Family Novels You Don’t Mind Reading Over & Over & Over

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Seems we are constantly running out of books to read at our house. Despite the fact that we regularly have 100+ resources checked out from the library at any one time.

Yes, yes, we do.

So I’m thankful for those novels that are so good you don’t mind reading again — and again.

Here are some of our favorites:

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness – We first read this book two years ago, but FishBoy8 dug it out recently, prompting not only his brothers but also FishPapa to dive into this adventure from Andrew Peterson. Hubs had never read the book and was sucked in almost immediately. He rarely reads novels, and he stayed up very late for several nights engrossed into the tale of Janner, Tink, and Leeli’s escape from Gnag the Nameless.

North! Or Be Eaten – The sequel to the aforementioned On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, this novel recounts the continuing Wingfeather Saga. Janner, Tink, and Leeli battle against Toothy Cows, Fangs, Stranders, and of course, Gnag the Nameless. There’s a fair amount of body humor, making it a huge hit with my boys, but be forewarned. Our whole family is impatiently waiting for the third installment of The Wingfeather Saga.

The Search for Delicious – The kingdom is in an uproar as nobles, royalty, and peasants alike cannot agree on the definition of delicious. One young boy must poll the entire kingdom and tally the votes, but one sinister character threatens to overthrow the King. Fun story complete with mermaids and dwarves. This lends itself to a great family discussion as to what’s delicious and what we’re thankful for.

The Hobbit – This classic tale from JRR Tolkein is a big family favorite. I didn’t have “ears to hear it” when it was required 8th grade reading, but I love it now. If you haven’t met Bilbo the Hobbit and followed his adventures with the dwarfs, a magic ring, and a dragon, there’s no better time than now! Of course, you must read this before the movie is released. So hop to it!

The Complete Chronicles of Narnia – Recently, my resident bookworm decided to tackle all the Narnia books and read them in 90 days. He finished in 10! Amazing, but he loved every minute of it, despite the fact that he had read some of them more than once. These classic novels from CS Lewis are way better than what you may have seen at the movies. Though Lewis denied they were Christian allegories, per se, the Christ figure of Aslan is hard to deny. Elements of repentance, forgiveness, grace, and perseverance are evident as the Penvensie children and their cousin Eustace visit Narnia, a magical world where trees can talk, mythical creatures roam freely, and children can be crowned kings and queens.

Got a favorite read again at your house?

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  1. Since my baby is under 2 we’re not really into novels yet. But I read and re-read Winnie the Pooh with my mom. I also loved Treasures in the Snow, about kids in Norway during WWII.

  2. Oh my! We have so MANY favorites!! We kind of ended up with two “groups” of children because there is a 6 year gap between the first 3 and the last four. But it has been fun because we are getting to share our favorites all over again as the “second front” gets older.

    Just off the top of my head: Moccasin Trail; Mara, Daughter of the Nile; and The Golden Goblet all by Eloise Jarvis McGraw; The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo; Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field; Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter; The Cat of Bubastes by G. A. Henty; The Dog Crusoe by R. M. Ballantyne; All the Lord of the Rings by Tolkein and Narnia by Lewis; The Light Princess, The Princess and the Goblins, and The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald; the Redwall books by Brian Jacques; and for Advent Jotham’s Journey and Bartholomew’s Passage by Arnold Ytreeide. Okay, I’ll stop. But it’s really hard!

      1. @Jessica Fisher, And I forgot all the Happy Hollisters books! My husband read these as a child and really enjoyed them so his mom gave us their copies. When they finished those, we got online and found dozens more used ones. It was fun waiting for the mailman to bring another box.

  3. We’re a young family, so right now books involve titles like “Max Cleans Up” and “Winnie-the-Pooh’s Opposites.”

    However, some family favs from when I was growing up were:

    – The Redwall books – a medieval world where mice and badgers with british accents battle rats and weezles. Hefty, well-written novels with clear lines between good and evil. So so fun.

    – The Battle for the Castle – seriously, why do most of the best kids books almost always involve knights and battles? A modern-day boy plays in a castle up in his attic, only to discover that the miniature knight he was playing with is real, and he needs the boy’s help to save his real-life castle.

  4. Any suggestions for a 5yo girl? I told her we would do a chapter book each month. Last month we did Charlotte’s Web. The month before, a Junie B Jones (Why did no one warn me!?). This month is Ramona.

