Our top 25 read-alouds (ages 5-12)

Our top 25 read-alouds (ages 5-12)
Written by contributor Sarah Small of SmallWorld at Home

We started reading to our firstborn the day we brought him home. We didn’t start with Pat the Bunny or Goodnight Moon, although those both played an important part in our story time with all our children. We started with a college textbook, Western Civilization. We just wanted him to hear the sound of our voices and to get a feel for language.

Over the years we have read hundreds of books to our three children, from board books to great classics. Reading aloud comes in two forms in our family: as part of school (we have used Sonlight’s literature-based program for the  majority of our years) and before bed.

Beginning at about age 5 with each of our kids, we moved from a diet of picture books and short easy readers to serious chapter books. Don’t worry about your child not “getting” a book that is “meant” for older kids. They will.

Around age 12 or 13 the evening reading aloud ended, followed shortly by the end of our school-time read-alouds. We are down to just one child who gets all of our reading attention now, and we are determined to have lots of reading time together until he, too, prefers his own voice in his head.

Below is a list of our Top 25 favorite family read-alouds. They are in no particular order, except that I listed a few series at the end. Why did these books make the list when dozens of others didn’t quite qualify? These are the books the kids remember with almost a tender fondness and sometimes almost awe. These were books we lived in, the ones that do, indeed, seem like part of our family.

Our Top 25

  1. Maniac McGee (Jerry Spinelli): A boy ignores boundaries in a small town, soothing racial tensions.
  2. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (Joan Aiken): Wolves, an evil governess, nasty villains, and two girls who escape terror to find their true inheritance.
  3. Across Five Aprils (Irene Hunt): A boy grows into manhood as his brothers leave to fight in the Union and Confederate armies.
  4. The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Elizabeth George Speare): An orphan comes to live with her relatives in a Puritan town, befriends an outcast Quaker, and becomes an outcast herself.
  5. Caddie Woodlawn (Carol Ryrie Brink): Features the Woodlawn family, pioneers in Wisconsin. Caddie and her brothers have continuous adventures from possible massacres to prairie fires.
  6. Cheaper by the Dozen (Frank Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey): Forget the popular movie and read the incredible true story of the Gilbreth kids and their parents.
  7. Little Britches (Ralph Moody): In the early 1900s, eight-year-old Ralph and his family move to a Colorado ranch. Their life is full of hardships and lots of love. A huge tear-jerker!
  8. Hitty, Her First 100 Years (Rachel Field): From one owner to another, the doll Hitty sees tremendous changes in the world over the course of 100 years.
  9. The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster): The classic story of the boy Milo, who finds his boring life interrupted when he travels to Dictionopolis and the lands beyond.
  10. The Wheel on the School (Meindert DeJong): A Dutch village joins together as it seeks to bring storks back to the rooftops of Shora.
  11. Follow My Leader (James Garfield): Jimmy is accidentally blinded by a firecracker. With the help of his guide dog, he perseveres.
  12. Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio (Peg Kehret): Tells of the author’s battle with polio as a young girl. Mesmerizing.
  13. Number the Stars (Lois Lowry): Annemarie and her family are part of the Danish resistance in WW2, helping to smuggle their Jewish friends to safety.
  14. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch (Jean Lee Latham): The story of Nathaniel Bowditch, an ordinary boy who becomes a pioneering navigator.
  15. The Sign of the Beaver (Elizabeth George Speare): 13-year-old Matt is left alone to guard his family’s new cabin in the Maine wilderness.
  16. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Barbara Robinson): The six horrible Herdman kids turn the annual Christmas program upside down.
  17. The Cricket in Times Square (George Selden): Chester Cricket tours NYC with his new friends Tucker, Harry, and Mario.
  18. Watership Down (Richard Adams): The classic story of rabbits who flee the destruction of their home, searching for a safe haven.
  19. The Hobbit (JRR Tolkien): Trolls, goblins, dragons, dwarves, and, of course, hobbits. This is the incomparable adventure of Bilbo Baggins.
  20. The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis): My own personal favorite of all the books on the list. If you haven’t read them, well, please do.
  21. The Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling): Adored by our kids and by us parents, as we experienced them together for the first time (and many times since then).
  22. Little House on the Prairie series (Laura Ingalls Wilder): I can’t imagine a girlhood without Laura and the rest of Ingalls family.
  23. Ramona series (Beverly Cleary): Ramona, Beezus, Henry, and the rest of the gang should not be missed. Henry Huggins and Ribsy were also favorites.
  24. The Boxcar Children (Gertrude Chandler Warner): Orphans Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny solve mysteries and have many adventures. The first four books were our favorites.
  25. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory/Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (Roald Dahl): Willy Wonka, Charlie, Grandpa Joe, and the Oompa-Loompas: what a crazy adventure. The books are madcap and hilarious but poignant.

