The best books about friendship and family with homeschooled characters

Why am I passionate about this?

I was homeschooled from the beginning until I graduated from high school, and I’m now homeschooling my family. I also teach writing and English to kids from around the world, many of whom are homeschooled. As a kid, I loved fantasy and adventure stories, but I didn’t really like realistic stories because I wasn’t familiar with things like homeroom or class periods. I have loved finding books with characters who are homeschooled, especially if homeschooling is portrayed accurately. I also love stories about relationships, so stories with strong family ties and deep friendships are meaningful to me. I hope that both homeschoolers and other schoolers can enjoy these book picks!

I wrote...

Best Friends Playbook

By A.W. Downer,

Book cover of Best Friends Playbook

What is my book about?

What do touchdowns and tea parties have in common? Absolutely nothing.

Eleven-year-old football superfan, Hannah Taylor, has watched her friends leave the homeschool group one by one. It was okay, at first, because she always had Beth, her best, best friend. They were a team for science experiments, for co-op classes, and on the football field. But just as they’re starting sixth grade, Beth’s parents put her in private school. Now Hannah is the only middle schooler left in the homeschool group. She’d better come up with a new play fast. The only kids even remotely close to her age don’t like football, and they don’t play sports. They play princess. And they want Hannah to join their team.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Savvy

A.W. Downer Why did I love this book?

Mibs (the main character) isn’t homeschooled yet, but she is about to be homeschooled with her older siblings. The characters felt like ones I would meet in my homeschool or church life. They felt comfortable.

But more than that, this book is just fun. I love the story and the characters so much, as well as the struggle to find what makes a person unique. The family bonds in Savvy are strong, and Mibs develops deep friendships with characters of all ages. It’s a special story, and one of my favorites. I am not doing it justice by half.

By Ingrid Law,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Savvy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

But just before the big day, Poppa is in a terrible accident. And now all Mibs wants is a savvy that will save him. In fact, Mibs is so sure she'll get a powerful savvy that she sneaks a ride to the hospital on a rickety bus with her sibling and the preacher's kids in tow. After this extraordinary adventure - full of talking tattoos and a kidnapping - not a soul on board will ever be the same.

Book cover of Ida B: And Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World

A.W. Downer Why did I love this book?

Ida B is one of the first books with a homeschooler that I loved (and I’m pretty sure I cried a lot). Ida B loved being homeschooled and is so upset about being sent to public school that she wears black and sits in the corner refusing to participate. I might have done the same thing if my parents put me in public school! But I love her public school teacher. She cares about Ida B so much.

Ultimately, Ida B isn’t about school, though; it’s about Ida B’s growth and her relationships. That’s what makes it a good book. Like my character Hannah, Ida B has a vivid imagination and fights change in her life. I loved this book.

By Katherine Hannigan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ida B as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Poignant tale of a 9-year-old girl's emotional journey after her idyllic life is shattered by her mother's illness.

Ida B's life is perfect: she is home-schooled by loving parents on a beautiful farm with its own orchard, creek and mountain (well, a pile of earth too tall to be called a hill). Left to her own devices in this rural haven, she talks to the trees in the orchard and sends miniature rafts down the creek, to which she attaches notes like "What is life like in Canada? Please respond". But the idyll is shattered when Ida B's mother develops…

Book cover of Chicken Friend

A.W. Downer Why did I love this book?

Chicken Friend is another story about friends and family. Becca is taken out of school to be homeschooled in the country. She struggles to adjust and make friends with the cool kids who are her neighbors. I could definitely sympathize with that feeling of trying so hard to make friends and yet feeling so out of place. It also reminded me of my move at the beginning of high school. Becca is a fun character with a wacky but loving family. She also has things she hides from everyone, even the reader, that made the story a little bit of a mystery.

And now that I have chickens myself, I enjoy the story even more.

By Nicola Morgan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chicken Friend as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A funny, sharply observed story about peer pressure and the desire to conform. "You wouldn't want a family like mine - they're straight out of Crazyville." Becca is feeling sorry for herself. Ever since her family moved to the country, she's missed London and her best friend Stella. And her eccentric parents don't believe in school, so Becca only has her annoying twin brothers for company. Oh, and the chickens. Enter Jazz and Mel. They're cool and streetwise and they seem to want to be friends - especially when Becca says she might have a party. Without adults. But that's…

Book cover of Eight Cousins

A.W. Downer Why did I love this book?

