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September 29, 2007

Jerram Barr’s Booklist for Children

Update: Added to Lists of Bests!

This post is copied whole-cloth from Megan at Half Pint House. I had to visit her site from the library today to access it, and I really want to keep a copy easy to find online (in case her site ever goes down.) I'm copying her explanation and commentary, so those who see this booklist understand the context.

Jerram Barr's Booklist for Children

Filed under: Books & Culture — Megan at 8:15 pm on Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Jerram Barrs is a highly respected professor here at Covenant and Craig has the amazing opportunity to be his teaching assistant beginning this summer. Last fall, Craig took one of his classes in which he handed out a list of his favorite books for children and I’m posting it here, for others to see, and also so I’ll have an electronic version of it for future reference.

From Jerram: These are books most of which I read to our sons, and/or books I or they read as kids or as teens - with a few exceptions of more recently published books that I am discovering for myself, our sons and our grandchildren. I love to read good children’s books as some of the most creative writing and illustrating is done for children. The test of a well-written book is whether it is a pleasure to read it aloud. All children are different, and this is good - one may be ready to hear Narnia at 3, another not until 6 or 7, so don’t be bothered by this. All children like good illustrations, and all children like the rhymes, rhythms and sounds of verse. Make reading to them a habit at an early age and they will learn to love to read themselves. Many good books have filmed versions - occasionally I have noted these as a movie or TV series may be a helpful way to introduce children to a new level of literature. Books are listed as I thought of them, not in any systematic order. I have omitted many delightful books like those by Dr. Seuss with which most people are familiar. Happy reading!

C. S. Lewis:
The Chronicles of Narnia - depending on the child can be read from 3-6 and up

J. R. R. Tolkien:
The Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings - excellent films
The Silmarillion

Famer Giles of Ham
Roverandom - a story Tolkien made up for his own children

Meindert DeJong:
The House of Sixty Fathers
The Easter Cat
The Wheel on the School
Dirks’ Dog Bello & many other excellent books for 5 or 6 and up

Beatrix Potter:
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny
Peter Rabbit
Jemima Puddleduck & many others; don’t be surprised by death in her tales

Shel Silverstein:
Lafcadio, the Lion who Shot Back
The Giving Tree
Where the Sidewalk Ends - Poems and Drawings - & many others

Mary Norton:
The Borrowers - & series

Concordia Publishing:
The Arch Books - our favorite set of illustrated Bible Stories, many in verse

Catherine Vos:
Children’s Story Bible

Dick King Smith:
The Fox Busters - one of my favorite books
The Sheep Pig - also a movie ‘Babe’
The Mouse Butcher & several other wonderful books for 5 upwards

Lewis Carroll:
Through the Looking Glass
Alice in Wonderland
Jaberwocky & other poems - children love nonsense poetry

Julia Donaldson:
The Gruffalo - one of my grandchildren’s favorite books
The Gruffalo’s Child & other books for children 2 & up

Arnold Lobel:
Frog and Toad are Friends
Mouse Tales & many other good books for small children

Michael Bond:
A Bear Called Paddington & many others in series

Anne Holm:
I am David - this is one of the finest children’s books - also a good movie
The Hostage

Margaret Wise Brown:
The Velveteen Rabbit
Goodnight Moon
The Runaway Bunny - a great book, read by Dr. Calhoun for faculty devotion

Jan Brett:
Annie and the Wild Animals - a wonderful illustrator as well as story-teller
The Twelve Days of Christmas
The Umbrella
Jan Brett’s Christmas Treasury - & many others for 2 and up

Johann Wyss:
The Swiss Family Robinson - a classic & also a good movie

Captain Maryatt:
Children of the New Forest - a classic

J. M. Barrie:
Peter Pan - also a fine film

The Brothers Grimm:
Fairy Tales

Hans Christian Anderson:
Treasury of Fairy Stories

Michelle Magorian:
Goodnight Mr. Tom - one of the best books, an award winner, 8 and up

George MacDonald:
The Princess and the Curdie
The Princess and the Goblin
The Gifts of the Child Christ (2 volume set of short stories - Eerdmans)

R. D. Blackmore:
Lorna Doone

Nick Butterworth:
Percy’s Bumpy Ride - a friend from English L’Abri years ago
The Treasure Hunt - & many more, great for 2 and up

