If you read my last article, you were cautioned about allowing book lists to paralyze you into feeling chained to particular literary recommendations. Now that I've released you from book list slavery, let me share with you some of my favorite resources for finding the best living books. ;)
Many years ago when I first began collecting books in earnest, I relied on Valerie's Living Books. Valerie has been buying, selling and writing about living books for nearly 20 years and her website is a wealth of information. (You can also buy wonderful titles from her.)
Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt is another resource that has been directing parents in choosing the best books for their children for many years.
Books Children Love by Elizabeth Wilson is a great choice. Based on the writings of Charlotte Mason.
Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson is a relatively new publication of book lists. You might recognize Sarah as the daughter of Clay and Sally Clarkson, authors of Educating the WholeHearted Child. Sarah was brought up on the best the world of children's literature has to offer and shares her favorites in this book.
If you are looking to liven up your history study with living books, you might consider All Through the Ages by Christine Miller. This book lists books by historical time period as well as geographically and by age.
Of course, the TruthQuest History guides offer an exhaustive list of books of each topic covered. Michelle Miller is not only the author of these profound guides, she owns a homeschool lending library herself so is well-versed in the golden age of children's literature.
My most used resource is Jan Bloom's Who Should We Then Read Vols. 1 and 2. Jan's books are unique in that she lists books by author including a brief biography of each and a list of every book he/she wrote. This is an indispensable resource if you are seeking to build a collection of your favorites. My copies are marked and highlighted treasures.
Last but not least is my precious copy of Realms of Gold and it's companion volume Five Years of Children's Books. These books are from the 1930's and list the most wonderful titles published for children during those years. Many of these we recognize from our childhoods. In the introduction of Five Years of Children's Books we read the standard for books published during this time...
"As for the values which we claim are strong and clear in children's books, the first of these is a sense of God. 'God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.' A seeking after truth and beauty; a sense of wonder and reverence; the balance and proportion which humor gives: these are values in terms of the spirit which shape the design and form for living. The books which fill these pages have the power to add life and reality."
As we seek to find the best books to place in the eager hands of our children, may God lead us to life and reality, to truth and beauty.