Eight Cousins is my favorite Louisa May Alcott book (but I like most of her books). Once again, the relationships are what make the story special. Rose begins the story as a sickly orphan, but through the unusual care and schooling of her guardian as well as her relationships with her cousins and aunts (she lives on the “aunt hill” – I love that name!), Rose learns and grows into a wise young woman. I loved the way the cousins acted like siblings and fought with each other and cared for each other. They reminded me of my siblings and cousins. Rose’s cousin, Mac, is one of my all-time favorite characters. This was a book I couldn’t put down.

By Louisa May Alcott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eight Cousins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After the death of her father, orphan Rose Campbell has no choice but to go and live at the 'Aunt Hill' with her six aunts and seven boy cousins. For someone who was used to a girl's boarding school, it all seems pretty overwhelming, especially since her guardian Uncle Alec makes her eat healthy things like oatmeal, and even tries to get her to give up her pretty dresses for more drab, sensible clothes. Will Rose ever get used to her Uncle's strange ideas and all her noisy relatives? Will there come a day when she can't imagine living anywhere…

Book cover of Anne of Green Gables

A.W. Downer Why did I love this book?

Anne is one of my favorite characters from childhood. She often goes to school in a one-room schoolhouse, but she also has periods where she learns at home. She takes charge of her own education and learns determinedly, whether on her own or in the schoolhouse. I always loved Anne’s fierceness in the face of adversity, but I think what I love most about her is her unquenchable imagination. I learned to use my imagination better from reading about Anne, and she was probably an unconscious inspiration for my character Hannah.

Anne learns the most about life through her interactions with her friends, her teacher, and her guardians as she finds her place on the Green Gables farm, so I think she’s the perfect way to end this list.

By L.M. Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked Anne of Green Gables as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Anne of Green Gables is the classic children's book by L M Montgomery, the inspiration for the Netflix Original series Anne with an E. Watch it now!

Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are in for a big surprise. They are waiting for an orphan boy to help with the work at Green Gables - but a skinny, red-haired girl turns up instead. Feisty and full of spirit, Anne Shirley charms her way into the Cuthberts' affection with her vivid imagination and constant chatter. It's not long before Anne finds herself in trouble, but soon it becomes impossible for the Cuthberts to…

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Return to Hope Creek

By Alyssa J. Montgomery,

Book cover of Return to Hope Creek

Alyssa J. Montgomery Author Of A Spanish Seduction

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Australian USA Today bestselling romance author who writes contemporary romance and uses the pen name Alyssa James to write medieval romance. I think the makeover trope resonates with me because although I’m no beauty queen now, I was definitely an ugly duckling in my teens. For reasons best known to him, my father insisted on close-cropped hair, and financial circumstances dictated out-of-style hand-me-down clothing. After university, I found my own style, but it wasn’t until I was accepted as an international flight attendant that I believed that I couldn’t be all that ugly if Qantas employed me!

Alyssa's book list on makeover romances

What is my book about?

Return to Hope Creek is a second-chance rural romance set in Australia.

Stella Simpson's career and engagement are over. She returns to the rural community of Hope Creek to heal, unaware her high school and college sweetheart, Mitchell Scott, has also moved back to town to do some healing of his own.

Mitchell, a former NFL quarterback, doesn't need the complication of encountering Stella again so long after the messy end to their relationship, but as each tries to build a new life, they are drawn together and find their chemistry is just as strong as ever.

Will their love be stronger the second time around?

Return to Hope Creek

By Alyssa J. Montgomery,

What is this book about?

When two old flames come back to their home town, sparks are bound to ignite. A rural romance from USA Today bestselling author Alyssa J. Montgomery.

A horrific car accident ended former world number-one Stella Simpson’s tennis career, and a betrayal ended her relationship with her fiancé/coach. When a family friend offers to sell her half of a property in the rural community where she grew up, it seems like the perfect place to escape, heal and begin the next phase of her life. Until she discovers that the man who broke her heart ten years ago has bought the…

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