ECC book discussion, ideas, favorites

My Father's World uses a Book Basket method to develop a love of learning and enrich all subjects; Independent Reading Time has different goals and methods but there is overlap in book lists and helpful hints

ECC book discussion, ideas, favorites

Unread post by cbollin »

Winni wrote:My 10yo loves "stories", not info books. Anyway, there aren't many chapter books in book basket this week (week 10).
There do seem to be more fiction and chapter books in other countries than in Brazil. The main chapter books for there are the read alouds from the deluxe package. It does change from country to country. And it does change each year too.

A couple of little things about book basket: it is different from "reading" time. Book basket is more to browse information and not necessarily for finishing a book, which is why there are fewer chapter books.

Reading time: this is where you can get your favorite chapter books, either related to what you are studying or not and finish those books. In the very back of the t.m. you'll see a list of general library books by "grade" level. Or you can use other reading lists to get titles too. Nothing wrong with that.

My 11 y.o reads a lot of chapter books this year from both general readings and even with book basket.

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Unread post by Lucy »

Hi Winni,

I will just add on to what Crystal has already said.

You can also use Honey for a Child's Heart to find other good read alouds. They will not be history related necessarily. Although it is great to learn history through historical fiction, if MFW could not find one then it is not listed. That does not mean you will not find one that they missed. In fact if you find a really good one jot them a note and maybe it will end up in the next edition.

Also, as Crystal mentioned, although a chapter book can be read during book basket time it is a time to learn from different sources about the topics you are studying in history, science, art and music.

Like Crystal said every year is different and I think that some years have more chapter books than others. When you reach years 4 and 5 there are many because of the time in history. In CTG there are several listed but the time period just does not have as many excellent chapter books. You will even notice in CTG that the read alouds in the package are not historical fictions, with the exception of The Children's Homer which is read during the history block. Although they list some other historical chap. books for read alouds or reading in the TM, they did not feel they were excellent enough to ask you to buy them and to read them with your whole family. The St. John books are wonderful for all ages. I am glad they found a year to include them.

So, I would definitely look for other good chapter books for her to read but realize and help her too as well that book basket is to give her a time to learn more on her own from these different resources.

I hope this helps you a bit.

wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

If there aren't enough of the types of books your daughter likes in Brazil, you might continue with one of the other continents. If I remember correctly, there were quite a few chapter books in North America & Europe? And it seemed a few in the first weeks of ECC that applied to all the continents (like Around the World in 80 days maybe?).

Also, if she enjoys the missionary biographies, there are several more that apply to South America. They may not be available in libraries, and if not, they probably wouldn't be on the book basket list.

1. Bruchko, which MFW sells for 7th-8th graders, if your dd is up to that reading level.

2. YWAM sells Jim Elliot & Rachel Saint bios, if you have completed Nate Saint.

3. There is a sort-of goofy missionary series by Ron Snell about being a missionary kid in Peru: It's a Jungle Out There, Life is a Jungle and Jungle Calls.

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
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Unread post by MJ in IL »

My daughter was 11-12 when we did ECC. She is a huge reader but used the book basket time as more of a "Free time." She read picture books, looked through the atlases and other reference books I had in there, but also read other books at her level. For those...

We added other of the YWAM books (both the missionary stories and the older ones like Bruchko) and Trailblazer books for book basket time. I can access my library on-line (well sort of, but that's another thread:) and simply typed in the country we were studying to find additional books. Do watch this as my daughter brought me one book she was not comfortable with. (I don't pre-read her books as she goes through so many and is quite responsible as far as content goes.)

I also want to second the list at the back of the manuals as I had not read all the titles with her.

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Unread post by LSH in MS »

There are more chapter books in the other years particularly in years 3-5. I do remember some in ECC though

Ali and the Golden Eagle comes to mind
We all loved Letters from Rifka and The Endless Steppe
King of the Wind
We also did additional biographies Eric Liddell etc

These we used for read alouds but they could also be used for reading time or book basket. If your child enjoys reading chapter books then maybe have her read those for a longer time, and shorten book basket. It really is for browsing. Maybe you could ask her a question or two for each day and see if she can find the answer in the book basket info books.

These are just ideas. Take it or leave it as you see fit. But the format in the TM can be adapted to meet your needs\desires. When my children were young and not reading well book basket was an extended read aloud time.