I hope you’ve found a few new titles to add to your read-aloud time. What are some of your family’s absolute favorites?

This post originally published on April 6, 2012.

About SarahS

Sarah has graduated one child from homeschooling and is happy to have miles left on the journey with her 11 and 15 year old children. With a master’s degree in English/creative writing, Sarah enjoys teaching writing and literature classes at her co-op and blogs about learning at SmallWorld at Home.


  1. Oh my goodness this is a great list! So many memories from reading several of these as a kid. I am loving them all over again with my kids! Another few of our favorites have been Strawberry Girl, Stuart Little, and Pippi Longstockings. Thanks for sharing this! :)

  2. This is a great list! We’ve read several of the books on this list this year. Wheel on the School and “Hitty” were both favorites of mine. I absolutely love the Betsy-Tacy series of books by Maud Hart Lovelace. I read aloud the first four books to my daughter when she was about 6, and she has now read those four on her own a few times. The remaining six books in the series would appeal more to a bit older girls (maybe 10+). I read books 5 through 10 as an adult and thoroughly enjoyed them. Some of the books on this list are new to me, and I think I’ll be adding some to our list of future read alouds!
    Kirsten H’s latest post: Book Discoveries this Week: Misty of Chincoteague

    • The Betsy Tacy series was one of my very favorites as a girl, right up there with Little House on the Prairie! We did not do as a read aloud, but I introduced my girls to them to read on their own.
      My kids are all grown now, and I have so many fond memories of the majority of the books you listed.
      The Little Britches series we got on audio and listened to the entire series as a family. We still quote from those books today! “Wastin’, wastin’ I tell you!”
      Bernice @ Living the Balanced Life’s latest post: Depression is NOT being sad

  3. I love this list! My kids are younger (almost 4 and 20 months), but I have the same philosophy on reading. I did start out with the nursery rhymes, but quickly got bored reading them so much, so I started reading Harry Potter. By the time my oldest was 1 I had read her Harry Potter, the Chronicles of Narnia, and Pride & Prejudice. People thought I was a little strange, but she has a great vocabulary now :-)
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  4. Our kids loved the whole Ralph Moody series. I picked up Little Britches from a library sale years ago and we were hooked. (That’s the same way we discovered Hitty – a library book sale.) Since we, too, use Sonlight there are only a few on your list we haven’t read. I remember the older children loving The Westing Game and Where the Red Fern Grows.
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    • We need to read The Westing Game–thanks for the reminder! And Where the Red Fern Grows was definitely close to the Top 25!
      Sarah at SmallWorld’s latest post: New York City Family Style: Activities—the Metropolitan Museum of Art

      • We are reading the Westing Game right now. We started doing family read alouds again this year with my 14 year old, although he does lots of other reading on his own. We sensed the need for some more bonding with him, and he was resistant at first. We had him choose but now he looks forward to our after dinner time and we all take turns reading pages. It has been a really positive experience. Thanks for the great list. Lots to look forward to with my almost 2 year old daughter!
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  5. I love this list, because there are so many books I’m not familiar with. Yay for new book ideas!

