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By Melissa Vaca

6/20/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Ultimately it is up to the parents to decide, of course, what is suitable for their family

Many of the books that I have listed are typical for homeschooling book lists.I assigned the books to a grade level, but each novel is suitable for a range of ages. The grade levels are really only a rough guide and I used a combination of the publishers' recommendations and the homeschool curriculum book lists to determine the grade levels. Thank you so much for Catholic Online and for your tireless work for the glory of God.  Thank you also for Catholic Online's support of homeschooling.


By Melissa Vaca

Catholic Online (

6/20/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Homeschool, summer, reading, reading list, Melissa Vaca

ABU DHABI, U.A.E. (Catholic Online) - I am not a teacher by profession and neither am I an expert on children's literature. I am a homeschooling mother of four children. I have a keen interest in children's literature.  I believe wholeheartedly, with Michael D O'Brien, author of "A Landscape With Dragons", when he calls the children's literature scene a battle for our children's minds. 

Much of the content of children's literature these days is filled with what I call poison for their young and impressionable minds.  I am distressed by the books that young children are required to read in schools.  I am also alarmed by the fact that too many parents do not have a clue about what their children are reading.

Whenever someone recommends a book to me, I go straight to Amazon and read the one and two star reviews.  Many times I have found reviews written by Catholic homeschooling mothers who point out exactly what I want to know about the books I'm going to hand to my children (or NOT, as the case often turns out to be).

I have compiled the list from various sources, including some books that I have.  I have not read many of the books on the list.  I have relied heavily on Catholic bookshops and publishers that I trust - especially for the books for older children and young adults. I trust anything that is published by Bethlehem Books and Ignatius Press.  I have also looked at three different Catholic homeschool curriculum booklists.  I also consulted the book I mentioned above, "A Landscape With Dragons", which contains a list of recommended reading. 

Many of the books that I have listed are typical for homeschooling book lists.I assigned the books to a grade level, but each novel is suitable for a range of ages. The grade levels are really only a rough guide and I used a combination of the publishers' recommendations and the homeschool curriculum book lists to determine the grade levels. Ultimately it is up to the parents to decide, of course, what is suitable for their family. I have to get this email away to you now because I am surrounded by children, badgering me about this, that, or the other and waiting for me to get on with "school". 

I actually live in Abu Dhabi, so Sunday is a school day (our weekend is Friday and Saturday and incidentally, the Arabian Vicariate has special permission to have obligatory Masses on Friday as well as Sunday). Thank you so much for Catholic Online and for your tireless work for the glory of God.  Thank you also for Catholic Online's support of homeschooling.

Grades 1 - 2

The Squire and the Scroll, Jennie Bishop
The Princess and the Kiss, Jennie Bishop
The Errant Knight, Ann Tompert
Take It to the Queen: A Tale of Hope by Josephine Nobisso
The Weight of a Mass: A Tale of Faith by Josephine Nobisso
My Father's Dragon, Ruth Stiles Gannet
Elmer and the Dragon, Ruth Stiles Gannet
The Dragons of Blue Land, Ruth Stiles Gannet
The Hundred Dresses, Eleanor Estes
The Sword in the Tree, Clyde Robert Bulla
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, Alice Dalgliesh
The Courage of Sarah Noble, Alice Dalgliesh
Magic Treehouse Series, Mary Pope Osborne
A Day on Skates, Hilda Van Stockum
Betsy-Tacy, Maud Hart Lovelace
The Family under the Bridge, Natalie Savage Carlson
My America Series, Various Authors, Scholastic

Grade 3

Homer Price, Robert McCloskey
Philomena, Kate Seredy
The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Beverley Cleary
Mrs Piggle Wiggle Series, Betty MacDonald,
A Penny for a Hundred, Ethel Pochocki
Happy Times in Noisy Village, Astrid Lindgren
Little House Series, Laura Ingalls Wilder
Bantry Bay Series, Hilda Van Stockum
Mr Popper's Penguins, Richard Atwater
The Children at Green Meadows, Enid Blyton
Pollyanna, Eleanor H. Porter
The Story of Dr Doolittle, Hugh Lofting
Charlotte's Webb, E.B. White
Egyptian Diary : Journal of a Young Scribe, Richard Platt

Grade 4

The Mitchells Series, Hilda Van Stockum
My Side of the Mountain, Jean Craighead George
The Penderwicks, Jeanne Birdsall
The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis
Ginger Pye, Eleanor Estes
Pinky Pye, Eleanor Estes
Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, Robert C. O'Brien
Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, Rumer Godden
Daughter of the Mountains, Louise Rankin
Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
The Fairchild Family Series, Rebecca Caudill
Five Children and It, E. Nesbit
The Small War of Sergeant Donkey, Maureen Daly
Secret Agents Four, Donald Sobol
Hitty - Her First Hundred Years, Rachel Field
The Borrowers, Mary Norton
Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry

