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Books Read This Week: Disciplines of a Godly Woman, These Happy Golden Years

Disciplines of a Godly Woman — This book has been an excellent read for me, especially coming off the 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life series. It’s packed with practical encouragement, thought-provoking chapters, and motivation to live a disciplined life. Highly recommended to Christian women.

Read Aloud

These Happy Golden Years — Our whole family has been enjoying our evenings of cozying up together and reading this book. Even Jesse and I are really enjoying this series and we’re sad that it’s almost over with (anyone have any really great book series to recommend that might be in a similar vein to the Little House books?)

Listened To

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe — We listened aloud to this book this week while working on getting the bookplates and our Christmas cards ready to mail. The children were fascinated by it and it was fun for me to hear it again after all these years! Since you can download the entire Chronicles of Narnia audio series for free right now, we plan to listen to them all over the next few months!

You can see all of the books I’ve read in 2011 so far here. Read all of my book reviews here.

Have you read any good books recently?

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  • Roxanne M Jones says:

    The Grandma’s Attic series comes to mind. I too remember being sad finishing the Little House series.

  • Sarah in MO says:

    Have you all read the Moody books (by Sarah Maxwell) yet? Those are wonderful. The Farm Mystery books are great too. 🙂

  • Tracy says:

    Love the Anne of Green Gables series.

  • marcie says:

    I also would recommend Anne of Green Gables

    • Jessica B. says:

      Anne of Green Gables is excellent! 😀

      • ericka says:

        I love Anne! I know that there are some in the series I haven’t read, I noticed them at the bookstore. Another great idea might be Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys. I love all the Louisa Alcott books!

    • Mama Moose says:

      Me too!

    • Krista says:

      I reread them every year! This year will make the 18th time I’ve read Anne of Green Gables. I highly recommend anything written by L.M. Montgomery. There are quite a few collections of short stories, if you’re looking for something quick, and there are also 2 TV series based on her books–Road to Avonlea and Emily of New Moon–which are great for kids.

      • Krista says:

        One more piece of info: there are 8 books.

        Anne of Green Gables
        Anne of Avonlea
        Anne of the Island
        Anne of Windy Poplars
        Anne’s House of Dreams
        Anne of Ingleside
        Rainbow Valley
        Rilla of Ingleside

  • Sharon says:

    Anne of Green Gables series!! I LOVE little house but I have to admit- I think I prefer the Green Gables not sure why. They are both wonderful.

  • Michelle says:

    American Girl historical books series. There can be lots of great discussion about the girls and their choices. I especially enjoyed Felicity, Kit, and Kirstin.

  • Danielle says:

    Anne of Green Gables is another good series in a similar vain to Little House.

  • Cheryl says:

    We’ve been enjoying the Melendy Family series by Elizabeth Enright. It takes place just before and during WWII. The family has 4 children; two boys, two girls; a single father and a housekeeper. The kids are pretty self sufficient and artistically inclined.

    • Carrie says:

      I agree that the Melendy series is wonderful! Another series by the same author (2 books) is Gone-Away Lake and Return to Gone-Away. These are all set in the 1950s (I think) so a different time period than Little House, but very enjoyable reading. I read the Gone-Away books to my kids over the summer (my oldest is 7) and they really liked them.

  • Rachel says:

    I loved the All of a Kind Family series when I was a girl.

    They’re about a Jewish family with 4 or 5 girls living in the ’30’s (or thereabouts, they’re old books anyway!) I love the gentle teaching on Jewish culture & tradition as you follow along with them through the holidays, and lots of daily life trials that so many girls will naturally find! 🙂 Good, wholesome reading, and very entertaining too!

    • Shannon says:

      One more recommendation for All Of A Kind Family! I loved them when I was young.

    • angie says:

      I was going to recommend this one as well. Our family read through this series over the summer and we really enjoyed it.

      • Leah says:

        This series is based on my family (my Great-Uncle Jerry Brenner was the third boy born after the 5 girls; he was not featured in the books). Thank you so much for recommending them. Jerry recently died; he was the last of the All of A Kind Family children, and I want to do anything I can to keep this family alive in the only way left to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

        • Amber says:

          Wow! How neat!! 🙂

        • Michele says:

          Seriously? I love, Love, LOVE the All-of-A-Kind Family books. Are you relatives of Sydney Taylor? I always wondered if the family got bigger since the mom is pregnant at the end of the last book. I have read all of these books no fewer than 50 times each. I feel like I know Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie so well! I read these as a child (I’m 44) and still have my copies. And I have read them to my girls.

