Thoughts on Living Books

Living books are the soul of Build Your Library curriculum. But what is a living book? To me, a living book is a book that comes alive when you read it. It leaves a mark when you’ve finished reading and lives in your heart forever after.  

That might seem like a lot to ask of a book. You might be thinking that it might limit your choices to have to search for a book that fits that definition. Thankfully, there are thousands upon thousands of living books to choose from! And I’ve done the work for you. I’ve read stacks and stacks of books to find the best books for you in Build Your Library curriculum.

 One of the first things I read about when I first began homeschooling was that children should be surrounded by wonderful ideas. They should be immersed in fairy tales and stories of heroes and other such things for them to think about and ponder. So I strove to fill our little homeschool with books that would fit that purpose. My home is brimming with literature – from Tomie de Paola’s folk art style picture books to Shakespeare to Tolkien to A.A. Milne and Madeleine L’Engle. I have shelves of science books and history books, poetry, art and geography, I’ve tried my hardest to hit all “subjects.” But I always hold each book to the Living-Books-Test. Is it written by an author who knows their subject? Does it hold my attention? Does it bring the subject to life? Does the story live and breathe?  If the answer is yes, that book earns itself a place on my shelves.

“..the choice of books, which implies the play of various able minds directly on the mind of the child, is a great part of that education which consists in the establishment of relations.”

When you choose a program from Build Your Library curriculum, you can be sure that your child will be reading and listen to some of the best books that are currently in print. They will be surrounded by some of the greatest children’s literature and you will fill your shelves with beautiful thoughts and ideas for them to dwell upon. Because at Build Your Library, we strive to build young minds one book at a time.

Related Article(s): Thoughts on Early Learning


Emily Cook is the author and creator of the secular homeschool curriculum Build Your Library, a literature-based K-10 program infused with the teachings of Charlotte Mason. She writes full year lesson plans as well as shorter topical unit studies. Emily has been homeschooling her four children in Southern NH for 14 years. She is passionate about reading aloud to children of all ages and loves to share her love of literature with others. She and her family also makes incredibly dorky videos about homeschooling, books and more on Youtube at ARRRGH! Schooling. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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