During this meal some efforts were made to deal with the question of the Psammead in an impartial spirit, but it is very difficult to discuss anything thoroughly and at the same time to attend faithfully to your baby brother’s breakfast needs. The Baby was particularly lively that morning.

Five Children and It

I love reading stories of big families to my kids. There is just something special about a child meeting a character in a similar situation as their own. Especially if your child’s life is a bit off the beaten track.

These days, life in a big family is life off the beaten track. It can also be a little… overwhelming… for everyone.

Kids in big families- especially the older kids- are often asked to contribute quite a lot. My kids probably do more around our home than just about all of their friends. Of course, our house is also full of joy six times over, and I wouldn’t trade the sibling relationships I watch blossom every day for the world.

Even so, we’ve got a lot of little folk running amok over here, and that means it’s often loud, messy, and chaotic.

If books are to be our companions (and: of course they are), then they ought to meet us where we’re at.

We meet a character in a story and instantly feel kinship. We realize that we’re a lot less alone in the world than we otherwise thought we were.

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I love that when we’re reading a book like Five Children and It, my kids laugh out loud at the boisterous little Lamb of a baby. They giggle over the toddler’s antics, and smile affectionately when a character sighs over her daily household duties.

They get it.

If a book has mischievous toddler twins? Well, that’s a no-brainer around here. We’re all in- and every single one of us is laughing through the whole thing.

(Actually, even if you don’t have a pair of twin tyrants running about, but you’re feeling weary and overworked- grab The Seven Silly Eaters and give it a read. You’ll be glad you did.) ;)

Here is a list of my favorite books for kids in big families. It’s just one category in our free Read-Aloud Revival Booklist.

Big Families
Five Children and It

Five Children and It

FROM SARAH

Five siblings discover a sand-fairy who will grant one wish a day... so they've got to use those wishes carefully! This classic tale is a delight.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

When Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane and their baby brother go digging in the gravel pit, the last thing they expect to find is a Psammead – an ancient Sand-fairy! Having a Sand-fairy for a pet means having one wish granted each day. But the children don't realize all the trouble wishes can cause ...

More info →
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Happy Little Family (Fairchild Family Story)

Happy Little Family (Fairchild Family Story)

$12.95

FROM SARAH

Told from the perspective for 4-year-old Bonnie (the youngest in the family), this cute series of stories features a look at family life in Kentucky in the early 1900s. Happy Little Family is the first in the series.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Bonnie is more than ready to join her older sisters and brother in the many adventures she sees come their way, whether it be sliding along the ice, searching for arrowheads, or going on that journey of all journeys-across the swinging bridge to school. Winter or summer, something is always happening in the Fairchild house, tucked amidst the pine trees of the Kentucky hills one hundred years ago or more.

More info →
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All-of-a-Kind Family

All-of-a-Kind Family

FROM THE PUBLISHER:

Set at the turn of the century, All-of-a-Kind family is about 5 kids living with their kids in New York. There’s lots of everyday life in this book, but there’s also a surprise just around the corner …

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Half Magic

Half Magic

FROM SARAH

It’s such a boring summer, so when Jane finds a coin, she wishes something exciting would happen. Of course, it does! A funny and classic family tale for all ages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

It all begins with a strange coin on a sun-warmed sidewalk. Jane finds the coin, and because she and her siblings are having the worst, most dreadfully boring summer ever, she idly wishes something exciting would happen. And something does: Her wish is granted. Or not quite. Only half of her wish comes true.

More info →
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Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (Dover Children’s Classics)

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (Dover Children’s Classics)

$6.95

FROM SARAH

A classic that was first published in 1880, the Peppers have fallen on hard times. But the little Peppers band together to help their mother. Lovely language!

FROM THE PUBLISHER

A favorite of children, parents, and teachers for generations, this heartwarming classic first appeared in 1880. Since then, it has inspired countless young imaginations with its tender tales of the ways in which courage and good cheer can overcome adversity.

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Cheaper by the Dozen (Perennial Classics)

Cheaper by the Dozen (Perennial Classics)

$13.99

FROM SARAH

Written by two of the “dozen,” the Gilbreth’s share their childhood memories growing up with 10 other siblings, and an efficiency expert father who thinks everything is easier done en masse, including getting the kids’ tonsils removed.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Translated into more than fifty languages, Cheaper by the Dozen is the unforgettable story of the Gilbreth clan as told by two of its members. In this endearing, amusing memoir, siblings Frank Jr. and Ernestine capture the hilarity and heart of growing up in an oversized family.

More info →
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On to Oregon!

On to Oregon!

$6.99

FROM SARAH

Captain Sager leads his family across the Oregon Trail as they deal with animals, sickness and many big decisions.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

The epic journey of the Sager children by covered wagon from Missouri to Oregon in 1848.

More info →
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The Seven Silly Eaters

The Seven Silly Eaters

$7.99

FROM SARAH

As each new child arrives in the family, the family food requests get more and more complicated, and Mrs. Peters finds herself accommodating more and more tricky appetites. But when her birthday comes, so does a surprise.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Peter wants only milk, Lucy won’t settle for anything but homemade lemonade, and Jack is stuck on applesauce. Each new addition to the household brings a new demand for a special meal. What’s a mother to do?

More info →
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Jo’s Boys (Bantam Classics)

Jo’s Boys (Bantam Classics)

FROM SARAH

The third in the series starting with Little Women and followed by Little Men. The boys in Jo's school have grown up in this bittersweet finale.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Set 10 years after Little Men, Jo's Boys revisits Plumfield, the New England school still presided over by Jo and her husband, Professor Bhaer. Jo's Boys — including sailor Emil, promising musician Nat, and rebellious Dan — are grown. Jo remains at the center of this tale, holding her boys fast through shipwreck and storm, disappointment...and even murder.

More info →
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Little Men (Puffin Classics)

Little Men (Puffin Classics)

FROM SARAH

Jo of Little Women fame is all grown up and has started a school. Homeschoolers might find some tips and ideas in this sweet sequel.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

In the treasured follow-up to Little Women, Jo March returns as a mother of two sons and schoolmaster to twelve orphans. Now Jo Bhaer, literature’s beloved heroine has transformed Plumfield, the decorous New England estate of the March sisters’ youth, into a progressive school.

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The Penderwicks

The Penderwicks

FROM SARAH:

One of my tippy-top recommendations... if your kids haven't met the Penderwicks yet, it's time! A summer of misadventure ensues when four sisters meet a very interesting boy (and a couple of rabbits, too!) at a summer cottage in New England. Boys and girls alike enjoy this whole series. Hear Jeanne Birdsall talk about writing this series on her episode of Read-Aloud Revival.

FROM THE PUBLISHER:

This summer the Penderwick sisters have a wonderful surprise: a holiday on the grounds of a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon they are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel's sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts.

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