Great Educational Gifts: BOOKS!

great-educational-gifts-books-4(This post contains affiliate links)

Last week I shared some fun, educational games that you could get your children for Christmas.  Check out the post “Great Educational Gifts: GAMES!” if you missed it.

This week I want to give you some suggestions for books that would be wonderful Christmas gifts!

Of course, we all know it’s important to encourage our children to read every day to help build their reading skills.

For some children, this is no problem, they LOVE to read! Our daughter was such an avid reader that she would use a lot of her free time to read, sometimes reading late into the night, much to our consternation! Her passion for reading helped develop her love for writing and motivated her to get her college degree in English.   She’s currently working on her first novel with the hope of publishing it sometime in 2017!

Other children aren’t so excited about reading; it’s hard to get them to read regularly.  They’d rather do anything else!  One of our boys was like this, so we had to be creative to get him to read more.

Maybe you also have a child who isn’t so excited about reading.

Here are some things that worked for us to encourage our children to read more:

  1. We read aloud to them every day from good literature – this provides some great family bonding by the way!
  2. We found a variety of good fictional book series that were interesting to them and drew them in so they wanted to read them all.
  3. We participated in our library’s book reading challenge in the summers
  4. We participated in Pizza Hut’s Book-It reading challenge.
  5. We participated in Book clubs through our homeschool co-op

To be honest, I think a love for reading is more easily caught than taught!  If you show your children that you have a love for reading, they will likely follow in your footsteps.

You might be saying now, “But Kris, I DON’T really love reading!”   I understand, I know it’s not everyone’s passion!  But reading is such an important skill; it has such a big effect on how your children will do in all their other subjects.  I’d encourage you to give it your best to try to at least read aloud to your children on a regular basis… this will usually be enough to help develop their love for reading. Many of the books I’m recommending here are also available in an audio version on CD, so you can just enjoy listening right along with your child rather than having to read!

Okay, enough on that, I said I’d share some great books you could get for your children for Christmas, so here it goes (this list is NOT exhaustive, I just don’t have room to list all the good books available out there!):

Note: I’ve put them in order according to age appropriate levels:

Pre-readers (for you to read to them):

The Story About Ping: (Marjorie Flack)  The story of a little duck named Ping who explores the world around his home on the Yantze River.  the-story-of-ping

Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel (Virginia Lee Burton)  : A story about a hard-working steam shovel and how Mike Mulligan tries to save it.  A classic!mike-mulligan

Curious George books (Hans A Rey)  :  Hilarious stories about a little monkey with lots of curiosity!  Kids love these books!

curious-george

The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Beatrix Potter) :  A classic story about a little rabbit and his family, a must read!

tale-of-peter-rabbit

Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak):  A fun story that children love – lots of great pictures.

where-the-wild-things-are

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein A great story about the gift of giving that will inspire your children to be more generous.

the-giving-tree

The Story of Ferdinand  by Munroe Leaf :  A story about a bull who didn’t want to fight in the bullpen in Madrid. A favorite children’s classic.

ferdinand

Love you Forever by Robert Munsch:  A cute story about how much a mother loves her child no matter what.

love-you-forever

Are You My Mother? (Eastman)  A story about a little bird looking for his mother.

are-you-my-mother

Early Readers: (these are also great read alouds!)

Level 1:

 

Big Dog, Little Dog (Eastman): An early reader teaches that total opposites can be the best of friends.

big-dog-little-dog

 

Go Dog Go  (Eastman) A cute story about dogs that gives kids great reading practice and makes them laugh too!

go-dog-go

The Best Nest   (Eastman)  Mr. & Mrs. Bird have some fun adventures as they look for the perfect nest.

the-best-nest

 

Level 2:

Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff:  Entertaining stories about Danny and his pet dinosaur.

danny-and-the-dinosaur

Little Bear Series by Else H. Minarik: Fun stories about the antics of a little bear.

little-bear

 

Frog & Toad Series by Arnold Lobel cute stories about the antics of two friends, the from and the toad.  Children love these books!

frog-and-toad

Young Cam Jensen (Adler)  Intriguing mysteries solved by the one and only Cam Jensen.

young-cam-jensen

Level 3:

The Golly Sisters Go West  by Betsy Byars: Hilarious stories about the crazy things the golly sisters do as they go west. (there are other Golly Sister books as well as this one)

golly-sisters

Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne: Jack and his sister Annie discover a magic tree house full of books that makes them travel through time and space to amazing adventures!

magic-tree-house

Amelia Bedelia series

amelia-bedelia

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Ages 9-12:  (also great read alouds!)