          My family is Jewish, too, and my grandmother grew up on Rivington Street in (where the family goes to the market in the first book) in the same time period, so I always identified with this books since my ancestors lived on the Lower East Side (and other parts of NYC, too). Thanks for sharing!

          • Leah says:

            Hi Michele! Yes, they went on to have a second son who unfortunately died when he was two. My great-uncle Jerry (my great aunt Norma’s husband) was the baby that Mama had to try to console herself from that death. Jerry always laughed that he wouldn’t exist if that brother of his hadn’t died. He was their last child. Sydney is actually Sarah from the books; she gave herself the name Sydney because it sounded masculine enough to get published since women authors were hard to find in the days she wrote these books. I regret SO MUCH not talking more with my uncle about his family; I thought he’d always be around somehow. However, and this is great: Sarah’s daughter Jo is making a big push to get the books back into more circulation and there is talk of a TV show based on them! Wouldn’t that be a thrill? Thanks for your note!

        • Michele says:

          Wow, thanks for that additional information. I’m not surprised that Sydney was Sarah from the book (interesting that she changed her name!). Sarah seems to figure prominently in the first book – the first few chapters are about her – the lost library book, dusting the room, and shopping at the market and her not wanting to spend her penny. The later books are hard to find – I pick up copies at our used book store every time I see them. While I’d love to see a show, I’m not sure it would live up to my young child’s imagination of what everyone looked like. I think I might just have to pull out one of my books again before I go to bed tonight. Quick story – a few years ago when my oldest was sick and I brought her to the doctor, he said, “she has scarlet fever.” I immediately got nervous, remembering all the girls (except Henny!) from the book being quarantined for two weeks when they got scarlet fever. “Isn’t that very serious?” I asked. He chuckled, “Well years ago it was. Today she’ll get an antibiotic and be better in a day or so.” So, be comforted that your ancestors’ stories live on!

    • Starla says:

      We love these books! I would highly recommend them as well.

  • Sarah says:

    Crystal, maybe your girls would enjoy the Anne of Green Gables series? Not sure if it’s too old for them or not.

  • Our family is on the First Four Years right now, (which is a disappointing book compared to the rest, due to it being published posthumously and not edited like the others. I remember this from reading as a child one I started reading…..almost wished we had stopped with These Happy Golden Years) and we too are sad that this series is drawing to a close. I hope someone else can suggest another similar series! Ever read Janette Oke’s “Love” series? I really liked it and I also really like her Canadian West Series even better. I think I will try some other of her series and see what I think as well. I just love the simple lives of eras past, especially when they are Christian books!

    • Carrie says:

      I love The First Four Years in its own right, in part because it is the only book that Laura really wrote by herself without Rose’s rewriting. But I would not let my children read it until they are much older!

  • Rebecca says:

    A wonderful series that I loved reading as a kid (and I’ve started giving the books to my now 7-year old niece for birthdays/Christmas) is the “B is for Betsey” series by Carolyn Haywood. They were written in the 1930s/40s (first one published in 1939) so there are some things that are not familiar to kids today, but simple, classic stories.

    • Michele says:

      I loved these books, too. My favorite was when Betsy’s dad helps a family who is stranded in the snow and brings them home for a few days – Snowbound with Betsy. My daughter recently read through the series, too. They are great!

    • Starla says:

      I read many of these books when I was a young girl. Now that I have a family of boys, they like the Eddie books, also by Carolyn Haywood. These are great!

  • Rebecca says:

    The Love Comes Softly series by Janette Oke. I read those as a kid and they are really good, and in the Christian Historical Fiction vein. Very good!

    • Melissa says:

      I second this recommendation! I read them as a teenager and 20 years later can still remember so much about them! Janette Oke actually has several series that are really good, but the Love Comes Softly is my personal favorite too. (And if you’re into movies based on books…. they were recently made into movies)

  • Andrea says:

    Roger Lea MacBride continues Larua and Manly’s story with books from Little House The Rose Years. It tells of their years together raising their daughter Rose. I remember reading these after I finished the main series. And Rose Wilder Lane wrote books even before her mother did. They’re supposed to be similar, but I’ve never read them.

    • Kayla says:

      I agree! The Rose Years are great and very similar to the Little House books. I also enjoyed the Caroline (Laura’s mother), Charlotte (Laura’s grandmother), and Martha (great-grandmother) books.

      • Judy says:

        Yes! These are great books. Not quite as good as the original Little House series, but I personally loved the Rose books, and have also read some of the others (Caroline, Charlotte and Martha) and enjoyed them very much.

    • anon says:

      I read two of the books written by Rose. The Little House books are much, much better.

