Below is a list of good book titles for teens and adults, recommendations for those who read details to analyze carefully and express deeper thoughts. This list is for the upper levels such as grades 6-8 to grade 12 and beyond.
Since I do not want to repeat titles in this series of posts, I also encourage you to look over the titles listed in the post called “Character-Building Titles for Juniors and Tweens” because some of those are excellent to include as literature options for high school!
Some book or video titles may be available through our shop, others through a business we’re affiliated with or an organization we just recommend but are not affiliated with. And other titles in our list, if you want to find it, you might need to search at a yard sale, used bookstore, or similar.
(Note: For some of the resources on the list, this post contains affiliate links, through which we earn a small commission for purchases at no greater cost to you. Thanks for supporting our business efforts.)
A List of Good Titles
This is not an exhaustive list (and will not be) but we plan to add to it as we find more and time permits.
These literature lists (for children, for juniors and tweens, and for teens and adults) collectively represent recommendations of a few families and from up to four generations of people involved in child education and Christian ministry who have really enjoyed reading over the years! Some of these titles are out-of-print but still might be found somewhere, even if we don’t already link to them.
I hope you find these lists helpful! 😊
Titles marked with a 🍁 are ones which have plot settings in Canada and/or were originally arranged for Canadian students.
(see also the category of “Historical Fiction”)
- Catharine Parr Traill – Backwoods Pioneer (Carol Martin) 🍁- The remarkable story of Catharine Parr Traill, who grew up in luxury in England but moved to the wilds of Upper Canada (later called Ontario).
- Brother Tom: The People’s Preacher (Harvey Yoder) 🍁 – The story of a Dutch man, Tom Visser, who turned from a living a disaster of a lifestyle to tell others in Canada of his Saviour, Jesus Christ. Fast-paced story. This author has also written other novels such as A Greater Call (the story of Wei in China), They Would Not Be Moved, and They Would Not Be Silent (various true stories of Christians standing in the courage of God).
- The Jesus You Can’t Ignore (John MacArthur) – a book discussing who Jesus is from what the Bible describes Him.
- The Walnut Grove Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder (William Anderson) – This title can be harder to find. Similar titles by the same author include Laura’s Album and this title here about places and people in her life.
- The Iowa Story (William Anderson) (also about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family)
- A Foreign Devil in China (John Pollock) – This is the story of Ruth Bell Graham’s missionary father, Nelson Bell.
- George Whitefield and the Great Evangelical Awakening (Anthony Beaurepaire)
- Isaac Newton and others in Sower series such as Johann Kepler (John Hudson Tiner)
- William Wilberforce: The Freedom Fighter (Derick Bingham, Trailblazers series)
- Lessons from the Life of Moody (George and Donald Sweeting) – You can also listen to one of the authors highlight parts of this book here.
- But God Hath Chosen: The Story of John and Mary Dyck 🍁(Margaret Epp)
- A Difficult Passage: From Prairie Poverty to Heights Beyond 🍁(Ray Wiseman)
- These Are My People (Mildred T. Howard) – a biography of Gladys Aylward
- The God Who is Real (Richard Haverkamp) 🍁 – Richard and his family went to Belgium as missionaries and their adventures are frequently written with ironic humor. (He and his wife retired back in Canada.)
- Roughing It in the Bush (Susanna Moodie) 🍁- This book was written by one of Canada’s early settlers. It was to provide guidance for how to live in Upper Canada, from a woman’s perspective Enjoy reading about her sketches of her new life near what is now the Peterborough area of Ontario!
- Stories From Indian Wigwams and Northern Campfires 🍁(Egerton Ryerson Young, 1840-1909) – This is a reprinted and thick book with stories of Christian mission efforts in the 1800’s in Ontario, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories. Egerton Ryerson Young was born at Smith Falls, Ontario in 1840. Find out how they make plum pudding for Christmas wrapped with a “cloth” and a moccasin string. Read about the pet bear that gently rocked the baby in a hammock outside while the mother was away getting needed water.
- My Father’s House: The Years Before the Hiding Place (Corrie ten Boom) – Corrie was a timid girl when she was young, growing up in a busy household with three older siblings, several aunts, and a mother and father wholly devoted to God and their family. This is her childhood story. The Hiding Place is her more-known autobiography of living during WWII and following. There is another book (same publisher) for her father’s story but we haven’t read that yet.
