TOS Review: Read for the Heart


Because we love to read and because we strive for a literature rich environment to support our literature based approach to home education, I eagerly filled out the interest form for Apologia Educational Ministries’s, Read for the Heart because “I am always looking for great books to read to my girls.  This book looks like it will give me some great ideas”. 


Read for the Heart was not what I expected. I expected a book that listed some great books that I could read to my children or that my children could read to themselves.  Yes, Sarah Clarkson shares great literature in several categories but this book is different from other "read aloud list” type books I’ve read.

Miss Clarkson, a home school graduate, was raised in a literature rich environment.  As I read the first few chapters, I kept thinking, “this is what I hope my children have to say about our home school.”  She confirms for me the choice I made as a parent to place a high priority on books.

In the first four chapters, Miss Clarkson shares why reading is so important and what reading means to her.  The content of these four chapters is what I expected, however, she brings a new perspective: that of a home school graduate. I found it refreshing to read a book that came from the angle of “this is how I was raised. It really does work.  I really did grow up to love books” instead of the “I’m a parent (or educational expert) and we used literature in my home (or school) and if it worked for me, it should work for you.”.  


With chapter 5 we begin to explore genres of great books that can be read alone or read aloud.  It is these chapters that set that this book apart.  Miss Clarkson explains and articulates well what to look for in each genre.  Chapter 8 explores Fairy Tales and Fantasy.  I especially appreciated this chapter because it helped me to articulate why I struggled with letting my daughters read a popular modern fantasy series.  I think Chapter 8 is my favorite because she explains what a good fairy tale should do for us and what makes a fairy tale or fantasy novel good.

In addition to genres that I expected such as picture books, children’s fiction, historical fiction, and biographies, Read for the Heart also includes chapters on poetry, spiritual reading for children and a chapter covering music, art and nature!

I was looking forward to some lists of great books I could include in my home school and instead I discovered a treasure that inspires and encourages me.  This book would be invaluable for teaching me how to evaluate a good book even if there were no lists of great books.


Read for the Heart is available from Apologia Educational Ministries for $17.00.   You can read more about the book HERE including a sample chapter and the table of contents. Be sure and check out to see all that this vendor has to offer!

Please click on the banner below to read what my fellow crew mates have to say about Read for the Heart.PhotobucketAll information is correct and accurate as of the date of this review.

Disclaimer: As a TOS Crew member, I received Read for the Heart from Apologia Educational Ministries free of charge to review.

This review is my honest opinion with, hopefully, enough detail as to why I liked or did not like a product so that my readers can make an informed decision. I received no compensation.


  1. You really make me want to own this book. :)

  2. Addison and I just had a great conversation about the points made in the chapter about fantasy/fairy tale.


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