Understood Betsy is a 1916 novel for children by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. The story tells of Elizabeth Ann, a 9-year-old orphan who goes from a sheltered existence with her father's aunt Harriet and cousin Frances in the city, to living on a Vermont farm with her mother's family, the Putneys, whose child-rearing practices had always seemed suspect to Harriet and her daughter. In her new rural life, Elizabeth Ann comes to be nicknamed "Betsy," and to find that many activities that Frances had always thought too demanding for a little girl are considered, by the Putney family, ordinary expectations for a child: walking to school alone, cooking, and having household duties to perform.
The child thrives in her new environment, learning to make butter, boil maple syrup, and tend the animals. When Frances announces she is to be married and has come to "save" Elizabeth Ann from the dreaded Putney cousins, she is amazed to discover that the little girl is quite content to stay. The story ends after Frances has returned home, with Betsy, her aunt Abigail, uncle Henry, and cousin Ann sitting quietly and happily around the fireplace enjoying the knowledge they will now be a family for good. (Summary from Wikipedia)
This book started as a book I liked, became a book my kids liked, and now is a book my grandkids like. And it has been a inspiration in my own writing.
It isn't perfect by any means, but it is an inspiration. The view it takes of school: changing the little girl's idea of why she was there from marking time to actually learning, from regimented grades to learning what you need to learn. The view it takes of family: of sacrificing your own desires to help the others in your family.
These ideas alone are worth the read, and there is far more in this book!
Understood Betsy was one of the books that inspired the Bobtails series. It is by no means a Christian book, but we highly recommend it.
Captains Courageous is a book that will live down in history. It is an incredibly coming of age story chronicalling the transformation of a spoiled rich boy into a hardworking and humble young man. Not Christian, but utterly worth reading.
Real men don't take guff from snotty kids. Neither does Disko Troop, skipper of the "We're Here", a fishing schooner out of Gloucester, Massachusetts, when his crew fishes Harvey Cheyne out of the Atlantic. There's no place on the Grand Banks for bystanders, so Harvey is press-ganged into service as a replacement for a man lost overboard and drowned. Harvey is heir to a vast fortune, but his rescuers believe none of what he tells them of his background. Disko won't take the boat to port until it is full of fish, so Harvey must settle in for a season at sea. Hard, dangerous work and performing it alongside a grab-bag of characters in close quarters is a life-changing experience.
And when Harvey at last is reunited with his parents, who have thought him dead for months, he must face the hard decisions of how he will allow his experience to change his life. (Summary Mark F. Smith)
Man of the Family
Man of the Family is the sequel to the book 'Little Britches', and helped inspire the 'Bobtails' series, especially Robert.
Man of the Family follows the Moody family after their father's death, and the primary goal and tension of the book involves the oldst son, Ralph, as he assumes his role as 'man of the family'. While not a Christian book, it cannot be more highly recommended.
Along with the entire series. A warning, though... some of the books have rather difficult themes. So read them first or with your kids.
Swallows and Amazons
The first book in a classic series, this book serves as an antidote to today's 'helicopter parenting'.
The first title in Arthur Ransome's classic series, originally published in 1930: for children, for grownups, for anyone captivated by the world of adventure and imagination. Swallows and Amazons introduces the lovable Walker family, the camp on Wild Cat island, the able-bodied catboat Swallow, and the two intrepid Amazons, Nancy and Peggy Blackett.
Henry Reed's Babysitting Service
Henry Reed has another sure-fire money-making plan--but the kids of Grover's Corner have plans of their own
An intelligent person like Henry should have no problem riding herd on the town's toddlers. But Henry's never tangled with such monsters as daredevil Danny, whose stunts keep Henry on his toes--when he's not ducking the toys Danny hurls at his head. There's also Bernice, the amazing disappearing five-year old, the always obnoxious Sebastians, who want in on the fun, and Henry's old friend Midge, able to outwit any fiendish five-year-old.
Three Times Lucky
A hilarious Southern debut with the kind of characters you meet once in a lifetime
Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her "upstream mother," she's found a home with the Colonel--a café owner with a forgotten past of his own--and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known.
Full of wisdom, humor, and grit, this timeless yarn will melt the heart of even the sternest Yankee.
Sugar Creek Gang- Original (vintage) Edition NOT modern re-write!!
Hanging the imaginary horse thief Snaterpazooka in the Sugar Creek Hills leads to a real-life shoot-out in Western Adventure. The adventure includes an out-of-control campfire, a horse-killing thunderstorm, and a runaway boat. As Bill Collins faces trouble with Tom Till, he remembers the sermon about ruling your spirit and being slow to anger. Learn with Bill the importance of choosing the proper boss.
The Phantom Tollbooth
If you have any pretensions at writing word humor, this book is essential. And if you wish to introduce your children to the concept that words can be fun, ditto.
This beloved story -first published more than fifty years ago- introduces readers to Milo and his adventures in the Lands Beyond.
For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams. . . .
Winnie the Pooh (Original Editions)
Any author can learn from AA Milne. His use of language is brilliant.
In 1926, the world was introduced to a portly little bear named Winnie-the-Pooh. Along with his young friend, Christopher Robin, Pooh delighted readers from the very beginning. His often befuddled perceptions and adorable insights won the hearts of everyone around him, including his close group of friends. From the energetic Tigger to the dismal Eeyore, A. A. Milne created a charming bunch, both entertaining and inspirational. These simple creatures often reflected a small piece of all of us: humble, silly, wise, cautious, creative, and full of life. Remember when Piglet did a very grand thing, or Eeyore's almost-forgotten birthday?
Tom Brown's School Days (unabridged!!)
Stalky and Co.
Rudyard Kipling published Stalky & Co. in 1899. Set at an English boarding school in a seaside town on the North Devon coast. (The town, Westward Ho!, is not only unusual in having an exclamation mark, but also in being itself named after a novel, by Charles Kingsley.)
The book is a collection of linked short stories, with some information about the eponymous Stalky's later life. Beetle, one of the main trio, is said to be based on Kipling himself, while Stalky may be based on Lionel Dunsterville.
The stories have elements of the macabre (dead cats), bullying and violence, and hints about sex, making them far from the childish or idealised world of the typical school story.
The Everlasting Man
In The Everlasting Man, a humorous defense of Christianity which inspired C.S. Lewis, Chesterton shows that once man is reduced to animal, history becomes utterly meaningless. What truly gives man his dignity is the fact that he is so different from the beasts. What makes Christianity so different is that it tells of the story of the true man, the final man, the everlasting man, who came down in history and transformed it.
The Everlasting Man is a two-part history of civilization, Christ, and Christianity, by G. K. Chesterton. Originally published in 1925, it is to some extent a deliberate rebuttal of H. G. Wells' Outline of History, disputing Wells' portrayals of human life and civilization as a seamless development from animal life and of Jesus Christ as merely another charismatic figure. Whereas Orthodoxy detailed Chesterton's own spiritual journey, in this book he tries to illustrate the spiritual journey of humanity, or at least of Western civilization.
What's Wrong with the World
From Loyal Books:
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874–1936) has been called the “prince of paradox.” Time magazine observed of his writing style: “Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out.” His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry, biography, Christian apologetics, fantasy and detective fiction.
The title of Chesteron’s 1910 collection of essays was inspired by a title given to him two years earlier by The Times newspaper, which had asked a number of authors to write on the topic: “What’s wrong with the world?”. Chesterton’s answer at that time was the shortest of those submitted – he simply wrote: “Dear Sirs, I am. Sincerely yours, G.K. Chesterton”. In this collection he gives a fuller treatment of the question, with his characteristic conservative wit.