Our family loves to read. Since my kids were young I have read aloud to them as well as encouraged them to read independently. When we travel, we always pass the time listening to our favorite audiobooks. So it’s safe to say that books are an integral part of our family life.

This is exactly why we were so excited to get the brand new book Hand That Rocks The Cradle: 400 Classic Books for Children by Nathaniel Bluedorn. In this slender volume is a concise reference of the best books to read together as a family or for your children to read independently. Each entry includes a brief summary of the book, the time period in which the story takes place, geographic setting of the story, publication date, and the reading level. There is also a topical index in the back that makes it easier to identify books on various subjects. In addition, the book has been cleverly shaped to make it an easy reference tool to carry to the bookstore or library when looking for new books.

Most of the selections listed tend to be older books. Mr. Bluedorn states in the introduction that his family is more conservative and so the selections tend to reflect their preferences. However, he has also included a few more recent books that may come as a surprise to a few readers.

When the book first arrived in our mailbox, my youngest daughter, who is 10 years old, immediately started going through to see what books she had read were included on the list. On her very next trip to the library she started checking out books that she had seen listed in this book.

These days finding suitable books to either read to children or to let them read on their own has increasingly become a challenge. With this book, Mr. Bluedorn (and his parents, too) have done a tremendous service to families everywhere. Homeschool families will also particularly benefit from this book as it will make selecting appropriate books to incorporate in their curriculum a much easier task. I highly recommend Hand That Rocks The Cradle as it is one of the best resources I’ve discovered in quite a while.