10 Read-Alouds for the Family Campfire

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After I started the summer reading series {which you may find here and here so far}, a couple of folks have asked if I could to put together a list of really interesting, multi-age-appropriate family read-aloud chapter books – the sort of book you can pull out and read through as a family and everyone – from the parents to the youngest child – gets something out of it.

This is perhaps my favorite list of all! There are *so many* really wonderful books that are hard for children to wade through on their own, but they love when they are reading together as a family. One of my favorite memories from my childhood comes from when I was around maybe 3, all gathered together with my sisters on my parents’ bed, with my mom reading Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis. I can still recall the picture that formed in my mind of that runaway prince taking refuge in the forest with a badger. 🙂 At 3, I could never have read Prince Caspian on my own, but my mom could read it to me – and I loved it.

May I encourage you to read together as a family? Even if you cannot do it at a scheduled time every day or every week, just try to do it together sometimes. Even if one parent doesn’t care to participate, the other parent should do it anyway. Reading aloud is invaluable in so many ways… It opens up the pathway of the imagination, it gives good fodder for talking about our faith in Christ, it encourages family closeness, and it warms the children’s hearts toward good literature.

So pack a book this summer along with your tent :-), and plan to read by the family campfire — even if it is indoors! Here are 10 wonderful, multi-age-appropriate suggestions for you ~ As usual, click any cover to learn more about the book:

1. This beautiful story is told from the perspective of the horse – yes, you read that right – the horse. 🙂 This highly-accurate account of animal care and abuse recounted in a fictitious way brought about heightened sensitivity and reform for carriage horses in 19th-century England ~ and we could all use heightened sensitivity toward our God’s creation. 🙂 After you’ve finished reading this one, you may want to watch THIS film version of it – really good!

2. What is a family read-aloud list without The Chronicles of Narnia on it? 🙂 If you’ve not read these together yet, pop some corn, melt some butter, and settle in to read! Equally good when read before the air-conditioner and before the fireplace. 🙂 If you want a wonderful Radio Theatre version of it to take along on a road trip, Focus on the Family produced THESE – I highly recommend them… and I usually cry during The Last Battle. 🙂

3. Who doesn’t love Anne once they’ve been introduced? There are no books like L.M. Montgomery’s to whet the imagination. 🙂

4. The Little House books are well-worth reading together and talking about the characters and their decisions ~ I am so thankful for these books!

5. One of my absolute favorite fantasy books! Every single person in your family with an open heart will gain something from valuable from The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald, a 19th-century poet, preacher, and novelist… sometimes called the father of children’s fantasy literature.

6. This is one of four beautiful, big books by Yorkshire vet James Herriot… The TV series from a few decades ago cannot compare to these wonderful tales of life in the 1930 & 40s as a rural vet. Each chapter reads as a separate story with some characters running throughout. (Note: There are a *very few *”off-color” stories mixed in… We just skip those. 🙂 )

7. Oh, The Wind in the Willows! If you’ve not read these with your kids, you are in for a treat and a half! 🙂 Perfect summer reading for that 1/2 hour at the beach when everyone still needs to air-dry. 🙂

8. John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress is a must-read and has been for centuries… In the 18th century, often a family would own two books: The Bible and The Pilgrim’s Progress. If you haven’t read this one yourself, you will be delighted and challenged as you work through it with your children. I’ve linked an original-language version below because that’s the one I prefer (I like the depth that the Scripture and old-fashioned language adds.), but there are several very good “revised” / modern language editions available. If you only read one book together this summer, read this one. 🙂

9. When read aloud, Dickens is absolutely hilarious and heart-wrenching in the same story. (I’d argue that he’s equally good read silently. 🙂 ) Do not – I repeat, do not – hesitate to pick up Oliver Twist because it’s long or because it belongs in that sometimes-frightening category of “classic literature”. You and your children will love this fascinating glimpse into 19th-century London, guided by one of the most gifted English writers.

10. Ah, The Secret Garden! What better time to read this than in summer? Though sometimes folks think of this as a “girly” book, *it is not* – It is a wonderful story of how love and kindness heals the hardest of hearts – The story can be linked to the Gospel in many ways. (Note: There is a scene in which the children play at magic/believing in the power within oneself that you may wish to either skip over or just read and discuss why you disagree with it Biblically. The book as a whole is excellent and edifying, so I would just take that little part as an opportunity for discussing something with kids… another great reason to read-aloud! 🙂 )

Looking forward to getting more summer reading lists up soon, friends! 🙂 I hope this has been helpful for you.
Grace and peace,
Alicia

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28 Comments, RSS

  1. Susan Shipe June 14, 2017 @ 1:40 pm

    What a great list! I pinned your post. Neighbors at Holly’s.

