Living Books

Some Thoughts on Living Books

…we owe it to every child to put him in communication with great minds that he may get at great thoughts; with the minds, that is, of those who have left us great works; and the only vital method of education appears to be that children should read worthy books, many worthy books.
Charlotte Mason, An Essay Towards a Philosophy of Education, page 12

“Education,” said Lord Haldane, some time ago, “is a matter of the spirit,”…No one knoweth the things of a man but the spirit of a man which is in him; therefore, there is no education but self-education, and as soon as a young child begins his education he does so as a student. Our business is to give him mind-stuff, and both quality and quantity are essential…for the best thought the world possesses is stored in books; we must open books to children, the best books; our own concern is abundant provision and orderly serving.
Ibid., 26

Thought, we know, breeds thought; it is as vital thought touches our minds that our ideas are vitalized, and out of our ideas comes our conduct of life…The direct and immediate impact of great minds upon his own mind is necessary to the education of a child…if the [book] list be short, the scholar will not get enough mind-stuff; if the books are not various, his will not be an all-round development; if they are not original, but compiled at second hand, he will find no material in them for his intellectual growth. Again, if they are too easy and too direct, if they tell him straight away what he is to think, he will read, but he will not appropriate…We have the highest authority for the indirect method of teaching proper to literature, and especially to poetry. The parables of Christ remain dark sayings; but what is there more precious in the world’s store of knowledge?”
Ibid., 303-304

Every scholar of six years old and upwards should study with ‘delight’ his own, living, books on every subject in a pretty wide curriculum. Children between six and eight must for the most part have their books read to them.
Charlotte Mason, School Education, page 214

One more thing is of vital importance; children must have books, living books; the best are not too good for them; anything less than the best is not good enough; and if it is needful to exercise economy, let go everything that belongs to soft and luxurious living before letting go the duty of supplying the books, and the frequent changes of books, which are necessary for the constant stimulation of the child’s intellectual life.
Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children, page 279

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.
Philippians 4:6 – 8

…And yes, God Himself chose the medium of a Book to share the truth of His love and grace for each of us. God used that one Book to transform minds and lives of people all throughout history!…So…shall whole, living books be the means by which we challenge our children to become more thoughtful, discerning, and better equipped for God’s purpose?…They give a taste for the beautiful and excellent in life!! They enrich the mind, heart, and character! They have the power to form and restore the character to its full, productive capacity! They deal with ideals, principles, and purposes! They build enthusiasm for learning! They build family relationships…a unity of ideals and character and experiences! They help capture your family’s opportunities for learning together!…Whole, Living Books develop the person. They help us to make more informed and discerning stands for God! They give a “mental trip” into the author’s mind…their feelings, thoughts, words, experiences so that we become more aware of the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of others! They expand the horizons of the mind! Whole books take you to far away places. They take you into the minds of others. Plus, you get to have experiences without having to have each and every situation as your own personal experience! Of course, we still must learn many things from our own life, but as we do whole books are there to communicate ministry to the soul!
They comfort us in midst of weary times. They excite us in the midst of the dreariness of our lives. They inspire us when we lack direction. They feed our hungry mind with ideas so we do not suffer from mental starvation! Whole books ennoble us toward what is true…honest…just…pure…lovely…of good report…virtuous…and praiseworthy!
Cindy Rushton, Language Arts…the Easy Way!, pages 15, 19, 20


Characteristics of a Living Book

from Maryellen St. Cyr, When Children Love to Learn, pages 125-126

  • Books are to be well written, not dependent upon illustrations for the story to unfold (Ourselves, Part II, p. 11).
  • Books must contain literary language to make a direct appeal to the mind, to stir the imagination, and hold the child’s interest (A Philosophy of Education, p. 248).
  • Books must be enjoyed. The ideas they hold must make the sudden delightful impact on the mind, cause the intellectual stir that marks the inception of an idea (School Education, p. 178).
  • Books are not to be too easy or too direct. If they tell the reader straightway what to think, he will read but not appropriate the information (A Philosophy of Education, p. 303).
  • Good books are to be narrated. The child is able to recall the ordered sequence with graphic details (School Education, pp. 179-180).


