody family moves from New England to Colorado in the early 1900s and begins ranch life.
Man of the Family. When Ralph’s father dies, “Little Britches” becomes the head of the household.
The Home Ranch. At twelve years old, “Little Britches” signs on as a cowhand on a ranch.
Mary Emma and Company. Mary Emma, Ralph’s mother, takes her family east in 1912.
The Fields of Home. Ralph tries to be an eastern city boy, but doesn’t have much luck.
Shaking the Nickel Bush. Ralph, now eighteen, strikes out for the West again.
Horse of a Different Color. Ralph finds himself bankrupt when the livestock market collapses.
The Dry Divide. Just turned 20, Ralph arrives in Nebraska with a dime in his pocket.

Books by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice is a "must-read" about the intricacies of relationships between families and the upper and middle class in 1800s England. If you only read one Jane Austen book, this is the one to read.
Jane Austen's Complete Novels contains all of Jane Austen's novels in paperback form: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Lady Susan, and Love and Friendship (Hardcover)

Books by Charlotte and Emily Bronte
Complete Novels of Charlotte and Emily Bronte. Five classic masterpieces showcase the beauty and passionate imagination of these two extraordinary nineteenth-century novelists. Includes Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Shirley, Villette, and The Professor. (Hardcover)
If you can only read one Bronte book, read Jane Eyre.

Books by Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens Four Complete Novels
contains Great Expectations, Hard Times, A Christmas Carol, and A Tale of Two Cities in a hardbound book. If you can only read one Dickens book, read A Tale of Two Cities, the story of the intertwining lives of two men and the intrigues they are involved in during the French Revolution.

Books by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare: The Complete Works, Deluxe Edition (Hardcover)
by William Shakespeare. This complete and unabridged edition contains every word that Shakespeare wrote — all 37 tragedies, comedies, and histories, plus the sonnets.

Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor. Taylor left England in the mid-1800s and devoted the rest of his life to bringing the gospel to the Chinese people. This is a condensed version of the two volume set that is now out of print.

The Autobiography of George Muller. A classic about the power of prayer and trust in God. Muller never made his needs known, yet ran a huge orphanage for years by "praying in" supplies.

Gifted Hands by Ben Carson. Raised in an inner-city by a mother with a third-grade education, Ben was headed toward a life of crime until his mother decided that her sons would read books, not watch TV. Carson is now a world-renowned pediatric surgeon.

Christy. Catherine Marshall based this best-selling novel on her mother's experiences teaching at an Appalachian mission. Christy had to pit her faith against the harsh realities of a desperate, poverty-stricken culture.

Books By Gene Stratton Porter
Porter’s books were all written in the early 1900s and are old-fashioned tales of true love, filled with high moral standards and characters with great beauty of soul.
Girl of the Limberlost. Elnora Comstock is an impoverished young girl. Determined to get an education, she collects moths to pay her way through school.
Laddie. One of my favorite books, this is about the triumph of true love over adversity and is told through the eyes of Laddie’s younger sister.
Keeper of the Bees. A critically wounded soldier escapes the hospital to find the ocean and die there. Instead he finds himself helping others throughout his journey and his health improves.
Freckles. An unforgettable story of an embittered, crippled young man softening through his growing appreciation for God’s creation.

Books by Tom Brown, Jr.
Tom Brown was eight when he met Stalking Wolf, an elderly Apache Indian. In the ensuing years Stalking Wolf trained Tom in the Indian ways and now Tom is America’s foremost authority on tracking and wilderness survival. These are great books about a discipleship relationship between a boy and an Indian, but they do contain some Indian mysticism. Titles are: The Tracker (about Tom’s early years with Stalking Wolf) and The Search (sequel to The Tracker).

This Present Darkness/Piercing the Darkness
by Frank Peretti. Ordinary Christians are pitted against extraordinary evil at the highest levels. Powerful novels that are more than entertainment, they will challenge you to open your eyes to the spiritual battle that’s raging in the world.

Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl. Intrigued with the speculation that ancient Polynesians sailed to South America, Heyerdahl builds a raft and attempts to follow the path they would have taken. A true story.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Considered one of the best stories of all time, this book tells of Jean Valjean, unjustly imprisoned, who escapes and struggles to redeem his past. But he must continually evade the ever-vigilant policeman Javert. This is an incredible story about the difference between living life according to the law or according to grace. (Abridged)

The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson. In the 1950s Wilkerson entered the tough streets of New York and ministered to gang members there. Wilkerson still pastors a church in Times Square. (Note: Some sections graphically depict gang life.)

In His Steps by Charles Sheldon. The fictional account of a group of Christians who decide to base every act and decision on the question, “What would Jesus do?”This book sparked the WWJD phenomenon.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. A young girl tells of life in a small Alabama town in the 1930s and her father's defense in court of an African American accused of assaulting a white woman.

Killer Angels by Walter Shaara. Officers and foot soldiers from both the Union and Confederacy steel themselves for the bloody Battle of Gettysburg. No one writes about the Civil War better than Walter Shaara and his son Jeff, and his three Shaara books are in one volume in The Civil War Trilogy. The Killer Angels described the Battle of Gettysburg. While Gods and Generals covered action prior to Gettysburg, The Last Full Measure picks up with Confederate General Robert E. Lee's retreat from Pennsylvania and continues through the end of the war.

Four Classic American Novels contains The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, The Red Badge by Stephen Crane and Herman Melville's Billy Budd.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Anne Frank. Through the diary she kept while in hiding, thirteen-year-old Anne Frank puts a human face on the Holocaust experience.

The Story of My Life. Helen Keller would not be bound by conditions. Rendered deaf and blind at 19 months by scarlet fever, she learned to read (in several languages) and even speak, eventually graduating with honors from Radcliffe College in 1904, where as a student she wrote The Story of My Life..

Also be sure to see our list of books for College Bound students>>

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