    We’re currently listening to the Ramona books on cd (a nice break for this introverted mama), and my 9yo, 7yo, and 4yo ALL love them. That is really saying something!
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  6. Read alouds end at 12-13? That makes me a little sad. I hope to keep it going longer, wishful thinking I guess.
    You have a great list! We also enjoy Winnie the Pooh, The Hundred Dresses, The Indian in the Cupboard, and The Mouse and the Motorcycle.
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    • I was hoping they’d go longer as well, Paula, but 13 seemed to be it. Just last night, though, our firstborn, who is home from college for the weekend, sat and listened in for a whole chapter of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase as I read it to his younger brother!
      Sarah at SmallWorld’s latest post: Our Top 25 Read-Alouds (ages 5-12)

      • My middle child commutes to college. A few weeks ago he saw
        Southern Gal’s latest post: Friday’s Letters

        • Sorry. I somehow hit post while typing.
          As I was saying, our middle son commutes to college. He saw The Hobbit in our pile of books that are to be read. He said he wanted to read it again, but was too tired to read it then. I asked if he wanted me to read it to him. I was thrilled when he said yes. So I began reading The Hobbit aloud to him and our youngest son who is 11. I loved that time together. I think my youngest will remember it, too.
          Southern Gal’s latest post: Friday’s Letters

  7. I smiled at what you first read to your newborn. My husband was in seminary when our daughter was born so she heard lots about historical theology and even some Greek and Hebrew before she could speak. She’s still too young for chapter books but I read several of the series on your list as a child and look forward to reading them too her too. Thanks for the additional suggestions.
    Steph’s latest post: In Christ Alone

  8. Small Steps is one of my all time favorite books!!! I have read it sooo many times. I am glad your family enjoyed it too.

  9. Great list!! Thank you! I will be referring to this list often. :) We have read many of the books on your list, and are about to begin The Hobbit.
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  10. Love this! I am a huge Phantom Tollbooth fan and have read it roughly 30 times — in school, to my students, and to my own children. It’s one of those books that is so satisfying to read aloud with the wit and word choice (and, of course, the Humbug’s goof ball comments).

    The Ramona books have been such a gift to me, both as a child and now a mother. No other series has reminded me so clearly of what it means to be a child and how a child views the world. Reading them along with my children was a way for me to share bits of my growing up years and to re-learn compassion for and patience with young people.
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    • I love the Ramona books so much. Just the other day my 14-year-old said, “Remember that scene in Ramona when_______” As you said, the books are such perfect pictures of what it is to be a child!

  11. This is a wonderful list! My 7 year old son was fascinated by the Little House series especially :) Charlotte’s Web, The Trumpet of the Swan and the Anne of Green Gables series are a few more that are very high up on my list. Can’t wait to check some of these out – thank you for sharing!
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  12. Our kids (8, 5, 2) are eager for our “family reads” this year . So far we’ve read Mary Poppins (the original book, not Disney), James & the Giant Peach (one of my childhood favorites), Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars and Miss Piggle Wiggle. Currently reading The Phantom Tollbooth and thoroughly enjoying it! What’s up next? Perhaps another Mary Poppins adventure….or maybe The Borrowers….or The Cricket in Times Square…. So many books to share! Looks like I’ll have to add a few from your list to ours :)

    • Yes! Miss Pickerell goes to Mars. Thank you for the correct title . My dad read this to me when I was young and i have been trying to find it for my kiddos to read to them.

  13. We’re reading The Little Prince right now. I love the My Father’s Dragon series. Socks and Ralph S Mouse. Narnia. Mrs Piggle Wiggle. Roald Dahl is often read here, too. We read short-book series like Alice in Bibleland, Beatrice Potter stories and the Serendipity books more often than chapter books, though.

  14. My sister and I growing up loved two other books by Elizabeth George Spear: The Bronze Bow and Calico Captive. I definitely agree about the Chronicles of Narnia as well. Thanks for the great list! My oldest is just now turning 5, so we will definitely be adding some of them to our library.

  15. I’ll add Enid Blyton’s _Famous Five_ mystery series and Julie Andrews Edwards’s _Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles_… and the Hardy Boys, of course. It’s fun to read these adventure books outloud which gets the whole family’s collective heart racing!

  16. We’re really just starting to enjoy chapter book read-alouds with my older two children (7 & 5). So far, our two favorites have been Winnie the Pooh and Mr. Popper’s Penguins :)
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  17. I have to add the Mistmantle Chronicles by M. I. McAllister – we rank it up there with Chronicles of Narnia.
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  18. I use to work at a bookstore while i was pregnant so I feel like my oldest was raised with books while still in the womb. I can remember reading the little house series to her while she nursed. Now we are enjoying going through thre series again. We have also enjoyed Island of the Blue Dolphins and The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs. I am looking forward to reading my kids The Giver but it is a little old for them now. And Little Women is another great one.

