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Book lists, reviews, and discussion for homeschooling families

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I'm Valerie Jacobsen, mom of eleven children aged 23 to 6, 8 daughters and 3 sons. I've been educating my children at home for almost 20 years. Four children have graduated while seven are still in school.

My parents read my first books to me when I was six weeks old, starting me on a lifetime journey with good books. As a lifelong bibliophile, one of my greatest joys as a mother has been sharing the very best and greatest books with my children.

We live in an incredible time, when families of very modest means can build and maintain libraries of incredible quality. Valerie's Living Library is my effort to share some of our family's experiences with you. While I do sell books here, I also offer a large and growing collection of free lists and reviews, to help you find and rescue some of the world's finest literary treasures when they are offered for 50 cents or a dollar at your local library's book sale. 

Just like a healthy body, a child's mind and heart desperately need good, nutritious food! This is not a time of high culture. What is currently passed off as essential to childhood is often worthless, or worse. Some is the equivalent of fluorescent frosted sugar cookies--cheap, empty fun with no depth, no quality, and no real beauty. And what is passed off as if it were deep and educational is often no better than vitamin-depleted canned vegetables--no flavor, no fun, and not much nutrition.

And then there is the poison for a child mind, crud like this and this which is lately, steadily increasing in abundance.

While there are great books on the market today, like these and these, much of what is currently available is meaningless, soulless, or poisonous--wretched and readily detectable once our senses and tastes have been refined by close and long exposure to the best and truest books.

Our children need books that engage their minds, inspire their imaginations, and thrill their hearts. "Oh, well, at least he's reading," isn't ever spoken here. Reading
isn't for the sake of itself, merely for decoding and comprehending text. Rather, reading was given to us by God to help us know Him, know ourselves, and know our world. The gift of reading is its own mandate to seek the best and truest books. Our efforts to find the very best for our children are a reflection of the image of God in us, and His promises to us. Our work reflects our yearning for the perfections of the New Heavens and New Earth, which we will see only if our lives are hidden with Christ in God. 

So, what are the best books for children? 
The years from about 1945 to about 1965 were The Golden Age of Children's Literature. Some of the very best children's books ever written in the English language were published during that time. While a few are still in print, many are long out-of-print and waiting to be rescued at library book sales. In smaller numbers, great books have been added to our children's literary heritage since then. To find them? The more books that you see and read, the more obvious the best ones will become.

As much as I am able to do so, my thinking and reviews reflect my belief that the best and most wonderful book is the Bible, the living word of our Creator. While you are collecting fine fiction, gripping histories, and engaging science books, don't miss or neglect God's kindness and good will to reach us through His Word. With shorter readings of 15 minutes a day, you can read the Bible every year. With longer readings of 45 minutes a day, you can read through the Bible in four months, encountering every chapter with a lively memory of every other chapter. Reading and re-reading the Bible like this, you will see patterns and themes emerge from the pages of Scripture, and you will know God better.

Reading the Bible aloud will benefit both you and your children. For your children, it will help them know God's Word and develop a listening habit that will serve them well when they come together with the Church to hear it preached. For you as parents, reading the very word of God with your own voice powerfully tends to increase your own understanding and retention. What could be better? 

Our family uses various readings plans but this is one of our favorites.

Our first lists and reviews were posted to the Internet in October 1998.
Our virtual library continues to grow.
I mark recent additions as "
NEW
".
Pages with recent additions and changes are marked "UPDATED".

The Great Big List of Lists and Reviews--

I have still more information below.... Remember, a quick stop to use these shopping links help to support ValeriesLivingLibrary.com. Thank you!

  
ChristianBook.com                                                    Amazon.com     

 

Valerie's Own Lovely Living Books for Sale

 

Supplemental Lists
I do not collect these, but many families do, and love them. (I had to stop somewhere!)

 

Please consider reading my essay,
"Book Lists:  Handle with Care"

Caring for a Collection:

While you are visiting my pages, be sure to see my Resources for Book Collectors for links on cleaning, repairing, evaluating, storing, and USING collectible books.

You are also welcome to view my description of Organizing a Christian Homeschool Library.

gunnarbooks
 

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ANY QUESTIONS? Just ask. I love to say, "Yes".

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