Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Top 10 Books for Children ages 8 - 13

Maybe you noticed (or maybe not) that I/we are a homeschooling family. One of the many "perks" of this job are the wonderful stories and books I get to read to/with my children.

I have to confess there have been books that I had to take a quick break from because I became "verklempt" and needed to go dry some tears - but isn't that one great reason to share books with your kids? So you can experience the story's emotional ups and downs with your children.

For the last seven years (wow did time fly) we have been using Sonlight for our main curriculum. If you know anything about Sonlight you know that the program has a rich selection of great quality literature. We just love it!

I thought it would be fun to put together a list of our top 10 children's books. So here it is the TOP TEN list (in no particular order!)

  1.  The Secret Garden - by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  2.  Heidi - by Johanna Spyri
  3.  Red Sand, Blue Sky - by Cathy Applegate
  4. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (series) - by C.S. Lewis
  5.  Anne of Green Gables - by L.M. Montgomery
  6. Johnny Tremain - by Esther Forbes, Lynd Ward
  7.  Five Little Peppers and How They Grew - by Margaret Sidney
  8.  Red Sails to Capri - by Ann Weil
  9.  From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - E.L. Konigsburg
  10.  Little House on the Prarie (collection) - by Laura Ingalls Wilder

There are so many more to include here but these are some of our all time favorites.

Maybe your kids don't love books quite as much as mine. Do you have any reluctant readers? There have been times that in order to really get my kids into the story I've had to be pretty creative and let them get their "hands dirty" digging into the story. What did I do you might ask? Well let me give you a few examples that might help you with any reluctant readers in your home.

When we read Heidi I had the kids help me make bread from scratch. After it baked I served them a lunch similar to what Heidi would have eaten up on the mountain - fresh baked bread, chunk of cheese and cold glass of milk. I spread a picnic blanket out on the livingroom floor where we shared our lunch while watching the Heidi movie staring Shirley Temple!

If you have read the Little House on the Prairie series you might recall how Laura and her siblings loved the early spring season when trees were tapped for collecting maple sugar which they turned into maple syrup. Laura and her siblings would drip the fresh maple syrup onto the snow and eat it as a treat. After reading this story, which I tried to time with our sugar season here in Michigan, I took the kids to a local non-profit organization that hosts and annual maple sugar festival. We learned about tapping trees with a spile, how to make maple syrup and sample some of the sweet syrup and maple candy. We brought home a spile and tapped one of our maple trees. The kids collected the sugary liquid and cooked it OUTSIDE in an electric frying pan and make a little syrup of their own. (please do  not try to cook the liquid maple sugar inside - it will coat everything with a sticky sugary mess as the water evaporates)

I read The Secret Garden to the kids during late winter one year. I had them make seed bombs which we then planted in outdoor containers in the spring. They were excited to discover the different flowers that grew and bloomed and could relate to the joy Mary felt while working in the secret garden with Dicken and Colin in this wonderful story.

I would just love to hear what you have done to get your children inspired to read or crafts/projects you've done to make the story come alive! Also, if you have any books you think should be added to the top ten above let me know. It is fun sharing books and recommendations with fellow book worms.

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