Raising our kids one book at a time

Raising our kids one book at a time
Written by Jamie C. Martin of Simple Homeschool

Twenty years from now when my kids are grown, married, perhaps with children of their own…nothing would thrill me more than if they looked back on their childhood through the lens of the books we read together.

Wouldn’t that be cool?

They might remember these distinct “book stages” of their lives:

But why? What’s the point of all this reading that fills our days?

It’s true that creating a story-centered family culture offers plenty of benefits to children: time to bond as a family and huge academic advantages among them. But those aren’t the most important reasons to me.

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The real reason I’m attempting to raise my kids one book at a time is this:

I hope these titles root deep in my children’s souls, building their characters page by page, strengthening them for when hard times inevitably come, and leading them to grow up looking not just for a career but a calling.

You see, I believe my kids, and yours, are meant to impact, change, and heal this hurting world of ours. That’s why I’ve made it a priority to not just read, but to read our way around the world.

This travel plan fits every budget. 😉 And now you can come along!

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Reading about other cultures, countries, and those who live in them kindles our kids’ sense of adventure, grows their compassion, and gently conveys this important lesson:

This world isn’t all about me, but I can be all about helping this world.”

And that knowledge and awareness will serve our children whether they become truck drivers or surgeons, missionaries or homeschooling moms. Each and every one of them world-changers in their unique spheres of influence, whatever it might turn out to be.

It’s in honor of all your amazing kiddos (& mine) that I’ve spent the past five years researching and writing Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time.

I am all excitement and nervous butterflies, pinching myself in disbelief after ALL.THIS.TIME, to give you a taste of it today!


Give Your Child the World’s official description:

Featuring a carefully curated reading treasury of the best children’s literature for each area of the globe, as well as practical parenting suggestions and inspiration, Give Your Child the World helps moms and dads raise insightful, compassionate kids who fall in love with the world and are prepared to change it for good.

It includes more than 600(!) book recommendations from around the world. Reading lists are organized by region, country, and age range (ages 4-12). Each listing includes my brief description of the book, its themes, and any content of which parents should be aware.

Jonathan’s first global excursion (to England) as a 9-month-old, Summer 2005

Jamie’s unofficial description:

Think of this book like an inspiring geography/literature/history resource–one that will take your kids all the way from age 4 through age 12, for just the cost of a single paperback!

It isn’t a book you’ll read once, but one you’ll use again and again–I love that. Consider it a global Honey for a Child’s Heart or Read-Aloud Handbook (two of my favs).

On top of the detailed reading lists that will save you tons of time (like 5 years, LOL!), the book also shares our family’s unique multicultural story (4 countries in one family, how did THAT happen?!), practical ideas to help you create a globally-conscious home, and the power of using story to truly give your children the world.

The moment I met six-month-old Elijah in Liberia, Fall 2005

A peek inside the Table of Contents:

Foreword by my globe-loving friend Tsh Oxenreider
Opening verse: “The World in Our Homes”

Part One: Falling in Love with the World

Chapter 1:       The Good Earth: A Love Story
Chapter 2:       Practical Ways to Invite the World into Your Home
Chapter 3:       The Power of Story

Part Two: Read the World

Chapter 4:       The Joy of Other Lands: How to Use the Reading Lists
Chapter 5:       Children Just Like Me: Multicultural Books
Chapter 6:       Bring the Rain: Africa
Chapter 7:       Number the Stars: Europe
Chapter 8:       The Weaving of a Dream: Asia
Chapter 9:       Silent Music: Middle East
Chapter 10:     Wagon Wheels: North America
Chapter 11:     A Harvest of Hope: Latin America
Chapter 12:     Sailing Off: Australia, Oceania, and the Polar Regions

Closing verse: “How to Raise a World-Changer”

Getting to know 4-year-old Trishna in India, Summer 2007

Give Your Child the World is available now!

If you’ve enjoyed any of my other books or have been touched by Simple Homeschool, would you consider ordering your copy now? (Available on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.)

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Our far from perfect, yet full of love family, Fall 2015

And if my writing has deeply impacted your family, I’d also love to invite you to join my support team–a group of individuals who want to share my work and this book. I’m beyond grateful for these folks!

After all these years, I can’t thank you enough for letting me unveil this piece of my heart. I made it for you and those incredible babes of yours, and I’m thrilled that it will soon be in your hands.

You can order here!

“My prayer for you, now and forever:
that the world will never lose its wonder,
that you may always have an open book in hand,
and an open heart within, to learn and apply its lessons.