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings:
The Yearling

Thomas Hughes:
Tom Brown’s School Days

Mary Rayner:
Garth Pig and the Ice Cream Lady - & many more, for 2 and up

Richmal Crompton:
William - almost two dozen in boys’ series, very English and lots of fun

Barbara Euphan Todd:
Worzel Gummidge - the main character is a scarecrow

John White:
The Tower of Gerburah & other stories in his series - a believer

Roald Dahl:
Danny the Champion of the World - this is a wonderful book
George’s Marvelous Medicine
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - & many more

Rudyard Kipling:
The Jungle Book
The Second Jungle Book
Just So Stories

Ursula Leguin:
The Wizard of Earthsea
The Farthest Shore - & many others

Brian Jacques:
The Bellmaker
Lord Brocktree - & many more in series, wonderful books

Tales from the Arabian Nights
The Adventures of Robin Hood - many versions incl. one by John Steinbeck
Aesop’s Fables

Tove Jansson:
Moominsummer Madness
Moominland Midwinter & others in series

Fred Gipson:
Old Yeller

Kenneth Grahame:
The Wind in the Willows

T. H. White:
The Sword in the Stone - & series, excellent
Mistress Masham’s Repose

Jonathan Swift:
Gulliver’s Travels - find an edition with good illustrations

John Bunyan:
The Pilgrim’s Progress

B. B.:
The Wizard of Boland - & several others

Charles and Mary Lamb:
Tales from Shakespeare

Anna Sewell:
Black Beauty

Enid Bagnold:
National Velvet - also a famous movie with young Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Speare:
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
The Bronze Bow & many more

Frances Hodgson Burnett:
The Secret Garden - also a movie - a truly wonderful book
The Lost Prince
A Little Princess

E. Nesbitt:
The Treasure Seekers
The Railway Children - good movie version
Five Children and It

R. M. Rallantyne:
The Coral Island

Ed. Sara & Stephen Corin:
Stories for under 5’s, for 5’s, for 6’s etc. up to 10’s and over

Noel Streatfield:
White Boots
Thursday’s Child
Theater Shoes - & several others

H. F. Brinsmead:
Pastures of the Blue Crane

William Horwood:
Duncton Wood - a wonderful book

Henry Treece:
The Road to Miklagard
Viking’s Dawn & many others

Rosemary Sutcliffe:
The Eagle of the Ninth
The Rider on the White Horse - & many more excellent books

Baroness Orczy:
The Scarlet Pimpernel

Lloyd Alexander:
The Book of Three
The Black Cauldron - & many more in series

Owen Barfield:
The Silver Trumpet

Robert Louis Stevenson:
Treasure Island - this gave me nightmares for years as a child when read
The Black Arrow

Ted Hughes:
How the Whale Became and Other Stories

Richard Adams:
Watership Down - this is an outstanding book

Gerald Durrell:
My Family and Other Animals - an outstanding funny book & BBC TV series
The Bafut Beagles
Beasts in my Bed - & many more about his work collecting for zoos

Jean Lee Latham:
Carry on Mr. Bowditch - a true story & fine book

J. Meade Faulkner:

Alan Garner:

Katherine Patterson:
The Bridge to Terabithia

A. Rutgers van der Loeff:
Children of the Oregon Trail

Quentin Blake:
Nursery Rhyme Book - many others, wonderful illustrator

Patricia St. John:
Treasures of the Snow - also a movie
The Tanglewoods’ Secret
The Mystery of Pheasant Cottage
Star of Light
Twice Freed
Runaway - the author was a missionary & also a fine writer

A. A. Milne:
The House at Pooh Corner
When We Were Very Young
And Now We are Six - & others - fine Milne’s own version

Ian Seraillier:
The Silver Sword - an excellent book
There’s No Escape

Robert Siegal:
Alpha Centauri

Andrew Lang:
The Blue Fairy Book
The Violet Fairy Book - & Red, Green & many others in this series

Arthur Ransome:
Old Peter’s Russian Tales
Swallows and Amazons - & many others in this series

John Masefield:
The Box of Delights - made into an excellent BBC TV series
The Midnight Folk

Roger Lancelyn Green:
The Tale of Troy
Myths of the Norsemen
Tales of Ancient Egypt - & many other similar collections and adaptations

