Updated: Jun 11, 2022
Photo by Aaron Burden
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”– Neil Gaiman
“A great book should buy leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”– William Styron
“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”– C.S. Lewis
“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.”– C.S. Lewis
“A capacity, and taste, for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.”– Abraham Lincoln
I try and have at least two books I am reading through at a time. Books about Christ. Classics never read. Leadership publications. Historical treatises. Science fiction and fantasy works. A western once in two blue moons. One third of the time I reopen a book I have read as many as three times already. I want our students to have experiences of reading a wide variety of books like I have.
And I read exclusively books written on paper. Though I now look for copies with print a little larger than my younger days.
Students prefer paper to books on a computer. It is not even a close contest.
Here is the first paragraph from an article written by Katherine Derla of Techtimes on just that.
Researchers asked more than 420 university students from the U.S., Slovakia, Japan and Germany in 2010 and 2013. They found that 92 percent preferred paper books instead of e-books.
Not all books are good. Few are well written. But, a well written book that is good, then that is a book worth reading, sometimes again and again.
And I want our students to read good books. That is why all of the grade level books are handpicked. My desire is for our students to have read different genres, different authors, different backgrounds of life. But the one unifying strand for all the books is a Christian world view.
From Trevor Cairney, a Professor of Education at the University of Australia in Sydney, Australia and associated with CARE, the Centre for Apologetic Scholarship and Education is a pretty good list of " 5 main ways that Christian writers of children's books can point their readers towards God's divine narrative of redemption:"
"Type 1 – Stories that directly present the Christian gospel explicitly, often in the form of the retelling of Bible stories suitable for children. Children’s Bibles and collections of Bible stories fall into this category.
Type 2 – Stories that allegorically present the gospel (e.g. John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress).
Type 3– Stories that present or address essential biblical understandings and teaching; where the key elements of the Biblical plan of salvation are woven within the story, or can be seen as explicitly reflecting the key elements of the divine narrative (e.g. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis). While some would see the latter as allegory, Lewis denied this and instead claimed that the narrative came first and the biblical parallels followed.
Type 4 – Moral tales that have direct biblical parallels or that reflect moral principles consistent with the Bible’s teaching (e.g. evil will be punished; sin has consequences; honesty is better than falsehood). Nursery rhymes and many fairy tales fall into this category, as do many cautionary tales (of course not all such tales reflect biblical moral insights, but many do).
Type 5 – This is really a variation or extension of the above. Here the links or parallels are at the thematic level rather than in the form of moral teaching. Stories of this kind demonstrate or echo biblical teaching (e.g. salvation narratives, stories of redemption, parallels to biblical narratives or parables). These narratives parallel the gospel narrative without explicit commentary. Such stories can be read at one level as simply a nice tale, but at another level the key themes parallel biblical themes that can be discussed."
And I would say that many books not written by Christians are able to have these qualities also.
There are some books that have been out for a while, written by Christians, that we do not have in our library for our students to read because the books are so poorly written that no student likes reading them.
Over time I will be updating this blog with our list of grade level books our students will have a choice to read.
Clifford the Big Red Dog
Green Eggs and Ham
Are You My Mother?
The Ear Book
One Fish Two Fish
Fox and His Friends
Mr. Brown Can Moo
There is a Bird on Your Head
Frog and Toad
Boxcar Children #1-5
A Bargain for Francis
Nate the Great
Henry and Mudge
Hill of Fire
Number the Stars
Tree in the Trail
Justin Morgan Had a Horse
Carry On Mr. Bowditch
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
The Castle in the Attic
A Lion to Guard Us
Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims
Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground
Meet George Washington(Landmark)
Sarah Plain and Tall
Meet Thomas Jefferson(Landmark)
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain
The Thanksgiving Story(Dalgliesh)
Henry's Freedom Box
The Chocolate Touch
Sideways Stories from Wayside School
Little House on the Prairie books
Serafina and the Black Cloak
Fortunately, the Milk
The Jungle Book
The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail
Inside Out and Back Again
The Right Word(Bryant)
The Quilt Walk
Beverly Cleary books
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Indian in the Cupboard
Lost in the Pacific(Olson)
Call It Courage
Number the Stars
Where the Red Fern Grows
Where the Red Fern Grows
The Secret Garden
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Cricket in Times Square