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Family Life: 5 Favorite Read-Aloud Books that Have Made My Family Cry



5 Favorite Read-Aloud Books that Have Made My Family Cry

by Rachel Schmoyer

One of the highlights of being a parent has been the cozy times when my kids and I have cuddled up on the couch and shared a good book together. Different books are memorable for different reasons. There are lots of funny books for kids that we remember fondly. Equally as memorable are the books that have caused us to shed tears.

Here are five books I’ve read aloud to my kids that have made us cry:



1. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.

A hard-hearted stuffed rabbit is passed from owner to owner. Sounds like a simple enough story, but Kate DiCamillo writes compelling characters like no other author. I would recommend any of her books as a read-aloud! Edward Tulane literally made my second grade son burst into tears…in a good way.

2. Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner.

This short chapter book is about Little Willy, a young boy with a sick grandfather who needs money. Little Willy is determined to enter and win the National Dogsled Race. He raced against real professionals like the Native American called Stone Fox. I read this book aloud to two of my children when they were in second grade and kindergarten. We had a snow day from school so I thought this wintery book would be a perfect read-aloud. When I put my two babies in for their afternoon nap time, the older two children and I started to read while snuggled up under blankets. I figured we would read one chapter a day for the week. We ended up reading the whole book in one sitting! Why the tears? You’ll have to find out for yourself.

3. By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I’m a huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fan and have read her books over and over again. When my daughter, Evelyn, was in kindergarten, I read the entire series aloud to her. She was fond of Laura’s dog, Jack, so when this book begins with Jack’s death, Evelyn bawled her eyes out! I felt bad at the time for making her cry, but now that she is in sixth grade, she looks back fondly at our reading time together. She even blogged her reflections on the book at Evelyn Jib-Jabs about Books.

4. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.

When I was a child, I read this book. I didn’t remember much about it except that it was about a horse named Black Beauty and it was written from the horse’s perspective. In an effort to read more classics with my kids, I found an abridged version of the book, one that had a line drawing on almost every page. It took us many days to finish the book and every time we picked it up I said, “Maybe something good will happen this time for Black Beauty.” But that time never came! There was lots of moaning and groaning! Maybe it was just the abridgment we read, but it was depressing. Let me know in the comments if you love this book or have read the original.

5. Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco.

This autobiographical picture book is about Trisha and her struggle to learn to read. She had no hope until a new young teacher entered her life. The story itself is emotional enough. Then the author has a personal note in the back of the book that explains more of the true story. A tear-jerker that warms your heart!

What books have made you cry? I’d love to hear them!

About the Author


Rachel Schmoyer is a pastor’s wife and mom of four. She blogs about finding simple truths in complex passages of Scripture at Read the Hard Parts. She also writes about parenting and other adventures at Rachel Schmoyer Writes. If she is not writing, she is probably reading, most likely a biography of one of the First Ladies of the United States.

You can connect with Rachel online on Twitter.

Rachel’s “Family Life” column is published on the 4th Monday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.


#RachelSchmoyer #FamilyLife #FamilyTime #Reading