Also for my dc's reading time I have my older 2 read to each other aloud from the same chapter book because it helps them stay focused. They are just the opposite of your dd, they could look at book basket books\picture books all day but need nudging to read chapter books.

So adapt as you see fit and stretch them as well to meet your goals for them.

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Unread post by shellie »

Hi Winni!
I am currently doing ECC with my 2 boys (ages 8 and 11). I have 2 separate piles of library books: one is the Book Basket with all the geography and science related books, and the other is a pile of chapter books that the boys and I have picked out together for their afternoon reading sessions. I have thrown some chapter books into the book basket when I can find the related ones, but my guys never seem to be drawn to historical fiction. (They think every one I've brought home looks "girlie"! Except "Paddle to the Sea" which was definitely NOT girlie, but they still didn't pick it up, even when I eliminated almost all the other choices trying to GET them to read it because I thought it look so cute! haha! So I finally used it as a read aloud! and they loved it! ... But I digress from your original question...)

I must say that even though they complain a bit when it's book basket time, they have learned a LOT from the factual, colorful books that they have browsed through. They occasionally bring up a really interesting (usually random!) thought, and when I say, "Cool! How did you know that?", the answer is almost always, "Oh, I read it in the Book Basket somewhere." So, like it or not, the Book Basket time stays for my guys! ^__^ I hope you can find a good balance for your daughter.

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Unread post by kellybell »

Two ideas (but first let me say that they aren't to contradict the above messages which were all good):

1. Put a kid's Bible in the book basket. That way there is always something good in there.

2. Ask your dc (particularly your 10 yo) what types of books they'd like to see. Then, include those types in the book basket, but not to the exclusion of other books. If a child is stumped on what a "book type" is then give her ideas such as folktales, missionary stories, cookbooks, atlases, factual books about the geography of an area, stories about how real kids live, history of the area, books about the culture, etc.

Oh, make that three ideas:

3. If there's a book in the book basket you really want your dc to experience simply announce, "today for book basket I'm going to read to you."

Hope some ideas help...
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
MJ in IL
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Unread post by MJ in IL »

I'm going to file this:
kellybell wrote:If a child is stumped on what a "book type" is then give her ideas such as folktales, missionary stories, cookbooks, atlases, factual books about the geography of an area, stories about how real kids live, history of the area, books about the culture, etc.
My daughter loved trying to make a menu for our country...the cookbook idea in the book basket (w/ the page in the TAtW) would be a good use of time for planning that!

Thanks! Molly

PS...This is the first time I've figured out that quote feature!
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Unread post by LaMere Academy »

You know, my children are just not getting in to the book basket thing. We are a house of books in the first place and I read aloud to them every day no matter what, during the summer too. So they're not interested in looking at books, really. I like the idea and they did that when they were younger, but not anymore. So I stock up our basket with the book basket books and read them to them during school time. Otherwise they sit there and gather dust.
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Unread post by Lucy »

Winni wrote:That's what happens here, too, unless I say, "Ok, I want you to spend 15 minutes looking/reading through the book basket. I'll set the timer." Otherwise, no interest. I don't get it. I think the books are great!
We have been doing book basket now for 5 years and my kids still do not run to book basket. I wish they did but when I was a kid I didn't read at all except when required. My kids love there reading books but not info. as much. But they are always amazed at what they learn and we still do it. I read them too.

wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
Sue in MN
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Unread post by Sue in MN »

Winni wrote:That's what happens here, too, unless I say, "Ok, I want you to spend 15 minutes looking/reading through the book basket. I'll set the timer." Otherwise, no interest. I don't get it. I think the books are great!
I thought that was how you were suppose to do book basket time - assign 15 min. for free reading of the book basket. I think this is what is most disheartening for homeschool moms. We expect our dc to just want to study. But they are children so of course they would rather play than work. Just set the timer and don't worry about it. You all sound normal.
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Unread post by Tracey in ME »'re right...sigh...ok.
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Unread post by MJP »

Julie in MN wrote:There is a sort-of goofy missionary series by Ron Snell about being a missionary kid in Peru: It's a Jungle Out There, Life is a Jungle and Jungle Calls.
We read the first one, and my children loved it. Actually, I did too. However, I did use white out in this book. So if you tend to be careful about what your children read I would suggest previewing this one.
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Chapter Books - Are these listed?

