My Favorite Books to Read Aloud

by | Reading Aloud | 4 comments

I started reading aloud to my children in 1981 after the birth of our fourth child. Naturally, all along I had been reading the baby picture books so often read to little children, but it was in that year that I started with the harder chapter books. I believe that first book was Treasure Island. It was a book I had always wanted to read, and since there was no way I’d have the time to read it to myself, I decided to jump right in and read it aloud. At the time, the ages of the kids were 6, 4, 2, and newborn. I guess I was pretty astonished that the children actually enjoyed the process, and the older two were listening. Treasure Island led to all the works of Jules Verne, then to Marquerite De Angeli, Walter Edmonds, and Lois Lenski. Here is a list of some specific titles we have especially enjoyed:

The Lost World by A.C. Doyle (best heard by recorded book)
The 21 Balloons by Du Bois (lite science fiction crossed with shipwrecked sailor)
The Colonials by Allen French (French might be my most favorite author — no, Dickens is — no, Verne is — no, Pyle is — no, Doyle is …..)
North to Freedom by Holm (movie version recently released which is OK, but not as good as the book, of course)
Gay-Neck by Mukerji (WWI and carrier pigeons — don’t read this one unless you plan to start raising carrier pigeons)
Bob, Son of Battle by Ollivant (have a box of Kleenex handy — this one will make you cry)
The Rose of Paradise by Howard Pyle (lesser known work by Pyle — hard to find but worth the effort)
The Wreck of the Grosvenor by Russell (exciting sea adventure — one of my very favorites)
Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare (young girl captured by the Indians)
Michael Strogoff by Jules Verne (lesser known work by Verne — one of his best)
The Children Who Stayed Alone by Bonnie Bess Worline (pioneer adventure — you’ll have a hard time putting it down)
Beau Geste by P.C. Wren (adventures with French Foreign Legionnaires — read the book before seeing the movie)
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss (a cross between shipwrecked family and nature journal)

These are only a few of my favorites. I’ll share more another time.


  1. Carmon Friedrich

    Do you have an edition of Swiss Family Robinson that you prefer? I know some of them are abridged, even though they don’t say they are, leaving out the Christian messages which are part of the original story.

    I’ve never heard of that Howard Pyle book…I’ll have to look for it. And thanks for mentioning about the movie version of Anne Holm’s book (I think it’s called “I Am David”) as I was wondering if it was any good.




    I have heard that there are different versions of Swiss Family Robinson, but I’m not familiar with them. It would be interesting to get a first edition, but I suppose that would be pretty expensive.

    Within the Capes is another book by Howard Pyle that is not so well known but is good, too.


  2. Tonya

    We also like The Wonder Clock and Otto of the Silver Hand by Pyle.

    The Swiss Family Robinson drives my husband nuts, though, with all the different animals on the island that shouldn’t be there together. ~smile.

    Thanks for some titles I hadn’t heard of.


  3. Melissa Markham

    Listening to books I read or read in audio format in the car are a great joy to us. We just listened to Huckleberry Finn which goes on forever and as a treat I have bought the Focus on the Family dramatized reading of Chronicles of Narnia. I can’t wait until it gets here (and you can get a good price if you go to!)

  4. Marybeth Whalen

    I love North To Freedom too! My fifth grade teacher read it out loud to us and I always remembered it, though I could not remember the title. When I was an adult, I found it at Barnes and Noble and was so happy– I bought it on the spot for my kids, though they were quite young at the time.
    I saw the movie version with Jim Caveziel (sp?) (the guy who played Jesus in The Passion)came out but want to read the book before we see it. Thanks for the reminder about this wonderful book! I need to go pull it off our shelf… Does anyone else have so many books they forget what they have??


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