Charlotte Mason Books and Book Lists

On this page you’ll find links to major book lists for using living books in your school or home school, as well as books about teaching with the Charlotte Mason philosophy and methods, and about Charlotte Mason herself.

We appreciate your suggestions and corrections to the information on this page, and your constructive comments, below.



A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison — A short but fully-packed hard copy guide to Charlotte Mason methods and philosophy.  More Charlotte Mason Education is the follow-up by the author. Available from Catherine’s website and various vendors.

Charlotte Mason Study Guide by Penny Gardner — One of the now classic guides to modern Charlotte Mason education, offering a summary of CM methods and philosophy, with quotes from the Original Homeschooling Series. Especially helpful to newcomers, and those with no time to tackle the full series. Available from Penny’s website and various vendors.

Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition — This book by Karen Glass  “takes a look at the most vital ideas that influenced the classical educators and shows how Charlotte Mason’s principles reflect the same ideas and values.” Available from various vendors. Free study guide at Karen’s website.

Early Childhood Education : history, philosophy and experience by Cathy Nutbrown and Peter Clough. History of education in the United Kingdom for college students. Includes two chapters on Charlotte Mason. From Sage Publishing. Available from various booksellers, and may be available via interlibrary loan (required ISBN info here). 

Education Is … from Simply Charlotte Mason — Free, downloadable e-book explaining all the basics of a Charlotte Mason education. Simply Charlotte Mason also offers the Original Homeschooling Series: A Study Edition, as well as many other books and resources to get started with CM.

For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macauley — The book that kicked off the modern Charlotte Mason education movement. Generally considered “required reading” for all who wish to understand the spiritual and academic benefits of a CM education. Available from various vendors.

Home Education: Volume 1 of the Home Education Series, Plenary Annotated Edition by Charlotte Mason – PDF download or paperback versions available. Published by Rachel Lebowitz and Ruk Martin at A Charlotte Mason Plenary. $12.95 and up.

Know and Tell: The Art of Narration by Karen Glass — Five-star rated book that includes the philosophy behind narration, why it’s so successful and how to implement it successfully at home or in the classroom. Available from various vendors. Free study guide at Karen’s website.

The Living Page: Keeping Notebooks with Charlotte Mason by Laurie Bestvater — In-depth and highly-detailed book about the various types of notebooks, and how they were used by Charlotte Mason. Available from Laurie’s website and various vendors.

The Original Homeschooling Series by Charlotte Mason — Hard copy re-published by Charlotte Mason Research Company who also publishes other CM bestsellers such as The Charlotte Mason Companion and Mother Culture by Karen Andreola. Available from various vendors.

The Original Homeschooling Series, Annotated by Charlotte Mason — Ambleside Online offers a free, online, copyrighted version of the series, along with links to other versions, summaries, Charlotte Mason’s poetry and more.

The Original Homeschooling Series by Charlotte Mason — Ambleside Schools International has also published a free, online version of Charlotte Mason’s seminal series, in cooperation with Charlotte Mason Research Company.

When Children Love to Learn, edited by Elaine Cooper — A practical guide to implementing a Charlotte Mason education, with significant contribution by Susan Schaeffer Macauley, author of For the Children’s Sake. Available from various vendors.


The Charlotte Mason Digital Collection  — Redeemer University has compiled an extensive list of books, articles, papers, timelines and more related to the life of Charlotte Mason, some of which are linked below.

Charlotte Mason : hidden heritage and educational influence by Margaret Coombs. Going beyond the earlier biography by Cholmondeley, Coombs “draws on years of research to reveal for the first time the hidden backdrop to Charlotte Mason’s life,” says the publisher’s abstract at Redeemer University (UK) Library, which offers a list of CM books on it’s Charlotte Mason Digital Collection page. Available free online at jstor. Read an interview with the author at The Lutterworth Press

Essays on the Life and Work of Charlotte Mason published by the Charlotte Mason Institute. Variety of insights into Charlotte Mason, including her Quaker ancestry, her theology and the development of her educational philosophy. May be available through interlibrary loan from Redeemer University (UK). (Required ISBN information here).

In Memoriam: A Tribute to Charlotte Mason by The Parents National Education Union — Afterthoughts Books has published a well-reviewed version of this compilation of warm testimonials, bringing to us almost 100 years later the words of appreciation of those who felt honored to know Charlotte Mason during her lifetime.  Available from Amazon and CreateSpace.

The Story of Charlotte Mason by Essex Cholmondeley — The well-loved biography of Charlotte Mason, from her life as an orphaned teenager to the establishment of Ambleside College and the expansion of her unique system of education reform. Published by Child Light, but currently out of print. May be available from online vendors from $300 (used) to $800 (new). Also available through Interlibrary Loan (find ISBN at

Savages or Citizens? Children, Education, and the British Empire, 1899-1950 by Rachel Ann Neiwert — Doctoral paper examining the sociological implications of Charlotte Mason philosophies during the Edwardian era and the waning years of the British Empire.

Women, Education, and Agency, 1600-2000 by Jean Spence (Editor); Sarah Aiston (Editor); Maureen M. Meikle (Editor); Maureen Meikle (Editor) — Includes a chapter on Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education. Available via interlibrary loan (required ISBN info here). 



An important note:  There is no “perfect” Charlotte Mason book list. Instead, the emphasis is on the expression of ideas through quality literature, and factors unique to each educational setting. In the Charlotte Mason community there are different approaches: “purists” who use the exact books Charlotte used, when available, irrespective of country of residence; educators who use similar living books to those of Charlotte’s, but tailor their lists more to the specifics of place, religion or ethnicity; and, of course, educators who choose a completely “modern,” secular route using contemporary literature and resources.  

If you are new to Charlotte Mason, please take time to enjoy this immersion into the beauty of living books. If book lists seem a bit overwhelming, visit our Curriculum page for curriculum guides and lessons plan packages.  If you are unsure about the definition of “living books” and why they are the foundation of the Charlotte Mason method, consider this article by Emily Cook at Build My Library. 

Ambleside Online – Site map page with links to full book lists for AO’s free online curriculum guide. Includes links to free online versions of recommended living books.

A Charlotte Mason Plenary – Non-religious and inclusive living books list as well as resources for picture study and Plutarch, and advice and support for homeschool parents.

CM Organizer — Bookfinder of more than 1500 living books, by grade and/or subject from Simply Charlotte Mason. Click on the topic and/or grade, and go to a list that gives you several options for each book, including “buy” or find at your local library.”

Twaddle-Free Literature by Grade Level — A Charlotte Mason Home has published a living books list for every grade, preschool through 12, beginning with a quick explanation of the word “twaddle!”

Valerie’s Living Library —  Valerie Jacobsen, homeschooling mother of 11 children, shares  what she calls “the great big list of lists and reviews,” which includes links to her extensive descriptions of books, as well as book series and encyclopedia-style history and science series.

3 responses to “Charlotte Mason Books and Book Lists”

    • Thank you, Priscilla, for finding the link! It has been updated, with the archived page. This is an excellent resource, and I know other CM educators have been looking for it as well, and appreciate your help!


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