Unread post by LSH in MS »

joykids wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2007 8:21 pm
I am hoping someone can give me some insight into ECC. I am researching using this for next year. We will have 9 yo dd, 7 yo dd, 5 yo dd and 3 yo ds. The three girls and I really enjoy our read aloud time. I understand the concept of the book basket and like that idea.

My question is this: Are the book suggestions primarily picture books or are there suggested chapter books as well? I guess I need a better idea of what this program is like.

Thanks in advance!
We loved ECC. We did a lot of extra read alouds and I also read a lot of picture books aloud as my children were young and loved to be read to. Don't miss those picture books, they are gems! There also are chapter books to choose from.

A few we loved

Anne of Green Gables and Incredible Journey for Canada
Letters from Rifka and Endless Steppe for Russia
Ali and the Goldn Eagle for Saudi Arabia
Snow Treasure for Norway

We also enjoyed the Count Your way through.... series
and another non-fiction series about each country with simple text and lots of pictures explaining the history and culture of each country.
joykids wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:06 pm
Thanks for all your answers, definitely what i needed to hear. It sounds great for us!

wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
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Historical books about each country

Unread post by kellybell »

Lainie wrote:Hello all,
We are doing ECC with older two. We love MFW and it is a perfect fit for our family. My eldest dd has more than enough to do but is a big reader and enjoys reading history books, biographies, etc... I get almost all the book basket books for each country (yes I am thankful for an amazing library system here). Here is where I need help.

Do any of you know how I would go about finding great historical books about each country (we are currently in Norway) that are age appropriate? Even though she reads and comprehends at high school/college level, I am still very careful about content not being too mature. I'm at a lost as to finding very country specific good reading.
Posted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 11:02 pm
Wow, what a great problem to have.

A few years ago I purchased a book (it was a used library edition) called Cultures Outside the United States in Fiction by Vicki Anderson. The cover says: "A Guide to 2,875 Books for Librarians and Teachers, K-9." I reach for it now and then.

This book lists a zillion (okay, 2,875) books from different cultures. For each book, it gives a short description, telling of the plot and saying if the book is mystery, humor, etc. It also gives a recommended grade level. The books are organized by country in the first section. Other sections have the books organized by grade level, title, and author, making it easy to find a book.

The book is secular, as can be expected, but the descriptions seem to give hints at whether or not a book would be a good choice.

The edition I have is copyright 1994. I'm guessing there are updated editions out there too.

Be sure to stock your book basket with ALL sorts of books (fiction, nonfiction, history, craft books, books on the culture, cookbooks, biographies, myths) of many different reading levels.
Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 12:13 am

I have Let the Authors Speak & it might help, if the one you have on order isn't enough. It was kindof an overwhelming book to me, with pages and pages of lists & only a few words to describe each book, but it does have lots of books!

Another resource might be Paula's Archives online, at If you look around her site, she has lists for everything homeschooling, it seems.

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My 4th grade daughter's list for ECC

Unread post by kstedl »

Posted: Tue May 06, 2008 6:31 pm
Here is my 4th grade daughter's list for this year in which we did ECC:

Misty of Chincoteague
Sea Star

The Incredible Journey
The Hundred Dresses

Chucaro Wild Pony of the Pampas
Adventures in South America

The Secret at Pheasant Cottage
Snow Treasure

Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates

Three Go Searching
King of the Wind

The Jungle Book
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

Letters from Rifka
The Endless Steppe

The Water Babies
At the Back of the North Wind

The Wheel on the School

The Secret Garden

The Sign of the Beaver

I use many different sources to come up with my lists, including the MFW manuals.

[ Editor's note: More here: ... 026#p42026 ]
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Unread post by my3boys »

Posted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:06 pm

Hi Tamara,
I tried to PM you but I couldn't figure out how - so I hope it's OK to write my list here. I based this on what was available to me and also on the general reading list at the back of the manual - my ds is 9 and has read quite a few of those, but it is a good list. Also keep in mind that we school year round, so my list will go through next summer.