    • alicia grace June 16, 2017 @ 9:25 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Susan! 🙂

  2. Tara June 14, 2017 @ 1:52 pm

    What a great book list! I loved the Little House Books growing up. I’m blessed to be your neighbor at Porch Stories this week.

    • alicia grace June 16, 2017 @ 9:27 pm

      Yes, they’re good, aren’t they? We loved the Michael Landon Little House series, too, growing up – very different from the books but still wonderful! 🙂 Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Becky Hastings June 14, 2017 @ 5:54 pm

    Great list! We’ve read a few of these. Another great thing is to continue to read picture books. Kids may say they’re too old for them, but I find my older kids coming over once I start reading!

    • alicia grace June 16, 2017 @ 9:28 pm

      Yes, I completely agree, Becky! 🙂 I find the older I get, the more I appreciate children’s picture books again. Your kids are blessed that you keep at it! 🙂

  4. Denise Sultenfuss June 15, 2017 @ 1:31 am

    I must say these are all classics and indeed great read-alouds!

    • alicia grace June 16, 2017 @ 9:30 pm

      It was a joy coming up with the list – made me want to go back and read some of these over again! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Denise!

  5. Steve Mathisen June 15, 2017 @ 5:25 am

    Great choices all. I especially loved the descriptions of nature in Wind in the Willows.

    • alicia grace June 16, 2017 @ 9:31 pm

      The Wind in the Willows is one of those stories that you can re-read and keep gaining something from it… love the sensitivity to nature the author has. 🙂

  6. Carol June 15, 2017 @ 8:38 pm

    This is a great list! I will post this on my Facebook page.

    • alicia grace June 16, 2017 @ 9:52 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it, Carol. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  7. Karen Del Tatto June 15, 2017 @ 8:40 pm

    Hi Alicia! So many wonderful books listed here! I remember reading The Wind in the Willows to my kids when we were homeschooling.

    And, as you know, I LOVE Little House on the Prairie! 🙂

    I’ve never read Anne of Green Gables which I can’t believe! lol

    Nor have I read the Secret Garden.

    I definitely need to add those to my bucket list of books to read. 😉

    • alicia grace June 16, 2017 @ 10:11 pm

      Little House on the Praire! <3
      There are always more books to read than time to read them, right? 🙂 (I know that's true in my life!)

  8. Bette A. Stevens June 16, 2017 @ 2:53 am

    Sharing! Thanks for a great family post. Happy Camping! xo

    • alicia grace June 16, 2017 @ 9:53 pm

      Thanks, Bette! 🙂 It was a lot of fun to come up with – and hard to narrow down to just 10! 🙂

  9. Donna Reidland June 16, 2017 @ 3:10 am

    What a great list! James Herriot’s books are some of my all time favorites.Thanks for sharing.

    • alicia grace June 16, 2017 @ 9:54 pm

      Aren’t his books wonderful?! His picture-books are really good, too, for younger children.

  10. Mother of 3 June 16, 2017 @ 12:11 pm

    We love the Narnia series! Pinned.

    • alicia grace June 16, 2017 @ 10:07 pm

      Ah, always happy to meet fellow Narnians! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  11. Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures June 20, 2017 @ 9:45 am

    Oh, wow! I love to read aloud and would like to feature this post at Tuesdays with a Twist today! Thank you for joining us last week. -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    • alicia grace June 20, 2017 @ 2:35 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Marci! 🙂 Hoping it is a blessing to other readers, too ~ Thanks for featuring it! What a joy! 🙂

  12. Tina at Mommynificent June 21, 2017 @ 4:21 am

    I really need to read The Princess and the Goblin. Great list! Thanks so much for linking this up at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week!
    Tina

    • alicia grace June 23, 2017 @ 1:49 am

      Thanks for hosting Booknificent Thursday, Tina ~ It’s a blessing to me! 🙂 Yes, when you get a chance, try to get a copy of The Princess and the Goblin – I think you’ll really enjoy it! 🙂

  13. Marissa June 21, 2017 @ 10:36 pm

    What a great list! Thank you for sharing it with Encouraging Hearts & Home – we are going to feature it this week! I hope you can stop by again

    Marissa

  14. […] Thursday! Let’s get right down to business. 10 Read Alouds for the Family Campfire was our most viewed post last week. I love her list! Many are favorites of ours. You’ll want […]

  15. Marilyn June 22, 2017 @ 11:06 pm

    Great list of books. Have you read the rest of the “Anne of Green Gables” Series? They are all good reads.
    Marilyn

    • alicia grace June 23, 2017 @ 1:48 am

      Yes, they are! 🙂 They would be wonderful for a family to read through, one after another.

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