homeschool, reading life

Living Books for Free Reading

Books Are Friends

I’m a reader. Books are my friends. But Kathryn reads even more than I do! Every now and then, I’ll share some of our favorite reads, with a bit about each, so you can add you think interesting to your own “To Read” list.

Living Book Recommendations for kids (and older!):

Gentle Ben by Walt Morey

Gentle BenGentle Ben

Fiction; nature; Alaskan wilderness.
I assigned this one to Kathryn, but she doesn’t usually balk at that because 9 times of of 10, she likes my choices. Once she picked it up, she didn’t put it down. She insisted I read it, so I did — and I loved it. {Can I have a pet bear?} Totally cool fact: this was Mr. Morey’s first novel, written when he was 58 years old!

Year of the Black Pony by Walt Morey

Year of the Black Pony

Fiction; adventure; frontier living.
After Gentle Ben was such a big hit with Kathryn, I looked for more novels by the same author. We are now officially Walt Morey fans. Kathryn loved this one as much as the first one, and we’re happy to know Mr. Morey wrote more than just these two books! After I read this one, Kathryn and I discussed it, and one of the things we agree upon is that a well-written book is a well-written book no matter what reading level. On the other hand, a lame story is a lame story, period. What makes a living book isn’t reading level; it’s getting lost in the book, becoming personally invested in the story. Both of these have done that for this 39-year-old mom and my 12-year-old advanced reader, but a younger child could read and enjoy them as well. We’d recommend Walt Morey’s novels for boys, too; both books are adventure-filled and feature boys as the main character.

Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

GoneAway Lake

Kathryn has even dreamed about Gone-Away Lake, and has already read the sequel — which she also loved. The publisher suggests this one for upper elementary reading level, but again, the story is good enough to entertain an older reader. This one would also be boy-appropriate, but not quite as boy-themed as the Walt Morey books above.

Want more of Kathryn’s recommendations for your kids? See the booklist widget in my sidebar, or see Kathryn’s recommendations here.

Two recommendations for the Mamas:

Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker


Non-fiction; Christian living.
Jen’s writing style is often humorous, but hard-hitting. I’ve enjoyed a few of her Bible studies before, but this one rocked my world. I’m still digesting. You wouldn’t want to borrow my copy; it’s full of highlights, underlines, squiggles, and notes throughout — and notes in my own journal as well. That’s how I know it was really good. If you’ve ever felt tired of “doing church” and living a very average life, read this.

The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser

The Sweetest Thing

Historical Christian fiction.
Set in my backyard (Atlanta) in a time period I find fascinating, and written by one of my favorite authors. I’ve enjoyed every novel I’ve read by Elizabeth Musser, but this is one of my favorites. It’s a story of faith, but not a saccharine-sweet story like so many Christian novels.

Have you read anything really good lately? Tell me in the comments because we always love new recommendations!

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[…] you soon) and so I appriciate when others give suggestions. Check out Jamie’s suggestions for books for both kids and […]


Oh thank you for the recommendations! I believe books are friends, too, and am always looking to meet new friends. Can’t wait to try these!

Ruth Duncan

So glad to hear about this one. The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser. I have read two of her books and really loved them. Can’t wait to read this one.
Thanks for the info.