E. B. White:
The Trumpet of the Swan - this is my favorite of his books
Stuart Little
Charlotte’s Web

Henry Williamson:
Tarka the Otter

Barbara Sleigh:
Carbonel - & others

Scott O’Dell:
Island of the Blue Dolphins

Wilson Rawls:
Where the Red Fern Grows

Norman Hunter:
Count Backwerdz on the Carpet - & others

Laura Ingalls Wilder:
Little House on the Prairie - & the whole series

Madeleine L’Engle:
A Wrinkle in Time
A Wind in the Door
A Swiftly Tilting Planet

J. K. Rowling:
The Harry Potter Books - children of all ages love them

Edward Lear:
The Owl and the Pussycat - wonderul illustrated editions - & other works

Mother Goose:
Nursery Rhymes - find good illustrated editions, many available

Teenagers - many of these can be read earlier than the teens if your child loves to read

Stephen Lawhead:
Arthur - & several other good books

Madeleine L’Engle:
The Young Unicorns - & several other good books

The Odyssey - find a good illustrated edition, in poetry - for 10 and up
The Illiad

Seamus Heaney:
Beowulf - an excellent poetic tranlation of the Anglo-Saxon classic

Charles Kingley:
Westward Ho - & many others

Gene Stratton Porter:
The Girl of the Limberlost - one of my favorite books as a young teen
The Harvester
Michael O’Halloran - & several other fine books, now being republished

Anne McCaffrey:
Dragonflight - & series

Jack London:
The Call of the Wild - & movie
White Fang - & others

C. S. Forrester:
Captain Hornblower - & excellent series

Paul Gallico:
The Snow Goose
The Silent Miaow
Snowflake - & many other wonderful books

Sir Walter Scott:
Ivanhoe - & many others

James Fennimore Cooper:
The Prairie
Last of the Mohicans - & several others

Charlotte Bronte:
Jane Eyre

Emily Bronte:
Wuthering Heights

Anne Bronte:
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Jane Austen:
Pride and Prejudice - TV series perhaps the best film adaptation of any book
Sense and Sensibility - excellent film and TV productions
Mansfield Park - filmed versions inadequate
Emma - two good films; Kate Beckinsdale the better; also Clueless!
Northanger Abbey - TV series and film
Persuasion - excellent filmed version

Charles Dickens:
Bleak House
Oliver Twist
Great Expectations
A Christmas Carol
A Tale of Two Cities -& many others

Thomas Hardy:
Under the Greenwood Tree - the only light-hearted of his novels
Tess of the D’Urbevilles - sad; others more miserable, but excellent

L. M. Montgomery:
Anne of Green Gables

Louisa May Alcott:
Little Women - & others

Mark Twain:
Huckleberry Finn
Tom Sawyer

James Herriot:
The Lord God Made Them All - & many others in series

H. Rider Haggard:
King Solomon’s Mines
Alan Quartermain
She - & others

William Shakespeare:
Henry V - start Shakespeare with this play & the outstanding movie
Much Ado about Nothing - another great movie
Romeo and Juliet - several movies including Leonardo de Caprio
Julius Caesar
Twelfth Night - fine movie with Ben Kingsley
Hamlet - great movie with Kenneth Branagh

George Orwell:
Animal Farm

A. B. Patterson:
The Man from Snowy River - Australian verse story & excellent movie

Ellis Peters:
The Brother Cadfael Mysteries - about 2 dozen excellent books, also filmed with Derek Jacobi as Cadfael, a medieval Benedictine monk and sleuth - the author declared that she was converted through her character

John Donne:
Collected Poems - dean of St. Paul’s, excellent preacher and great poet

George Herbert:
Poems - a wonderful pastor and great poet

Herman Melville:
Moby Dick

Nathaniel Hawthorne:
The Scarlet Letter

Steven Crane:
The Red Badge of Courage

Edgar Allen Poe:
Tales of Mystery and Imagination

L. B. Graham:
Beyond the Summerland
Bringer of Storms - a fine series recently begun by one of our graduates!

Edgar Rice Burroughs:
The Tarzan books - well worth reading

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:
Sherlock Holmes - many in the series

C. S. Lewis:
Out of the Silent Planet
Perelandra - excellent presentations of human glory and Satan’s temptation
That Hideous Strength - excellent science fiction series

Other good booklists:
Ambleside Online
Veritas Press


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Wow, what a great resource!!! We have read many of those but I'm tantalized by the ones we haven't even heard of...how timely, with summer before us!

Moonfleet was a favorite of my two older boys, (and me when I encountered it in 9th grade) that no one seems to have ever heard of!