  19. Great list! Many wonderful suggestions. I read the comment regarding read alouds ending at 12. . . interestingly enough, I notice that the older kids start their own read alouds with the younger kids! My 12 year old LOVES to re read her favorites to her younger siblings. Just last night there was a rousing read of “Trolley Car Family” going on upstairs. I love that that is how they show love for each other!
    More suggestions:
    Great Brain series, Happy Little Orphelines, Twig, Judys Journey (Lenski), our all time favorite read aloud: Winter Cottage by C.R. Brink.

    Happy Easter!

  20. Oh, Oh, I forgot, The Witch of Blackbird Pond!
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  21. Great list! I LOVE book lists. To yours I would definitely add Anne of Green Gables, Emily of New Moon, and of course the Ramona books. My daughter still likes the Magic Tree house series as well.
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  22. Thanks for the list of good books. We just finished reading The Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls…The kids loved it!!!

    • Sheila Roberts says:

      Oh yes, while I love Where the Red Fern Grows, Summer of the Monkeys is so funny, but has such a similar feel. I wish more of Rawls books had been published.

  23. I love this post! We too read to our girls (4 year old twins) constantly and began in the NICU with a few books when they were born. One of my favorites then was Winnie the pooh. We of course enjoy TONS of great picture books but this year I started reading chapter books as part of our bed time routine. It kind of happened by accident…. I am a teacher and had to read a book for school and like any kid, when I have to read something I really don’t want to, so I decided to read it out loud to my own kids and figured it would make it more fun for me to read….Needless to say my kids LOVED it and follwed the story much better than I thought a 3 year old would. After that they were asking for more “chaber” books! So far we have read: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Ella Enchanted, The Borrowers, Alice in Wonderland, and are working on The BFG now.

  24. excellent list! lots of classics and Newberys. I love the Newberys.
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  25. Hmm, we’re just about finished with Core A and I’ve been wondering what read alouds will be included in years to come….thanks for the hints 😉

  26. Also, my favorites as a child was The All-of-a-Kind Family.

  27. Love the list! We’ve read many of them, but some are new. You reminded me of some that I liked when I was a little girl, but haven’t read yet with my girls! Caddie Woodlawn has always been a favorite. I pinned this post so I won’t forget it.
    Sara @ Embracing Destiny’s latest post: Top 10 Favorite Read-Alouds (chosen by a 10-year-old)

  28. This is a beautiful list of high quality books! Thanks for sharing your family’s experience! I will add some of the books from your list to our home library (we have some already – nos. 2, 5, 9, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 25).

    Read Aloud Dad
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  29. Nice choices, including a number of older Newbery winners. Among newer books, I can highly recommend: The Adventures of Nanny Piggins, by Spratt (VERY funny); The Tale of Despereaux, by DiCamillo (another Newbery winner, and absolutely written to be read aloud); Floors, by Carmen (also very funny, and a good boy choice); The Mysterious Howling (Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series) by Wood; and Mr and Mrs Bunny: Detectives Extraordinaire, by Horvath.

  30. Elizabeth Johnsen says:

    This is great! I’ll be saving this list to refer back to as we go! My 7 year old daughter loves read-a-louds, and I love reading with her. My nearly-5-year-old son, not so much. My 20-month-old daughter enjoys books already, and she is often around when I read. :)
    One of my favourites when I was a child, and I’ve recently read it to my 7yr old, is The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier. It’s a tear jerker!!
    I remember The Wheel on the School!! Great memories! Definitely going to get that one soon! :)
    Thanks for sharing!!

  31. My youngest girls are 14 and 16 and I still read to them. They read alot on their own as well. We are actually going thru the Little House series again and really enjoying them.

  32. Love this list Sarah. There are some books on the list and in the comments I haven’t thought of in long time. Right now we are reading The Hobbit with our son and Ramona our daughter. After Ramona she wants to read Little Women and my son wants to read of course Lord of the Rings.

  33. My son and I are having such fun reading Boxcar Children mysteries right now! It is so much fun to see him picking up clues. And he so identifies with Benny. Before that some of our favorites have been from Beverly Cleary and Roald Dahl. (His eyes lit up with excitement when he heard someone mention vermicious knids at a birthday party recently. :o) )

  34. Thanks for your blog and this wonderful list!
    My 8yo daughter is reading well on her own but I’m still reading certain books aloud to her. We’re devouring Louise Erdrich’s Birchbark House series for children — a sort of Native American answer to Little House on the Prairie. We’re on Book Four entitled Chickadee and our only hope is that she never stops writing them!

