Subscribe to our newsletter

Save a Marriage Today

Connect with us

The Williams Children's Favorite Books

Selected readings from children ages 6 to 19.


by Ellie Battalora Williams

As I mentioned in my article "Encouraging Children to Love the Written Word," my husband and I asked our children to write down some of their favorite books. We've compiled their lists into the ones below. We've tried to present them where the reading level of the books progresses within each person's list. Books with an asterisk (*) appear on more than one person's list.

Note: These books are not necessarily here as an endorsement of FamilyLife. You as a parent may not deem some of the books appropriate, particularly the more advanced reading. The lists are here only as a guide. We hope they are helpful.

BECKY, age 6.
She is excited that she'll soon be able to read on her own like her brothers and sisters.

  1. The Giraffe Who Went to School, Irma Wilde
  2. Angus and the Cat, Marjorie Flack
  3. Little Toot*, Hardie Gramatky
  4. Make Way for Ducklings, Robert McCloskey
  5. Corduroy, Don Freeman
  6. Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter
  7. Little Bear, Else H. Minarik
  8. Curious George books*, H.A. Rey
  9. Are You My Mother?*, P.D. Eastman
  10. No Roses for Harry, Gene Zion
  11. Clifford The Big Red Dog, Norman Bridwell
  12. Amelia Bedelia books*, Peggy Parish
  13. A Bear Called Paddington, Michael Bond
  14. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle*, Betty McDonald

BEN, age 8. He would rather be running and jumping, but still loves a good story. He also loves audio books.

  1. Fido, Stephanie Calmenson 
  2. Spy series (puzzles and riddles), Walker Wick and Jean Marzollo 
  3. Where's Waldo series, Martin Hanford 
  4. Medallion, Dawn Watkins 
  5. The Story about Ping, Marjorie Flack 
  6. Millions of Cats, Wanda Gag 
  7. Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, Richard Scarry 
  8. Little Toot*, Hardy Gramatky 
  9. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Virginia Burton 
  10. Mop Top, Don Freeman 
  11. Frog and Toad Are Friend, Arnold Lobel 
  12. Curious George books*, H.A. Rey 
  13. Are You My Mother?*, P.D. Eastman 
  14. Go Dog, Go, P.D. Eastman 
  15. The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant, Jean and Laurent de Brunhoff 
  16. Danny and the Dinosaur, Syd Hoff 
  17. The Berenstain Bears books, Stan and Jan Berenstain 
  18. Henry and Mudge, Cynthia Rylant 
  19. Amelia Bedelia books*, Peggy Parish 
  20. Charlotte's Web, E.B. White 
  21. Stuart Little*, E.B. White 
  22. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle*, Betty McDonald

JOY, age 10.
"The Book" narrowed her list to just under 100, then managed to cut it down under 40.

  1. Thunderhoof, Syd Hoff
  2. Miss Piggle-Wiggle*, Hillary Knight
  3. Little House books*, Laura Ingalls Wilder
  4. Amelia Bedelia books*, Peggy Parrish
  5. The Boxcar Children series*, Gertrude Chandler Warner
  6. The Railway Children, Edith Nesbitt
  7. The Story of the Treasure Seekers, Edith Nesbit
  8. In Grandma's Attic, Arletta Richardson
  9. The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Beverly Cleary
  10. Caddie Woodlawn, Carol R. Brink
  11. Young Pioneers, Rose Wilder Lane
  12. Aesop's Fables, Aesop
  13. Peter Pan*, J.M. Barie
  14. Mara, Daughter of the Nile, Eloise Jarvis McGraw
  15. A Gathering of Days, Joan W. Blos
  16. In Freedom's Cause, G.A. Henty
  17. The True Confession of Charlotte Doyle, Avi
  18. The Passing of the Night, Robinson Risner
  19. The Phantom Tollbooth*, Norton Juster
  20. Eye of the Hurricane, Lee Roddy
  21. Gone Away Lake, Elizabeth Enright
  22. Beautiful Girlhood, (revised by Karen Andreola)
  23. Elsie Dinsmore series, Martha Finley
  24. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
  25. The Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett
  26. Eight Cousins, Louisa May Alcott
  27. Number the Stars, Lois Lowry
  28. The Seaboard Parish, George McDonald
  29. The Vicar's Daughter, George McDonald
  30. A Quiet Neighborhood, George McDonald
  31. Christy, Catherine Marshall
  32. War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells
  33. Ivanhoe, Walter Scott
  34. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  35. Emma, Jane Austen
  36. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
  37. Lord of the Rings trilogy*, J.R.R. Tolkien
  38. The Scarlet Pimpernel*, Baroness Emmuska Orczy

For more of Joy's recommendations, go to the bottom of the page. 