    • Jill says:

      We also love the Rose years books, as it is neat to see how the story and their lives continue beyond the original Little House series.

  • Dana says:

    Hi, Crystal! If you’re not quite ready to move away from Laura and Almanzo just yet, you could always read the books written by their daughter Rose about the family’s time in the Ozarks. Like others have said, Anne of Green Gables is also a wonderful series!

  • Lea Stormhammer says:

    I’d second the Love Comes Softly series by Jeanette Oke. Actually, anything she wrote is wonderful, IMO. 🙂

    Rose Wilder Lane, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daugther, wrote a book also. I can’t remember the name of it off the top of my head, but her style is similar to Laura’s. There’s also a biography of Laura called “Laura: A Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder” by Donald ******* (can someone help with the name?) that I always thought was very good and tells about the parts of her life she didn’t write about and includes a few pictures.

    I also really like Lorraine Snelling, especially her Red River of the North series, though it might be better for slightly older kids – they have some pretty tough stuff happen (death, accidents, etc.) and she isn’t shy about writing about it. My mom grew up in one of the towns in that area and its fun to read about that area about the same time my mom’s family arrived in the area. These are fiction books too, not biographical.

    Happy Reading!

  • September says:

    If you haven’t read them yet the “Betsy-Tacy” series by Maude Hart Lovelace is excellent–its set in turn of the century midwestern America and follows two little girls from the age of 4/5 through adulthood. The “Shoes” books by Noel Straetfield are also excellent–the best one to start with is Ballet Shoes.

    • Lana says:

      I was hoping someone would mention these! They are books that turned me on to reading and writing. I can’t say enough about how great they are.

  • Amy says:

    I really enjoyed the “Rose Years” – they don’t have the other generation years at our library yet, but there’s a whole set of books that are in Laura’s “family tree…”

  • Lana says:

    I absolutely love and recommend the books by Gene Statton Porter- Michael O’Halloran and Girl of the Limberlost were fabulous!

  • Tracey says:

    I remember reading the Betsy-Tacy books when I was a girl. I would also recommend anything by Lois Lenski, especially the “boy” and “girl” books, like Strawberry Girl. Also, Blue Willow by Doris Gates. Some might think they are a bit antiquated but I think they are timeless, much like Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books.

  • Katie L says:

    We read the Chronicles of Narnia this summer (read-aloud and listened to while on a long car trip). When we asked my daughter what read-aloud we should do over Christmas break, she begged for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It’s just the best.

  • Jennifer says:

    We have been reading, “The best Christmas pageant ever” by Barbara Robinson. I enjoyed this book as a little girl….my mom would read it to us each Christmas. Amazon had a deal going for getting the book and the made for tv special which aired in the 80’s. It is just so heartwarming!

  • Cheryl says:

    I’ll second (or third) the Betsy-Tacy books. For fantasy try the “Indian in the Cupboard” and its’ sequels by Lynn Reid. Good for talking about decision making and consequences.

  • Camille says:

    Beany Malone is an old series that no one reads anymore, but I love them! In one of the last books Beany is in charge of feeding her family and wants to switch from homemade food to all the new pre-packaged food. It’s fascinating! 🙂

  • Carrie says:

    Definitely Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books!

  • Clare C. says:

    Betsy-Tacy were my favorite books growing up (does the fact that I now have a daughter named Tacy tell you anything??? 🙂 Also, love the All of a Kind Family series, the Saturdays series (by Enright), Milly-Molly-Mandy series, and Anne of Green Gables series is good, too.

    • Emilie says:

      My best friend Tacy died two years ago and I have never heard the name any where else. I am for sure going to have to look into the books! Thanks for the smile as I remember Tacy!

  • Kimberly says:

    I am using The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe as a book study in my class right now. I teach 5th grade in a public school in NC. My students are loving it!

    If you don’t mind a little fantasy, there is a series called The Magic Treehouse. A brother and sister are whisked away to different times of history by opening a book they find in their treehouse.

  • Betsy and Tacy were favorites of mine….but also we are really enjoying the books by Patricia St. John. Treasures of the Snow has been amazing! We had a little swiss lunch today with Baguettes with swiss cheese and chocolate with hot chocolate. It was really good!

    Yesterday I read a book called The Lost Wife. It is a fiction story, but based on a true story about a husband and wife who were separated before the holocaust and reunited as elderly people at a wedding when their grandchildren married each other. It sounds stranger than fiction, but it was based on a real happening!

  • sarah says:

    Anne of Green Gables was the first series that came to my mind, and I see i wasn’t the only one! I LIVED those books as a girl. i wanted to be Anne. I most recently reread them while pregnant with my first (about 4.5 years ago) and still loved them just as much.