For read-alouds we are doing the following (in addition to the missionary stories that come with ECC, although I have decided not to read David Livingston):
Rainbow Garden
Secret at Pheasant Cottage
Stories from Africa (from Sonlight)
Missionary Stories with the Millers (short stories as they fit in)
Twenty One Balloons
A Question of Yams
Thornton Burgess books

For Readers:
Intro - Encyclopedia Brown stories
US - Nate the Great; The Hundred Dresses
Mexico - Incredible Journey
Canada - Mary of Mile 18; Tikta'liktak
Brazil - One Small Square Rainforest (or other non-fiction); optional
Norway - Snow Treasure; Hans Brinker (long picture book version)
France - A Gift for Mama; OSS Woods (or other non-fiction)
Germany - Heidi (illustrated classics version)
Kenya - King of the Wind
SA - Misty of Chincoteague
India - OSS Desert (or other non-fiction); One Grain of Rice; Rudyard Kipling audio books (from library)
China - Top of the World, Little Pear
Japan - The Big Wave
Russia - OSS Arctic (or other non-fiction); optional
Australia - OSS Coral Reef (or other non-fiction); optional
Antarctica - The Emperor Lays an Egg (or other non-fiction); optional

Optional List -
Beatrix Potter books
Winnie the Pooh books (originals)
Velveteen Rabbit
Henry Huggins series
Homer Price
The Borrowers
Ralph S. Mouse series
The Twits (or other Roald Dahl stories)

You can see that I didn't always try to make the reader on topic. Also, I obviously have picked books for boy interest - there are a lot of good girly stories that he just wouldn't be as interested in. There are a lot of great Little House readers too - Anyone else for reader ideas?
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Help filling book basket - Weeks 1-2

Unread post by Julie - Staff »

Sara B. wrote:There are so many of the books on my list missing from the Library. I am excited to get the book basket filled though. So I was wondering if you had any that you found worked well for your family so that i can have a greater choice to pick from. We are going to start next week, so week 1-2 for now please. :)
Posted Thu Aug 07, 2008 4:54 pm by Julie in MN
Hi Sara,
I remember putting every map we had in the house in the book basket those first weeks :o) I found some kinda interesting ones I forgot we had, and a few were sorta junk mail but they were maps!

Also look for DK-type books and Eyewitness-type videos & such. General topics like people of the world, biomes, and individual countries will give a flavor for the year.

There are a few books on this thread, although books lose out to cakes & oranges :o)

This thread has 3 pages & there must be some books in there somewhere! I know there are some videos & puzzles & such, which can also be stuck in book basket.

Posted Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:09 am by Sara B.
Thanks Julie,

I did find 500 places to take your children before they are grown, and some other around the world type stuff. I bought a super large map and have it on the wall. So maybe if they are interested in the places in the books we can start looking things up early. I couldnt find any of the books on maps. Only the picture books on the list. lol. So Countries, and Cultures here we come. Thanks for your references!

Posted Fri Aug 08, 2008 10:20 am by Julie in MN
I just want to be sure you're not afraid to use picture books this year. They are a precious part of ECC. In fact, my collage graduate, engineer son was home this summer & reading some of our picture books on things. He says he always learns something :o)

I know with middle schoolers in the mix, you'll enjoy *more* than picture books, but I wanted to mention that the picture books can be in there, too!

Oooh, the 500 places sounds neat.... Be sure to post on the ECC ideas board if it turns out to be something your kids get a lot out of. You know, I'll be doing ECC with an 8th grader next year & looking for your posts :o)

Posted Sat Aug 09, 2008 8:35 am by Mommyto3boys

I often typed in the country as a general keyword and found lots of good books. My dc enjoyed the fairy tales from different countries. I didn't record all the books we found. I was too busy with a new baby.

Debbie in NC
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Examples of books in book basket in ECC for 6th grader

Unread post by hsmomof5 »

4littlehearts wrote:Could you give me an example of some of the books listed for this? For example if the children were studying about islands in the Pacific would the Island of the Blue Dolphins book be included in the book basket list. Are there novels or chapter books (not just informational) on my dd's grade level included in the Book basket list?
There are a variety of books listed. My children have been really enjoying MFW ECC. We use the book basket suggestions for geography and science. There have been a few books which my library doesn't carry but we just substitute them with those on the same subject.
ds 19 (college freshman), ds 12, ds 12, and ds 10 (ECC '08) (CTG '09), dd 3 (Preschool)

Unread post by cbollin »

Book basket lists are very extensive in ECC. It's about 250-300 titles or something like that. It is not listed by strict grade levels of reading. Some titles will specifically say "for ages XX and up". But one of the things with book basket is that you aren't restricted to having to use a specific title. And if your child wants to read something in book basket that is below their grade level, that is ok too.

