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An Avid Reader’s Top 5: Books for Families

By Cheryl Arnold

These days of social isolation are a wonderful opportunity for families to read books together. Even if there are vocabulary words that are above a child's current reading level, they can begin to learn them in context and will often understand much of a story when it is read aloud to them. Here are a few classic books in which the authors were an influence on or were influenced by the others. They are all moral tales with common themes of good versus evil, light versus darkness, and integrity, and even though the language can be complex, they can be understood on many levels.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Begin with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which he wrote first, then go to The Magician's Nephew followed by the remaining books. You will find many opportunities to make biblical connections throughout the books.

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The audiobook read by royal Shakespearean actor Rob Inglis brings the book to life in a way that all ages can enjoy.

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

This is a tale of a princess and a boy miner, and Tolkien drew heavily from it when creating goblins for his Lord of the Rings books.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

My family read through these together as my girls grew up, and we saw how Rowling was heavily influenced by Lewis and Tolkien in her story elements. The later books in the series are not suitable for younger children.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

In this book, three children journey through space and time to save their father and the world. L'Engle was heavily influenced by MacDonald in her writing.



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