Living Books

‘To introduce children to literature is to install them in a very rich and glorious kingdom, to bring a continual holiday to their doors, to lay before them a feast exquisitely served. But they must learn to know literature by being familiar with it from the very first. A child’s intercourse must always be with good books, the best that we can find.’ — Charlotte Mason

Even in this digital age of Kindles and tablets, our house is full of books of all shapes and sizes. Our postman finds the amount of books he delivers to us quite remarkable! But good books is something I am passionate about not only for the adults in our home, but even more so for the children. Charlotte Mason talks of ‘living books’ as opposed to ‘twaddle’. I’m always on the hunt for living books with delightfully written stories and beautiful illustrations.

I read aloud a great deal to the children, even now that the older two can read for themselves.  Here are some we have enjoyed.

Read Alouds 2019

So far:

  1. E.Nesbitt, Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children
  2. Enid Blyton, Animal Lover’s Book
  3. Holling Clancy Holling, Paddle-to-the-Sea
  4. James Mayhew, The Kingfisher Book of Tales from Russia
  5. Douglas Bond, Mr.Pipes and the British Hymn Makers
  6. Gerald Durrell, The Fantastic Flying Journey
  7. Charles Dickens, Illustrated Stories from Dickens
  8. John Bunyan, Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim’s Progress
  9. Andrew Lang, The Blue Fairy Book
  10. Mig Holder, Mary Jones and Her Bible
  11. Lucy Fitch Perkins, The French Twins
  12. E.Nesbitt, Five Children and It
  13. Oscar Wilde, Stories for Children

Read Alouds 2018

  1. C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia
  2. Rumer Golden, The Story of Holly and Ivy
  3. M.L.Nesbitt, Grammarland
  4. Hans Christian Anderson, The Fairy Tales of
  5. Blanche Winder, Stories of King Arthur
  6. Palmer Brown, Hickory
  7. Beatrix Potter, The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter
  8. Arthur Ransome, Swallows and Amazons
  9. Alison Morgan, River Song
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
  11. Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
  12. Jostein Gaarder, The Christmas Mystery

Read Alouds 2017

  1. Arthur Ransome, Old Peter’s Russian Tales
  2. Pyotr Yershov, The Magic Horse
  3. Roald Dahl, Fantastic Mr Fox
  4. Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Kitty in Boots
  5. Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
  6. Enid Blyton, Nature Lover’s Book
  7. Arnold Ytreeide, Amon’s Adventure
  8. Caitlin Matthews, Celtic Memories
  9. Lewis Carroll, Alice Through the Looking Glass
  10. Henry Winterfield, Detectives in Togas
  11. Johanna Spyri, Heidi
  12. Mary & Conrad Buff, The Apple and The Arrow
  13. Arnold Ytreeide, Ishtar’s Odyssey

Read Alouds 2016

  1. Michael Morpurgo, Aesop’s Fables
  2. Rudyard Kipling, Just So Stories
  3. J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan 
  4. Carlo Collodi, Pinocchio
  5. Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
  6. Ruth Fosdick Jones, Boy of the Pyramids
  7. Anna Melbourne, Illustrated Arabian Nights 
  8. Dylan Thomas, A Child’s Christmas in Wales 

Reading Lists & Recommendations from the Archive

Books by Michael Morpurgo

Cat and Dog Stories 

Over 40 Children’s Books (6-10 years old)

Classics for Young Independent Readers (5-10 years old)

My Boy’s Book Recommendations (5 – 7 years old)

Over 20 Modern Classics (7-11 year olds)

Stories with Dolls

WWII Historical Fiction 6+

Victorian Historical Fiction 6+

Ancient Egypt Historical Fiction 5+

Picture Books for 2 year olds

20 Picture Books for 3-5 year olds

20 Family Read Alouds

Autumn Picture Books

Winter Picture Books

Spring Picture Books

Summer Picture Books


Over 25 Christmas Chapter Books

Over 25 Christmas Picture Books

Christmas Stories and Poems

Christmas Audiobooks

The Nutcracker Extravaganza


Easter Picture Books and Poetry


Listening to Audiobooks

Audiobooks for the Summer

Christmas Audiobooks


Here are a couple of games in our cupboard that help us to enjoy the stories and literature we have been reading in a different way.

Story Cubes: You may well have seen these already. I keep seeing them in museum gift shops. We love them. A simple dice game which you could play anywhere, perhaps in restaurant while waiting for the food to arrive. It helps young ones (and us older ones!) to use our imagination but with the dice to help along the way, to make up whole new stories.

Book Worm: A game of reading, listening and remembering. It contains wonderful passages from children’s literature followed by some multiple choice questions to see if you were listening. No prior knowledge of the books needed. Fun for ages 6 +