Best books for kids, from teenage years down!
I am so happy and excited to get to share this “Friend Post” with all of you. I have admired my friend Liz Yeboah, who lives in England, for a long time via Instagram! She inspires me in so many ways. (catch episode 105 on the my Podcast to hear her share family adventure inspiration!) I seriously want to plan a trip to England just to go on some family field trips with the Yeboahs! (and ok, eat some of her cake, too. 😉) Liz makes learning a natural part of her family’s day, and I just love that. She often shares great books, educational games, and art projects, not to mention the best travels and outdoor adventures. If you’re not following her on IG pause right here and CLICK TO FOLLOW HER!)
I might have a daughter-crush on her little Eliana… (can you even stand the cuteness?)
But I’ve grown to love the Yeboah family — with 2 boys grown now and 3 kids still at home. And I can’t think of anyone I’d trust more to recommend books for kids! I love that Liz gives a brief review on each book she shares here. My Amazon cart filled up quickly as I read this post. I am so excited for some good winter reads with my youngest!
So, without further ado, here is a “FRIEND POST” from lovely Liz…
One question some of us may have, might be, “How do I get my children to enjoy reading books?”
There’s not one answer that fits all, but in the spirit of sisterhood, I wanted to share a few suggestions that could be helpful. Firstly, introducing our children to some of the best books (or what Charlotte Mason terms as Living Books) is a gamechanger – using audiobooks can also be helpful. Visiting the library, reading aloud, and perhaps starting a home library are all great options too. Listening to stories and folktales on podcast, such as Circle Round, Bedtime History, or even Lamplighter Kids Stories for example, can also help foster the love of reading. In addition to all of this, give it time. Live with great books, and let the air be filled with stories.
I recently got the opportunity to sit down with our children to reminisce over our 6 year homeschooling journey. We have 5 children, 4 beloved boys and the sweetest little girl. We’ve homeschooled the last four over that time, but it’s with the last 3 children that I had this delightful conversation.
I asked them what was the best part of our homeschooling journey, and what has been the most enjoyable? They all replied, “BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS!”. They said that they hoped to live long enough to share and tell their greatgrandchildren about all the wonderful books that exist and that they have read. It soon felt like I was cutting onions, when they added, “we just want to tell them that Mom had the best books!!”
So here are a few of their selections, from some of their favourite books so far. They kindly added a little review on each.
Some recommendations from Levi, our 15-year-old:
#4: Curse of the Spider King – Wayne Thomas Baston and Christopher Hopper
When you first pick up this book you will not be ready for the tale inside its pages. It’s written with a vivid pace, making it almost impossible to put down. The authors (yes TWO), juggle so many different parts of the story with unmatched skill. And trust me when I say you will want to buy the rest of the Berinfell Prophecies. This book will leave you watering at the mouth just to sniff at what happens next, this is a must read for all adventure lovers.
#3: Next is… The King’s Shadow – Elizabeth Alder
Just a warning, this historical novel can at times be (very) emotional. This is a wholesome read to dive into on a cold winter’s day with a warm beverage (hot choco, mmm). Ms Alder has a special way she communicates the characters to the reader. Portraying them as if they’re sitting right in front of you. The journey you’ll embark on, will not be forgotten easily. The highs and lows it takes you through add to all aspects of the story. Some parts leave you speechless, others without a dry eye. The read is one to die for, you can’t read about the history of England without reading this.
#2: The runner-up, The Mysterious Benedict Society – Trenton Lee Stewart
If I could sum this book up in three words: Hard. To. Put. Down. Ok, that was four, but you get the point. This should be bought as a set with all the other Benedict Society books (you’ll thank me later). It’s a unique and engaging read. The author isn’t afraid of an in-depth plot, and rightly so. I love the slight eeriness and mystery the book has, always keeping you fully captivated. It’s almost as if the book is several jigsaw pieces, that the author fits together in the wrong way, yet the picture is even more amazing than the original. You will fall in love with the characters (on both sides of the spectrum), almost wanting them to be real! If you want something a little different, then this is the book for you.
#1: And in first place (drum roll…), On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness – Andrew Peterson
Do not be deceived by the name. This is the kind of book that when you realize you only have fifty pages left your heart just breaks. This is the one. My favourite book of all time. Nothing compares to this book (apart from, you know… the Bible?). I love this book so much; I don’t want to say anything to spoil it for you. What I will say is that if you end up kicking the bucket before you read this one, you’ve made one of the worst mistakes possible. I say I love this book when it’s really the whole saga. Each story will build on a world so real it’s actually scary. Mr Peterson wrote all aspects of this book with the epic balance of creativity and love. You think you know a good novel, well… just flip to chapter one.
Boaz, our 12-year-old, added a few of his:
#2 The Shakespeare Stealer – Gary Blackwood
This book is filled with suspense and is fast-paced. The question is, will the poor orphan not betray his friends, or will he go on to steal their play? It’s up to you to find out. The story summed up, would be, a race-against-time, while making unlikely friends. I like the way the book has risk creeping in the air and dangerous tasks. I recommend it to all ages. Have fun reading.
#1 The Vanderbeekers of 141st street – Karina Yan Glaser
This is such a heart-warming book, and so nicely told. When my mum introduced me to this book, it was like diving into a world of adventure. It will make you never want to put it down. Join the Vanderbeekers, and enjoy a book of twists and turns, excitement, mixed emotions and more. For all ages, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Last but not least, Miss Eliana, our 8-year-old also added her thoughts:
# 4 is: Cece Loves Science and Adventure – Vashti Harrison
This is a great outdoor adventure story, taking you through an amazing camping trip. Yet it’s not always sunshine and rainbows, as Cece soon finds out. It’s not exactly easy to live outside. Find out how she handles the exciting trip, with all the ups and downs. It’s a fun and lively book for young adventurers!
# 3 is: Ellie’s Log – Judith L. Li
It’s a snowy adventure, exploring the forest, plants, animals, and streams. I love that the two friends work as a team. I also learnt so much about trees, which is one of my favourite things.
# 2 is: Roxaboxen – Alice McLerran
Life is so easy for the characters! They live in a small world of their own. It made me feel like I wanted to join them and join in the fun. It’s a nice read for kids and adults.
# 1 is: When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree – Jamie L. B. Deeiham
It’s an awesome book. It teaches you to be grateful. Especially when your grandma gives you a gift you might not like. The illustrations go really well with the story. I would recommend this for all ages.
‘To be at home with books, children need book-loving homes.’ — Elizabeth Wilson, Books Children Love. A quote from one of the best books that contain a list of awesome living books. If you’re looking for more great recommendations, this is a fantastic resource. It comes fully accompanied with reviews and wonderful insights, to encourage and spark the heart, for a book loving home. Hoping that our small selection, of some of the very best books (in our opinion), would be a blessing to you and your family, as it has been to ours.
Happy reading Friends!