JEFF, age 14.
Cleverly arranged his top 10 into one for each year he's been reading.

K. The Allistair books, Marilyn Sadler
1st. The Great Butter Battle, Dr. Seuss
2nd. Doctor Doolittle, Hugh Lofting
3rd. The Phantom Tollbooth*, Norton Juster
4th. James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
5th. The Hardy Boys series, Franklin Dixon
6th. The Chronicles of Narnia*, C.S. Lewis
7th. The Hobbit; The Lord of the Rings trilogy*, JRR Tolkien
8th. Sherlock Holmes books*, Arthur Conan Doyle
9th. Lord of the Flies, William Golding

CHRIS, age 16.
Our family librarian and one of our most serious readers was kind enough to narrow his list from hundreds, to just 16.

  1. Stuart Little*, Beverly Cleary
  2. Mr. Popper's Penguins*, Richard Atwater
  3. The Phantom Tollbooth*, Norton Juster
  4. A Cricket in Times Square, George Selden
  5. Amos Fortune, Free Man*, Elizabeth Yates
  6. Sounder, William H. Armstrong
  7. The Borrowers, Mary Norton
  8. A Wrinkle in Time*, Madeleine L'Engle
  9. Peter Pan*, J.M. Barrie
  10. The Prince and the Pauper*, Mark Twain
  11. The Wind in the Willows*, Kenneth Grahame
  12. Watership Down*, Richard Adams
  13. The Old Man and the Sea*, Ernest Hemingway
  14. The Hobbit*, J.R.R. Tolkien
  15. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
  16. The Redwall Books, Brian Jacques*

AMY, age 18.
Books are not at the top of her to-do list, but she still has her sentimental favorites.

  1. A is for Annabelle, Tasha Tudor
  2. How Many Jawbreakers: A Book About Honesty*, Thornton, Terence and Bartholomew
  3. Little House books*, Laura Ingalls Wilder
  4. Boxcar Children series*, Gertrude Chandler Warner
  5. American Girls series, Various Authors
  6. Cheaper by the Dozen*, Ernestine Gilbreth Carey and Frank Gilbreth, Jr.
  7. When Heaven Weeps, Ted Decker
  8. Heaven's Wager, Ted Decker
  9. Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers
  10. The Scarlet Pimpernel*, Baroness Emmuska Orczy

BRIAN, age 19.
Our academic. A National Merit Scholar, and one of our earliest readers.

  1. A Wrinkle in Time*, Madeleine L'Engle
  2. Watership Down*, Richard Adams
  3. My Side of the Mountain, Jean Craighead George
  4. That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  6. The Moon is Down, John Steinbeck
  7. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
  8. Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky
  9. Les Miserables, Victor Hugo
  10. King Leopold's Ghost, Adam Hochschild
  11. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
  12. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe

    For more of Brian's recommendations, go to the bottom of the page.

Some recommendations from their parents:

  1. Sing, Spell, Read and Write A comprehensive reading program that engages all three learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. All our children have learned through SSR&W.
  2. Honey for a Child's Heart, Gladys Hunt. An invaluable resource list of great children's and young adult's books. A great companion for trips to the library and bookstore.
  3. The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes, Kenneth Taylor. A chronological telling of some of the Bibles most compelling stories, simplified for even the youngest child. Each story is accompanied with classic illustration that is as engaging as the story.
  4. Arch Paperback Bible story series Picture-driven book series that retells some of the most beloved Bible narratives in poetic form. Great short lap books and bedtime books.

