Knight training begins by captivating the imagination, by drawing our children into the magic and wonder of this bygone medieval era. In the appendix at the back of Knights in Training, I list out my absolute favorite books for this knight training journey.
I’m sharing them here to give you a sneak peek and as a reference for those who listen to the audiobook version and want to find the resources mentioned in the back of the book! I’ve put an * next to books I’ve since added to my recommendation list since the book went to print.
Book are powerful. They draw us in with the magic of their narrative and speak to the secret desires of our heart. They empower us to never give up, but step up into the situations that we encounter in our own lives. So here’s to embracing the power of narrative in our children’s lives!
Book Recommendations: Adventure, Chivalry, and Character Books
IF YOU CAN GET ONLY FOUR
- The Making of a Knight. O’Brian, Patrick. – This book is a delight to read with our children and gives them a glimpse into the life of a page, squire, and knight.
- Saint George and the Dragon. Hodges, Margaret. Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. – This is one of my favorite books of all times. The illustrations are luscious and the prose is mesmerizing, inviting you along on the journey with fair Una and the George, the Red Cross Knight as he sets out to slay a dragon and free a kingdom.
- The Kitchen Knight. Hodges, Margaret. Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. – Another favorite by the same author and illustrator as Saint George and the Dragon. It’s full of adventure while showcasing humility, perseverance, and respect!
- Young Lancelot. San Souci, Robert. – This is one of my boys favorites and has prompted so many discussions on pride, empathy, strength, and compassion.
OTHER GREAT MEDIEVAL, KNIGHT, AND CHIVALRY BOOKS
- In the Time of Knights (the Story of William Marshal). Tanaka, Shelley.
- King Arthur: The Sword and the Stone. Talbott, Hudson.
- Excalibur. Talbott, Hudson.
- King Arthur and the Round Table. Talbott, Hudson.
- Lancelot. Talbott, Hudson.
- Squire and the Scroll. Bishop, Jennie.
- The White Knight. Cule, W. E.
- Rules for a Knight. Hawke, Ethan.
- * The Prince Warriors. Shirer, Pricilla.
- * Chronicles of Narnia Lewis, C.S. – While set in a fantasy world, the stories were inspired by the Middle Ages and chivalric values. We are huge fans of the audiobook version too!
- The Dragon and the Raven. (The story of King Alfred.)
- In Freedom’s Cause. (The story of William Wallace.)
- Under Drake’s Flag. (The story of Sir Frances Drake.)
- Robin Hood. Disney, 1973.
- The Adventures of Robin Hood. Warner Brothers, 1938. The Errol Flynn version.
- The Sword and the Stone. Disney, 1963.
Books to Inspire Further Exploration of the Code of Chivalry
Book are so powerful in shaping who we become and the attitudes we take into our lives. Here are some books suggestions that correspond with each aspect of the code to enable you to have further conversations with your children!
1. Love the Lord Your God with All Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength
- Dangerous Journey. Hunkin. Oliver. – This abridged version of the classic Pilgrims Progress draws children into the wonder of the spiritual journey through life and inspires our children to embrace the adventure of loving God with heart, soul, mind, and strength.
- The Jesus Story Book Bible. Lloyd-Jones Sally. – Foundations in truth and God’s story are vitally important. This is our favorite children’s Bible because it is beautifully written and draws us into the greater narrative of the Bible by connecting individual stories to the big picture theme woven throughout the entire Bible.
- His Mighty Warrior: A Treasure Map from the King. Shepherd, Sheri Rose. – This is a wonderful devotional style book to read with your son. It truly reaches a boy where he is at and inspires him to pursue purpose and meaning in life.
- * The Legend of Saint Christopher. Hodges, Margaret. – This powerful story is a must read for all of our children and coincides beautifully with the points I address in my book about how our boys think about God.
2. Obey Those in Authority over You
- The Gingerbread Man. – This fairytale is a classic story of consequences of disobedience. Be sure you don’t get a version that celebrates disobedience, but has a classic ending or at least repentence for naughty behavior. Our family also loves The Gingerbread Cowboy for a fun twist on the story.
- Pinocchio. Collodi, Carlo. Unabridged. – The original Pinocchio is so powerful and so much better than the Disney video version. It is a beautiful and profound tale of the consequences of pursuing the path of disobedience and the forever love of a parent. We especially loved the audiobook version!