    1. @Angie,
      Pippi Longstocking is one of my 8 year old daughter’s favorites. She read and reread it many times since she was in Kindergarten. The Judy Moody series is good, too. She does get a little snappy (she is a 3rd grader). My daughter also likes the Fudge books by Judy Blume. The Winnie the Pooh series is also good. Just familiar enough if you’ve seen the Disney movie but also has a few more chapters added.

      I do not care for Junie B Jones books, either. She can be so rude.

      I could (and have) read the Narnia series over and over again. And yes, the books are better than the movies – especially Prince Caspian. That being said, I can not wait for the Voyage of the Dawn Treader!

    2. @Angie, How about the Little House books, or another that my daughter enjoyed at that age was The Littles series, about a tiny family that lived in the walls of a house.

    3. @Angie, some of my favorites as a girl were the Little House on the Prarie series and Anne of Green Gables. Also, consider the Bobsey Twins and Nancy Drew.

    4. @Angie, thanks for the warning on Junie. My boys couldn’t care less, but the girls in a few years…. looks like you’ve got some great recs. And yes, Honey for a Child’s Heart is a good resource!

    5. @Angie, There is a series about a Mrs. Piggle-wiggle that I read over and over in elementary school. I read them over and over as a kid, and I really don’t remember any objectionable elements. She gives “cures” to kids who have character issues (i.e., if they won’t listen, she gives them a powder for their ears that makes things really loud, etc.) Fun books!

    6. @Angie, I must second the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, and I have to add in for anyone who has girls the Betsy-Tacy series by Maude Hart Lovelace. The series follows best friends from being five years old through Betsy getting married. My Mom passed these to my sister and I, I’ve read them over and over again through the years, and I shared them with my nieces (no daughter girls on my side of the family).

      1. @Alissa Fisher, LOVE Betsy and Tacy. Childhood favorites. They aren’t family read agains — yet. My girls are still a little young, but not too much, now that I think about it. Thanks for the nudge!

    7. Little House in the Big Woods, we love all the Little House Books (and Movies),We even did a unit study with them so much fun.

    8. @Angie, my daughter loved (and still loves) the Little House on the Prairie books. we started reading them when she was 6 and now she is almost 8 and still love them!

    9. Grrr – I had to sneak the Junie B. audiobooks into the trash can when my 6 yo was in bed.

      On a similar (but much less sassy note), my daughter really enjoyed the “Clementine” books by Sarah Pennypacker. Here are some other books we have read and enjoyed:
      *all of EB White’s books
      *The original Pooh Bear books
      *Amelia Bedelia series
      *Ralph S Mouse series by Beverly Cleary
      *Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne

  5. Scholastic has a great site that if you input the title of a book, it will give you other suggestions of books with that same reading level and style. I’ve used it often for my daughter when I am stumped for a book to suggest. You can also adjust the reading level for easier/harder than the title that you entered.

  6. We’re just starting novels with our 3 and 2 year old. It’s amazing how much they understand. I’ve started reading them at nap time when they are in their beds and I’m nursing the baby. I like that we’re getting in some great quality literature and that they are learning that not all books have pictures 🙂

    We’re starting The Chronicles of Narnia after Christmas.

    I would suggest for people to start reading novels to their children a lot sooner than they think they should, we’ve been very pleasantly surprised at their enjoyment of them (and you don’t have to read the same picture book over and over).

  7. We read the Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane with my son when he was younger and then recently reread it.

    I liked Little House and Anne of Green Gables, I read them over and over again.

    If you have a boy that is interested in Knights, I have a giveaway going on for two books from the Knights of Arrethtrae series – I have started the first one with my son…it’s our first knight book so it took a while to get into the style, but I like that it has many nice parallels to Christianity.

  8. When I was little we loved reading the Bobbsey Twins books. I don’t even know if they carry these at the library anymore. Anne of Green Gables and Little Women. Thanks for sharing this list. I enjoyed reading the other comments. My daughter is 4 so we’ll be embarking on this soon and I’m in search of great books for her.