Living Books vs. Text Books

from Clay & Sally Clarkson, Educating the WholeHearted Child: a Handbook for Christian Home Education, p. 80

  • Written by a single author, a real and knowable person vs. written by various authors or contributors, usually unknown
  • Literary expression to the author’s own ideas and love of the subject vs. non-literary expression of collected facts & information
  • Personal in tone and feel. Touches the heart and emotions as well as the intellect vs. impersonal, touches only the intellect
  • Author addresses the reader as an intelligent and capable thinker vs. looks down on the reader as one needing to be instructed
  • Ideas are presented creatively in a way that stimulates the imagination vs. facts are presented without creativity in a way that deadens the imagination


Books About Living Books/Book Lists

You don’t need all of these! The first two I carry with me when I hunt for used books. The last two are helpful for high school. Be sure to visit Valerie’s Living Books at for lots of wonderful, free book lists; author biographies; home library info; etc.

  • Who Should We Then Read?, vol. 1 and vol. 2 by Jan Bloom, . Wonderful author bios and helpful lists for book collectors.
  • The Never-Ending Rushton Reading List by Cindy Rushton,
  • TruthQuest History series by Michelle Miller, This is history from a Biblical worldview as well as an excellent list of books and films showing grade interest level, K – 12. Eliminates the need for other lists for history.
  • All Through the Ages by Christine Miller, Book lists for grades 1-12 of chronological history, geography, science and math, art and music, and great books of Christian tradition (great discussion, literature, poetry, drama).
  • Let the Authors Speak: A Guide to Worthy Books Based on Historical Setting by Carolyn Hatcher
  • Turning Back the Pages of Time: A Guide to American History Through Literature compiled by Kathy Keller
  • Read for the Heart: Whole Books for Wholehearted Families by Sarah Clarkson. Homeschooled graduate tells of her childhood journey with living books, very inspiring! Good lists of children’s classics; chronological history and bios; poetry; music, art, and nature; picture books; etc.
  • Books Children Love: A Guide to the Best Children’s Literature by Elizabeth Wilson
  • Honey for a Child’s Heart: The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life by Gladys Hunt
  • The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
  • How to Grow a Young Reader: Books from Every Age for Readers of Every Age by Kathryn Lindskoog & Ranelda Mack Hunsicker
  • How to Raise a Reader: You Can Help Your Child Read Well and Enjoy It More by Elaine K. McEwan
  • Books that Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories by Kilpatrick, Wolfe, & Wolfe
  • A Family Program for Reading Aloud by Rosalie Slater
  • Great Books of the Christian Tradition and Other Books Which Have Shaped Our World by Terry W. Glaspey
  • Invitation to the Classics: A Guide to Books You’ve Always Wanted to Read edited by Louise Cowan and Os Guinness

Compiled by Beth S., October 2005, January 2010



CMeLearners at 2006 Old Salem Candle Tea

Because mankind is not the prime force in the universe …God is. He initiates; we respond. History, therefore, is not first about what people do. It is first about what God does and says, and secondly about what people believe and do in response. The exploration of history, then, should reveal God and His truth, not glorify the achievements of mankind. Indeed, the kings, artists, philosophers, writers, and scientists cannot even be understood until seen for who they are – people motivated by basic beliefs about God, whether true or untrue. The consequences of beliefs are displayed in history…and teach us all. Let us, then, not be found teaching humanistic history. Let us learn of civilization in a way that reveals the God whose name is Truth. Your children will realize the only source of freedom is God’s laws, and the only source of human worth is God’s love for us. Once common knowledge, our society now thinks the opposite…and suffers for it.   

Michelle Miller, TruthQuest History website,   


Here, too, is a subject which should be to the child an inexhaustible storehouse of ideas, should enrich the chambers of his House Beautiful with a thousand tableaux, pathetic and heroic, and should form in him, insensibly, principles whereby he will hereafter judge of the behaviour of nations, and will rule his own conduct as one of a nation…Let him…linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man, is at home in the ways of that period. Though he is reading and thinking of the lifetime of a single man, he is really getting intimately acquainted with the history of a whole nation for a whole age.   

