OUT OF THE BEST BOOKS
In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord instructs His servants to "seek words
of wisdom, out of the best books." We firmly believe that His instruction
does not just apply to books of scripture or "Church-material."
In fact, we believe that good books are everywhere, and are the basis of every good education. We hope this booklist will be an aid to you as you teach in the home. These lists are being regularly updated and added to, so check back often! Many of these books can be found at your local library, but if you purchase through our links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you), so thank you!
Your support allows us to continue producing products that are free to use.
This booklist correlates to our study guide, Christlike Attributes. Learn character through stories.
Use this resource as a free elementary history curriculum, or a supplement to your current studies.
This list includes books and hands-on experiments. Use as a full Elementary curriculum or to supplement what you're doing.
OUT OF THE BEST BOOKS
Questions & Answers:
Q: Why so many picture books? Is this list for young children?
Picture books are a wonderful way to learn, even if you are a teenager or adult! Picture books allow readers to see beautiful illustrations, read quality words, and learn about many, varied and interesting things- without taking all month to read. Whatever your age, you never grow out of quality picture books. We have worked hard to include only high quality books. These are not board books with phrases like "The cat sat." or "Red bird. Blue bird. Green bird."
These books do not speak down to children, but are full of complex words, stories, and ideas.
Many of the books are aimed at Elementary-aged kids, but can still supplement and teach
older kids or teenagers.
Q: Some of these booklists are referred to as "curriculums."
Is a list of books really enough to teach my child?
YES. In a world that prioritizes testing, worksheets, and other "proofs of learning" - we declare that BOOKS ARE ENOUGH. Of course, we hope that you will supplement your child's learning with hands-on activities, field trips, and discussions. Make beans and cornbread when you read The Little House on the Prairie, visit the Dinosaur museum when you read about fossils, and when you read about the American Revolutionary War, ask your child questions like, "Who do you think was braver, Lafayette or Washington? Why?"
But there is nothing in the world that can improve a child's academic success as much as reading high-quality literature, especially when that reading is a delight and not a chore.
(Tip: Make it a delight by sharing snacks, snuggling, and not immediately "quizzing" your child after each book.) These "curriculums" are primarily appropriate for Elementary aged kids, but many of the books can be used to supplement the learning of older children and teens.
Q: Are these books written from a Christian or LDS perspective?
Yes and No. There are books from many different authors, with different backgrounds and experiences. We know that all children of God have the light of Christ within them, and we also know that Christians or members of the Church of Jesus Christ are not better writers, scientists or historians than those who practice different faiths. We hope that these books will help you to draw closer to each other and Jesus Christ- even when that is not the overt purpose of the books you are reading. We also know that learning about people who are different than us will only strengthen one's belief that God created each of His children individually and intentionally.
Q: Why are some of these books so expensive on Amazon?
You do not need to buy any books on this list! Use your library if you can!
Many of these books are out of print. That is because literacy across the world is actually decreasing. The truth is, people wrote more excellent books (with complex language and high moral standards) in the past. There are many wonderful authors and illustrators still making quality books worth reading, but too many of today's books feature TV characters or overly-simplified lessons for children. If you want to purchase your favorite books or your library selection is limited, we recommend buying used books from Thriftbooks.com, Ebay.com or Bookfinder.com instead of new books Amazon.
Q: What is the criteria for being included on this booklist?
The books on this list have one thing in common: They are living books. There are no (or very few) reference books or text books. You can find information anywhere. It is very easy to Google questions like, "When was Abraham Lincoln's birthday?" It is a bit more difficult to find answers to "Why did Abraham Lincoln decide to grow his beard out?" (Even that question can be answered by Google, but we prefer a book.) But questions like, "How did a little southern girl feel during the Civil War?" can really only be answered one way: In a story.
The books we recommend sometimes have scary themes, they have characters who make bad choices, they have broken families, and tough choices. That is what it is like to be human in a fallen world. We do not glorify the ugly and broken- but it is by seeing others overcoming obstacles that we learn how to overcome our own.
Not every non-fiction book on this list includes a story, but we still tried to find books that are beautifully written and illustrated. In short: the books on our list are a joy to read- and hopefully will make you a better person and teach you something, too!