Posted by: Kathy at June 10, 2006 04:36 PM

Lots o' good books up there, all except The Prairie. :-) I had to read that one for American Lit. in college. Our professor told us, "My professor made me read this in American Lit., so now you have to read it too."

Absolutely tedious.

But I will loudly ditto his praise for Lewis' Space Trilogy (a.k.a. the Ransom Trilogy). As a matter of fact, I need to go re-read those . . .

Posted by: RevJATB at June 11, 2006 12:12 AM

The Witch of Blackbird Pond lies fresh and open here on my lap: Magnificent!

I have read aloud from its pages for 2.5 hours this morning to the children while they washed up the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, folded the laundry, sorted socks.

I wished I had married Nat. I wished I was Elizabeth Speare and could manage words like that. I wished that the last page was only the beginning. I turned for more... and sighed with disappointment when there was no more. And now I am fingering through for snippets of luminous phrases that lighted and linger--like this: "She snatched at the dream that had comforted her for so long. It was faded and thin, like a letter too often read."

I sit here wishing....
But there is today.... and I'll take it.
Good books do that to you.....make you want to plunge in...

Printing this one out...with gratitude
Ann V.

Posted by: Holy Experience at June 12, 2006 11:38 AM

I'm nearly drooling over the list and I've only gone through half of it! I am bookmarking it. I wouldn't suggest one of Gene-Stratton Porter's books. You didn't list it, but you did say "& several other fine books." Her Father's Daughter is full of blatant racism. I couldn't believe it when I first read it! I would suggest that if someone does read it, please read it with that in mind.

Posted by: Krista at June 12, 2006 12:41 PM

Glad this resource is being passed on and appreciated by many others. Enjoy! And thanks for the admonition(s). Good to keep in mind.

Posted by: Megan at June 12, 2006 09:36 PM

If you can get recordings of Jerrum Barrs speaking, I would recommend his sermons/lectures extremely highly. He came to my home church and did a series on Biblical hermeneutics (I hope I'm spelling that right!), and the degree to which our culture has affected our world view as Christians. I hadn't realized how much I had unquestioningly absorbed from my surroundings until he shone light in that direction. A very bright man, but wise, too. The book list is excellent--except I read The Borrowers three days ago and thought it wasn't worth its press clippings. I did adore the Trumpet of the Swan from when I was very young, though.

Posted by: CEP at June 16, 2006 11:10 PM

Thanks, y'all for the heads' up and recommendations regarding several of these books. *Grin*

CEP, we were blessed to have Jerram Barrs as a guest teacher when we were in Ukraine. (Ah, one of the perks of missionary life, occasional times of extra teachings like that! I think he was actually in Kyiv for a couple of weeks lecturing at the seminary.)

I have been able to listen to some of his lectures. (Again, shameless plug for Monergism, which led me to that resource. . .)

Hmmmm. . . Unfortunately, the link to his lectures which worked last week is now broken. . . Wonder what Covenant is up to. . . Can't find them right now to give you the link.

Posted by: TulipGirl at June 17, 2006 08:40 PM

That's an amazing list of books. There's quite a few a haven't read - and I'm always looking for new books :) My husband happened to catch a sale at our local library a couple years ago and picked up a battered copy of "Children of the New Forest". I had never heard of Captain Maryatt before and I just loved the book. It's on the shelf now waiting for my boys to grow up just a little more.......

Posted by: Amy at July 7, 2006 01:27 PM

Thank you so much for this list of books! So many on the list are favorites of mine (I Am David, The Space Trilogy, House of Sixty Fathers....), but some I have never heard of. I've made a long shopping list! :)

Posted by: Heidi at October 1, 2007 01:07 PM

I really enjoyed hearing him speak at a L'Abri conference in Rochester, MN some years ago.

Posted by: sarah mosley at October 2, 2007 10:36 AM

Thanks for this! I just spent a nice lunch hour at the library!

Posted by: Laura at October 2, 2007 01:29 PM

Gene Stratton Porter's books can be racist...but when they aren't--they are lovely.

On a similar note, I don't think there are any books by non-white authors or with non-white subject matter on this list. Maybe a little Frederick Douglass or Uncle Tom's Cabin wouldn't be amiss, or even a real slave narrative.

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome are my favorite series ever. I re-read almost all of them every summer.

And for girls, you can't leave out L. M. Montgomery, starting with Anne of Green Gables and then reading all the rest.

Posted by: emily jane at October 30, 2007 01:09 PM

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