Customer Reviews: Books Children Love (Revised Edition): A Guide to the Best Children's Literature
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This book was written as a listing of books for children, of many topics. I want to make it clear that this is not just a book list of children's fiction. There are different books on the market that list only works of fiction. This book includes lists of books for these subjects: animals, art and architecture, bible/spiritual teaching, biography, crafts, hobbies, domestic arts, dance, drama, geography, history, horticulture, humor, language, literature (in several reading levels), poetry, rhymes, math, misc. music, outdoor activities other than group games, physical education, reference, science, technology, and special days and seasons.
This book was written by a homeschooler who is using the Charlotte Mason method. The Charlotte Mason method uses real books also known as living books, (not textbooks or boxed curriculum). This method allows the individual to use many different books written by people who are passionate about the subject to learn about a particular topic or unit of study. Living books are great books, books that capture the attention or imagination of the reader. Living books are not boring or uninspiring. I appreciate having this reference guide available to me, a pre-sorted list written by a user of the Charlotte Mason method, someone on the lookout for quality and inspiring books. It helps sift out the exceptional books from the unremarkable.

OK so this was published in 1987 and any book list that is written poses the risk of immediately containing out of print books. The fact that this book is 14 years old (at the time I of this writing) adds to the possibility that some of these books will be out of print. I see that other reviewers don't like book lists that contain out of print books. I appreciate a listing that contains out of print books, because besides shopping for new books, I also shop at local used book stores, online used book store and online out of print book stores. It is helpful to know about a great book and be on the lookout for that at a used bookstore (or by simply doing an online search for that title). As a homeschooling parent, our family library is growing and I do appreciate the ability to buy used books for sometimes as low as one or two dollars, and end up with better quality book than some currently-in-print, more expensive, new book. Let's not also forget that our public libraries are full of out-of-print books, and that library used book sales are another source of finding great books that are out-of-print. In defense of the author, to further complicate matters books come in and out of never knows when a previously out of print book will go back into circulation.
If you are looking for a book of children's fiction lists that deletes out of print books, see "The Read Aloud Handbook"-with each revision the author deletes the out of print books and only includes the in print books (at the time of the printing, of course).
I appreciate the detailed index, which allows easy scanning by title or author, something that not all book list-books include.
I found this interesting reading and went right through it, cover to cover, with pencil in hand to circle those that I thought our family would like to read. I also found that this book inspired me to think about introducing different topics to my children that I would not have thought about, such as studying the life of colonial American children or learning about what pioneer Americans ate for food.
A great reference book at a low cost!
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on September 16, 1999
This book is arranged by subject and reading level. There is a good variety of choices, and the books listed have all been evaluated to be wholesome and reinforce proper priorities, human relationships and good attitudes. There are wonderful classic books and newer books also. My child has enjoyed every title we have read from the booklists.
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on March 8, 2007
I'm a homeschool mom of 4 with a degree in English, but sometimes I need help and guidance when selecting books for my children, particularly nonfiction. I love Charlotte Mason's idea of living books, books that are not textbooks and that are well-written and appealing to children without being "twaddle." This is an excellent resource for any parent, teacher, or children's librarian. My children have loved the books we've chosen from the library that were suggested by Wilson. I'd highly recommend it!
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on April 20, 2009
There are a number of annotated book list books available for Christian parents and teachers, and this is one of the best. In her introduction, Wilson explains that her philosophy grows out of Charlotte Mason's concept of "living books," and states that to be included in her list titles must be: (1) interesting to children, (2) of excellent literary quality, and (3) reflective of a view of human life that does not conflict with Judeo-Christian moral and ethical values. The preface is written by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay (daughter of Francis Schaeffer, a leading thinker in formulating the concept of the Christian worldview).

While I haven't read every title recommended, in general Wilson's selections seem to be well within the bounds of her criteria. Her eye for literary quality, reader interest and moral value is good. She does make some recommendations that I disagree with (for example, Hatchet by Gary Paulson, The Yearling by Marjorie Rawlings, and A String in the Harp by Nancy Bond), primarily because they express a cultural view of childhood and the role of parents that I believe is unbiblical.

Unlike many other book lists, this one includes not only fiction and biography sections, but also a number of nonfiction topics such as music, geography, science, mathematics, performing arts, and the natural world. This makes the book an excellent supplement to a young reader's formal education. The chapters are organized by topic, and the reading level is given for individual citations. Obviously, adults need to read the titles rather than merely selecting them on someone else's say-so, but Wilson's recommendation is an excellent place to begin. And in that five minutes before the library closes, four out of five times you can count on her to provide you with a good take-home read.
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on December 26, 2009
Every parent should BEGIN their children's library experience with this book! There are hundreds of thousands of titles for children's books, and our children will only be able to read a limited number of these throughout their childhood years. So, don't waste time on the losers in the bunch!

It is BEST to start with a PLAN for raising children, and add a tool, such as this book, which can assist us in guiding our children's book choices!

Every home library should have this book from which to START the process of enriching children through literature. There is certainly plenty of twaddle to read out there which is of little or no value to our children... so why waste their time allowing them to wade through this twaddle and read it? This is often what kills a child's desire to read.

Many books today are poorly written with confusing characters and lacking a protagonist. Many times there are no character building moral values imparted!

This little handbook is great for helping us (parents and teachers) ensure that the best of children's literature is not left behind when our children are beginning their reading experiences.

This book will inform you about children's books which you never knew existed. Most books assigned for our children to read are actually chosen by people who know next to nothing about the options in children's literature.

I am reminded of the little book store owner in "You've Got Mail." Kathleen "Shopgirl" Kelly (played by Meg Ryan) knows all of the wonderful, imaginative, classic children's books for children to read; while Joe "NY152" Fox (played by Tom Hanks just wants to build a conglomerate book store down the street and sell whatever his buyers stock in it. His staff knows no more about the books on the shelves than the shoppers!

Shopgirl knew all the best children's literature and was able to guide her customers through the process of choosing rich reading... those titles that every child should read at least once (because of the quality of writing and storytelling), but will usually read another twenty times because of the richness of the story and the overall experience with which the child is left!

Choose books which have characters to aspire to, stories to imitate, life lessons to be learned, all while fertilizing the seeds of each child's natural imagination!
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on October 12, 2015
An excellent resource of quality books for all ages. I did not grow up in a home where reading held a high value, and I never developed a love of reading. Although I was an excellent student through college, reading has always been difficult. I now have grandchildren, and am changing that legacy by making sure they have lots of good books to read and reading to them every opportunity I get. This book gives recommendations for specific age groups, and so far, every book I've purchased has been a loved book that my grandkids want to have read over and over again!
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on May 2, 2014
Complete resource with titles, synopses, and age relevance of books to treasure, to read and be read to; well organized
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on June 12, 2013
Elizabeth Wilson's guide to children's literature is a fantastic resource for homeschoolers, librarians, and anyone who wants to expose children to high quality books.
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on February 3, 2013
A tremendous help in finding worthy books for children. Wilson gives good descriptions, more than just a thumbs up or down.
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on October 11, 2014
I review the book and then take this to the library to help me find great books for my daughter. It makes my experience there more directed and less like walking blind and picking up any old book that may not be great literature.
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