How to Choose the Best Books for your Kids

It can be difficult to choose the best books from the sea of books available to us. Books are plentiful, but quality books are harder to find. Here are my ideas to help you choose the best books for your kids!

how to choose

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“Mommy, I need a book to listen to.” The request came from the sweetest of voices, and how could I resist such a wish?

“What kind of book do you want?”

“I don’t know… something cool,” came the reply.

Something cool. Hmm. I racked my brain, searched the library catalog, and finally googled “good books for boys,” before finding a book we both could agree on. It can be a huge job to find appropriate books that will encourage character and teach valuable life lessons.

Finding the Best Books

Never before in history has it ever been so easy to find information on almost any subject. We have access to thousands of new books in seconds via e-readers, and almost every city in America has a library for free access to books. With all of the choices available, it can be difficult to decide on the best books to read to our kids. It’s information overload! So how do we narrow the choices and find the best books?

Each year as I am planning our studies, I face the same question. How do I find the books that my kids need to read this year? Here are some of the things I do to narrow the choices down and choose the best books for my read-aloud and independent reading.

Consider the classics

Classic books are called classics for a reason. They have stood the test of time, and most are still wonderful reading material. These books were written in a time that virtues were still desirable, and they encourage character in our kids. Some of our favorites include Little Women, The Secret Garden, and the Little House books.

Consult your Kiddos

 If I am looking for a good book to read together, I usually try to ask them what type of books they want to read. They have all kinds of great ideas! A few months ago, Superman was on a mystery kick, so I was able to introduce him to my childhood favorite detective, Encyclopedia Brown! That was so much fun to dig out and re-read!

I have three kids – a fourteen-year-old girl, an eleven-year-old girl, and an eight-year-old boy. It can be crazy-hard to find books that are interesting to all of them at the same time. Superman loves adventure and excitement, and the girls love a good relational story line. Great books for young children will probably be different from great books for older kids. It can be difficult, but there are some books that will hold the attention of all of my kids. Our favorites last year were Johnny Tremain and The Trumpet of the Swan.

Don’t Ignore your Own Interests

I have found that the books I love the best are the ones the kiddos love too. If you can find a book you enjoy, most likely it is a living book. Look for books that don’t “talk down” to your kids and that teach valuable lessons about life.

Ask for Advice

I try to pre-screen the books my kids read, but as they become more avid readers it can be really hard to keep up! I have found that other moms are a good place to start when trying to find wholesome books for my kids. Just a few weeks ago, I asked for book suggestions on Facebook and got lots of great answers. There are lots of great Facebook groups and online forums to chat with other homeschool moms. My favorites are Simply Charlotte Mason forum and Hip Homeschool Moms FB group.

Look at a {Book} List

If I don’t know where to start to find a book, I usually start with a book list. I really love the free list from Read Aloud Revival, and occasionally will peruse the Sonlight catalog for a starting place. Sometimes I check out Ambleside Online too, when searching for good literature. iHomeschool Network has a GIANT list of booklists – I’m sure you can find a book there!

Books about Books

Another great resource is a book that lists great books about a certain subject. (Did that make any sense to anyone but me??) Anyway, here are some examples of what I’m talking about! We can’t pass up real books on a What to Read Wednesday, can we?

 Give Your Child the World

I first heard about this book on the Read Aloud Revival Podcast, and I wept as I listened to Jamie speak about giving her kids a heart to change the world. It has been my dream since I was a child to be a missionary and reach people in other countries with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sadly, I haven’t been called to preach to people in another country, but I have been called to teach my children. This book is a great help in sharing the world with your kids, and building a great love in them for people that live in a place they’ve never been!


 Honey for a Child’s Heart

I actually haven’t read this book, but it is on my Amazon wishlist! I have heard so much about this book that I can’t wait to read it. The first part of the book explains the how and why of reading with your children, and the second section gives descriptive lists of great books.


 Books Children Love

This book is chock full of amazing books and notes about each one. What a great resource for any homeschool! She breaks her recommendations down by subject and reading level, so it is easy to find a book about animals for your preschooler, etc.


 TruthQuest History

Yes, this is a curriculum, but it’s also the best history reading list I have ever found. I own about 6 of these books, and expect to buy more before the end of our homeschool journey. I don’t really use them as a full curriculum, but use them to find great books in the era that we are studying. Each book is organized chronologically, and has more subjects in there than you could ever study in a year! If you haven’t checked these books out, you owe it to yourself and your homeschool to get one today! It will make your history living book search easier, I promise!


I hope these tips help you out a little in your quest to help your kids learn through literature! How do you choose great books for your kids? What are your favorite books right now?

Now it’s time for the What to Read Wednesday Link-up!

The most popular post from last week was:


Learning about Brazil – Children Around the World


What to Read Wednesday

Our hosts will still share a themed selection of our favorite books each week.

If you’d like to join us as a co-host for What to Read Wednesday, please contact Anne.

Anne at Learning Table Leah at Sandy Toes Creations Crystal at Castle View Academy
Ginny at Not So Formulaic logo square LAL_SquareLogo

This list has our book themes for 2016, but you don’t have to stick to that to link up–any family-friendly posts are welcome. So, come on! Join in the fun!

What to Read Party Details

If you’d like to link back to What to Read Wednesday, here is a pretty button for you!


Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

[inlinkz_linkup id=656212 mode=1]


  • Leslie

    August 17, 2016 at 1:38 pm Reply

    I love Honey for a Child’s Heart. I’d never heard of Truth Quest, but now I want to check it out. Thanks for hosting! Join our Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup anytime, too.

  • Amberjane

    August 18, 2016 at 3:10 am Reply

    Mine were avid readers and would get into series of books, they also read all the classics which I am glad about and even some of the books from my childhood I had kept. Thank you for sharing your great tips with I am Pinnable Amy

  • KT

    August 18, 2016 at 9:32 am Reply

    I agree that sometimes falling back on my own favorites is the best way to pick books for my boys. Great advice!

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