Charlotte Mason, Home Education, pages 279-280  

James Ingram, Jr. powerfully portrays minister Gowan Pamphlet at Colonial Williamsburg

 A Book of Centuries is simply a notebook with at least one sheet for each century where the child can make brief notations or drawings of each historical event they’ve studied. They can also include sketches of museum artifacts, inventions, costumes, musical instruments, tools, weapons, pottery, etc. Brochures, written narrations, copywork, maps, charts, timelines, and photographs of field trips can also be stored. The notebook can be added to throughout K-12. CM briefly mentions century charts on page 177 of vol. 6. A Parent’s Review article goes into more detail: 


Key Living Books and Resources that can be used along with the Bible, which is the cornerstone for understanding history. After all, it’s HIS-story!   

  • A Child’s History of the World by V.M. Hillyer. One of the most delightfully interesting storytellers for children, ever! Great author for narration – in fact that’s exactly what he suggests you do at the end of each chapter. Assumes the reader is a Christian, but he presents evolution as a fact, so you may wish to skip the 1st few chapters and do some occasional editing. A Child’s Geography of the World by V.M. Hillyer is dated but is another fascinating source for history!
  • Young People’s Story of Our Heritage Series by V.M. Hillyer & E.G. Huey; Fine Art, Architecture, and Sculpture in 5 volumes, 1966 Children’s Press reprint of A Child’s History of Art with paintings in color. Humorous, memorable stories!
  • 50 Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin is free at
  • The Wall Chart of World History, 1890 timeline, expanded to 1997, of 6000 years of world history starting with Adam and with lifelines of people from the Bible.
  • History Through the Ages by Amy Pak, Timeline figures from creation to present. Have children color while you read aloud. Dover Publishing has a series of coloring books on historical topics that can also be enjoyed during read-alouds.
  • Uncle Josh’s Outline Maps CD-ROM. Can also find maps on the internet, have children label and color.
  • The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine F. Vos and The Victor Journey Through the Bible by V. Gilbert Beers are good Bible helps.
  • That the World May Know Faith Lessons DVD Series by Ray Vander Laan, gives Jewish cultural and historical background to aid in understanding Bible; challenges the viewer to impact their culture for Christ; excellent!!! A few episodes may need editing for elementary-aged students.
  • Foxes’ Book of Martyrs by John Foxe is good for high school.
  • Trial & Triumph: Stories from Church History by Richard Hannula
  • Great Christians: Their Response and Witness by Catherine Herzel
  • Fire Upon the Earth by N. F. Langford (good church history but may not like the tone of the last chapter).
  • Hero Tales series by Jackson (includes missionaries) are good stories for all ages.
  • Missionary Stories with the Millers by Mildred A. Martin are good stories for all ages.
  • How Should We Then Live? book and DVD series by Francis Schaeffer, Biblical Worldview of western civilization good for high school and as a parent reference.
  • The Gift of Music by Smith & Carlson, Christian worldview of the history of music good for high school and as a parent reference.
  • Adventures in Art by David Quine, Charlotte Mason’s method of picture study with emphasis on worldview from Francis Shaeffer’s writings, excellent resource!!!
  • God and the History of Art by Barry Stebbing, text and quotes of artists that professed Christ along with instruction in art technique…probably the best, well-rounded art course available!
  • The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls: Vol. 6, The Story of Art and Music by Elizabeth Gutman (Art) and Ruth Goode (Music).
  • My Book House edited by Olive Beaupre Miller. Vol. 1 has poetry from many lands and times. Vol. 10 has abridged versions of historical literature.
  • Childcraft, along with the 1984 and 1988 Annuals, is another good source of history stories for young children.
  • God’s Mighty Hand: Providential Occurrences in World History by Richard “Little Bear” Wheeler, stories from 984 AD – 1997 AD.
  • Invitation to the Classics by Cowan & Guiness analyzes worldview of authors.
  • Men of Science, Men of God by Henry Morris, very brief bios.
  • Hymns for a Kid’s Heart Series by Wolgemuth & Tada, book with CD has brief biographies, devotionals, and music for all ages.
  • Birthdays of Freedom from Early Man to July 4, 1776 by Genevieve Foster. All of her “Year of” & “World of” books fit Miss Mason’s above quote perfectly!
  • What in the World’s Going on Here? (world) and That’s Why They Call it GRACE (church history) tapes/CDs by Diana Waring, excellent Judeo-Christian worldview!
  • Historical Devotional: The Amazing History of God’s Mighty Deeds CDs narrated by evangelist historian Richard “Little Bear” Wheeler.  Audios on the Reformation, American history 1492-1890’s, history of our calendar and holidays, 10 godly presidents and 10 valiant women.  Geared to all ages but use caution with protected younger children as there are warnings about the dangers of alcoholism, immoral behavior, etc. Good character is stressed and the accounts are especially exciting for boys.
  • Your Story Hour CDs, vol. 1-7, Wholesome, old dramatized radio shows with character-building biography, history, and adventure stories.