  • We have enjoyed a number of the books that previous commenters have mentioned, our favorite being the Grandma’s Attic series. The series that is the closest to the Little House books, as far as historical fiction, would be Caddie Woodlawn (Newberry Award Winner in the 1930s) and Caddie Woodlawn’s Family. We thought the dynamics of the family and children in the Caddie Woodlawn stories were more interesting than the Ingalls family, though we do love the Little House books and have read and re-read them over the years.
    Wife to The Engineer and Mama to The Six Sibs, ages three to 15.

    • ericka says:

      My second grader is currently reading Caddie Woodlawn, and she says it is the best book she ever read! She is reading that on her own, while we are reading the Little House series as a family.

  • Koree says:

    The Boxcar Children or the Babysitter’s Club.

    • Mama Moose says:

      I think the Boxcar Children are a great choice… not so sure about Babysitter’s Club.

      • Koree says:

        The Babysitters’ Club is an excellent series about middle school girls with an enterprenual spirit. They are real girls facing every day life, loved them in elementary school.

    • Julie says:

      I would second The Boxcar Children – – it is set in a more modern time, but has similar values. Your kids will love it!

    • Mary says:

      One of my teachers used to read our class the Little House on the Prairie books and the Boxcar Children – loved both! Always fascinated me how the kids used junk yard items to build a home together. I used to wish that I lived near a junkyard myself!

  • Elizabeth says:

    LOVE Anne of Green Gables and the Grandma’s Attic books!

  • Kristi says:

    Ralph moody wrote biographies of being raised as a boy on a ranch in Colorado in the 30’s. It’s a great series to read with kids, full of cowboy adventure, family humor and real life issues.

  • Anna says:

    Grandma’s Attic are excellent!

  • Meg says:

    Be sure to get the Little House Cookbook.

    Authentic recipes of dishes featured in the books-with excerpts, of course.

    I think you and the girls would love it!

    Trivia: Rose was the writer in the family first! She was a journalist and encouraged her mom to write her stories.

  • Emma K says:

    The Mandie series by Lois Gladys Leppard!!! The first book is Mandie and the Secret Tunnel. Great historical chapter books, moral & life lessons, Christian based, a little mystery included. I loved them growing up and can’t wait to read them in a few years with my kids.

    Love Anne of Green Gable series as well, but I find myself skimming through a lot of the book, especially the books later in the series.

  • Jenny says:

    Anne of Green Gables, and all of the others. Anne has lots of fun spunk and great character!

  • Lora says:

    Given that I read the Little House books more times than I can count, I must suggest that you just read them again! I still read my old, battered copies (the first items I ever purchased with my own money) when I am feeling nostalgic.

    As an aside, Love Comes Softly (mentioned above) is a sweet series, but I believe the author wrote for young adult women rather than children, and the subject matter does reflect this.

  • Danielle says:

    Hey all, can anyone recommend any great devotional ebooks that are Free right now? I’m in need of this in my life right now, would love to sit down and feel inspired and motivated but just isn’t in the budget to buy books right now. I’ve looked through Amazon, but I would like an opinion of some good ones to read, that just leave you feeling refreshed and uplifted. I’m of Christian faith. Thanks so much!

  • I love the Little House books and have read them probably hundreds of times. They are my literary comfort food. I also love Little Women and have read that at least a dozen times. Great books! ;D

  • Absolutely the Grandma’s Attic series. They are hilarious, teach great moral lessons, and are really good for kids in your kids’ age bracket. They are a collection of stories that a Grandma tells to her granddaughter, about her life growing up. LOVE those books. My 8-year-old is reading through the whole series herself right now. They are by Arleta Richardson.

  • Michelle says:

    Did you know about the Prairie Primer curriculum you could use with Little House (check ebay or home school sources)? Also, request a free catalog from Sonlight home school curriculum. Inside you’ll find tons of great literature summaries organized by age and theme – you can get many of the books from your library.

  • Jennifer says:

    Personally, for myself, I am reading this book right now. It is a true story…and it has really been inspirational to me. ” An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny” by Laura Schroff.

  • Carli says:

    A series I really enjoyed and lookforward to reading with my kids is the Elsie Dinsmore series by Martha Finley.

  • Ashley says:

    I would recommend a series you can get at – The Terrestria Chronicles. It reads a little like pilgrims progress, but is mostly and adventurous allegory. It’s for a little older children, and can be a little intense at times. Our children are 7, 5, 3 and 1, and they really like it, but if you have children that are sensitive to conflict (suffering, knights fighting, being captured by giants, that sort of thing) you might want to wait until they are older. My husband and I have had our hearts pricked by the truths of the messages in the books. Very biblical and provides a lot of discussion.

