The Princess and the Goblin

Today’s book recommendation comes from the brilliant English writer, Gilbert Keith Chesterton.

Quote from the introduction written by G.K. Chesterton for George MacDonald and His Wife by Greville M. MacDonald (full essay available on chesterton.org)

Chesterton was not the only author who adored George MacDonald’s writings. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis both loved and were influenced by MacDonald’s fairy tales.

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The full text of The Princess and the Goblin is available on Gutenberg.org, which has free downloadable books from the public domain.

Memoria Press has published a printed copy of the book with Jessie Willcox Smith’s illustrations (in my opinion, the very best!). 

 

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New Year, New Plans

Hoping you had a merry Christmas and are having a great start to the New Year! I have been looking forward to beginning a new year with Beloved Bookshelf as I enjoy the fresh start that a new calendar year provides.

These are my plans and priorities for 2020:

. . . finding editions of classics like Mother Goose, Grimm Brothers, Hans Christian Andersen, and Aesop’s Fables to recommend. Call it my nursery essentials list, if you will. Many booklists recommend these classics but do not always suggest which editions. I want to provide you with some great suggestions. All editions must have top-notch prose (when dealing with translations and adaptations) as well as beautiful illustrations.

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. . . recommending more chapter books. My children are six and under, so most of my time has been spent searching for picture books and nursery classics. My eldest daughter and I are now beginning to read chapters books together! I am also planning on reading a handful on my own this year. If your children are older and you need chapter book recommendations now, please check out this page where I list my trusted resources for finding book recommendations.

. . . book cover photographs above all of my book titles. Photographs are so helpful and this is my top priority in the coming months.

. . . and the project I am most excited to announce: grade-specific literature lists for homeschool and the classroom, beginning with preschool, kindergarten, and first grade!

Please send me an email if there is anything you would like to see on Beloved Bookshelf this year. I am grateful to several readers who informed me that they prefer age or grade-specific booklists rather than master lists. While I do think most of the books on my lists can be read at various ages, I do understand the convenience of organizing booklists this way. For example, “Put Me in the Zoo” is a splendid early reader, but my two-year-old toddler can’t get enough of it. Just something to keep in mind even after I reconfigure the booklists.

Finally, I want to make sure you don’t miss an article I added to my resources page a couple of months ago titled “Awakening the Moral Imagination” by Dr. Vigen Guroian. It is the best article I have read on the subject of why children should read fairy tales. I encourage you to read it! Dr. Guroian also wrote a book on this subject which I hope to read and review sometime on the blog titled Tending the Heart of Virtue: How Classic Stories Awaken a Child’s Moral Imagination. And . . . if you are looking for fairy tales to read with your child, here’s my great big list of illustrated fairy tales.

 

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Welcome! Introducing Beloved Bookshelf

Hello! My name is Lauren Williams. Welcome to Beloved Bookshelf.

My deep love of literature began at Hillsdale College, where I met professors and students who treated books not as something to be used or delighted in merely, but as the gift and treasure they are to our human flourishing. I ended up majoring in English, soaking up every class I could on the literary classics.

When I became a mother, I couldn’t wait to share my love of literature with my children. I had difficulty at first finding quality children’s books (choosing at random from the library bookshelf was unsuccessful), but then a friend directed me to John Senior’s booklist.

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This list was exactly what I had been looking for. Seeing the delight in my children’s eyes as we read Winnie-the-Pooh and the Beatrix Potter tales, hearing the questions they began asking, and observing how their imaginations grew was incredibly motivating. I began spending hours searching for other resources and combing booklists, determined to find the best children’s literature I could. Other parents expressed their interest in the titles I was finding and the seed for this blog was planted.

Over the past two years, I have checked out and reviewed hundreds of books with the hope that I could bring you these booklists. They are far from finished, but I hope they can begin to bridge the gap for other parents and educators searching for quality literature.

Here are my criteria for what makes a children’s book a real treasure:

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What I desire most for this blog is that these books will make their way into your library bag or on your bookshelves and that you enjoy them as much as we do! I would also be grateful if you shared your family’s favorite titles so we can help each other find the best children’s literature has to offer our families.

Thank you so much for visiting!

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About the name: I chose “Beloved Bookshelf” as a nod to an old habit I have of lining up my most beloved books on a shelf. Although my family does not own all of these titles, they would be lovingly lined up on a shelf (or shelves😉).