I covered books 1-5 here. Below are the remaining five books:
6) Lyle the Crocodile series (Bernard Waber)
Another story of family, this one including the unexpected addition of a crocodile. (I’ve linked to one collection of Lyle stories, but there are many, many other titles that aren’t included in this particular copy.) Notable to conservative readers is that Lyle never stops being a crocodile, and in one book goes out to find his birth mother, but is nonetheless firmly a member of his adoptive Primm family, valued for his own unique identity and distinct contributions.
7) Little House on the Prairie books (Laura Ingalls Wilder)
This famed series has a lot to teach about a true family-based economy and household, and also about the American frontier and Western expansion. It also features some truly magical writing and imagery, with enlightening descriptions of how families used to live.
8) The Boxcar Children (Gertrude Chandler Warner)
I’ve linked to a set of 12 books, but this series has far, far more titles available. It tells the story of four siblings, the Alden family, who lose their parents and spend some time camping out in the woods in a boxcar because they fear that their grandfather, now their guardian, won’t like them or will split them up. Their grandfather eventually finds them, all wrongs are righted, and they spend the rest of the series working together to solve a variety of mysteries. It’s a fun, wholesome series that promotes the value of the sibling relationship, so sorely neglected in today’s media.
9) The I Survived books (Lauren Tarshis)
Disclaimer here: I’m working with these now with my own sons, and I cannot vouch for the entire series. Some of the books so far have had a little bit of annoying liberal ideology sprinkled here and there, but mostly the focus is on the storyline, and that part is well done. They generally follow different characters through a variety of famous disasters, battles, and other significant moments in American history (the Revolutionary War, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, etc.). My boys have been devouring them; what I appreciate is how much American history they teach, and how the storyline encourages the listener to really get into the head of someone living through that particular period.
10) The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis.)
These classics have much to teach about the virtues, Christian living and the mystery of the Faith, family love and loyalty, persevering in the face of evil, and so much more. They’re also simply a lot of fun to read; the writing is witty and entertaining, the imagery is magical, and the story is gripping. The series is also an excellent introduction to the realm of fantasy writing, which holds so much for young minds. (Tolkien is of course equally valuable; I personally just find Lewis easier for young children, and a good preparation for The Lord of the Rings series.)
Once again, this is by no means an exhaustive list, merely some reflections. One of the best things that parents, grandparents, and other adults can do for children is to continue the tradition of telling truly good stories, stories that inspire to virtue, that teach Christian living, that promote family and true friendship. Children who hear such stories from an early age will have a firmer foundation on which to base their moral reasoning and character development. And to any who object that their own children or grandchildren prefer video games, or don’t really like to read, or something along those lines, I have one response: I have yet to meet a child or adult who doesn’t love being read to. It may very well be in our genes from the hunter-gatherer days of gathering around the campfire to swap stories, or later on in history, gathering in the great hall to listen to the traveling poet. There is simply something magical about hearing a good story from someone you love. So if you suspect your own loved ones won’t read the books themselves, try reading to them. You may be surprised at how much you both enjoy it.