Literature Guides from a Biblical Perspective that Use Living Books:  

  • TruthQuest History series by Michelle Miller. This is history from a Biblical worldview as well as an excellent list of books and films showing grade interest level, K – 12; my favorite!
  • Beautiful Feet’s History Through Literature Series by Rea Berg with good ideas for copywork and discussion questions.
  • Greenleaf’s Famous Men Series and Study Guides edited and/or written by Rob and Cyndy Shearer, covers some biographies that are hard to find else where.  The study guides have useful info and vocabulary lists to help prepare for reading and narration.
  • The Prairie Primer by Margie Gray, unit study utilizing The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.


Book Lists for History: 

  • See Carole Seid’s excellent article (from her history workshop) and list at
  • All Through the Ages by Christine Miller, Book lists for grades 1-12 of chronological history, geography, science and math, art and music, and great books of Christian tradition (great discussion, literature, poetry, drama)
  • Let the Authors Speak: A Guide to Worthy Books Based on Historical Setting by Carolyn Hatcher
  • Turning Back the Pages of Time: A Guide to American History Through Literature compiled by Kathy Keller

Exciting historical fiction not to be missed because of powerful Christian content: The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (ages 12 and up); The Black Foxe of Lorne by Marguerite DeAngeli (all ages); Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates (all ages); We Were There with Cortes and Montezuma by Benjamin Appel (all ages but do use caution with sensitive young ones. This is my son’s favorite adventure book. The author does a good job of relating the Catholic motivation of Cortes and the horrors of human sacrifice in a way that is appropriate for children.); What’s Mine’s Mine by George MacDonald (senior high). 

Authors and series of special interest to Christians because of their emphasis on character and the consequences of sin from a Biblical worldview or strong message of living for Christ: G.A. Henty, R. M. Ballantyne, Sir Walter Scott (CM was a big fan of his historical fiction; great for high school showing how Christian men should view and treat women), George MacDonald (his Scottish histories are also great for high school showing how Christian men should view and treat women), Charlotte M. Yonge, Elizabeth Yates, Elizabeth Shippen, Tracy Leininger Craven, Patricia St. John, Charles Coffin, The Light and Glory Series by Peter Marshall and David Manuel, The Sowers Series of biographies by Mott Media, A Life of Faith Series by Mission City Press, Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes Series by Dave & Neta Jackson (my youngest said these make me cry more than any other book; moving accounts! 🙂 ) 

Some favorite history authors: Marguerite DeAngeli, VM Hillyer, Genevieve Foster, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lucy Fitch Perkins, Lois Lenski, James Daugherty, Holling C. Holling, David Macaulay, Opal Wheeler (music bios/BookPeddler), Ernest Raboff (art bios), Charles Coffin, Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Clara Ingram Judson, Jean Lee Latham, Elizabeth Yates, Elizabeth Shippen, Earl S. Miers, Eric Sloane, Edwin Tunis, Dr. Albert Marrin, Rosemary Sutcliff, Charlotte Yonge.   