Additional recommendations from Joy:

  1. Amelia Bedelia books*, Peggy Parish
  2. A Bear Called Paddington*, Michael Bond
  3. How Many Jawbreakers: A Book About Honesty*, Thornton, Terence and Bartholomew
  4. Shadrach, Meindert DeJong
  5. Cubby in Wonderland, Frances Joyce Farnsworth
  6. Stuart Little*, E. B. White
  7. Mr. Popper's Penguins*, Richard and Florence Atwater
  8. The Story of Babar, Jean and Laurent de Brunhoff
  9. Doctor Doolittle and the Green Canary, Hugh Lofting
  10. The Ramona books, Beverly Cleary 
  11. Strawberry Girl, Louise Linski
  12. The Plastic Indian, Lynne Reid Banks
  13. Return of the Indian, Lynne Reid Banks
  14. The Indian in the Cupboard, Lynne Reid Banks
  15. Sea Star, Marguerite Henry
  16. Stormy, Marguerite Henry
  17. Misty's Foal, Marguerite Henry
  18. Rogue Reynard, Andre Norton
  19. The Vikings, Elizabeth Janeway
  20. Sarah Plain and Tall, Patricia MacLachlan
  21. Skylark, Patricia McLachlan
  22. Trailblazer Missionary Series, Bethany House Publishers
  23. Sugar Creek Gang series, Paul Hutchins
  24. Billy and Blaze, C.W. Anderson
  25. Snow Treasure, Marie McSwigan
  26. Adventures of Raggedy Ann, Johnny Gruelle
  27. The Courage of Sarah Noble, Alice Dalgliesh
  28. Girls of Many Lands, American Girls series
  29. The Littles, John Peterson
  30. The Borrowers, Mary Norton
  31. Least of All, Carol Purdy
  32. Amos Fortune, Free Man*, Elizabeth Yates
  33. Calico Captive, Elizabeth George Speare
  34. The Sign of the Beaver, Elizabeth George Speare
  35. The Bronze Bow, Elizabeth George Speare
  36. A History for Today: Anne Frank, Anne Frank
  37. Cheaper by the Dozen*, Ernestine Gilbreth Carey and Frank Gilbreth, Jr.
  38. Belles on their Toes, Ernestine Gilbreth Carey and Frank Gilbreth, Jr.
  39. The Oz Series, Frank L. Baum
  40. The Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
  41. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
  42. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
  43. Heidi, Johanna Spyri
  44. Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe
  45. The Prince and the Pauper*, Mark Twain
  46. Swiss Family Robinson*, Johan D. Wyss
  47. Anne of Green Gables (series), L.M. Montgomery
  48. A Christmas Carol*, Charles Dickens
  49. The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas
  50. Man in the Iron Mask, Alexandre Dumas
  51. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
  52. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea*, Jules Verne
  53. The Chronicles of Narnia series*, C.S. Lewis
  54. Pollyanna, Eleanor Porter
  55. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
  56. Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates, Mary Mapes Dodge
  57. The Wind in the Willows*, Kenneth Grahame
  58. The Hobbit*, J.R.R. Tolkien

Additional recommendations from Brian:

  1. The Swiss Family Robinson*, Johann Wyss
  2. The Other Side of the Mountain, Jean Craighead George
  3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
  4. Chronicles of Narnia series, C.S. Lewis
  5. The Wind in the Willows*, Kenneth Grahame
  6. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea*, Jules Verne
  7. Journey to the Center of the Earth, Jules Verne
  8. The Hobbit*, J.R.R. Tolkien
  9. The Lord of the Rings trilogy*, J.R.R. Tolkien
  10. Perelandra, C.S. Lewis
  11. The Old Man and the Sea*, Ernest Hemingway 
  12. East of Eden, John Steinbeck
  13. The Pearl, John Steinbeck
  14. Animal Farm, George Orwell
  15. Huckleberry Finn*, Mark Twain
  16. A Christmas Carol*, Charles Dickens
  17. The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
  18. War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells
  19. The Time Machine, H.G. Wells
  20. The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells
  21. The Scarlet Pimpernel*, - Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  22. The Hound of the Baskervilles*, Arthur Conan Doyle
  23. A Connecticut Yankee in King Author's Court, Mark Twain
  24. The Redwall Books, Brian Jacques*
  25. Selected Short Stories, Roald Dahl
  26. Selected Short Stories, Edgar Allen Poe
  27. Selected Short Stories, Mark Twain
  28. Selected Short Stories, Eudora Welty
  29. Selected Poems, Emily Dickinson
  30. Selected Poems, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

© Copyright 2007.



Save a Marriage Today

Subscribe to our newsletter