  35. No one has mentioned Grace Lin’s outstanding book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Last year, when my daughter was 5/6, she had me read this novel aloud 3 different times. I could not recommend it more highly. We have also really enjoyed Grace Lin’s other novels The Year of the Dog and Dumpling Days, which are based on her childhood as a Taiwanese-American. And her blog is lovely. We have also really enjoyed the Clarice Bean books by Lauren Child, and her spin-off, Ruby Redfort: Look into My Eyes. In my opinion, Holes by Louis Sachar is another book not to be missed, but we haven’t read that one together yet. Richard Peck’s A Long Way from Chicago is great as well.

    • SoCalLynn says:

      When my daughter was younger, she loved the Clarice Bean books by Lauren Child. She actually wrote a letter to the author and mailed it to her in England. About 6 weeks later the author wrote her back, thanking my daughter for her letter. I have a soft spot in my heart for Lauren Child. <3

  36. Roselinde says:

    Fantastic list! It includes lots of new titles for me and I appreciate the brief descriptions. On our family list are the Mr Gallianos circus series by Enid Blyton also The children of Cherry Tree Farm. The Secret Garden, the Children of Noisy Village, Mr Poppers Penguins, the Sheep Pig and The little princess. Hm looks like I shall blog my own list soon!!!

  37. Just wanted to express how happy I am to see Number the Stars on that list! It was one of my favorite books as a child, so much so that I still have my copy years later. It seems however, that most people I speak to don’t recognize the title.
    Queen of Chaos’s latest post: We’re home!

  38. This is a great list of books. We’ve read most of them and they are all worthy of owning and reading multiple times. Sometimes we’ll watch the movie after we’ve read the book. Like Cheaper by the Dozen…not the new one, but the original one. We got it from the library. It’s really good.
    A good website you may be interested in taking a look at is http://www.homeschoolliterature.com/ They have a book club with study guides to go along with the books. They also have books and stories about homeschoolers! Something our kids can relate to. :)

  39. Charlotte says:

    Wow, you didn’t pick our favorites!
    Because of Winn Dixie and The Mysterious Journey of Edward Tulane
    Angus and Sadie and Mr. Popper’s Penguins for younger readers
    and more and more…

  40. add The Borrowers by Mary Norton!! Such great fun.

  41. I remember several of these from when I was a kid. I LOVE that I can share some of my favorites and discover new ones with my children! My fourth grade teacher read “Where the Red Fern Grows” and our whole class just fell in love. Can’t wait to read that title again.

  42. What a great list! Thanks so much for posting. My 4yo and I have done a couple longer read alouds, but I can’t seem to get her excited just yet about it. The lack of pictures for her is very strange, and I think she likes to know which words I am reading at what time, and that is harder to figure out when there are more words.
    I second the recommendation for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That was our easiest book to get through. Each chapter was fun and silly, and for a younger child, the short chapters with specific stories worked well. We didn’t have to do a lot of recap to remember what happened in nights before. With Charlotte’s Web, I found that to be a problem. Not a lot happened in each chapter to make it interesting.
    We just start Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and my daughter likes it so far when I do read, but she will usually choose a shorter story book instead. I’ll keep working on her! :) The chapter books are much more fun for me to read aloud than the short story books that I have read over and over and over and over!!

  43. What a wonderful list! I haven’t heard of some of these, so I’m looking forward to checking them out. So far, our 7 year old has enjoyed Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, the Ramona Series, and The Littles books. The Magic Treehouse series and the Airy Fairy series are also favourites of hers, and a friend sent us Enid Blyton’s Wishing Chair books, so we’ll be starting them soon. We also have The Little Princess and The Secret Garden on our to-read shelf, along with the Little House books. I loved the Bobbsey Twins books when I was young, so I hope we’ll get to them soon as well. So many books, so little time! :)
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  44. I love the list and the many ideas in the comments. Our family uses Sonlight, so many of these titles are already well-loved here. We are enjoying the Wolves of Willoughby Chase series so much! I think we are starting book 8 tomorrow. The kids love it, and so do I! Reading out loud is my favourite part of homeschooling.