- The Boy on the Wooden Box (Leon Leyson with Marilyn J. Harran, Elisabeth B. Leyson) – This novel is subtitled “How the impossible became possible…on Schindler’s List”.
- Comeback (Dave Dravecky) – Dave was an American baseball player and Christian who suffered trauma to his arm.
- Joni: An Unforgettable Story (written with Joni Eareckson Tada) – Joni became a quadriplegic as a result of a diving accident. This is the story of her younger years, especially of her initial months of recovery following it. Her story is told both in novel and in movie formats (by the same title). Over the years, she has reached out with various resources especially to people suffering with life-long disabilities and here is a link to her ministry website. One of her videos which shows how she continues to be a an artist but now with her mouth, is called Painting for God’s Pleasure.
- Let There Be Light (Roger Oakland) 🍁 After growing up in a Christian home on the Canadian prairies, Roger turned to teaching evolution. In time, he experienced true conversion to Christ. He became a pastor and apologetics leader within the Calvary Chapel movement and an evangelist who travelled throughout the world. This book tells his story.
- The Gospel in Bonds (Georgi Vins) – This is the story of Natasha Vins father. This family lived as Christians under Communism. Georgi continued throughout his life to aim to reach people in Soviet lands with the gospel, even if spending time in prison there for his faith.
- Things We Couldn’t Say (Diet Eman with James Schaap) – WWII time period, Netherlands
- Walking Through the Shadows (Ken Ham, Carl Wieland) – both of these men faced intense grief and loss but founded their hope in Christ. They tell their individual stories of those circumstances in this book.
- Where the High Winds Blow (Bruce D. Campbell) 🍁- This is an old book about adventures in the high Arctic. My mom read it in her high school days and really liked it.
- Out of the Depths (John Newton, revised and updated for todays’ reader by Dennis R. Hillman) – This former slave trader’s life was radically transformed when he repented and believed on Jesus Christ. This is the story of the author of “Amazing Grace”.
- Rebel with a Cause (Franklin Graham) – This is the story of Billy and Ruth Graham’s son who later began the Samaritan’s Purse organization.
- God’s Smuggler (teen/adult version) (by “Brother Andrew”). A young reader’s version is here.
- The Gift of Pain: Why We Hurt & What We Can Do About It and Fearfully & Wonderfully Made: The Marvel of Bearing God’s Image (Dr. Paul Brand/Philip Yancey) – Dr. Brand was a leprosy doctor. You can hear him at a Bible conference audio recording here.
- Sword and Scalpel 🍁(Dr. Bob Foster, missionary surgeon)
- A Parson’s Adventures 🍁(George McPherson, evangelist from Nova Scotia, Canada to USA) – Note: Reading level is upper-level. Author writes very vividly.
- Shaking Hands with Mr. Parkinson (Gary Miller)
- Just As I Am (Billy Graham) – I’ve know a few family members who’ve had a hard time putting this one down even though it is a thick book!
Information Books, Instructional Books, and Doctrinal/Theology Books
- (Bibles and Bible Storybooks are listed as a category in our children’s list here.)
- Teaching to Change Lives (Formerly published under title “The Seven Laws of the Teacher”) (Howard Hendricks) – One of the best books ever for learning how to be a great teacher and communicator! This is a very readable book that we like to include in an English course during high school years.
- Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know (Wayne and Elliot Grudem) – readable, basic theology concepts.
- Various doctrinal titles by Earl Cooper, Ph.D. (Discipleship Ministries, missionary with ABWE) – The author is a former pastor of ours who now has been teaching Bible college/seminary level in Africa. His notes from those courses are conversational-style and readable by teens. They have been printed into topical books available through Amazon.
- The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception (John MacArthur) – a modern description based on the Book of Jude and true faith.
- The Name (Franklin Graham)
- The Pursuit of Holiness (Jerry Bridges)
- Bullying – Bully No More (June Hunt)
- Know Before You Go (Gary Miller) – This short book is sub-titled “Rethinking our methods and goals in short-term missions”. It’s good for teens or adults to read if they are interested in foreign missions.
- Eternity in Their Hearts, Peace Child (Don Richardson) – stories of various cultures which show their understanding of who God is.
- Neighbors in Latin America (by Christian Light Education) – Our family uses this as a reference book for both world geography and world history but we don’t personally use it as a textbook. It is designed for a grade 6 reading level.