Sugar Creek Gang series by Paul HutchinsA faith-based series of stories based on the adventures Paul and his six brothers had growing up.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater: A humorous story about a painter who has a house full of penguins!

poppers-penguins

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett: The story of a pampered, little, rich girl who finds herself a poor orphan.

a-little-princess

Black Beauty by Anne SewellA favorite for all animal lovers, told from the perspective of the horse.

black-beauty

Heidi by Johanna Spyri: The story of a five year old girl who is taken to live with her grandfather in the Alps.  Heartwarming.

heidi

 

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder: A very popular story about a family who lived in Wisconsin in the late 1870’s that teaches children about life in that time period. There’s also a great unit study for this series called “The Prairie Primer” that I highly recommend.

Call of the Wild by Jack London: An exciting story about sled dogs during the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890’s.

call-of-the-wild

Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks: A series of four books about a boy whose toys come alive and the many adventures that follow. The kids enjoyed having me read these aloud to them.

indian-in-the-cupboard

The Borrowers by Mary Norton:  An unexpected story about a tiny family that lives beneath the kitchen floor in an old English manor and the many antics that follow as they “borrow” things from the owners of the manor. These were favorites at our house.

borrowers

Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: A classic story of children who stumble upon a world with many adventures and an amazing lion named Aslan. There are many parallels to the story of Christ. These books were some of our children’s favorites.

Heroes Then & Now Series books 1-5 by Janet and Geoff Benge: Amazing stories of various missionaries and how God worked in and through them around the world.  We LOVED this series and even now my adult children will occasionally come home and ask to borrow one! Both boys and girls will enjoy these books. There are 15 books in this series, with three different sets.  (Set 2: books 6-10) (Set 3: books 11-15)

heroes-then-and-now

The Trailblazer Books by Dave and Neta Jackson:  exciting fictional stories that include true stories about various missionaries who have lived over the years.

trailblazzers

Brill of Exitorn & The Lost Prince by Peggy Downing: fun, fantasy fiction that will have your child glued to the book for hours! Brill of Exitorn is the first book and The Lost Prince is the sequel.
brill-of-exitorn

 

Ages 13-17:

A Legacy of Faith by Amanda Hage: the story of a young girl living in the time of the Civil War, written by a homeschooler! The sequels “A Legacy of Hope” and “A Legacy of Love” are also available. Great book for a young girl.

lily

The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry: this is said to be one of the most influential novels of our time, the story of a 12 year old boy and a world that is suppose to be ideal, but lacks color and emotions. the-giver

A Boy After God’s Own Heart: Your Awesome Adventure with Jesus by Jim George: Jim George helps young guys to understand why God is important in everything they do. And he teaches that the Bible has the answers for all the questions and issues they face as they grow older.

A Teen’s Guide to the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman: it helps teens understand their own love language and how to show love to others.

A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlunda twist on the story of Robin Hood, where a maiden stands up for the rights of the poor.

Left Behind Series by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins: the adult fictional version of the possible unfolding of the end times.  There is a youth version as well called the Left Behind Series Young Trib Force. 

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini: adventure and fantasy about dragons and battles written by a homeschooler!

inheritance-cycle

The Seeker’s Trilogy by Cassandra Boysen: a fantasy fiction series about a kingdom on the planet Kaern, is a forested land of kings, castles, and dragon-slayers.

Heroes Then & Now Series books 1-5 by Janet and Geoff Benge: Amazing stories of various missionaries and how God worked in and through them around the world.  We LOVED this series and even now my adult children will occasionally come home and ask to borrow one! Both boys and girls will enjoy these books. There are 15 books in this series, with three different sets.  (Set 2: books 6-10) (Set 3: books 11-15)

heroes-then-and-now

Know What You Believe by Paul Little: A great book to help solidify your teen’s faith in God.

Know Why You Believe by Paul Little: Another great book by Paul Little to help your teen develop a firm faith in God.

A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George:  A great way to encourage your daughter to grow in her walk with God.

A Young Man After God’s Own Heart by Jim George: A book that helps young men see pursuing God as an adventure that is worth pursuing.

Valiant Heart Series by Dina Sleiman“Sleiman launches an action-packed, historical series of adventure and romance, starring a strong, intelligent female Robin Hood who lives up to the famous outlaw’s reputation. This fun read makes a great adult-YA crossover for Robin Hood fans who enjoy a twist to a classic tale.” –Library Journal, starred review

valiant-heart

 

 

Because I can’t list all the good books, I want to suggest some great books available that list a larger number of good literature. These books are wonderful resources for your library and will give you guidance on what books to purchase or get from the library.

“All Through the Ages” The ultimate books list, listing books according to time in history as well as age level appropriateness. Available at Heppner Legacy Homeschool Store in Elk River, MN

all-through-ages-08

“Books Children Love”by Elizabeth Laraway Wilson: a comprehensive guide to the very best literature.

books-children-love

“Honey For a Child’s Heart” by Gladys Hunt:

honey-for-a-childs-heart

I’d love to have you write in the comments and share other suggestions for good books for children!  What books have your kids loved?

Kris

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