    I know you’ve received a lot of recommendations for Anne of Green Gables, and while they are entertaining books, they created some discontentment in our oldest daughter. After reading the series, she began complaining about her freckles, and became more preoccupied with her looks and dress. It’s not something I would recommend after our personal experience with the series.

    The Elsie Dinsmore series is more along the lines of Little House. They are much better character building books than Anne of Green Gables.

    Our little girls look up to their heroines in the books, and Anne is not a role model I want for my girls. She is reckless, irresponsible, disobedient, vain and stubborn – all qualities I don’t want the “heroine” of a book to role model for our girls. Just my opinion – take it or leave it! Blessings!

    • sarah says:

      Wow, as a lover of the ane books, i have never thought of it or her this way. I always loved that she wasn’t perfect and did have those flaws in her personality and was constantly learning positive lessons from her mistakes and scrapes. Interesting perspective!

    • sarah says:

      And, just another thought, as an adult i appreciated that her flaws made her more relatable as a character and served as a reminder of god’s grace to me even when i am stubborn, vain, irresponsible and reckless 🙂

    • Rachel says:

      Thanks Ashley, I totally agree with you here. I actually ditched the Elsie Dinsmore books simply because of the overly detailed descriptions of wealth. Elsie’s character is impeccable, but I found MYSELF dreaming of wealthy living far too much after reading those books.

      I’m afraid we tend to overlook the influence that these mostly innocent books have on us and our children.

    • Heather says:

      I find the Anne books very moral.

      Additionally, what makes them well-written is that she is not a one-dimensional perfect-already character. She makes mistakes and has to learn from them. She is realistic. For example, early on, she has to learn to control her temper – and she learns this through some realistic mistakes and clear consequences. If you read all of the books in the series you really see her character grow and mature. She even learns to accept her freckles!

      However, I would say that are best suited for the 10 and up crowd.

      • ericka says:

        I think that Anne is a great role model. We are not perfect beings, we are human. Anne may be stubborn and she does act without thinking at times. Anne also loves deeply and appreciates the beauty in everything. She is not deliberately disobedient, and she works hard to overcome her flaws. I want my daughters to be strong and to try their best in all they do. I want them to have a zest for life, to learn from their mistakes and to work hard to become the best person they can be. Laura was jealous of Mary’s blond hair, and she acted out quite a few times, including hitting her sister. Pa then took a switch to her. And this is just in the first book! I will defend Anne to the death, but do agree that she may be better suited to an older child.

    • Ashley says:

      I think this is a great opportunity to encourage us as parents to read books to see if they are suitable for our children BEFORE we read them aloud. I appreciate all the thoughts from the “Anne” fans and, as an adult, I found the books incredibly entertaining. As an adult, however, I look at Anne differently than my young daughters do.

      Had I known the ugly fruit that we have personally experienced from the books (see above), I would not have read them to our children. Our children do come to “idolize” the hero/heroine, no matter how much we “discuss” his/her flaws. The books created discontentment with our oldest, where none existed before; this is our personal experience and, considering the ages of Crystal’s children, worth mentioning. If your kids don’t have freckles or red hair, maybe it won’t be an issue. 🙂

      I love reading about all the suggested series of books. We are always looking for new books to read to our children that are good. Thanks so much Crystal for facilitating all this. It’s so helpful! Blessings! 🙂

  • Ashlea says:

    Crystal, I assume your daughter and my son are the same age as we have been in exactly the same spot in My Father’s World Adventures all year. That said, I think there are some wonderful books to be read aloud to 7-9 year olds. Thornton Burgess’ books are timeless.. The Adventures of Peter Rabbit, The Adventures of Reddy Fox, etc.. There must be at least a dozen of these little books. You will laugh a lot. He has other collections as well on birds and animals.
    Also, we read through collections periodically. The Book of Virtues for Young People is excellent. Lots of folktales, myths, and legends that make for a variety of reading experiences.
    Finally, your daughters who are beginning readers will undoubtedly enjoy The Boxcar Children series (great kids with wholesome values; brotherly/sisterly affection instead of whining and fighting). We also enjoyed The Littles series and the Sarah, Plain and Tall books (I think there are three of these.).
    For ongoing ideas for read alouds, I’d check out Honey For a Child’s Heart and Books Children Love.
    Hope this helps! I taught second grade and this is my comfort zone! 🙂

  • Erin says:

    The Little Britches series by Ralph Moody is a wonderful family read aloud. You will love it!! It is hard to find in the library, so you may have to buy it. Start with Little Britches, and go from there.

