5 books our kids should read


I love reading great books—and really love introducing new books to my kids.

My oldest (at the time of this writing) is coming up on eight years old, but she’s already a super-reader, having recently completed abridged (child appropriate) versions of Moby Dick and Treasure Island. Our middle child is nearly five and has a strong grasp of the basics (she just needs to develop her attention span a little). Our youngest, well… at almost three, he’s only really starting to identify letters, which I think is pretty good. He’s also memorized Beatrix Potter’s The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit, particularly loving the line, “This is a man with a gun…”

Sometimes in my zeal, I get a little ahead of myself, though. I want to share really great books with them, but there are so many they’re just not quite ready for yet. But they’re getting closer. Here are five that I’m looking forward to sharing with them (some of which are series, which may or may not be cheating), and think every kid should read, too:

1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. This one should be obvious to everyone: Lewis’ writing is spectacular. The story is compelling throughout each volume in the series. And you get the added bonus of having some really fantastic faith-related conversations with your kids as they work out what they’re reading.

2. The Ashtown Burials and 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson. I actually picked up these two series for myself—not because I’m an avid Y.A. reader, but because Nate Wilson’s got style. He knows how to spin a good yarn, to keep it entertaining for both children and parents. He even manages to keep things clean (some violence, but nothing graphic, and no teens with “the feels” for one another), but doesn’t play things safe.

3. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond. Bond’s stories of a talking bear from “darkest Peru” are some of my favorites. I recently picked this one up as my oldest is actually at the right age to read it, so she may start digging in as part of her homeschool curriculum, or in reading time with Dad.

4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I remember loving this book as a child, but I never realized it was actually part of a series of books until much later in life (which means I may need to go and get the rest out of the library).

5. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. This one is probably the biggest challenge for a lot of  kids. Tolkien does so much world-building in his books, they can be a tad impenetrable if you’re not willing to put the work in. Nevertheless, The Hobbit is a terrific place to start as it is by far his most accessible work (and far more interesting than the recently released—and extremely bloated—movie trilogy).

Those are just a few of the books (and series) I’d recommend for kids to read. There are, of course, so many others that could be added—what’s one you think should be there?

10 thoughts on “5 books our kids should read”

  1. Here are a few additional books I think every child should be introduced to: Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates, Where the Red Fern Grows, Benjamin West & his Cat Grimalkin (by Marguerite Henry), The Wind in the Willows, Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry, and I agree with Andrew Bernhardt on The Phantom Tollbooth.

  2. Allen Ray Mickle Jr.

    I would add The Giver series by Lois Lowry. Very good for young adults. I also heartily recommend Paddington. Growing up in a former British colony, I wondered how many Americans would know about my beloved marmalade consuming bear from darkest Peru. I bought my wife the complete set from Folio for her to read with our children for that reason. 🙂

  3. We just got Weird Al’s picture books for our three year old. Great rhymes, illustrations and very fun.

  4. Somebody (I thought it was you, but obviously not!) recommended Andrew Peterson’s “Wingfeather Saga” to me as a book to read to smaller children and then let your older children read for themselves. We’re halfway through the series (on book 2 of 4) and I have to say that I’m loving them. Oh, and the kids are too 😉 There are some subtle Christian undertones, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how he wraps the whole thing up in the end.

    And once we’re done with those, I may have to move on to the ND Wilson books you mention!

  5. Andrew Bernhardt

    I’m over 50 and still enjoy reading Narnia and the Hobbit… guess I’ll try some of those others as well.

    Another classic favorite is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster, enjoyable by both children and parents alike.

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