“Read me a story please?”
Kids’ books today tend to be watered-down versions of what used to be great literature.
What many people don’t realize is that many of yesterday’s meaty reads for youth are still available in digital form. A goldmine of high-quality literature can be found if you just know where to look. Our family has always been big on reading to the children. Digitized books have made it so much easier to keep a library at our fingertips.
All of my kids’ earliest memories involve me reading to them. Over and over again we read The Cat in the Hat, Where the Wild Things Are, or The Legend of the Candy Cane. Now that they are older, our stories are too. We love historical fiction, especially the stories that my Grandma grew up reading.
Why use out of print books for homeschooling?
- You don’t have to waste time waiting on inter-library loan for these books.
- You won’t need to buy another bookcase.
- You will never need to dust them, wipe jelly off of them, or retrieve them from the jaws of a teething puppy– or baby.
- They are usually low-cost or free.
- Many of these books have been digitized for Kindle readers, which makes them infinitely portable and STORABLE.
- The older books are not dumbed down. They contain more complex sentence structure than current children’s literature generally contains.
- Even fictional tales usually include some type of moral or reflect strong family values.
- Lower and primer level books reinforce traditional phonetic teaching, often including word lists with pronunciation and syllable breaks.
- The hand drawn illustrations are usually lovely and can be used for picture study and writing prompts.
Here are some of my favorite Kindle downloads for kids’ US History study.
(Click the links to download from Amazon.) Not all the Kindle books are free, and all of them are affiliate links. Verify the price before you click to purchase.
1. The Story of the World 5 Vol. Series by M.B. Synge. We have now read three of these volumes and they definitely hold my boys’ attention! We love the digital format of these particular books (as opposed to the PDF versions we have used in the past). Mrs. Synge does a wonderful job of telling the histories in a way that both draws the reader in and keeps them interested. Elementary and up.
2. American History Stories by Mara Pratt. There are four volumes, but we are still reading Volume One. She goes into short biographical stories of key people in our history. We are learning a lot! Mid-Elementary and up.
3. Stories of the Pilgrims by Margaret Pumphrey tells the story of how the pilgrims escaped England and came to the New World. Written to children, but in no way does it talk down to them. The stories here are fun and interesting, and the illustrations are wonderful. Lower elementary and up.
4. Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin is a family favorite and a regularly read book used in both Ambleside Online and an Old Fashioned Education curriculums! (Free from the Kindle Store!) Elementary and up.
5. Richard of Jamestown by James Otis tells the story of a boy named Richard Mutton in colonial Virginia. It gives a very good view of what daily life was like in the colonies, complete with stories of how they cooked, cleaned, built homes, and more. (Free from the Kindle Store.) Elementary and up.
6. Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans by Edward Eggleston contains more biographies of the founding fathers. Eggleston has a way of writing which appeals to boys especially well. (Free from the Kindle Store.) Elementary and up.
7. Stories of American Life and Adventure by Edward Eggleston has more rich stories of early American life with biographical stories intermingled with daily life told with literary flair. I love Eggleston! (Free from the Kindle Store.) Elementary and up.
8. The Men Who Found America by Frederick Winthrop Hutchinson is just simply a wonderful living book full of history told in a way that pulls you in as you read about Columbus, Balboa, and even Montezuma. They don’t write kid’s historical fiction like this any more. Mid-Elementary and up.
9. The Minute Boys of Boston by James Otis is about Luke Wright and his friends, a group of young men who join the Cause of defending the colonies from the Redcoats who have moved in, not only to their cities but even their homes, and rid them of the tyranny of the King of England. Appropriate as a read-aloud for 10+.
10. Boys and Girls of Colonial Days by Carolyn Sherwyn Bailey tells more stories of the daily life of children in the colonies. Geared for lower elementary.
Kindle makes it easy to carry an entire library of high-quality literature where ever you go. Whether you are carschooling, traveling full time, or just running between therapy appointments you can easily homeschool on the go!