Book basket is extra reading. If the kid doesn't like the book, they can put it down and not finish that one. Some books are to be gleaned from and just read a bit here and there to get more information.

You'll find books that are information books (such as Bobbie Kalman's series of books, The People, The Land, The Culture. Not all of those books are on the list, but some of them are for some of the countries).

You'll find cookbooks ,such as Cooking the _______ (various ethnic) Way.

You'll find picture books, and folk tales from the country.

For older students, there will be longer novels listed that are set in the region you are studying. Usually these are classic titles that you'll find in other programs or other commonly read lists. My 7th grader daughter recently enjoyed a title "In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson". She'll probably enjoy Ali and the Golden Eagle if she'd read it. But she's not interested right now. So, you get longer books too.

Also in book basket, a 6th grader will find titles that enrich the science readings. Those will be non fiction titles related to the topic.

Also, you aren't restricted to having to use the exact titles on the list. You can use other things at your library. And you can adjust. If there is a book that you want your 6th grader to read, you can do that.

There is also a General Reading List of classics and such that is listed by grade level. That is a separate list from book basket. Island of Blue Dolphins is one of the many titles listed on that General Reading list (for that general age range). There is a slight difference between "book basket time" and "reading time". With reading time it doesn't have to be related to what you are studying, but it can be fun when it is. I'm confusing the matter, sorry.

In book basket for Pacific islands there is another longer chapter book (about 179 pages) that is suggested for older kids. We liked that one too :-)

One thing I like about books in MFW, is that you have a lot of flexibility and a lot of control for how it works in your house.

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Can't Miss ECC literature selections?????

Unread post by mamacastle2 »

fdjoyce wrote:We are getting ready to start ECC. I will get 95% of my books from the library but want to purchase a few for our home. We have the deluxe package so have all the books in there.

What were your absolute favorite- don't want to miss titles that you read together?- especially picture books or easy read alouds (we have a huge list of lit for our oldest already.) I have looked at the list in the TM already but need some help picking whcih ones were favorites or other books not on the list that you loved.

Thanks in advance.
Mr. Popper's Penguins was a big hit at our house.
The How to Make Pie books (apple & cherry).
The Rag Coat & the Hundred Dresses.
Owen & Mzee books.
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Re: Can't Miss ECC literature selections?????

Unread post by doubleportion »

Wow! There were so many! These are books you want suggested to buy, right? You can look at the books in the Recommended Reading List that have a star by them. Some of those look really good but we couldn't find them at our library. And it wasn't in my budget to buy them.

Children Just Like Me
The Little Red Ant and the Great Big Crumb
One Small Square books
Truck to the North by Andy Turnbull (not in the TM but loved this book for Canada and Alaska)
Paddle to the Sea
Northern Refuge- A Story of a Canadian Boreal Forest by Audrey Fraggalosch (not in TM)
Nature's Green Umbrella
14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy (not in TM)
How to Draw..... books by Justin Lee
Count Your Way Through..... Books
Look What Came from ..... Books
A Question of Yams by Gloria Repp (for Australia, Papa New Guinea, not in TM)
The Pumpkin Runner
The Empty Pot

I have a list of our favorite books for each ECC week at my blog, if you would find that any help.

Happy Reading! You are going to love ECC. I know we did!


Re: Can't Miss ECC literature selections?????

Unread post by cbollin »

I like the How to Cook the <> Way series. (italian, chinese, russian, west african, south african...... etc etc)

nice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, special menu, pics, background, etc.


oh, I guess those aren't fiction ? sorry.

agreeing with Edie -- when you get book basket list in the manual, take a look for the titles with asterisk by them. They are gems of the gems.

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Re: Can't Miss ECC literature selections?????

Unread post by TriciaMR »

I think one book we found was called "Cactus Soup" - I don't think it was in the list - it's a Mexican take on "Stone Soup." We make cactus soup regularly around here for dinner on Sunday nights. mmm-mmm-mmm. There were a couple of others we found by asking the librarian and she took us too the Spanish section of the Children's books. A lot of them had Spanish with English subtitles, or vice versa, so it was fun to see how the English got translated into Spanish (if you know any Spanish, that is).

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