- Gambling – Don’t Bet on It (Rex. M. Rogers) – This was written by someone who saw this problem with young college students and so is written from that viewpoint.
- Tozer Speaks to Students (A.W. Tozer) or check Moody Bible Institute’s online bookstore.
- Treasury of the World’s Great Sermons (Warren Wiersbe) – and many other of titles by Wiersbe. He has a vast number of Bible study books and also writes about people in Christian history in a fairly readable style. Some of his sermons are found here.
- The Pastor: His Life and Work and Laborers Together: The Layman and His Pastor (Charles U. Wagner) – The first book is good to read if a teen/adult is considering becoming a pastor of a church; unlike some resources on this topic, this one has a nice readable style to it. The second book is designed for both pastors and people in the pews as to how they can work together in harmony in Biblical Christianity. The author not only was a pastor, but also sometimes president at Bible colleges and a writer for high school and adult curriculum for Regular Baptist Press. Some of his sermons are uploaded on our other website.
- Christ in the Passover (Ceil and Moishe Rosen) – This title can be read like a book page by page, or like a reference guide, to understand various details about the Passover feast in the Bible.
- The Kregal Pictorial Guide to the Story of the Bible (Tim Dowley) – how the Bible was made over the years.
- InfoCanada series (Nelson) – Province/Territories or Geographical Regions (of Canada) – visual and study reference books for grades 6-10 (but can be used by a keen grade 4 student).
- Short Lessons in World History (E. Richard & Linda R. Churchill, Walch Education – I like the conciseness of this resource as a reference without bogging student down with tons of details.
- The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times (Ralph Gower, Moody Press) – This is an excellent reference book on the life in Bible times! I have personally liked this one since I was in grade 10/11. Full-colour pictures, easy-to-understand yet detailed information on a variety of cultural-related topics which give insight to various Bible passages. Learn about food, medicine, housing, occupations, the laws, politics, wars, festivals, and more.
- After the Flood (Bill Cooper) – tracing European genealogical information (e.g. names, place names)
- The Puzzle of Ancient Man: Evidence for Advanced Technology in Past Civilizations (Donald E. Chittick) – Gives examples of some things which people in ancient civilizations made or figured out
- The Compact Guide to World Religions (Dean C. Halverson)
- For Many Shall Come in My Name (Ray Yungen) – This is a book that becomes a useful reference for when dealing with the “new age” infiltrating various areas of society/world (e.g. health care, education, media, religion). This author has another title, “A Time of Departing” which is similar but discusses the influence within the Church. (Some of his videos about these topics are posted online under Ray’s name.)
- What the Bible is All About (Henrietta C. Mears) – In very readable style and with detailed outlining this is a handbook I’ve kept around since my teen years. It’s considered a classic by some. It’s been updated into editions with referencing the KJV (here) and the NIV (here).
- The Complete Book of Bible Lists (H.L. Willmington) – I wouldn’t call it “complete” but this thick book has been useful and quite interesting over the years to help with topical searches or Bible outlining.
- Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (J. Dwight Pentecost) – This is the most thorough and easy-to-find-information reference book to our knowledge. I grew up with my parents recommending it to their church friends and we really appreciate it too. It’s indexed in the back according to topic AND also according to Bible verse/passage reference so you can look up something and read about the various interpretations about things you wonder about. Note: Reading level is closer to a Bible College/adult level.
- The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Craig Keener) – Look up the passage and see a short explanation on historical and cultural background of it.
- Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee (volumes) – These are commentaries but what makes them of interest on this list is the down-to-earth readable style, appropriate for a non-scholarly audience. These are also all available in audio formats since Mr. McGee used to have a radio program, going through most Bible passages within a 5 year period. (Note: Most of his comments are quite good but many of us would disagree with his comments regarding the gap theory in Genesis which was popular in his time.) His resources are also available in multiple languages.
- The Complete Book of Bible Answers (Ron Rhodes) – This book was recently given a better title – “What Does the Bible Say About . . ? Easy-to-Understand Answers to the Tough Questions”. We really like the short answers clearly organized for several common questions in Christianity.
(e.g. websites or magazines which feature student-level articles or study materials)
- Nature Friend Magazine (astronomy, animals…)
- Answers in Genesis
- Creation Ministries International
- The Bible Journey – this site has photographs, maps – organized for students to find visuals to understand the land of the Bible.
