Are your kids’ book bags feeling heavy this fall? How bout a few enjoyable reads to lighten the load?
Thanks to each of the Redeemedreader writers who helped me put this list together! We very much hope you and your kids will appreciate this short list of fun yet faith-friendly backpack additions.
Picture Books (Ages 0-4) Recommended by Megan
- New: It’s an Orange Aardvark! by Michael Hall. An overanxious carpenter ant warns his fellow ants of the threatening orange aardvark wearing blue pajamas who is waiting to eat them with ketchup outside their tree stump. But is it really out there? This is a fun story about colors and making hasty assumptions about new experiences.
- Classic: Miss Nelson Is Missing! by Harry Allard.
- Christian: Poor Doreen: A Fishy Tale by Sally Lloyd-Jones. What naïve Doreen believes is a pleasant adventure on her way to visit a distant cousin is actually a voyage fraught with danger and narrow escapes. The text tells the story one way while the gentle watercolor pictures tell it another. Suitable for those embarking on new experiences.
Early Elementary (Ages 4-8) Recommended by Betsy
- New: Pigsticks and Harold and the Incredible Journey by Alex Milway. Pigsticks, a young pig, and Harold, a young hamster, seek the ends of the earth in this funny easy reader series. Like so many easy reader friends, Pigsticks and Harold are opposites. Their different perspectives on their mutual adventures add to the fun.
- Classic: My Father’s Dragon: The Bestselling Children Story by Ruth Gannot Stiles. My Father’s Dragon recounts a young boy’s wild journey to rescue a baby dragon. His supplies include lollipops, chewing gum, and a host of equally important tools. His companion? An old cat. Perfect as a read aloud for younger children or chapter book for 1st and 2nd graders who are reading independently.
- Christian: I Can Read! / Made By God easy readers. This is great nonfiction written from a perspective that honors God as Creator. The topics are all high interest: poisonous plants, birds, snakes and spiders, etc.
Elementary-Middle School (Ages 9-12) Recommended by Janie
- New For Girls: Always, Abigail by Nancy Cavanaugh. Abigail is starting sixth-grade with high hopes and two best friends who are popular! She’s sure to get on the pom-pom squad and get popular herself . . . if it weren’t for Ms. Hendrick hooking her up with Gabby Marco, the school’s biggest loser. Abby tells her story almost entirely in lists, so the reader goes through the agony of sixth-grade popularity correctness, and shares the triumph of becoming a better person for it.
- New For Boys: Almost Super by Marion Jensen. The Baileys of Split Rock gather every Leap Day for the youngest members to receive their special Power. Only this year, Rafter and his brother Benny get stupid “powers,” and how are they going to fight the evil Johnson family with the ability to, strike safety matches on polyester? Or make outies go in as well as out? The story is mostly for fun but makes a good point about cooperation and learning to love your enemies.
- Classic: North to Freedom by Anne Holm. David, who has spent most of his twelve years in a Soviet prison camp, has little idea of joy, light, or even color. When some other prisoners help him escape, he has only a compass, a bottle of water, and basic directions for getting to Denmark. His journey across Europe introduces him to a wider world and a mind-blowing concept: Freedom. The mood is somber but hopeful, with many Christian overtones.
- Christian: The Pilgrim’s Progress is about the ultimate transition: from death to life! The original may be a bit much for a ten-year-old, but they can always reread Dangerous Journey, or try out Little Pilgrim’s Progress by Helen Taylor (now available in a spiffy new edition from Moody Press). Other updated-language versions are also available on Amazon.
Middle-High School (Ages 13-18) Recommended by Hayley
- New: Shadow Hand by Anne Elizabeth Stengl. Confession: this book has been on my shelf for quite a while. Baker sent me a copy, yet I didn’t read it. Partly, I think it was the gorgeous maiden on the cover–it looked rather girly and romantic, and I’m tired of sappy Christian fiction. Then I read it, the whole book, yesterday. And it was so much fun! It’s not a girl story, it’s an adventure that could be enjoyed by both boys and girls. (The boys just need to get past the cover!) It reminded me a bit of George MacDonald, yet with a dose of humor that is absolutely unique. As an added bonus, I feel like a precocious younger reader could read and enjoy it. I wish it had been around when I was younger!
- Classic: 1) for younger teens, we recommend Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling. I don’t know how often this drifts into literature lists, but this is a wonderful coming-of-age story that would be great for boys; and 2) for older teens we recommend Surprised by Oxford: A Memoir by Carolyn Weber. Absolutely beautiful, yet definitely Christian, probably more appealing to girls.
- Christian: Dug Down Deep: Building Your Life on Truths That Last by Joshua Harris. This is both excellent and intensely readable, perfect for high schoolers or college students. It challenges students to examine and dig deeper into their faith.
For the Rest of Us…A Recommendation by Emily
- If I Had Lunch with C. S. Lewis by Alistair McGrath. Presented in the format of lunches with C.S. Lewis, this overview of Lewis’ thought is both engaging and accessible. A great way to reinforce what you’ve already learned or get to know this preeminent Christian thinker.