- What if Everybody Did That? Javernick, Ellen. – This book goes into WHY we have rules and the benefits to everyone when we follow rules of etiquette and the laws of the land. Our boys want to know why and it’s important to find that balance of “because we said so as your parents” and explaining the why’s.
3. Stand against Injustice and Evil
- Bible: Book of Proverbs – great for laying the foundations of justice and virtue.
- Biographies about historical heroes who fought against injustice: Patrick Henry, George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass, etc.
- Biographies of the recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor
- Whatever Happened to Justice. Maybury, Richard J. For teens.
- Common Sense. Paine, Thomas. For teens.
4. Defend the Weak and Protect Them
- The Herd Boy. Daly, Niki. –
- The Invisible Boy. Ludwig, Trudy. – A powerful story of how one boy can step in and be the hero to someone else.
- One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference. Milway, Katie Smith. – The title says it all.
- The Three Questions. Muth, Jon J. – What is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do? Nikolai knows that he wants to be the best person he can be, but often he is unsure if he is doing the right thing. This beautifully woven story follows him as he discovers the answers to these important questions in the everydayness of life.
5. Respect the Honor of Women
- Good Pictures, Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids. Jenson, Kristen. Perfect 6+ The absolute best resource I’ve found to help equip our children to resist the allure of pornography that is communicated in a very age-appropriate, non-graphic way that any parent can utilize no matter what level of information your child knows about sex.
- *Good Pictures, Bad Pictures Jr. Jenson, Kristen. Perfect for 3-5 year olds
- Love, Honor, and Virtue. Young, Hal, and Melanie Young. Geared for teens and young adults.
- Protect Young Minds: Great online resource for parents.
6. Refrain from Wanton Giving of Offense
- How to Behave and Why. Leaf, Munro. For four- to eight-year-olds.
- Manners Can Be Fun. Leaf, Munro. For four- to eight-year-olds.
- Do Unto Otters. Keller, Laurie. For four- to ten-year-olds.
- Elbows off the Table. Rowe, Patsy. Readable book on manners geared for seven- to twelve-year-olds.
- Beauty and the Beast. (the original Disney cartoon) Lessons in courtesy; the scene with Belle and Beast in which he learns to eat properly is priceless.
- Seven Brides for the Seven Brothers. A hilarious example of how to become a gentleman.
7. Speak the Truth at All Times
- The Boy Who Cried Wolf. from Aesop’s Fables.
- A Day’s Work. Bunting, Eve. A boy learns the importance of truthfulness and making things right.
- The Empty Pot. Demi.
- Being Frank. Earnhardt, Donna W.
- The Boy Who Held Back the Sea. Locker, Thomas
8. Be Generous and Willing to Share
- Koi and the Kola Nuts: A Tale from Liberia. Aardema,
- Clown of God. de Paola, Tomie.
- A Christmas Carol. Dickens, Charles.
- Papa’s Pastries. Toscano, Charles.
9. Persevere and Finish the Task at Hand
- The Hallelujah Flight. Bildner, Phil.
- Biographies of people who overcame setbacks or persevered: Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, any Olympic athlete.
- The Little Engine That Could. Piper, Watty.
- The Crystal Mountain. Sanderson, Ruth.
- The Most Magnificent Thing. Spires, Ashley.
- * Bubble Gum Brain: Ready, Set, Mindset… GROW. Cook, Julia
- My Side of the Mountain. George, Jean Craighead.
- G.A. Henty Novels.
- The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks. Haupt, Heather. For parents.
10. Pursue Excellence in All You Do
RESOURCES CITED IN THE BOOK
- The Babees Book: Medieval Manners for the Young.
- Song of Roland. Sayers, Dorothy (translator)
- Song of Roland. C.K. Moncreiff (translator) – this translation almost read like an action flick (in poetry stanza form).
- A Knight’s Own Book of Chivalry. de Charny, Geoffroi.
- Handbook for William: A Carolingian Woman’s Counsel for Her Son. Dhuoda. Neel, Carol(translator)
- A Family of Value. Rosemond, John. – For parents. This book was a game changer for us when our kids were younger. In an age where there is so much pressure to be viewed as cool and your child’s friend, John gives us permission and the charge to be the leaders our kids need by focusing on raising children who are responsible, respectful, and resourceful.
- The Power of Play. Elkind, David.
On Understanding Boys and Men
- Boys Adrift. Sax, Leonard.
- Why Gender Matters. Sax, Leonard.
- Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul. Eldridge, John.