- Israel My Glory Magazine
- Magazines from missionary organizations sometimes have interesting articles on geography of particular places and/or news about current events around the world.
These might be useful for supplementing upper-level studies…
- Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story 🍁(CBC, video)
- Life on the Edge – Ontario’s Visual Heritage Series 🍁- These are videos about various parts of Ontario, re-enacted history about local communities/Canadian society.
- Victorian Baking (a TVOntario special) traces how industrialization changed how bread was made. Although it focuses on Britain, it shows the generalities of the rural to urban migration in communities.
- The Sound of Music (Robert Wise, 1965) – a story about a singing family during WWII in Austria
- Eureka Physics 🍁- an old animated series of physics explanations for concepts taught in upper-levels (funny and Canadian)
- Wild Goose Jack 🍁 (National Film Board of Canada) – the story of Jack Miner, bird conservationist
- Children are a Blessing (Moody Family Films) – a family talks about the society and birth control from a Christian perspective. (They also have other films of interest to younger children on maple syrup and ABC Bible verses.)
- Global Warming (Truth in Action Ministries with AIG Ministries) – American view but relevant perspective beyond USA; talks about environmentalism and governments.
- Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand (Christian History Institute, Voice of the Martyrs) – the story of an underground pastor and his wife living in Eastern Europe during communism.
- Palau: The Movie (DVD) Trafalgar Releasing) – This is the story of an evangelist to South America, Luis Palau. Learn about this history and culture of Argentina and more.
- Indescribable (Graber) – This is a story based on the history of the hymn “The Love of God”.
- The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry (Christiano) – This is a story about a boys’ club begun by an elderly man in their community.
- Remember the Goal (Christiano) – This is a story on a girls’ sports theme and perseverance.
- Chariots of Fire – This is the story of Eric Liddell, Olympic runner and courage for standing up for honouring God.
- Sarah, Plain and Tall, Skylark, Winter’s End – These DVDs retell the novels by similar titles (listed later on this page).
- “Just the Facts” (videos/DVDs) – Our American Landscape and The Great American State Quiz – Both are excellent to learn basic USA geography. All ages (but Canadian students might not be needing to know these things until late elementary or into high school so I listed them here.)
- Stories of Great Christians (Moody Radio) – lengthy biographies in audio drama format
- The Wonder of Creation: Soil (Day of Discovery) – There are others in the series on the environment topics – The Wonder of Creation: Trees, and The Wonder of Creation: Wilderness. Our Daily Bread/Day of Discovery/Discovery House Publishers have produced videos which could be used for studies upper elementary/high school coursework – history/biography/geographical regions.
- An Elephant Called Slowly (A Morning Star Production) (All ages, humorous adventures in Africa)
- God of Wonders (Eternal Productions) – more so for a teen/adult audience; documentary with lots of photography too.
- Moody Science Classics (Moody Institute of Science, Chicago) – these are the old, full-length videos on various topics. Parts of these are included within the Moody Science Adventures (3 videos) which are shorter and more recently produced.
- The Design of Life DVD Collection (Illustra Media) – living waters (oceans), metamorphosis (butterflies), flight (birds)- these videos are presented at an older student level.
- The co-founder of Illustra Media, Lad Allen, was previously director of film production at Campus Crusade for Christ and Moody Institute of Science. There are SHORT films on a variety of science and history-related topics on their website such as about the auroras, Isaac Newton, a hummingbird’s split tongue, and more. Here is the link to their list of short videos.
- Did God Create in 6 Literal Days? (Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis, video)
- Darwin: The Voyage The Shook The World (Creation Ministries International)
- God’s Holy Days: The Feasts of the Lord (Joe Amaral) – This is a good perspective and details on helping students notice the parallels between the Old Testament and New Testament passages in reference to the feasts. The presenter is a Pentecostal (P.A.O.C.) pastor from Canada who has also guided tours in Israel, studying the historical, cultural backgrounds.
- Church History resources from Christian History Institute such as
- History of Christianity (Dr. Timothy George) – a series that summarizes periods of history
- The Reformation Overview – summaries, in documentary format, of some of their longer biographical videos on leaders in the Reformation.
- (Many other resources can be found there which are more specific to a person or time period being studied.)