  9. Another vote for the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. It was suggested to me back when I was single & waiting for another Harry Potter book to come out. I am way behind in the series now, but my 5 yr old liked one of the covers so we started reading it. I think he is still a little young (he doesn’t like how many words on on the page LOL), but loves being read to

  10. I have been reading the Magic Tree House series to my 4 1/2 yr old. He LOVES them. It is about a brother and sister who find a time traveling tree house and go on all sorts of adventures to collect special writings for the owner of the tree house. There are over 30 books in the series. Very entertaining and age appropriate. I read Charlottes Web and found myself filtering A LOT durring the story. I have not had to do this at all in these books. And I enjoy the stories as well. Also they touch on real history topics. So it helps to open up topics of intrest. At the end it gives real facts about what you have just read, and there are also companion books available for a lot of them to give more info if it is something your child was really intrested in 🙂

  11. The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill is a great read-aloud book. It’s a classic David & Goliath tale about the pushcarts from New York City uniting to defeat the Mighty Mammoth trucking company. My dad read it to me when I was a kid and it holds up well!

  12. Our current favorite is “Little Britches: Father and I were Ranchers” and then the rest of the Little Britches series by Ralph Moody. My son is 10 and it is the current favorite for both of us! Full of great, encouraging (and funny) quotes! I could go on and on…

  13. One of our favorites is My Father’s Dragon. It is a great chapter book for younger readers.

  14. My 9-year old loves to read! His favorites include The Magic Tree-house Series, Bunnicula and its sequels, My Father’s Dragon trilogy, The Boxcar Children, Charlotte’s Web and Trumpet of a Swan. He also still loves the Frog and Toad books which he’ll read aloud to his younger siblings. I have set aside for him the Redwall series which I think he might be ready for.
    Other ones I enjoyed, The Harry Potter series, Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart trilogy, Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, Paolini’s Eragon series, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, The Trixie Belden series ( I can remember entire summers reading and re-reading that series), and The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.

    Thanks for some excellent recommendations for future reading!

  15. Another good one is The Bronze Bow; historical fiction about a boy who lived during Jesus’ time.

  16. I loved the All-Of-A-Kind Family series (5 books) about a Jewish family of mostly girls who grew up in the early 1900’s in Lower East Side, NYC. They are wonderful books!

    1. These and the Little House series were my favorites when I was young.

  17. So many great ideas! Another thought – my 2nd grader is sitting right now reading “Little Pilgrim’s Progress,” a wonderful adaptation by Helen Taylor – short chapters, easy for kids to read on their own; I really recommend it. So does my daughter – I just asked her why she picked it today (since she’s read it at least 3 times now) and she said “It’s a great adventure story!” (We got it after reading Little Women, where Pilgrim’s Progress is used to help them aim for selfless behavior, so it might be fun to read that too!)

  18. oooh, some good ones here. i’ll add Louise Erdrich’s trilogy about an Ojibwa family on the shores of Lake Superior – we love these books – beginning with The Birchbark House; Patricia Wede’s Dealing with Dragons, about a feisty princess who’d rather live with the dragons than marry a prince; Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke, which we’ve listened to on audio several times (all 10 CDs…); and The House Above the Trees – very sweet, old book about a little girl who enters the world of the forest spirits for a while (author E. Elliot Cooke, I think?). Enjoy!!

  19. I’ve seen some books I know and other’s I don’t so far but as I’m English you might not know some of mine…
    I love the Katy series – especially the last two, Clover and In The High Valley, The Chalet School series by Elinor Brent-Dyer, The Abbey books by Elsie J Oxenham, The books by Monica Edwards (Punchbowl Farm series and the Westling series) Some of the Enid Blyton books are fun to read and mostly harmless although they don’t mention God like the Chalet School or Abbey books. And for the very young I honestly don’t think I will ever forget the words to The Gruffalo et al! For the older readers Charlotte Younge and Elizabeth Gaskill are interesting for the history and another childrens one I just remembered is Arthur Ransome and his wonderful Swallows and Amazons books. My Mother-in-law would say that The Woods of Windri by Violet Needham was her favourite.
    You migth notice that a lot of these books were written nearly 100 years ago and that is no accident. Reading is one of my favourite escapisms and I just hope I manage to pass the love on to my daughters.

  20. I have a 9 year old son who love to read. I want to get him into reading things that are going to “show him how to be a man” . Does any one have any suggestions for something that a 9yo boy would be interested in?