  45. I have pictures of my husband holding my sons binky in as they both lay on the floor and my hubby is reading Western Civilizations out loud!!
    I am so excited about this list! We have many new titles to add to our ever growing lists!
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  46. I see I commented the first time this ran, but I can’t help myself: I have to do it again! So many beauties here and so many warm memories.
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  47. Sheila Roberts says:

    I love your list. I read most of them to my boys. It is so hard to choose just 25, but I definitely would add Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Wind in the Willows. So many books, so little time.

  48. I would love to see a list like this organized with some age recommendations. My oldest is about to turn 5 and she is just getting interested in following a chapter book over the course if several bedtimes so far we have done Winnie the Poo and an abbreviated version of Peter Pan. I tried Wind in the Willows but it went over her head. I would love if others have suggestions for chapter books for this very early stage. Thanks so much!

    • SoCalLynn says:

      I recommend a book called The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. In the back of the book he has them organized by suggested age/reading level, which should help you get an idea. The entire book is worth keeping and referring to over the years.

  49. The Invention of Hugo Cabret. My 8 year old daughter loves the way Brian Selznick “organizes his books.”

  50. jennifer says:

    my daughters are 11, and my son is 9. they still love to read aloud. usually i read with them one on one, but last summer we read the first harry potter book as a family. the bfg by ronald daul is also a family favorite. i miss them being youger and the books they enjoy. now the girls have moved on to teen fiction and it’s harder to find one book that interests everyone.

  51. Toys Go Out and Toy Dance Party by Emily Jenkins, and the Hank the Cowdog series by John Erikson are our current favorites.

  52. Love EB White books too.
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  53. The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli!!!

  54. Michelle says:

    The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The Magician’s Elephant and Because of Winn Dixie all by Kate DiCamillo- one of our favorite authors.

  55. My Side of the Mountain, Indian in the Cupboard, Redwall, the Moffets, the Famous Five series, Henry Reed series, All of a Kind Family, the Mysterious Benedict Society series

  56. Toni Green says:

    Great List! I also love the Wrinkle in Time series and The Dragons of Blueland series.

  57. We are loving all for Roald Dohl’s and EB White’s books with my 5 year old girl right now. We read the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede with her when she was 4 and she LOVED them. Lots of giggles. Great list, I’ve pinned for future reference.

  58. SoCalLynn says:

    Some of my daughter’s favorites we’ve read aloud, in addition to many of those on your list: Rascal by Sterling North; The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett; Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field; The Courage of Sarah Noble; Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder (and other LIW books, but this was her favorite) and The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Those are just the ones off the top of my head.

  59. Oh good list! We do read-alouds at lunch time every day. It often means my lunch gets cold while we get engrossed in too many pages of our current book, but it is still my favorite part of homeschooling. We just finished reading Ribsy, which had my kids anxious until the very end whether or not he would reunite with his family. :) This is a great list – I will definitely reference it for future use!
    oh, also – my kids loved the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series!
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  60. A lot of our favorites have already been mentioned. We also loved Owls in the Family (Mowfatt), The Little Princess, The Book of Dragons (E.Nesbitt), and are currently enjoying the audio version of Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga.

  61. I have to disagree on the second half of your last one (but agreed with most of the others). I found “Glass Elevator” to be very negative because of the way the characters constantly insulted each other, especially family members. Too bad because the story was interesting otherwise.

    I would also add “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Little Prince.” This is a good one if your child is going to learn French as it is often used in French curricula and is easy to find.

  62. Oh this is brilliant, I love it!!! A real trip down memory book lane, Thank you!!!
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  63. All time favorites are many on your list as well as Little Women, Penderwick series, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and most recently The Giver.

  64. Starting Sonlight next year as a first year homeschooler. Can’t wait to start reading! Your list will come in handy over the summer!

  65. We kept reading in our family all the way through high school. I really miss those days! It helped my children have a higher vocabulary and greater imagination than many of their peers.

  66. Misty of Chincoteague, as well as others by Marguerite Henry. I also loved The Bronze Bow and Calico Captive as a child (blanking on the author at the moment.