- And When They Shall Ask 🍁 (The Mennonite Heritage Village, Steinbach, Manitoba) – This is a docu-drama about Russian Mennonites who immigrated to Canada (e.g. in the 1920’s).
- Amish – A Secret Life (BBC) – the story of an Amish family who grow in their faith in God.
- The Amish: A People of Preservation (Vision Video)
- Gender and Sexuality 🍁(Charles Price) – This is a series of video sermons he preached a number of years ago. They are available both in written (transcript) and video formats. Titles include “Facing the Gender Dilemma”, “The Myths and Mysteries of Marriage”, “The Purpose and Pitfalls of Sex”, “Singleness: The Gift Few People Want”, “Finding the Right Spouse”, “The Homosexual Dilemma”.
Historical or Realistic Fiction
- The Queen’s Bush: A Tale of the Early Days of Bruce County 🍁(W. M. Brown, M.D.) – Through the bush and up the Saugeen River! Pioneering families migrate from Woolwich Township and the Guelph area to settle Bruce and Grey Counties (Southern Ontario) in the mid-1800s. True Canadian history in story form with an acceptance of God’s forgiveness at the end. Recommended for Grade 6+.
- The Savage River – Seventy-one Days with Simon Fraser 🍁 (Marjorie Wilkins Campbell) – Step back into history and join Simon Fraser’s expedition on the dangerous river, in search of an overland route to the Pacific Ocean.
- From City Street to Trackless Forest: The Story of Jane Smith 🍁(Marion McGillivray) – A young adult ventures across the ocean from Scotland to join her pioneering brothers in the Queen’s Bush (Ontario 1800’s) as one of the first pioneer women in the area.
- Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (Stephen Leacock) 🍁 – fictional stories based on life in Orillia
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Harriet Beecher Stowe) 🍁 – a story of seeking freedom from slavery, inspired by the real life of Josiah Henson who fled to Upper Canada in 1830. (Our Daily Bread, Day of Discovery produced a video documentary which can be viewed for free online called “The Real Uncle Tom: Josiah Henson“.)
- Returning Home (Loreen Plett) – Born in Prussia in 1765, Johann is disowned by his wealthy father because of his marriage to a girl who wasn’t Mennonite born. Leaving his home to find a livelihood for his family, he gets deeply involved in undercover politics including murder, and becomes a heavy drinker. Read about the tragedies that befall him in this story based on historical accounts, and how finally he is driven to despair. Will he turn to God? This is a fast-paced, filled-with-emotions, novel which goes back and forth between 2 settings and related characters. (A copy of the book was originally lent to my parents just because it was a well-written piece of Christian literature. However, my dad quickly discovered that this book actually told the biography of his great, great, great, great grandfather!) Because of the description of the wretched lives of the main characters (e.g. drunkenness, abuse, sudden deaths of family members) before they surrender to Christ, we recommend this series for teen/adult reading (not children). The sequel is called Crossing the Distance. (The author is in Canada 🍁 but the setting of the novels are not.)
- The Miner’s Song (Loretta Plett) – a true story with the setting in Mexico
- The Canadian West series (Janette Oke) 🍁 – This adventure novel series focuses around life of the R.C.M.P. officers as Canada was getting more settled with pioneers in the west. It offers a good picture of history and so I’m listing these titles in this category, although they also have romance and adventures abound.
- When Calls the Heart
- When Comes the Spring
- When Breaks the Dawn
- When Hope Springs New
- Beyond the Gathering Storm
- When Tomorrow Comes
- Return to the Canadian West series 🍁(Janette Oke, Laurel Oke Logan) which is about a family member of the above series’ main character)
- Where Courage Calls
- Where Trust Lies
- Where Hope Prevails
- When Hope Calls series 🍁(Janette Oke, Laurel Oke Logan) – a newer series also set in the Canadian west
- Song of Acadia series 🍁(Janette Oke, T. Davis Bunn) – setting is in Nova Scotia, Europe, eastern USA
- The Meeting Place
- The Sacred Shore
- The Birthright
- The Distant Beacon
- The Beloved Land
- The Acts of Faith series (Janette Oke, T. Davis Bunn) – setting is Israel, Bible time period
- Laura Ingalls Wilder books (including those of historical interest beyond the typical series) – The first series were written by Laura herself. The first one or two, perhaps even a few more, are easily enjoyed in primary to junior levels. I think that the other ones are better enjoyed if read as a teen or adult. (And yes, many stories were dramatized into movie format for television years ago.)