Picture books by Alice Dagliesh, Aliki, Margaret Early, Diane Stanley (may need a little editing), Marcia Sewall, Robert Sabuda, Patricia Polacco, Jonathan Hunt, Cheryl Harness, and the D’Aulaires.  

Step-Up, Childhood of Famous Americans, Cornerstones of Freedom, We Were There, Signature, and Landmark are all good history series for early and intermediate readers.   

Greenleaf Press, Beautiful Feet, Vision Forum, Christian Liberty Press, Rod & Staff, Keepers of the Faith, Lamplighter, and The Book Peddler are publishers of biographies and histories.   

Compiled by Beth S.,  April 2006, February 2010 

Music Appreciation


art by Jessie Willcox Smith

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,…honest,…just,…pure,…lovely…of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Philippians 4:8

At that time I was playing to my little child much of the best music in which I was interested, and Miss Mason happened to hear of what I was doing. She realised [sic] that music might give great joy and interest to the life of all, and she felt that just as children in the P.U.S. were given the greatest literature and art, so they should have the greatest music as well…Musical Appreciation had no more to do with playing an instrument than acting had to do with as appreciation of Shakespeare, or painting with enjoyment of pictures…if they are taken at an early age it is astonishing how children who appear to be without ear, develop it and are able to enjoy listening to music with understanding.

Mrs. Howard Glover, Ambleside Conference of the Parents’ Union 1922, as quoted in Towards a Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason, pages 217-218

The fine arts find their origin in God, the Creator of language, color and music. Fine arts reveals within us an intrinsic need for beauty that is a part of God’s image stamped on our being – an attempt to recover a glimmer of what was lost in the fall…In the same way that narration trains your children to hear what an author is saying through a book, you can also train your children to hear what an artist, musician or poet is “saying’ through a creative work. In the process, you can train their appetites to hunger after that which is truly “fine” and beautiful, rather than just common or commercial. Fine arts study sharpens the ability to distinguish between mediocrity and a masterpiece.
God doesn’t want us only avoiding the ungodly things; he also doesn’t want us to let mediocrity crowd out excellence in our minds. He wants us to train our appetites for beauty and excellence.
Be careful even with “Contemporary Christian” or “Gospel Rock.” The messages are good, but the medium may create an undesired appetite for undesirable music. Music can be a powerful tool for discipleship (Col. 3:16), but you must use it wisely.

Clay and Sally Clarkson, Educating the WholeHearted Child: A Handbook for Christian Home Education, pages 112, 113, 33


Living Books and Resources for Classical Music Appreciation:

  • has schedules for composer and hymn studies.
  • Music Masters CD series has bios and music. The ones we’ve listened to are appropriate for all ages. The one on Bach proclaims his devotion to Christ!
  • Classical Kids CD series are creative and entertaining, but tend to feature fictional children with bad attitudes.
  • Biographies by Opal Wheeler and Sybil Deucher. These are excellent stories that focus on the composer’s childhood. Being republished by Book Peedler, with CDs of the music mentioned in the books. These authors believed in sheltering children from the moral failings of their subjects.
  • The Gift of Music: Great Composers & Their Influence by Jane Stuart Smith & Betty Carlson. My favorite book on music because it explores the spiritual lives and worldviews of the composers and is very inspiring! Great for teens and as a parent/teacher reference.
  •  The Bookshelf for Boys & Girls: Vol. 6, The Story of Art & Music by Elizabeth Gutman (Art) & Ruth Goode (Music). Interesting narrative of the history of music; good to use along with history studies.
  • Childcraft, vol. 13 Art & Music (1949) or vol. 11 Music for the Family (1954-1961) has photos of instruments and brief stories of composers.
  • Peter and the Wolf, Let’s Meet the Orchestra, Carnival of the Animals, etc. are recordings that introduce children to instruments.


