It’s that time again! I love to read book lists and I love to share book lists, and I know you are just the same. We finished 22 titles this year — we’re in the middle of a few books that I’ll list at the end. Those will also appear on next year’s list.
As I share these books, keep in mind that my four children range in age from 10 to 16. These are wonderful read aloud titles, but that doesn’t mean they’d all be appropriate for younger kids. Remember this if you’re using this list to get ideas for future titles!
One of my themes for the year — not that there was a deliberate theme — was to read all the things I have always wanted to read. I know that sounds way too broad, but my oldest is a junior this year. It’s likely that, at the start of the year, I only had two more years left to read aloud to him. What did I always think would be part of our family read aloud canon? I needed to include it before it was too late.
Before I share the list … every year I’m asked how we fit in so many books. The simple answer is that we have a habit of reading aloud. The longer answer can be found in my post The Read Aloud Liturgy.
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The Wilderking Trilogy by Jonathan Rogers
The Bark of the Bog Owl, The Secret of the Swamp King, and The Way of the Wilderking — also known as The Wilderking Trilogy by Jonathan Rogers — were fantastic. This is fantasy without magic. It feels a bit like Florida meets fairy tale meets the story of King David from Scripture. I highly recommend this series. Rogers is a fabulous writer.
The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King are books in a series that I wanted to like more than I actually did. While there were moments when I could surrender to the story, it didn’t help that my husband kept making fun of the similarities to Tolkien. And you know what? I think he was right. My favorite in the series is Taran Wanderer, and part of that is because it was the least like Tolkien of the series.
Rowan Farm by Margot Benary-Isbert
Personally, I didn’t think it was nearly as good as The Ark (please note one of my daughters disagrees with me).
Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
This is a book I’ve owned for ages and kept meaning to get around to reading aloud, so naturally it sat there for years. I’m glad we finally read it — everyone loved it, and it reminded one of my daughters that history books aren’t so bad, after all.
Warrior Scarlett by Rosemary Sutcliff
This one was sooo good! I love Sutcliff, especially that she uses historical backdrops many other authors avoid. This one was fascinating, plus there was the disabled-boy-conquers motif as well.
The Odyssey by Homer (translated by Robert Fagles)
This fits with my theme of don’t-delay-what-you-don’t-want-to-miss. I always wanted to do Homer aloud, and The Odyssey is the one I like best (yes, it’s true). The kids loved it, even though they had read many children’s versions before this. More proof that classic tales never get old?
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
In tension with my theme was a deep desire to re-read books we’ve loved one last time. I gave in, and we began with our fourth read of The Hobbit, though admittedly O-Age-10 wasn’t born when we did the first reading.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
What can be said? These are my favorites. That is enough.
Oh. And also that we haven’t actually finished The Return of the King yet.
Boys of Blur by ND Wilson
Beowful meets Florida meets football season? Yes, please. This was such a fun read.
Wingfeather Tales edited by Andrew Peterson
We read the Wingfeather Saga last year (I highly, highly recommend it!) and this was a follow-up: a collection of stories by various authors that take place in the Wingfeather world created by Andrew Peterson. We loved all the stories, but especially fun was the one by ND Wilson that connects the Wingfeather world to the 100 Cupboards world.
Beowulf translated by Burton Raffel
I bought this translation after Angelina Stanford convinced me it was preferable. I am not a Beowulf expert, but I can say it was a great family read aloud, and that’s enough for me.
The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
We haven’t read them all yet, but here’s what we’ve finished so far:
Prince Caspian is my least favorite, and we’re through that one now, which means it’s all wonderfulness ahead. We’re usually in the mood for fantasy this time of year.
What We’re Reading Now
These are the books we’ve begun to read aloud, but not yet finished:
What about you? What’s your favorite read aloud from this past year? What can you recommend to me to put on our to-be-read stack?