- Set of 9 volumes, slip-cased
- Little House on Rocky Ridge (Roger Lee MacBride) – about Rose’s life
- Little Farm in the Ozarks (Roger Lee MacBride) – about Rose’s life
- Old Town in Green Groves (Cynthia Rylant) – about Laura’s life between Plum Creek and Silver Lake
- The Far Side of the Loch (Melissa Wiley) – about Martha, Laura’s great-grandmother
- Across the Puddingstone Dam (Melissa Wiley) – about Charlotte, Laura’s grandmother
- Little House on Boston Bay – about Charlotte, Laura’s grandmother
- Little House in Brookfield (Maria D. Wilkes) – about Caroline, Laura’s mother
- On Top of Concord Hill (Maria D. Wilkes) – about Caroline, Laura’s mother
- Little City by the Lake (Celia Wilkins) – about Caroline, Laura’s mother
- Sarah’s Journey series (Wanda Luttrell) – about a Christian family living during the American Revolution and Independence; lots of adventure, well-written!
- Home on Stoney Creek
- Stranger in Williamsburg
- Reunion in Kentucky
- Whispers in Williamsburg
- Shadows on Stoney Creek
- Red Runs the River, Exiles of Hope (Anthony G. Bollback) – Christian perspective, setting of stories is China.
- Hopes Fulfilled for Peggy, Prayers Answered for Peggy, More Answers for Peggy, etc. (Dorothy Martin) – about a Christian teen, her friends, her community, time period is a number of decades ago.
- See also my all-time favourite novel series “Grandma’s Attic” (Arleta Richardson), listed on the Junior and Tweens page. Some titles are about Mabel’s teenage years and early married life with small children. It was sometimes hard to pick which novels (from various authors) to list on that page compared to this page.
- (see also the “Biography” category, above)
- Danny Orlis books (Bernard Palmer) – These books feature mystery with a Christian witness throughout each plot line. He also wrote other series such as “Felicity Cartwright”, “Ted and Terri”, Lori Adams, and The Bradley series. (Sometimes chapters from these books were also published in magazines produced by the Back to the Bible ministry.)
- Amorelle (Grace Livingston Hill) – There are many other titles written by this author too such as The Street of the City and Crimson Roses. She wrote fictitious Christian romance with high moral standards and adventurous plots, some of which have been reprinted in recent years. Sometimes, one can also learn a fair amount of history due to her settings describing Americans living at the turn of the century (e.g. early 1900’s) and war-time.
- Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma (Jane Austin) – Classic British novels set in the Victorian Era with intertwined plots of mystery and romance. These can be useful as contrasts in showing the shallowness of relationships when people are only following their feelings or cultural values. (These are also put into film format.)
- A Bride for Donnigan (Jannette Oke) 🍁 – A story that portrays the era of the mail-order brides and new life in Canada.
- Ruth (Ethel Barrett) – The Biblical story of Ruth and Boaz retold in novel style. (Other character titles are listed under the Adventure category.)
- Ruth (Ellen Gunderson Traylor) – A Bible character novel
- Esther (Ellen Gunderson Traylor) – A Bible character novel that is, in my opinion, more geared towards older students and adults.
- Sarah, Plain and Tall (Patricia MacLachlan) – This is a story of a mail-order bride coming to a widower’s family in the mid-west from Maine. (It is also in movie format.) It is followed by sequels Skylark and Caleb’s Story (which were also put into movie formats, see category section on this page for videos.)
- Love Comes Softly (Janette Oke) 🍁 – This series has both adventure and a focus on relationships between husband/wife and as the next generation chooses spouses. I decided to list these in this category although they would also fit under adventure or perhaps historical fiction. They have been made into movie format but several differences can be noticed. Personally, I much prefer the original novels for their storylines. Here are rest of the titles, in order, of this series.
Adventure or Stories with a Lesson
- Bible Character Stories (Ethel Barrett) – There are a variety of novels that she wrote, with titles such as Daniel, Moses, Joshua, etc.. Ethel Barrett was also a very vivid storyteller of audio Bible stories.
- Seasons of the Heart series (Janette Oke) 🍁 – This series of adventures in the Canadian prairies is written from the perspective of a young man in a small farming community. This is the series of Janette Oke’s that I often begin a student with, even just the first book, for “assigned/suggested reading”, rather than her other series yet. The titles are:
- Lost in the Barrens (Farley Mowat) 🍁 – a Canadian classic novel set the in the wilderness of the north.
