- Don’t reinvent the wheel: there are a lot of companies that are literature-based and they have wonderful booklists. There may be a ready-made solution out there for you. I’ll list my favorites in the show notes.
- My old world go- to was the library, if your library is still open (by the way, what kind of reality has me uttering those words?) Simply go to the section of the subject matter and grab a stack of books, sit down on the ground and flip through them.
- If you are online with your library, or Amazon- I highly recommend using Amazon as a bookish search engine- you can always request what you find at the library or order from Your Indie Bookseller.
- Add Middle Grade or YA to your search term. Then add nonfiction, historical fiction, etc.
- Example: children’s books American revolution brought me a list that was random and even included adult titles. historical fiction American revolution YA provided me with a great list.
- So, you’ve got the list and if you haven’t read any of the books, it is still a daunting task. Use the preview function and check the reviews. Book reviewers are honest, it isn’t like a vitamin review where people are getting paid to post 5-star ratings. You can check GoodReads also.
- What ratio of fiction/nonfiction should your reading list contain? I’m a big proponent of nonfiction written at or under the grade level of the kiddo. That doesn’t mean a board book for your 8 yo- it does mean that your high schooler shouldn’t have to struggle with a dictionary to get through a college-level text. I’d aim for a 60/40 split. The larger end should be what your child prefers to read.
- My secret: Sometimes I add meaty picture books or graphic novels to even my high school lists.
Curriculum Companies with excellent Book Lists:
The Well Trained Mind– Credit where credit is due- this is an entire book of book lists that will take you from K-12. There is no bigger bargain out there.
Build Your Library– more on this below.
Book Shark– (note neutral science)
Guest Hollow– (not all secular, but nonsecular is labeled)
Mater Amabilis– (not secular)
Winter Promise– (not secular)
You can find lots of great books for your kids even if the company is not secular. Check the descriptions and reviews on Good Reads.