Top Ten Family Read-Alouds

These books have been a blessing to our homeschool. Enjoy one today!

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small kids reshape a small town in a big way

The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong

I have great memories of reading this book as a kid, so it was natural to pick it up for my kids this year. It starts a little slow – but seeing the pieces come together is a delight. The children in this sleepy seaside town wake it up and it all starts with a simple idea and a great teacher.

I couldn’t find a kindle copy, but this print copy is lovely.

Recommended Ages: 8-12


an adventure with Mr Toad

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

My 8-year-old boy adored this book. These four animal friends go on little adventures. For older kids, there are plenty of conversations to have about addiction and how to be a good friend. 

Fun Story: At church, we had a short lesson on St. Patrick. We talked about his early life, when he wanted revenge on his captors. My son piped up, “He wanted revenge? Just like Mr. Toad.” Luckily, I was his Sunday school teacher that day!

Available on Kindle

Better in Print

Recommended Ages: 6-10 (but older kids will like to listen along, too.)


Classic Orphan Story


Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Hear me out. This book is old and long and it may take time for your kids to get used to the language. But as a read-aloud, it’s worth the work. We spent a whole school year slowly reading this book and, in the end, my oldest was able to tell back the whole thing – almost scene for scene. The story sticks with you and is a beautiful tale of beauty from ashes, grace, and forgiveness.

Available on Kindle

Better in Print

Recommended Ages: 8-18

Make Geography/History Fun


The Tree in the Trail

Simple concept: Follow the life of tree along the Santa Fe trail. Watch native Americans come and go, the wagon trains travel, and the American frontier change.

We read this slowly over 12 weeks, checking the map as we read, to learn about the American southwest.

You need the print copy of this book.

Recommended Ages: 7-10

Peril on the Prairie

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

My daughter absolutely loved the Little House books. Following Laura and her family was a joy. Start with the Little House in the Big Woods, then read the Prairie. If you read them slow enough, your children will enjoy the later books when they are older – which is good – because the later books explore more difficult themes.

Buy the hardcopy because you’ll want to pass them onto your grandkids.

Recommended Ages: 6-12


World War II Classic

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Here’s another book that I read as a kid – and it found a place in the bookshelf of my mind. Little images and sentences stuck with me. I didn’t even remember where some of these thoughts came from until I re-read this book with my kids. 

A family risks their lives to hide their Jewish neighbors during the early days of World War II. The main character, a young girl, has to grow up quickly to save her friend. Highly Recommend and you may cry. 

Read on the Kindle

Better in Print

Recommended Ages: 8-12


Cry with me about a spider


Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

If this list were in any sort of order, this book would be number 1. We have used it as a read-aloud at home at least three times. I’ve read it aloud to my weekday class at church. It’s about true friendship and good writing and you can’t miss it.

Do not buy the kindle version. Get a good print copy and pass it on.

Recommended Ages: 5-12

Girl grows up Quick with Putney Cousins

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

After being treated with kid gloves in her Mid-west home, Betsy has to move in with the dreaded Putney Cousins. Will she recover from culture shock and learn the strange Putney ways?

My kids really loved this book. You will, too.

Read it on Kindle.

Better in Print.

Recommended Ages: 7-10

There and Back Again…

The Hobbit

I did not grow up reading the Tolkien books so reading them for the first time with my kids has been great. Follow Bilbo on his journey with the dwarves. The book is better than the movies! But it can be fun to watch the movie afterwards as a treat.

Buy it in print.

Recommended Ages: 7-18


Sweet Country Vet


James Herriot’s Treasury for Children

This book is a memoir-type book about a vet in the English countryside. It captured the imagination of my own children and the children at our weekday church program. The stories are short and the illustrations are beautiful.

Buy it in print.

Recommended Ages: 5-10


Reading Round Up – Here are short recommendations for books I’ve recently enjoyed. Some I read with the kids – some were just for me – and some were for a reading group.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases through these links, but I really did enjoy the books and I hope you will, too.


in America by Maeve Higgins

Maeve Higgins is completely hysterical. Her delightful memoir made me laugh out loud in multiple doctor’s waiting rooms. Tune into the NPR show “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” to hear her voice and then, if you need something light and fun, pick up her book today. Thanks to my sister for a great gift.



All The Pretty Horses and Awaking Wonder

This month’s fiction is all about Pretty Horses.

I have never read Cormac McCarthy before. It’s quite an adventure. I’m 1/4 of the way through with All the Pretty Horses. I completely love Texas, and my family also had a ranch near San Angelo, so my heart already loves this book. It’s taking a minute to get used to the rhythm and lack of quotation marks – but I will overcome.

In non-fiction, I picked up Sally Clarkson’s newest book “Awaking Wonder.” I dig the title, and the cover is beautiful stars so I’m already tracking with her without even opening the book. I’m reading this one along with friends in real life, so that’s exciting.

Happy Reading,



Lincoln in the Bardo

Because I homeschool with the Charlotte Mason method, I’m constantly reading old books, almost exclusively. I just don’t have time to read anything new. In my mind, I kind of think if it’s worth reading, it will be around in 20 years and I can read it then.

But this year has been a little different. Highly recommended, I picked up Lincoln in the Bardo and finished it on vacation.

Basically, historical fact: Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd lost a son, Willie, while Lincoln was in office. They thought he was going to get better and he didn’t. They laid his body in a mausoleum in D.C., intending to carry him back to Indiana when they moved back home. (Of course, Abraham and Willie’s bodies both went back together after the president’s assassination) President Lincoln really did slip into the mausoleum to hold Willie’s body a few times. George Saunders imagined the circumstances around that fact and wrote Lincoln in the Bardo.

The writing in this book is just amazing. I don’t think I have ever cried so much in the first half of a book. Plus it’s sprinkled with actual historical sources so I was constantly googling, “Did XYZ really happen?” (Some of the “historical sources” are actually fabricated, so I had to check everything.) I learned so much real information about Lincoln on my rabbit trails.

George Saunders touches on bits of humanity, most directly with Lincoln and his deceased son, in a startlingly accurate way. And that’s why I openly wept through the entire book (in the best way possible).

I would love to see another book with real journals and sources compiled in this way. I thought about writing one, but I don’t have time. So someone else get on it! And let me see how it goes.