Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Book List for Junior High and High School

Recently I put out a Facebook call for "Must Reads" for high school students. I was looking for interesting, yet meaningful, reading material for my 11th- grader. Someone turned the tables and asked me what my recommendations were for Jr. High. I'm always up to creating a list so I couldn't pass up this request. :-)

The following isn't necessarily "Jr. High". Every child's reading level is different, and what one might read and comprehend in 7th grade another cannot grasp until 11th. With that in mind, here is a list of wonderful books my children and I have read, sometimes separately and sometimes aloud:

I really like historical fiction for my kids. It is a painless and interesting way to learn about history! My favorite set of books for this is the Trailblazer Series by Dave and Neta Jackson. They are fairly short and the authors tell you up front what part of the story is and isn't true. They make you feel like you know the historical figure. Many of them come with a study guide. Click here for a list of titles. I learned much more about Martin Luther through Spy for the Night Riders than I did in Bible History in college. (Maybe because it was more interesting.)

Other good books in this genre are:

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
Christy by Catherine Marshall (Which is based on a true story with some creative license.)
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

I really like Patricia St. John. Some of her books are Biblical Fiction like Twice Freed (The story of Onesimus) and The Runaway. Her books are a bit slow moving, but very meaningful and decidedly Christian.

My oldest daughter and I LOVE Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. (My youngest daughter didn't.) I consider it a must read. It is for a more experienced reader though.

Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls is a really fun book. My mom told me for years I needed to read it to my kids. The title just didn't sound too interesting so I continued putting it off. What a mistake! It is a great book and fun read-a-loud. (There is a movie. Skip it and read the book instead.)

Little Professor of Piney Woods School by Beth Day. This is a must read for those living in Mississippi. Many of us have passed Piney Woods School on highway 49 for years without knowing its very interesting and godly heritage. Great story!

Classics we enjoyed include:

Heidi by Johanna Spyri
Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
In His Steps by Charles Sheldon (This book had a major impact on my life as a teenager.)
Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (Very intense…high school students)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (I recently re-read this. Absolutely one of the best books EVER! Definitely high school level)
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (I consider this a "must read" not because it is an oh-so-wonderful book, but because the movie is such a classic and American icon that students ought to read the original story and compare the differences.)

Other "Must Reads" though not classics:

These Strange Ashes by Elisabeth Elliot
Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
End of the Spear by Steve Saint
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson (This is probably an elementary age book, but I still consider it one of the best Christmas stories out there.)
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (High School students only because of the nature of the story. This is absolutely one of the best books I have ever read!)

Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling . I realize they are highly controversial among Christians. I've read or heard all the pros and cons. I wouldn't allow my older two children to read them until they were grown. Then they put up the argument, "How can you condemn something you've never read?" I allowed my oldest daughter to read the first aloud to me and my then 13 year old. What can I say? I was hooked! Right or wrong, they are excellent read-a-louds and very entertaining. If all you've seen is the movies you don't have a good picture of the books. They do get "darker" as they progress, and I would NOT recommend them for pre-teens or younger. But I have to be honest, we really enjoyed them.

Another great read-a-loud is A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. They are so impossibly tragic you can't take them seriously. I love the author's use of language and way with words.

My all time favorite children's book series is Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. (There are also spin-off series about her parents and grandparents.) Skip the tv series and read the books.

Arleta Richardson has a collection of books about Grandma's Attic. They are delightful, humorous, and innocent. They may be difficult to find, but they are worth the effort. These are good for younger kids too.

That's my list so far. I'm sure new things will pop into my mind throughout the day.

Happy Reading!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very informative post. I have been looking for some Christian lit. for my children. Thanks much.