Living Books and Resources for Hymn Study:

  • Psalters and hymnals show up at library sales and are wonderful for family worship.
  • Great Christian Hymn Writers by Jane Stuart Smith & Betty Carlson has brief bios. on 49 hymn authors who lived from 1090 – 1929.
  • Hymns for a Kid’s Heart Series by Wolgemuth & Tada, book with CD has brief biographies, devotionals, and music for all ages.



  • Teach Them the Faith by Dan and Karen Vitco (CMeLearn members:-)). The Westminster Catechism for Young Children beautifully set to music.
  • Hide ‘em in Your Heart Bible Memory Melodies with Steve Green. Bible verses set to music.
  • Wee Sing series of wholesome songs includes America (patriotic), Around the World, Bible Songs, Sing-Alongs (campfire songs), Nursery Rhymes & Lullabies.
  • History Alive Through Music: The Songs & Stories Behind Them series by Diana Waring, booklets with tapes cover years 1750-1890 in America.
  • Music and books by homeschooling father Michael Card provide much food for thought as his work tends to be meditations on Scripture.


Performing Arts:

  • Try reading the story and listening to the music before attending a live performance or watching a video (PBS’ Great Performances series, Public Library, rentals)
  • Wingate Univ. has symphony and choral concerts as well as musicals, operas, children’s drama, and ballets; some free! 
  • The Random House Book of Stories from the Ballet by Geraldine McCaughrean, beautifully illustrated. There are similar books that cover ballets that are good for all ages such as Swan Lake, Coppelia, The Nutcracker, and The Sleeping Beauty (characters from many fairy tales come to the wedding at the end).
  • Milton Cross’ Complete Stories of the Great Operas. There are probably similar guides. A good starting place is Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck which is available on DVD from the Metropolitan Opera and is well done; the story is much improved over the fairy tale!
  • The Sound of Music is a wonderful musical for families, whether seen live or on film.

Compiled by Beth S., November 2006

Grow Readers and Writers: The Power of Ideas

Recently a kind Park Ranger gave my children some wonderful encouragement that I’d like to pass on to all of you. He said something like this: 

Keep reading good books. Learn to write well and influence the culture. We need good authors today. 

The Wayside House of Authors, Concord, MA

We were in Concord, MA and when we saw a group of tourists head next door to Orchard House where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women, we decided to make our first stop The Wayside (called Hillside by Bronson Alcott), the home of the Alcotts when Louisa was ages 13-16. It was later the home of Nathaniel Hawthorne (author of A Wonder Book, Tanglewood Tales) and then of Harriett Lothrop (pen name Margaret Sidney, author of The Five Little Peppers series). It proved to be a delightful choice since our family ended up being the only ones on the 11 am tour. The Park Ranger gave a wonderful presentation of the house and enthusiastically took more time and detail when he found out we had read from all three authors. He showed us where the Alcott girls put on their plays in both the barn and the dining room and played Pilgrim’s Progress on the hill behind the house. Nathaniel Hawthorne added a third floor tower for a tiny room where he hid from visitors and wrote standing up at a slant-top desk…and he was in his fifties! Our guide said that the Pepper books were coming back in print because they were so popular with homeschoolers and Christian schools due to the good values portrayed. He told us that Mrs. Lothrop’s husband was a publisher and that the couple was very interested in printing good history books for children as well as preserving the historic homes of authors, including Orchard House next door. 

It was fascinating to get a peep into the lives of authors whose ideas have inspired us. As Charlotte Mason said, “In truth, a nation or man becomes great upon one diet only, the diet of great ideas communicated to those already prepared to receive them by a higher Power than Nature herself.” (vol. 3, page 156) and “Education is a life. That life is sustained on ideas. Ideas are of spiritual origin, and God has made us so that we get them chiefly as we convey them to one another, whether by word of mouth, written page, Scripture word, musical symphony; but we must sustain a child’s inner life with ideas as we sustain his body with food…our business is to supply him with due abundance and variety and his to take what he needs…making such extracts from Scott or Dickens or Milton, as will certainly give him nourishment. It is a case of, — ‘In the morning sow thy seed and in the evening withhold not thine hand for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that.’ {Eccl. 11:6} ” (vol. 6, pages 109-110). The Holy Spirit cultivates the great ideas encountered in books. It is exciting to think that our children can go on to write noble stories that can help others know our precious Lord and, as the apostle Paul wrote, “think on these things.” 