- Lassie Come Home (Eric Knight) – a loyal dog travels through Scotland and England back to his boy
- Moni and the Goat Boy and other stories (Johanna Spyri) – from the author of the familiar classic “Heidi“, these are short stories about other characters.
- Summer of the Swans (Betsy Byars)
- The Adventures of the Wilderness Family (Martin Quinn) – The novel is great to read and its movie is exciting too!
- Misty books (Marguerite Henry) – classic horse books with adventures!
- Saved at Sea, Christie’s Old Organ, and Tug of War (Mrs. O. F. Walton) – These are old Christian classics – I remember my grandma talking about how she liked the stories so our family has begun reading these. (In contrast, I also remember her telling me that the old classic “Elsie” series of novels were dry and boring.)
- Castles in the Sand (Carolyne Greene)🍁 – a story about a Christian college student who battles error in searching for Biblical truth in a post-modernism setting. The “castles” refer to a background relating to the ideas of St. Teresa of Avila. The sequel is called Dangerous Illusions.
- Women of the West series (Janette Oke) 🍁 – These books are “stand-alone” novels without sequels. In other words, each title is its own complete story. One is listed under “Romance” and the rest are here. (I have listed only the titles I or my family have read.)
- Anne of Green Gables series 🍁(Lucy Maud Montgomery)- the setting for these classics is mostly Prince Edward Island
- Anne of Green Gables
- Anne of Avonlea
- Anne of the Island
- Anne of Windy Poplars
- Anne’s House of Dreams
- Anne of Ingleside
- Rainbow Valley
- Rilla of Ingleside
- Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers (Ralph Moody) – first book of a series of 8 I think
- Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) and its sequel Little Men (audio version of Little Men)
- The Swiss Family Robinson (Johann David Wyss) and Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe) – These are classic novels. Some families choose to read and discuss these together earlier than the teen years.
- Two Worlds for Jash (Elsa Redekopp)
Science Fiction or Legends or Allegories or Fantasy/Tales
- Pilgrim’s Progress (John Bunyan) – a classic allegory of a man called Pilgrim/Christian and his journey through life to heaven’s gate. There are several versions of this story such as Pictorial Pilgrim’s Progress, The New Pilgrim’s Progress (with notes by Warren Wiersbe), a flashcard story version for group learning, and an older animation video.
- The way I show what “science fiction” is, is to use an example animation cartoon of “The Jetson’s” or similar, and perhaps a short story demonstrating this genre, rather than through novel format.
- The way we study about fantasy/tales is to use younger children’s level stories or video (because there is often pagan-themes in fantasy novels written for older students). Good examples of the fantasy genre though can be noticed in the cartoon programs Babaloos (household items are personified) and Once Upon a Time…Life (parts of the human body are personified). Other examples include some of Dr. Suess’ books, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (Laura Numeroff), Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne), Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White) and short tales which might find in a publication such as Grandpa Ike’s Tale here in a newspaper. We also make up silly imaginative tales ourselves within our family and that is fun!
- Legends are typically short stories and can be found in vintage readers (e.g. the lower-levels) or online. One example is the one about St. George fighting the dragon. Answers in Genesis has articles about dragon legends, flood legends, and creation legends.
- Twelfth Night (William Shakespeare) – I use this title to show what Shakespearean writing is like. Otherwise, we generally “bid adieu” to his writings.
- Dear Canada series, written in diary format such as
- Not a Nickel to Space: The Great Depression Diary of Sally Cohen (Perry Nodelman) – story from the Great Depression (Canada)
- People of Faith – puppet play or simple actable sketches (Jana Carman)
- Lillenas Publishing – They publish numerous plays and dramatic recitations, some of which are quite good.
- Kathie Hill – She writes dramas for kids, some of which are interesting, such as the story of King Jehoshaphat.
- Keys for Kids Ministries/Children’s Bible Hour – They have produced puppet scripts based on some of their radio dramas.
- The Acts of the Apostles (Visual Bible) – word-for-word (i.e. you can follow along the script in your Bible), acted out in historic/geographic settings
- Dramatic monologue on The Gospel of Luke (Bruce Kuhn) – word-for-word, acted out with minimal props on stage. (Rob and I watched his presentation when we were students since he visited our campus.)
