As home educators, reading has always been top of our priority list. From babyhood all the children have loved flicking through board books, as they grew I would read to them, every evening and often multiple times during the day. I would find that when all was going crazy, a quiet story would change the mood of the house, and give me 5 minutes to sit still 😉.

As they’ve grown, they’ve continued to love reading to themselves. We’ve kept the children interested in reading in a couple of specific ways. One has been acquiring interest based books. For example, Jonathan and Christopher always loved action, adventure and spy books. Thankfully Matthew has followed suit and so we have been able to pass their books onto him. Madeleine loves horses and so we’ve gone through just about every horse book we could get our hands on. Likewise with Elizabeth and gymnastic books. Hannah adores animals and thankfully animal books are easy to find and we already had a lot, so she’s sorted. The younger children are not very fussy and will settle down to listen to whatever I suggest. Another way we have encouraged reading is that we have give the children limited screen time, which I think is more appealing than books for most children. Without screens they reach out for books to occupy their minds.

How did we get so many books without breaking the bank? I am a very keen bargain hunter and during our years in Surrey I went to the Scout and Guide Jumble sale 4 times a year, as well as the huge local annual book fair. I have picked up most of our books for about 30p each. Of course we have bought some new, but we try where possible to get them second hand off the web. We have also inherited a lot of books from friends and family who have passed them on.

Before moving, we used to make full use our local library. We would order them on line and then go down and collect a pile every week. Since we moved and are thus not so near to the library, and then since the lockdowns as well, we have decided to continue to build up our home library.

As well as specific interest books, we have a large number of information books, Christian biographies, Christian fiction, Children’s Bibles and Bible stories and an assortment of other varied reading matter.

My personal favourite books to read aloud have been the ‘Little House Books’, ‘Little Pilgrim’s Progress’, almost any Patricia St John books, ‘Ten Peas in a Pod’ by Arnold Pent and the Little Lights series of Christian biographies.

What do you like to read with your children, or what memories do you have of favourite childhood books?

Do come back here soon, as I will do a post in the next few days about will how we teach our children to read.

8 thoughts on “Our Home Library

  1. I have fond memories of my Mum reading Enid Blyton’s far away tree to me. My favourite though was the secret garden, which she used to read a chapter each night to me. We loved that time together.
    I read to my young children at night mostly atm, but the daytime reading will pick up once the baby isn’t such a fuss pot!!

    • My boys have particularly loved Enid Blyton. They have got lost in the adventures of the Famous Five and the Secret Seven. Their summers have often been spent recreating these adventures, setting up clubs and solving mysteries. She has helped fuel their budding imaginations.

      We have an abridged version of the Secret Garden, but I have never read the original. I feel inspired to get a copy and add it to the library.

  2. I really identify you and your children’s love of books. I loved reading to my children when they were small and more recently to my grandchildren! Our 2 youngest grandchildren absolutely love books and can’t get enough of them. I recently asked what Evie would like for her 9th birthday and the reply was BOOKS! She’s getting more specific now and beginning to prefer non-fiction but I liken them both to sponges, soaking in as much information as they can!

    • That’s brilliant that your grandchildren love books so much. Books are such a great gift, as they can be read over and over again, bringing renewed joy each time.

  3. Catherine Forbes says:

    Authors I enjoyed as a child (and still do!) include Noel Streatfield (Ballet Shoes), Meindert DeJong (probably Christian) and Rosemary Sutcliff (historical adventure). Willard Price is good for adventure and exotic animals, Arthur Ransome (Swallows and Amazons) is also good (and more realistic) for adventure, and of course Richmal Crompton (Just William) is hilarious (and how not to behave!). Caroline Lawrence (Romans/Christian) and Brian Jacques (Redwall) are two more recent authors. Anthony Horowitz (Stormbreaker and other Alex Ryder books) is good for teenagers.

    • Cathy, good to hear from you. I should have known that you’d have some good ideas, I know how much you love to read! These ideas are great. My boys have particularly enjoyed the Alex Ryder series and Matthew is a huge Swallows and Amazon’s fan. I haven’t heard of Meindert DeJong, thank you for the idea, I will take a look at his books.

  4. Geninne Hall says:

    A series your boys would enjoy is Little Britches by Ralph Moody. It is about a family that moved from New Hampshire to a Colorado ranch at the turn of the century when the author was 8 years old. Ralph wrote the books when he was in his 80’s from his memories. Excellent read aloud. Think Little House on the Prairie for boys. Available on Amazon.

    • Vicki Goldby says:

      That sounds like a fab story, I am sure my children would love to hear it. Thank you for the recommendation, I will take a look.

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