You’re a world-changer, dear child, and the world is waiting for what only you can give.”
~ from the final page of Give Your Child the World

What part of the world would your family most enjoy exploring through books right now?

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She is the co-founder and editor of Simple Homeschool, where she writes about mindful parenting, intentional education, and the joy found in a pile of books. Jamie is also the author of a handful of titles, including her newest release, Give Your Child the World.


  1. So excited! I preorder mine!

  2. Super proud!
    Caroline Starr Rose’s latest post: Fast Five: Post-Apocalyptic Novels for Grown-Ups

  3. Marybeth Ferrie says:

    Pre ordered! Can’t wait! xo

  4. Wow! What an amazing homeschooling resource! Sharing it on my page.
    Purva Brown’s latest post: Three Reasons Introverts Make Good Homeschoolers

  5. Pre-ordered and shared a link to this post with my local homeschool group. It looks amazing, Jamie, and I can’t wait to see and use it!

  6. Looking forward to reading this! Going to pre-order today and share! Congrats!!

  7. Hi Jamie – I pre-ordered my too and requested to be in the Fb group. I have been following and LOVING your site for the last 2 years since we decided to homeschool (12,9YO adopted from Korea) As an adoptive, homeschooling, comparative literature degree type mom who is pretty convinced a book-centered HS is where it’s at, your posts and vibe completely resonate with me. Thank you for “being there” for me/us every morning to lean on and glean so much wisdom. I truly can’t wait for the book to come out. xxxooo Laura

  8. Thanks so much Jamie! I’ve been following your blog and posts on Simple Homeschool for years, and have read all your books, and they have been SO encouraging to me in our homeschool journey! I literally was looking for this exact resource and could not find it anywhere (which I’m sure you did as well!). Thanks for stepping up and actually CREATING this for us all to be blessed by! I pre-ordered and can’t wait to use it!

  9. This sounds like my kind of book! Just pre-ordered 🙂
    maryanne at mama smiles’s latest post: Owl Sewing Project for Kids

  10. Your book looks lovely! I pre-ordered it and am excited about finding some treasures to add to our study of different parts of the world as we work our way through The Mystery of History series. Literature is the handmaiden of history, and brings cultures and events of the past to life in our minds and hearts. Thank you for compiling this wonderful resource!

    • Exactly, September. This will complement your history studies beautifully…and I even made a history index for the book that divides up all the recommendations by historical period. So you’ll be good to go! 😉

  11. Sounds interesting and is what I’ve been looking for. What a wonderful resource.

  12. What a great concept for a resource! Would you mind giving me a brief preview with a suggestion for any picture books that take place in England? I’m teaching a geography class for 6-8 year olds at our spring co-op, and our session is March/April before your book is released. I have ideas for some of my featured locations, but I’m stuck on England. Thanks!!
    treen’s latest post: book 500 and Tech Free Tuesday

  13. Thank you so much for all your hard work on this. I just pre-ordered the book and I can’t wait. I am a true believer of a literature based curriculum. We read aloud everyday and have learned so much together from it. My kids are 16 (boy) , 12 (boy), and 8 (girl) and they will listen to me read aloud for hours on end. I just read an entire adapted version of Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities yesterday. They sat and listened while I read all 238 pages. That time together with them is something I will treasure for the rest of my life.

  14. Preordering now! I can’t wait – we are avid readers and this is going to be so fun! 🙂

  15. Pre-ordered. Super excited that you mention in the comments above you also broke it down by historical period. (you may want to add that in the Amazon description, if you can). It’s going to be hard to wait until June!
    Gwen @ ButtercupsBabies.com’s latest post: Need some free educational plans for this President’s Day weekend? Here you go!

  16. What a great idea! I love your idea of sharing just a few carefully chosen books at a time. It’s only when I read your post that I realized that I do that, too! From now I’ll think of our reading in “eras”. Slowly, I’m opening my children’s horizons & awareness of other places & times book by book… We are homeschooling Canadians living in France & are keen on exploring more parts of the world. Your booklist is next on my purchase list!

  17. I’m so excited for this! What a beautiful post. I put your book on my Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge for 2016 as a book published this year. 😉 Looking forward to getting it and recommending it to all my mission-minded, global-thinking friends.
    Cara@TheHomeLearner’s latest post: Stuck, because…well…accountability.

  18. Can’t wait for your book to come out! I pre-ordered mine already.

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