How to Create a “Library for Life” for Your Child — and What Books to Put on the Shelf


Disclaimer :: This article contains sponsored content provided by Great Hearts Prairie View.

One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is a startup “Library for Life.” A Library For Life is a collection of great books that have made a mark on you over time. These are your favorite books -– cherished books that have had a special significance to you on your journey. They are the books you return to in tough times, the ones you read to remember who you are and what you believe.

When you have a Library for Life, you can flip through pages that have shaped you as a person over the years, whenever you want. You remember that teacher that inspired you, that character you connected with, and that profound lesson you learned.

And of course, you never stop adding to the shelf.

But this isn’t something you purchase for your son or daughter during senior year. It’s something built over time beginning in elementary school. It starts in the early ages. 

booksHow to Build a Library for Life

  • Create a special place on a shelf where only books that belong to your child’s library will live. You can even make a fun sign over the shelf that says “Library for Life.”
  • Every year, add four to five books your child read and valued to the shelf. If your child read the book in digital form, order a physical copy of the book so he or she can forever hold it.
  • By the time your child graduates high school, the shelf will be full of books that have shaped his or her life since elementary school. This shelf can be added to and carried on forever. 

For the Shelf

Here are five time-tested books to start with for children: 

  1. Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik, pictures by Maurice Sendak :: If your child is first starting to read, you’d be hard-pressed to find something better than Little Bear. It is very accessible and a sweet depiction of domestic life. The first book is about handling disappointment, and you will love the way the mother and her little bear talk to each other.
  2. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams :: Charlotte’s Web has a famously sad ending about the experience of deep loss, but that loss is rooted in Charlotte’s sacrificial friendship and love for Wilbur and her children. It is as much about virtue as it is about the realities of life.
  3. Peter Pan by J.M Barrie, illustrated by MinaLima :: Peter Pan is not just a popular book. It’s an important book for kids to read. If you can get hold of the edition published by MinaLima (designers of the Harry Potter movies), it is fantastic. The story is a great depiction of the ways that children think, as if you are inside a child’s imagination. The story is told with a unique respect towards children and their dignity.
  4. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder :: Few books can equal what Little House on the Prairie teaches about the nature of hardship and the importance of family in navigating life together. Only with family, it teaches, can you get through. It is a time-tested classic with many powerful lessons for children.
  5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle :: A Wrinkle in Time is an important book for burgeoning middle schoolers to read. The main character, Meg, is in that tough transition to the teenage years, so it gets at the heart of what is happening as you become a teenager — the struggles with identity and how that is tied into self-worth. Meg ultimately learns that she loves herself most when she is able to love others. 

Build a library for life.These are just a few of the books that we teach at Great Hearts Prairie View, a classical public charter school new to Fort Worth, where we encourage our students to build a Library for Life, one year at a time. At Great Hearts, we call these books “classics to keep.”

Great Hearts Prairie View logoRyan Mullins is headmaster at Great Hearts Prairie View. Great Hearts Prairie View is a classical, liberal arts charter school with tuition free seats available now for kindergarten through third grade. Learn more about Great Hearts Prairie View by visiting its website. Connect with Great Hearts Prairie View via email, Facebook, and/or Instagram


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