  • Sharon says:

    I usually read non-fiction, too, though I still love stories, so I go more for biographies and autobiographies. Right now I’m reading Tea Time with Terrorists–it’s not my typical fare, but it’s about Sri Lanka, a place my husband and I were able to visit for ministry in 2005. My husband travels the world for ministry and I get to go with him from time to time, so a lot of my reading is about a place either he or we will be going or have been. I find it helps so much to understand the people and the culture, even if I don’t remember the facts. I still get a general picture.

    I’m also reading The Family Dinner and Grace Before Meals, both books I that I don’t share the same world view with, but I have found a lot I agree with. I’m reading these books because my book Around the Table, will be out in January and I’m starting a blog to go along with it.

    I agree that my youngest daughter thoroughly loved Anne of Green Gables series. I also like the series about great Christians where a fictional child is brought into the story to make it come alive for children. My children are all well past that stage and I can’t find the exact series, but it is like the Trailblazer Series, Christian Heroes: Then and Now, and Heroes for Young Readers. It might be one of those, but I’m not sure.

  • Megan says:

    I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder as a little girl! (So much that I swear it’s what set me on the path to be a history major in college.) There’s a series about Laura’s daughter Rose, written by Roger Lea McBride, that I would HIGHLY recommend, although Rose’s problems in the last two or three books (the series is seven or eight books long, I seem to remember) are probably a bit too old for your little ones. I would also recommend Anne of Green Gables and Caddie Woodlawn – you would LOVE that one.

  • krystal says:

    I LOVE hearing about others who LOVE the Little House series!! It’s childhood favorite of mine and now a family favorite to pass on. Our family thinks Anne of Green Gables is pretty classic and wholesome entertainment for the whole family- I would add that the personal discontentment could be a good discussion starter for the family as a comment pointed out, as I agree it doesn’t quite have the same Biblical character encouragement as Little House, but still very inspiring and enjoyable and good to address things that your family doesn’t encourage.
    Elsie Dinsmore may be a something you definitely read in advance and decide if the timing is right for your family, as I agree it is Biblically wholesome and encouraging, but also seems to me to bring some mature (though appropriate) topics to light.
    We also enjoy the Little House TV series and Anne of Green Gables movies if you have a chance (as with everything) to preview for little audiences 🙂
    Thanks for the reading encouragement, Crystal! 🙂

  • JennieC. says:


    I haven’t read through all the comments, maybe someone already suggested this. But, there are prequels to the Little House books about Laura’s mom, grandma, great grandma. I have a dream to accumulate what I can and read those first with our kiddos. Some are hard to find, others are more available.

  • Peggy says:

    We enjoyed ‘The Five Little Peppers and how they grew’ (Margaret Sidney) when our girls were little. It is a series, and out of print I think. We found the books at our library. We also liked the Betsy-Tacy-Tib books. We also liked the ‘Little Britches’ series by Ralph Moody.

  • Susan says:

    I see others got to it first, but Anne of Green Gables (and the following books) are wonderful. I listen to books in my car (sometimes I’ll bring them into the house and listen while cooking/cleaning) and just finished the Little House books last week – the last one is a bit depressing. 🙁 There are two other books you might be interested in. One is the diary Laura kept when she, Manly, and Rose moved to Mansfield called On the Way Home. Rose wrote some of it. And then West from Home is a collection of the letters Laura wrote Manly while visiting Rose in 1915 in SanFran. She talks about wanting to become a better writer.

    My kids are grown and I really miss homeschooling. Continue to enjoy it!

  • Jen says:

    Another vote for Lauraine Snelling’s Red River of the North series. She writes from a more realistic place than Janette Oke, those her books are great too. As soon as my girls finished Little House, we did the Love Comes Softly series.

  • Katie says:

    The Boxcar Children, Bengi Beaver, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Grandma’s Attic, and the Pathway books are about Christian kids who learn lessons and you can get them for about any age kid. We read them for school and my kids were so sad when we had to do different reading books. The California Treasures books are awesome, too.

  • Katy C says:

    Elsie Dinsmore Series – I’m surprised no one has mentioned them yet! There are several books and I adored them when I was growing up!

  • Teresa says:

    My children just love the Boxcar Children series. In fact my oldest sons first book he ever read was the Boxcar Children!

  • Amanda says:

    I loved the Five Little Peppers and how they grew. It is kind of like Little Women. Wonderful family book – I read it when I was younger – and I think I need to pick up a copy for my kids! Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  • Melissa says:

    As a former kindergarten teacher, I am always reading to our boys and looking for quality stories. We love the Boxcar Children, Chronicles of Narnia, Henry Huggins/Ramona Quimby series and even Junie B Jones. Junie B is a little bit sassy sometimes, but it’s a great springboard to discussions on respect, honesty, and friendship. Just a few ideas-happy reading!

