Hello. My name is Hannah, and I love to read! Maybe the same is true of you. Or you may have children whose voracious appetite for books is hard to keep supplied with wholesome fare. Possibly you have the opposite challenge of finding any books that could interest your child in reading.
If you have followed this blog for some time, you have already been given great counsel on this topic. In fact, I have been gleaning the benefit of Jacqueline’s book lists for a couple of years – ever since my now 2-year-old nephew started receiving gifts based off those lists. (Yes, he’s been read each one. Children are never too young to enjoy read-alouds… and parents [or aunts, uncles and grandparents] are never too old to enjoy great children’s books!)
Some of my earliest memories include our parents reading aloud to my two sisters and me. Beatrix Potter and Laura Ingalls Wilder were favorites with Mom, while Dad brought Poor Ralph, The Droodles, and The Chronicles of Narnia to life. We also loved pouring over the Kurt Mitchell illustrated editions of the Biblical books of Jonah and Esther, both during read-alouds and on our own.
Even though my childhood and youth were filled with books, I have probably read more in the past eight years than the previous three decades combined. For that I have chronic illness to thank. But due to a combination of physical and adrenal weakness and the resulting PTSD, I haven’t been able to handle many of the books I used to enjoy. So, while I used to read a higher percentage of heavier and non-fiction books both for school and leisure, these years have leaned toward more fiction and biographies – especially those written for children. It is a joy to see how God may turn that limitation into a blessing as I now have more books to suggest to parents and children.
Another blessing that has come out of years of weakness is learning to appreciate audiobooks. Since our local library didn’t have enough good options, I began searching online. That led me to LibriVox.org: a growing library of free, downloadable audiobooks, recorded from works old enough to be in the public domain. Though most of the volunteer readers are not professional, my family has enjoyed book after book as if friends are reading aloud to us.
At some point during those first months of listening, an old dream began to revive. Years ago when my Grandpa, an avid reader, lost his eyesight to macular degeneration, I wanted to record books for him to enjoy. But that was not possible due to copyrights.
Since joining the team of LibriVox volunteers in 2015, I now help to record public domain books that can be enjoyed by anyone around the world. I am still amazed that God gave back this dream when so much of life as I knew it had crumbled.
Besides learning to be an audiobook narrator, I now have the joy of sharing book reviews and recommendations on several platforms. My eclectic blog often features the books I am enjoying, and my LibriVox reader-name of HannahMary has inspired the following accounts.
At Jacqueline’s request I have put together some book lists that we hope will be a blessing to you and your families.
I’d also love to hear of your favorite books! Feel free to drop me a note at any of the links above or on my Telegram messaging account: @Storytime_with_HannahMary
Watch for those book lists in upcoming posts!
First, please note that my inclusion of an author does not condone all of their books. I have read many more by some of these authors as well as by authors not even listed. If I know a reader or parent personally I can maybe suggest more. But in these lists I tried to include only the cleanest and best for the imaginations and characters of any reader.
While my lists are ordered roughly from younger to older readers, please do not feel stuck to reading in any order. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “No reader worth his salt trots along in obedience to a time-table.”
Every reader is unique!
I also once heard C. S. Lewis was attributed with saying, “Good fiction is a ship carrying a cargo of truth.”
And since I personally learn best from stories – both real-life (biographies) and fictional – my lists include many of them.
You will see (in 2 coming posts) that fiction and non-fiction are all mixed together. I believe that can be a healthy way to read. Just as a balanced diet includes a wide variety of foods, our hungry minds need a mixture healthy facts and nourishing stories to help us learn and grow strong in character and faith.
As a favorite children’s book, Mountain Born by Elizabeth Yates, puts it: “A man must have a care to what he puts in his mind, for when he’s alone on a hillside and draws it out, he’ll want treasures to be his company, not regrets.”
My hope is that you will find many new treasures for your reading in the days ahead! ~ Hannah