Poetry and Other
- Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained (John Milton) – these are long poems that my dad read in his high school; the level of vocabulary/comprehension analysis would be senior- secondary/adult-level reading.
- The Old Grey Squirrel poem (Alfred Noyes) – my mom recommended that one for analytical from her high school days.
- 100 Best-Loved Poems – Edited by Philip Smith, Dover Publications. This is a simple source to find familiar poems which may be mentioned in English lessons.
- Poems for Memorization – This is a nice compilation of 221 public domain poems organized for ease of recitation for the various grade levels.
- Introduction to Poetry Forms and Elements Study Guide (Progeny Press) – while we find this resource rather dry and skip over many parts of it, it is a decent resource to read about what might be required for knowledge on standardized tests or future classes.
- Winning Words for Daily Living (Charles U. Wagner) – This is a book with 200 short devotional readings alongside Scripture verses. Many of the undated days have poems, both traditional ones (e.g. the frog paddling until he makes butter) and original ones by the author, to emphasize the point(s). (Dr. Wagner was a Bible conference speaker at a camp I worked at and some of his sermons can also be heard on our other website here.)
- Folk Songs which are descriptive of whatever country you live in (i.e. study their lyrics), for example
- The Maple Leaf Forever
- Land of the Silver Birch
- Jack Was Every Inch a Sailor
- The Red River Cart
- The Island (Cape Breton)
- This Land is Your Land
- I’se the B’y That Builds the Boat
- The Bluenose
- V’La L’’Bon Vent
- Consider so-called “political cartoons” in newspapers, good comics/cartoons or jokes/humor/puns, signs, etc. for occasional reading comprehension discussion. Reading practice doesn’t always have to have a novel-length passage to work on analysing meaning.
- The Integrated Atlas: History and Geography of Canada and the World (Harcourt Canada) – This is a different atlas – one that shows some changes throughout world history which most atlases don’t show. This one also emphasizes history from a Canadian perspective/emphasis.
- Roman Ship Model (Candle Discovery Series) – Punch out and build a Roman ship while learning about this period in history in a short book with pictures.
Obviously, we cannot list all good titles in the above list. We welcome your suggestions for other good titles that we might eventually add to the above list.
Here are a few guidelines we can provide for not recommending some titles you might see suggested in lists from other websites.
- A free downloadable/printable on standards for entertainment is mentioned on the blog post “Examples of Minimalistic Homeschooling“. Look for that one in the section on that page of “Reading”.
- In “Our Biblical Philosophy of Education“, you can see our general standards for when we preview materials for our online shop.
- And finally, when we consider specific titles for character-building recommendations of literature (and videos), we do overlook minor negative matters in a piece of literature or video if we feel the overall effect of exposure to it will be beneficial. But, IF a title has what we consider to have significant amounts of upholding of the following incidents or expressions that we do not appreciate as Christians, then we try to not put these titles on our list of recommendations.
- Unacceptable language (crude, swearing, etc.)
- Lying, deceit, dishonesty or unchecked pride of hero/heroine
- False teaching (e.g. evolution, contemplative/mysticism, occult themes (e.g. necromancy))
- Violence, hatred
- Fearful (which means full of fear; this is notably different than expressions of fear or an intense climax in a plotline)
- Wrong Passions/Lust/Greed
- Emphasizing a distortion or confusion of God’s holy character
If you ALREADY OWN books (or other media) which are not good, then what? The thing to do is to get rid of them. Israel was to do this with influential bad items (Deuteronomy 7:26) and the early church did this with their bad books (Acts 19:19-20). Despite efforts nowadays to “reduce waste, recycle or reuse”, these are items which should be destroyed to the extent that their horrible message not be propagated into the next household but rather purged from having that potential. Resist the urge to offer it for free to a friend or neighbor or sell at a used sale. No, this is a situation that truly fits under a “time to throw away” (Ecclesiastes 3:6). If we put something like this in a blue box, we shred it. Otherwise, we break it (e.g. with a hammer) and put it in with garbage or burn it in a woodstove if it’s paper. Let’s live for Christ – it points to His worth when we purge out the trash!
“Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses [purges] himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
2 Timothy 2:14-22 (NKJV)
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”
1 John 2:16 (NKJV)
“Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Thessalonians 5:21-23 (NKJV)