25 Books That Make Great Family Read-Alouds

I am a big believer in parents reading to and with their children, even in their teen years. Sharing great stories together is a quality way to spend family time and grow parent-child and sibling bonds. I made a list of most of the books we have read together in our family for the past three years. Some of these were read as mother-son or mother-daughter reads while others were family reads.


When selecting books to read with my children, I've just chosen what I thought would appeal to them at the time. What we like to do is read the book and then watch the movie, if there is one. The following are books that I think would suit multiple ages at the same time, but always use your own parental judgement as you know your kids best: 

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo (Skip the movie version. Not worth it.)*

Mary Poppins, by P. L. Travers (The Disney movie is quite different from the book.)

The Mouse and the Motorcycle, by Beverly Cleary

Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen (There is a movie version which is pretty good.)

The One and Only Ivan, by K.A. Applegate*

The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett (There are various illustrated versions of this book and also several movie versions. We chose the Hallmark version and were disappointed because it's different from the book.)

The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart (This is a fun adventure series which we will continue reading.)

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis (This is a series of 7 stories and should be read in order.)

Others I would recommend for upper elementary-middle school age:

Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens 

Touching Spirit Bear, by Ben Mikaelsen*

Old Yeller, by Fred Gibson (Disney has a good movie version.)

The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien (One of my all-time favorite stories. The cartoon movie version is actually the closest to the book.)

Wonder, by Raquel J. Palacio (I highly recommend this book! I think it makes an excellent read-aloud story with discussions.)*

Nightmares, by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller (There is a sequel.)

The Fourth Nephite, by Jeffrey Scott Savage (There is a sequel.)

The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth George Speare*

The following are adventure stories that are great for middle school age boys, like Marcus:

Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson (There are a few movie versions. We chose the one with Charlton Heston. We also watched Disney's Treasure Planet.)

The Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann Wyss (I like the Disney version, even though it does differ a bit from the book.)

Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne (We chose the movie version with Pierce Brosnan which was pretty close to the book, but of course we love the one with Jackie Chan because he's so funny!)

The following are great books for teenage girls to share with their moms:

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott (I like the movie with Winona Ryder best.)

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure, The Good Parts Version, abridged by William Goldman (Warning: this does have some language, but for the most part is clean and fun.)

The following are books which are true stories and we read them when Marcus was in his 6th grade year. They are excellent for family discussions:

Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio, by Peg Kehret*

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban, by Christina Lamb and Malala yousafzai*

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand (This book is not pictured, but was excellent. Just make sure to read the version adapted for young adults. There is also a movie.)*

*I want to acknowledge Sister Rowley for these stories as she chose them to read aloud to Marcus' Liahona Junior class and I would sit with Marcus and together we'd follow along. Thanks, Sister Rowley. You have excellent taste in read-alouds.

Have you read any of these books with your children? What are a few of your family's favorite read-alouds? And thanks for stopping by! Just this past weekend, we enjoyed our first "bloom night" here in Tucson. I posted about it on my homeschool blog so be sure to check it out.

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