  • Laney says:

    I want to jump on the Boxcar Children bandwagon too. I loved those books when I was young!

  • Jeana says:

    My family really enjoyed the Once Upon a Summer series by Janette Oke. Also, there are other Little House series. The Rose ones are good.

  • Cheryl says:

    There are some super funny books about a family with 9 boys and 1 daughter called…”Chickens in the Headlights” and “Bullies in the Headlights”. They are full of sweet and hilarious stories about a big family! My friends brother wrote them and they are based on their family.

  • Rachel Zsiga says:

    Betsy-Tacy, Mandie, 5 little peppers!
    I read them and loved them as a kid.

  • Rebecca says:

    The books that cover Rose’s childhood are – Little House on Rocky Ridge, Little Farm in the Ozarks, In the Land of the Big Red Apple, On the Other Side of the Hill, Little Town in the Ozarks, New Dawn on Rocky Ridge, On the Banks of the Bayou, and Bachelor Girl.

    I’m new here so I don’t know the ages of your children. While it isn’t a series, the book “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” is wonderful and usually pleases all ages. The Winnie the Pooh books are wonderful too. I enjoyed them as much as my children.

  • Nancy says:

    We loved the Swedish series, “The Children of Noisy Village.”

  • christina says:

    I like Jeannette oke s love comes softly but I don’t think its appropriate for young children. Definitely read them before you dive in with your kids.

  • My mother read Little House on the Prairie to me as a little girl. I distinctly remember “graduating” to Anne of Green Gables shortly after Little House on the Prairie. I love (and loved!) Anne of Green Gables…!

  • JG says:

    You might try locating the “Jennifer” series by Eunice Young Smith. It’s about a young girl growing up at the turn of the century in the countryside near Chicago. I don’t think they are in reprint but you may be able to find them at the library or from used book sites. Pristine copies are expensive but beat-up copies read just as well.

  • Nancy says:

    I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, also the Betsy-Tacy books and Anne of Green Gables. This is in another vein, but the Redwall series is excellent too. Fantasy with lots of adventure and good winning over evil.
    Just my two cents.

  • Kim Kovach says:

    Grandma’s Attic series, Anne of Green Gables series, Little Women & other Louisa May Alcott classics, Betsy-Tacy series, A Little Princess & the Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Penderwicks series, Pilgrim’s Progress (children’s version)…

    …so many wonderful series to try! Happy reading!

  • Michelle says:

    I loved to read as a kid! Now I’m in my forties and still read these. In addition to the books listed above, some more of my favorites include the Boxcar Children series, the Great Brain series, The Saturdays (about a family with 5 children), Cheaper by the Dozen, Wrinkle in Time, and the Tripod series by John Christopher. A Single Shard is an excellent read for a young teenager; I wanted to underline whole paragraphs as I read this.

    • Krista says:

      Ooh! I hadn;t thought of Cheaper by the Dozen, but that’s a great one! There’s a sequel called Belles on their Toes. These are about a family with 12 children living in New Jersey in the 1920s, and written by 2 of the children. These are what the Steve Martin movies are LOOSELY based on. However, I would not recommend the Steve Martin movies, but the books are wonderful–there is one short part about birth control I might edit out, though. There were also movies made around 1950 with Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy as the parents that are very good.

      Along the same vein, is Yours, Mine and Ours, by Helen North Beardsley about a blended family with 19 children. Once again, this is what the Dennis Quaid movie is LOOSELY based on, but there is another with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball that is very good.

      I was also going to recommend the Happy Hollisters series. I think its set in the 50s about a family who solves mysteries. I read it as a child, and enjoyed it very much.

  • Teresa says:


    I am at the other end of my mothering now with my daughters and son as young adults.So many of the titles mentioned above we read and in particular listened to while driving.
    We started with the Boxcar children on tape with our children everytime we drove anywhere.They were wonderful first start, we also did Indian in the Cupboard as mentioned by a previous poster. It has sequels which when I listened to found frightening ( still!). I don’t think it left that impression on my children though.

    For around grade 4 and 5 we listened to the “Hatchet” series by Gary Paulson, a great book about resililiency and survival. We read and listened to many of his books. As a young boy in Northern Michigan? his stepfather was unkind to him so he would take off and “live ” in the bush on weekends to escape his home life. All the situations in his books are based on real life settings he encountered. He has a website to further explore him as an author, he also writes about the Alaskan dog race the “Ititerod” that he competed in on a few occaisions.

