Here are 2 books that are older and lesser known, but I think you will like. They both happen to be Newberry Honor books as well, which tells you something about the quality of writing. These are very short books written for children, but feel free to enjoy them on your own. Although these books are marketed as being for ages 7-11 or so, I felt like both titles are better comprehended by adults. I have not shared either one of these with my kids yet. The plot lines in both books are very unique, and I enjoy re-reading them often. You could probably read each one in about 30 minutes.

 

 

The first book is The Light at Tern Rock by Julia Sauer, first published in 1951. It is still in print today, and easy to find at your library or on Amazon (affiliate link). In this story, a young boy and his elderly aunt agree to tend a lighthouse in December, while the keeper takes a vacation. When the keeper does not return, they have to spend Christmas at the lighthouse. If I say much more, it may spoil such a short book, but suffice to say that they have to deal with disappointment, lies, honesty, ethics, generosity, and keeping the Christian meaning of Christmas regardless of whether one is stuck in a lighthouse or not. These sound like deep lessons, and they are, but they presented to the reader tenderly and thoughtfully and without judgment.

 

My 2nd recommendation is The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson, first published in 1958. Easy to find and still in print (affiliate link). As the title suggests, this story follows a homeless family of mother and 2 children living in Paris. The descriptions of the city and the lifestyle of a 1950s Paris was fascinating to me. The family meets up with a homeless man, who is adopted by the children as their “grandfather”, much to their mother’s chagrin. However, she is newly homeless and grandfather knows how to live on the streets better than she does, so she reluctantly takes advice from him. While mom goes to work, Grandfather takes the kids to meet the mall Santa Claus, where of course they ask Santa for a house. I loved this book but I thought the older language and references might be lost on my kids. I think they would better understand the story when they are older. Other reviewers were offended by depictions of actions that the homeless population is associated with (lying and stealing), but my opinion is that a child would comprehend these actions as part of the story and not a lesson in how one should behave.

Have you read these? What did you think of them?

 

 

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