  67. Christine says:

    The Phantom Tollbooth is just a fantastic imaginary adventure for kids, I read it first when I was about 12 and when I was 31 had to get a copy of it, as I always remembered how much I enjoyed it as a kid and didn’t have that one anymore. Written so poetically and the prose is so great. Changed my childhood!

  68. We loved the Fablehaven and Beyonders series by Brandon Mull. Lots of excitement and good messages. It can get a bit scary though (kind of along the lines of Harry Potter), so you may want to skim it first to see if it works for your kids.

  69. I would add “Understood Betsy.” It’s a book I encountered through Sonlight, and I was blown away. I think it’s one of my all-time favorite children’s books, now. In terms of fodder for the imagination, I’m also very fond of “A Little Princess,” and so are my girls, now, too. That one also has a very good movie, the BBC version from the 1980s, to help bring it to life.

  70. Wow, I remember so many of these from my own childhood!

    Esp sign of the Beaver and The best Worst Christmas pageant ever. I vividly remember those from elementary school and have only recently tracked down the titles so I can pass them on to my own chitluns!

    Just read my 4yo Roverandom (JRR Tolkien) :) and he has previously enjoyed all of the My Father’s Dragon trilogy.

  71. We loved so many of these as well, especially Little Britches and Narnia!! We love reading aloud with our 8 and 10 year olds. I love getting some new ideas for read alouds for the kids. Thanks for the list!
    Elaine’s latest post: Favorite Picture Books

  72. You put together a great list, I’ll have to add these to my own for my son. I have to add though, “Understood Betsy” as well as the “Great Brain” series. My dad used to read all of the James Herriot books to me when I was little, and “All Creatures Great and Small” is the first book I remember looking at a page and recognizing actual words :)

  73. Thanks for the suggestions! I would add “Anne of Green Gables” to the list.

  74. The BFG by Roald Dahl. However, I love and would agree with every book your let.

  75. My favourite childhood book is The Land of Far Beyond, by Enid Blyton. I loved it so much when it was read to us in the Fifth Grade that I chased it down (now that it’s out of print) in my adulthood to keep and share with my children.
    One of my kids’ favourites is The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby. We read this aloud and it enthralled us – definitely a repeat read!
    And finally, my favourite young read aloud which I never see anywhere but is absolutely brilliant is The Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse by Ursula Moray WIlliams. I read it to my children when they were 3/4, short chapters with glorious adventures. :)

  76. We love L. M. Montgomery “Emily Starr” series and the three Heidi books. My girls (7 & 11) have played Heidi since we started the first book.

  77. Allisson Reed says:

    I loved the Ramona books and have the Boxcar Children slated for cconsideration. My kiddos are 6&4 and to say that I’m overprotective to the max might be (maybe IS) an understatement. I admit that am not familiar with about half of these stories, but the summaries sound very adult for kids in the 5-8 range. I get that you have to know your kid, but are these examples of what people are reading to kids less than 10?

    Please note I am not judging and would appreciate the same courtesy in return. I’m just trying to see if I need to consider expanding their world sooner rather then later.

    • Some books I would recommend for that age are Charlotte ‘s Web, The Courge of Sarah Noble, Caddie Woodlawn, Magical Melons ( no magic but the kids think there is ), The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, Mountain Born, The 100 Dresses, and the first couple of Little House books. Of course, you are the parent so you have to decide which books are best for your kids.

    • Look for books that your kiddos can relate to and that also have a higher listening level (great vocabulary you can discuss) The Incredible Journey is great if you have animal lovers, Alittle Princess, Secret Garden, Five Little Peppers and other older books won’t deal with as many coming of age topics.

  78. We loved The Wizard of Oz! Better than the movie!

  79. The Secret series by Psedomymus Bosch, Benedict Society by Trenton Lee, Momo by Michael Ende, Calpurnia Tate series.

  80. Katie Hilty says:

    One of our favorites is Eleanor Estes “Ginger Pye”. Also love the Great Brain series, and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.

  81. Wonder is fabulous!!

  82. Try Red Sails to Capri. Loved it!

  83. Would also add The Moffats series by Eleanor Estes, including Ginger Pye and Pinky Pie.

  84. Read many many Newberys aloud to son and one of my surprise favorites was Rabbit Hill. I will go back and read it again for myself.

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