Keep Sowing!
Beth S. 

“Life being very short, and the quiet hours of it few, we ought to waste none of them in reading valueless books.”
John Ruskin, 1865, from the preface of Sesame and Lilies. [In context, Ruskin is saying to choose worthy books.:-)]

Christmas-Wonderful Living Books

Christmas Book List from Cindy
Friends, these were the books shared by Cindy at our December Matthews/Mint Hill area meeting. Renew your Christmas spirit by reading these with your family. Some are available at the Public Library and some may be through inner-public library loan. Many Blessings to you as you prepare your hearts for Him. Many thanks to Cindy for sharing her book and to Mary for typing up this list 🙂

Small kids:

Wombat Divine by Mem Fox

The Nativity Play by Nick Butterworth

B is Bethlehem by Isabel Wilnor

The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado

The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clark Moore Illus. Tasha Tudor

The Christmas Cat by Efner Tudor Holmes (Tashas daughter)

Who Was Born This Special Day? by Eve Bunting/L. Gore

Christmas in the Barn by Marg. Wise Brown

The Litte Fir Tree by Marg. Wise Brown

How the Hibernators Came to Bethlehem by Norma Farber

Older kids:

Christmas Day in the Morning? By Pearl S. Buck Illus. Mark Buehner

The Gift of the Magi & The Nutcracker by ETA Hoffman

illus. Lisbeth Zwerher

The 24 Days before Christmas (Austin Family) by Madeleine LEngle

An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco

Beckys Christmas by Tasha Tudor

An Alcott Family Christmas by Alexandra Walher

The Childrens Christmas Carol by Johanna Spyri

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies illus. Tomie DePaola

The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden illus. Barbara Cooney

The Year of the Christmas Dragon by Ruth Sawyer


The Christ Child by Maud & Miska Petersham

The Christmas Story (Kjversion) paintings Gennady Spirin

The Christmas Story illus. Isabelle Brent

The Glorious Impossible – Madeleine LEngle/frescos by Giotto

Cindys Very Special books:

A Certain Small Sheperd by Rebecca Caudill

Turkey for Thanksgiving by Marguerite DeAngeli

The Birds Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin

The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke (original not illus.)

Abridged illus. Robert Barrett


Christmas by Alice Dalgliesh

A Christmas Book by Elizabeth Goudge

Merry Christmas from Betsy by Carolyn Haywood

Christmas Stories by Charles Dickens

Take Joy stories, poems & songs by Tasha Tudor

Romance of a Christmas Card by Kate Douglas Wiggins

**(First book Cindys grandmother gave her!)**

Lets Keep Christmas A sermon by Peter Marshall

Joy to the World Christmas Legends by Ruth Sawyer

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens illus Arthur Rackham

Tis the Season / Christmas Treasury compiled by Cooper Edens

The Spirit of Christmas by Henry Van Dyke

Old Christmas by Washington Irving

Journey into Christmas by Bess Streeter Aldrich

Even Unto Bethlehem The Story of Christmas by Henry Van Dyke

Bonnies List:

The First Christmas illus. W/paintings from The National Gallery of London

Messiah Handel / timothy Botts

The Good Master

Christmas spirit by George Grant & Gregory Wilbur

Patricia St. John Christmas book

Accompanied by Angels poems by Luci Shaw

Suggestions from the rest of our group:

The Life of Our Lord by Charles Dickens (for his family 1846-1849)

Marys First Christmas

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree (NC Mnt.) – library

The Beautiful Christmas Tree library

Mr. Wilbys Christmas Tree

The ADVENTure of Christmas by Lisa Whelchel

Ms. Reed books

Little Village Life in England

The Christmas Quilt

Martin Luthers Christmas book

St. Francis First Living Nativity Scene