Grade 5

Letzenstein Chronicles, Meriol Trevor
Alvin's Secret Code, Clifford Hicks
Alvin Fernald, Foreign Trader, Clifford Hicks
The Golden Goblet, Eloise Jarvis McGraw
St Clothilde, Blandine Male
A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Bantry Bay Series, Hilda Van Stockum
If All the Swords in England, Barbara Willard
Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson
The Kitchen Madonna, Rumer Godden
The Blue Fairy Book, Andrew Lang
The Diddakoi, Rumer Godden
Anne of Green Gables series, L.M. Montgomery
Redwall Series, Brian Jacques
Little Lord Fauntleroy, Frances Hodgson Burnett
Toothpaste Millionaire, Jean Merrill

Grade 6

I am David, Anne Holm
The Weka-Feather Cloak, Leo Madigan
Madeleine Takes Command, Ethel C. Brill
The Railway Children, Edith Nesbit
The Phoenix and the Carpet, E. Nesbit
Red Hugh Prince of Donegal, Robert T. Reilly 
Beorn the Proud, Madeleine Pollard
Red Falcons of Tremoine, Hendrey Peart
Son of Charlemagne, Barbara Willard
Sun Slower Sun Faster, Meriol Trevor
Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze, Elizabeth Foreman Lewis
The Good Master, Kate Seredy
Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O'Dell
Hittite Warrior, Joanne Williamson
Ship's Boy with Magellan, Milton Lomask

Grade 7

The Ides of April, Mary Ray
The Flying Ensign, Showell Styles
The Rose Round, Meriol Trevor
The Strange Intruder, Arthur Catherall
A Long Way From Welcome, Echo Lewis
Presenting Miss Jane Austen, Mary Lamberton Becker
Cobra Island, Rev. Neil Boyton, S.J.
The Eagle of the Ninth, Rosemary Sutcliffe
The Bronze Bow, Elizabeth George Speare
Stowaway, Karen Hesse
Old Yeller, Fred Gipson
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg
And Now Miguel, Joseph Quincy Krumgold
Mara, Daughter of the Nile, Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Grade 8

The Good Bad Boy: The Diary of an Eighth Grade Boy, Fr Gerald Brennan
Enemy Brothers, Constance Savery
The Door in the Wall, Marguerite De Angeli
Hidden Treasure of Glaston, Eleanore Jewette
John's Treegate Musket, Leonard Wibberley
Outlaws of Ravenhurst, M. Imelda Wallace
That Girl of Pierre's, Robert Davis
The Trumpeter of Krakow, Eric P Kelly
Adam of the Road, Elizabeth Janet Gray
The King's Thane, Charles A Brady
Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
The Prince and the Pauper, Mark Twain
The Drovers Road Collection, Joyce West

Grade 4 to 8

Vision Book Series of the Saints, Various Authors, Ignatius Press

Grade 9

Leave if You Can, Luise Rinser
The Borrowed House, Hilda Van Stockum
Beyond the Desert Gate, Mary Ray
Spring Tide, Mary Ray
Under a Changing Moon, Margot Benary-Isbert
Black as Night - A Fairytale Retold, Regina Doman
The Forgotten Daughter, Caroline Dale Snedeker
The Shadow of the Bear, Regina Doman
Lilies of the Field, William E. Barrett
Cross Among the Tomahawks, Milton Lomask

Grade 10

All Creatures Great & Small, James Herriot
I, Juan de Pareja, Elizabeth Borton De Trevino
The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Elizabeth George Speare
Carry on Mr Bowditch, Jean Lee Latham
The Winged Watchmen, Hilda Van Stockum
Awakening, Claudia Cangilla McAdam
The Blood Red Crescent, Henry Garnett
Angels in Iron, Nicholas C. Prata
Last Crusader: A Novel about Don Juan of Austria, Louis de Wohl
The Samurai's Tale, Erik C. Haugaard
The Quiet Light - A Novel about St. Thomas Aquinas, Louis de Wohl

Grade 11

Murder in the Cathedral, T.S. Elliot
A Man for All Seasons, Robert Bolt
Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey
The Ballad of the White Horse, G.K. Chesterton
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Emma, Jane Austen
Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift
A Philadelphia Catholic in King James' Court, Martin Kennedy
Canterbury Tales, Chaucer
Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas

Grade 12

The Edge of Sadness, Edwin O'Connor
Dear and Glorious Physician, Taylor Caldwell
David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
Out of the Silent Planet, C S Lewis
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, J R R Tolkien
The Vicar of Wakefield, Oliver Goldsmith
Loser Letters - A Comic Tale of Life, Death and Atheism, Mary Eberstadt
Father Brown of the Church of Rome, C.K. Chesterton
In This House of Brede, Rumer Godden
Looking For The King - An Inklings Novel, Dr. David C. Downing
Poor Banished Children, Fiorella de Maria Nash


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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
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