My children range from the tender age of 3 up to the spunky age of 10. I have been blessed with a few easy listeners, you know, the ones who pay attention and actually enjoy reading with you? However, 3 of my children are more like an everlasting bouncy ball. Their eyes, their hands, their little bodies quiver with movement: unable to sit still, unable to focus, unable to retain anything I read. It is as if the moment I start reading (in an animated voice I might add) their ears turn off and their attention is consumed by the very paint on the walls, finding everything far more amusing than the words I read. I knew that a large portion of this is the age of said children and I begrudgingly accepted the fact that the visions I once held of reading to my little cherubs whilst they hung on my every word were still hovering somewhere in the distant future. It was with an air of desperation and frustration that I finally threw my hands up in the air last year and gave up reading aloud to my kids (lest you judge me, I did continue to read short stories with lots of pictures and small poems).
About 6 months ago, everything changed for me. And it all started with the book, “A Thomas Jefferson Education.” I purchased this book from a recommendation of one of you guys and waited expectantly for it to arrive. I was intrigued to find that there was another homeschool style floating out there somewhere that I hadn’t heard about (I mean, I am supposed to be an expert). The day the book came in I had a guarding shift and I took it along thinking I had nothing better to do. Page after page I read, each one better than the last. I pulled a highlighter out of the drawer and began highlighting the phrases that spoke to me, I dog-eared pages I wanted to share with my husband. The poor book began to resemble a neon sign with all my furious highlight marks and notations. And still, I read. I couldn’t put it down! It was as though it was the culmination of everything I had been looking for in a way of teaching my kids but hadn’t put into words. I finished the whole book that night and by the time I came home in the middle of the night, I had a list of classic books that I wanted to purchase to make this method of teaching a reality.
I am putting together a more detailed blog post outlining the core philosophies of the Thomas Jefferson Education model, however today I wanted to share with you 10 of the classics we chose to start with, where we got them for the cheapest price on the net, and why I had them on my list! Don’t forget to pin this image on your homeschool board!
10+ classic children’s books for your bookshelf
After researching on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indigo, and other common online bookstores, I stumbled upon Dover publications. They have an entire line of classic “thrift editions” that are reprinted and sell for $3-$7. Comparing my carts was a no-brainer and I ended up getting over 30 books to start up our library. I will embed the unboxing video at the end of this post if you want other suggestions for books. The link to find all of the Dover classics in one spot is HERE. PLUS you can get an additional 25% off with code WHBM!
1. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Mark Twain has stood the test of time and the Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a common classic book. Recommended for ages 11+ (though we are reading it with all our kids who are younger than that) it was a must have on our bookshelf. If you are reading this with young children, you will want to take the opportunities as they arise to talk about the time the book was written in as there are some racial slurs. You can snag this book for only $5 on the site HERE (found on page 1) or by clicking on the image below.
2. Gulliver’s Travels
Gulliver’s Travels was originally written in 1726. I was drawn to this book because I remember a movie I watched as a child that endeared me to the storyline. Upon closer examination, I thought this would be a fun book to read with my 10-year-old son together and be enjoyed by both parent and child alike. Written in a witty, satirical fashion, I look forward to the quips and nuances about human nature that my son might not pick up on, but I will! This classic sells for $6 on the site, CLICK HERE (find it on page 3) or on the image below to snag your copy.
3. The Hound of the Baskervilles
Written in 1901, the Hound of the Baskervilles is a Sherlock Holmes mystery. Recommended for children 10+ and in my research looks to be more of a mind-bender than scary (perfect for my sensitive kids). I found no evidence of anything that I need to be wary of in this book, though I will read it before my kids. I am looking forward to introducing my kids to Sherlock in a way that is not too overwhelming. It sells for $3.50 on the Dover site HERE (page 3) or click on the image below.
4. The Prince and the Pauper
Published in 1881, this is one of Mark Twain’s most popular books. Because it is a story of two young boys, I thought this would be a perfect read aloud for my kids to help us discuss socio-economics, social systems, and caste systems both in the 19th century and contrasting to today! Selling for only $5, you can find it HERE, click on page 5, or click on the image below.
5. The Sea-Wolf
I read my first Jack London book this week and fell in love. I have not read the Sea-Wolf yet but I did some research before adding it to my cart. The summary of this story sounds similar to Moby Dick, and frankly, the reviews sound similar as well. This is recommended for older kids generally mainly because of the wordiness in the second half. So we will see how my younger ones do. Regardless, it was a book I wanted on my shelf and one I would recommend to help build your classic’s library, especially if you have upper elementary or middle school aged children. You can get it for $6 on the site HERE (page 6) or click on the image below.
6. Treasure Island
This is one of the top recommendations on any blog post or list I could find. With adventure, a positive role model to look up to, and a brilliant literary writing style it was simply a must have. You can find it on the website for only $ (page 7) HERE or by clicking on the image below.
7. The War of the Worlds
I remember reading this in my teens and LOVING it! In fact, I remember it as being one of the first science fiction books I ever read. Before reading it I probably would never have known that I enjoyed this genre so I was nostalgic at the thought of introducing my kids to the literary masterpiece of H.G. Wells. Available for only $5 on the website HERE (page 7), this is a great addition to your home library!
8. Uncle Tom’s Cabin
A rich story fueled by the human rights debate of the time it was published, this classic novel is sure to incite discussion and expand your children’s understanding of some of the turmoil that existed just over a century ago. It sells for $7 on the Dover website HERE (page 7) or click on the image below to add it to your cart.
9. White Fang
After receiving our box last week I couldn’t wait to get started. My son chose White Fang for his first book and I decided this was a great opportunity to follow the Thomas Jefferson model and read along with him. I LOVED this book. I have never watched the movie so it was completely new to me and I was surprised, intruiged, and crying at the end (happy tears). I loved how this book wasn’t too emotionally involved, both my son and I get very wrapped up in books and though difficult things happen, it is told with a sort of detached nonchalance that helps you easily adjust. This book made me think and we have been discussing elements of human nature, animal nature, our responsibility to animals, and even some philosophy. IT is sold for $4 on the website, find it HERE (page 7) or click on the image below.
10. The Story of my Life
Helen Keller, I have read books about her, but never her own autobiography. This is a short book, would be perfect to read with a child ages 8+ (if they have the attention span) and is sure to inspire your entire family! It sells for $2.50 on the website, just search for it HERE or click on the image below.
All these books for $34.13!
The cost of these thrift edition books is significantly less than any other website you can order from. But don’t forget that coupon code! Use code WHBM for an ADDITIONAL 25% off your order! That means that you can get all 10 classics for only $34.13 if you shop HERE. That is a pretty inexpensive start to your classic children’s books library!
Watch my kids open the box for the first time!
Other elementary ideas for children’s classic books:
-the Story of Winston Churchill
-Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
-Around the World in Eighty Days
-The Call of the Wild
-The Three Musketeers
-Notes from the Underground
-The Pilgrim’s Progress
-Journey to the Center of the Earth
-The Last of the Mohicans