    Also at about grade 5 I would give everyone but in particular the boys in my life the book”Where the Red Fern Grows”. Amazing book about a boy and his coon dogs growing up in Appalachia during the depression.Every child I have ever given it to remarks how it affected them. There is also a very old movie from the 40’s made of it.
    I love all your postings(Crystal will you have a running list as your children age of the books you covered with them?)of all your reccommended readings. The books mentioned above and others instilled much conversation about choice making, empathy , forgiveness, grace etc in the lives of my children as they grew up. We did purchase some of these books all the tapes and CD’s we ordered through our library, hundreds of hours of entertainment for no or low cost.

  • Denise says:

    Besides the great suggestions so far I will add: The Littles, Cheaper by the Dozen, the Ramona books, and some very old fashioned books which I loved as a child so they may be hard to find: B is for Betsy, Betsy and Star, etc. I can’t remember the author but I re-lived them while reading them to my daughters several years ago and will re-read them to my grandchildren as well.

  • Jody says:

    Did you read Farmer Boy as well – it is about Almonzo Wilder and my favorite of her books

  • kelly barteaux says:

    You really must read the “Anne of Green Gables” series, if you loved the “Little House” series. You will be completely endeared with Anne and there are about 6 books in the series. I’m happy to send you the first one if you’d like. Just let me know. 🙂

  • Gina says:

    Crystal I just wanted to say I appreciate your book reviews and sharing your faith in subtle ways. I am sure the Lord is using you to witness to more people than you can imagine. I also like the blogs that you link up to because most of them are Christian bloggers. Keep up the good work!!!

  • Leisa says:

    My kids love the Bobbsey Twins books! Two sets of adventurous twins growing up around the turn of the century.

  • celia says:

    I posted this previously but your family will enjoy Caddie Woodlawn.

  • Allison S. says:

    All-of-a-Kind Family books!

  • Angie says:

    Not really similar to the Little House series but the Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary will always hold a special place in my heart. I audiobook series on CD. My two boys and I always listened to the entire series start to finish each summer. The boys loved it and so did I.

    I love the Little House series too. Also The Boxcar Children is a good series. I think girls and boys both like that series.

    Others mentioned Anne of Greene Gables and that is also a good one.

  • Annie Kate says:

    For reading aloud, try the Little Britches series by Ralph Moody. You’ll have to edit out ‘authentic’ language, but otherwise these books are as good as the Little House books. When the mother made one of the most difficult and godly decisions I’ve ever read about in children’s literature (at the end of the second book, I think) I cried.

    I’ve listed some other favorites in a recent blog post.

    I wouldn’t recommend Anne of Green Gables either. I tried to read it aloud once, but I couldn’t actually say some of the sentences to my little ones.

    Elsie Dinsmore, with her insistance on an extra-Biblical rules (not reading novels on Sunday) actually disobeyed one of the 10 commandments (honor your father and mother) without realizing she was sinning!

    Annie Kate

  • BUSY MOM IN AL says:

    We love Ten P’s in a Pod by Arnold Pent III. An incredible story of a homeschooling family in the 1940s! It is a good, clean hilarious family read!!

  • BUSY MOM IN AL says:

    Also, there is a series of five books called The Building on the Rock Series by Joel R. Beek and Diana Kleyn. These are wonderful faith-building stories. There are long ones and short ones in each book and we really enjoyed them as a family!

  • Robin M says:

    Oh Crystal, see what you get when you ask people for book recommendations? I have read the Little House books so many times that I start “telling” one of the books to myself when I am trying to fall asleep. My dad read them to me before I could read, and I have probably read the series upwards of 50 times.

    Anyway, I definitely recommend at least the first Anne of Green Gables books. Yes, Anne is an imp, but she is wonderful. If I ever have a daughter, I hope she is like her. The other books may be too boring for your daughters right now (though YOU should certainly read them).

    The Boxcar Children would probably be very enjoyable for them. Be aware, though, that they are NOT all written by the original author. I recently bought the first 12 for $9.99 for my Kindle, and have been rediscovering them at the age of 25.

    They would probably enjoy the Redwall books, although they are rather long. Not Christian, but very strong morally. The first one, “Redwall,” is the place to start.

    Roald Dahl has some great children’s books. “Matilda” and “Danny, the Champion of the World” come to mind. They would probably love Wilson Rawls’ “Summer of the Monkeys” and “Where the Red Fern Grows” as well. And you will be bawling…

    And of course, the Chronicles of Narnia. Another series I have read over and over. There’s my $0.02.

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