What is a Living Book?

One of the great things about being an educator is the ability to present good, true, and beautiful content for our children to learn from. Today we are going to look at the type of book that accomplishes this goal: a living book.

Sometimes, we get so excited that our kids are simply reading that we forget to put the effort into what they are reading.

However, when we take the time to select quality literature, the reading not only happens, but it also evokes enjoyment, inspiration, and imagination.


What is a Living Book?

In short, living books are books that are written in a way that are enjoyable yet, inspiring, and memorable. Furthermore, these books can be fiction or non-fiction and can be about any topic from butterflies to the quantum physics.

living books about nature



5 Characteristics of a Living Book

To begin, living books are in all genres, topics, and isles. Unfortunately, there are no living book sections at the book store or library. You are going to have to learn to identify them. With that being said, here are a few characteristics to look for:


1. A living book draws you in. 

To start with, this type of book will draw you in. Instead of simply being a spectator to the story, you experience the emotion and passion of the characters and/or the author. Thus, you feel part of the journey and share a sense of commitment and curiosity to make it to the end. 

2. A living book exemplifies good characters and high morals.

Secondly, a living book will inspire the reader to higher moral living. Demonstrated through qualities of true, honorable characters, authors promote things like honesty, perseverance, kindness, heroism, and compassion. 

With that being said, an author could also use poor character to make these exemplifications as well. 


3. A living book is written by a passionate author.

Thirdly, living books are almost always written by people who are deeply passionate about their subject. For example, the author’s excitement on the topic is shown on each page by the care and details put into their work.

4. A living book inspires the imagination.

Fourthly, living books get the imagination cranking. You read these types of books and subsequently, you are inspired you to wonder, explore, and create based on what you’ve read.

6. A living book makes you care about the subject.

Lastly, a living book can make you care about a subject that you might not have otherwise. By reading about the author’s passion, your interest is peaked and you find yourself hungry for more. 



What is the opposite of a Living Book?

The opposite of living books are books that are written poorly, are disrespectful, predictable, boring, or makes fun of inappropriate behavior. (Charlotte Mason termed these types of books as “Twaddle”)



Examples of Living Books

There are so many wonderful living books to choose from. For the sake of example, here are a few of our family’s favorites from our read-aloud book list this year: 

(Amazon affiliate links.)

nature study books


The Benefits of choosing Living Books

  • They are enjoyable to read
  • Living books inspire good character
  • These books will ignite imagination and creativity
  • They teach facts through an engaging story line
  • Living books create new interests
  • Living books leave a lasting impression



Learn More about Living Books:

If you would like to learn more on the topic of living books, here are some books and podcasts that explore the topic further. (Amazon affiliate links)


What are some of your favorite living books?


(This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links)


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