My oldest is turning four in less than a month. I am hoping that he will soon start to enjoy small chapter books, but we are still in a season of reading picture books. And that’s OK! I’m going to tell you a secret when reading books out loud to my children. Here it is… I read books at everyone, including myself, is going to enjoy. Simple, right?

When I first started checking books out from the library, I would grab a huge stack of books without looking at the title. I soon learned that some books were far superior to other books, and I was determined to weed out the books that I did not enjoy and look for books we could all enjoy together. Shortly into this journey, I discovered a type of book called a “living book” as Charlotte Mason would call them. A living book is a book that teaches a lesson through story form. Living books are stories that engage the reader in ideas and help the person reading to think deeper. It’s a way of passing knowledge from one mind to the next. Spoiler: I’m not talking about textbooks. Again, these are books we can all enjoy (parent & child), because in a way the books truly to come alive for us.

I’ve put together a list of 30 books we enjoyed this year. Books that made us laugh, cry, and have read over and over again.

The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson

John Ronald's Dragon: The Story of J. R. R. Tolkein by Caroline McAlister

Strega Nona by Tomie DePaola

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

Blue Boat by Kersten Hamilton

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran

Mouse Soup by Arnold Lobel

Katy and the Big Snow by Lee Burton

Miss Maple's Seeds by Eliza Wheeler

Stone Soup by Marcia Brown

The Biggest House in the World by Leo Lionni

The Summerfolk by Doris Burn

Swimmy by Leo Lionni

Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams

Blaze and the Forest Fire by C.W. Anderson

Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

Andrew Henry's Meadow by Doris Burn

Anatole by Eve Titus

We're going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

Wee Gillis by Munro Leaf

Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick and Sophie Blackall

Frederick by Leo Lionni

Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Outside My Window by Liesel Moak Skorpen

Not all of these may be considered living books, but they are to us and all of them tell a beautiful story. My oldest can tell you some of these books by heart. When we read picture books out loud, the boys are hearing lessons, poetry, rhyming, seeing artwork, and most importantly they are getting quality time with mom or dad. The images in some of these books have incredible art work that they are being exposed to (so don't turn the pages too quickly).

We have collected these books over time. I go to the library book sale every month at my local library to find our favorite read out loud books. I have found some beautiful used book shops on Instagram and go to a local store that I purchase my books from. OR just check the books out from your local library. I hope you enjoy these as much as me and my family.



I'm Julia Mederich - My husband Jordan and I have 3 boys (7, 4, and 2) and a girl on the way. We are a Charlotte Mason inspired homeschooling family and enjoy going on nature adventures, reading aloud, and learning through play.

We live in Northwest Wisconsin.

I'm excited you're here! And hope this content inspires you on your homeschooling journey.


”Home is the nicest word there is.” -Laura Ingalls Wilder

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