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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

What We're Reading in April 2018


A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking to a group of moms about building a reading culture in their homes. When I got to the part of my workshop about "award winners," I heard quiet gasps all around the room. Hands shot up in the air and moms quickly scribbled down notes.

I gave one example of a recent Caldecott winner that has the silver seal on the front cover, luring moms to buy it for their kids. In this book, you'll not find anything that cultivates a moral imagination. What you will find is situational ethics, lots of f-bombs, descriptions of oral sex, suicide, abortion, and derogatory slams of the female anatomy. Did I mention that it is a tween/teen title and that it graces the shelves of libraries all across the country, including school libraries?

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As parents, we need to be the gatekeepers of our children's hearts and minds. We do all we can to keep them physically safe...bike helmets, sunscreen, organic food, etc...but we need to pay just as much attention to their emotional and spiritual safety. So today I'm spreading the word. Be wary of the golden seals of approval given by the ALSC, Momma. From the 1960s onward, Caldecotts and Newberys have been granted to books that simply push the literary envelope. Not all winners are so questionable, mind you, but definitely more than most parents realize.

Enough about books I don't let my kids read. Let's talk about the ones that I do allow.


Read Aloud- everybody

The Wheel on the School- We only have one more chapter left to read of this book that we started last month. Don't let the drab title and cover fool you. This book is quite a charming read. In true living literature style, it is cloaked with so many historical, cultural, and scientific facts. We've learned much of the Dutch culture as well as the migratory habits of storks.


Henry and the Clubhouse- With a wide range of kids to accommodate during read aloud time (ages 6-14), I try to provide a rotation of books that appeals to both the younger ones and the older ones. To that end, after completing a few heavier, more mature stories in the past few months, I thought I would toss in this lighter, more juvenile title. We've enjoyed three other books in Beverly Cleary's Henry series. So when I came across this one at a used book sale, I snatched it up.  


Jamie- that's me!

The Liturgy of the Ordinary- While not completely in agreement with some of the author's theology, I've been really challenged by the overall theme of this book: find the sacred in the ordinary parts of the day. I'm only half-way in, but have used so many book darts to mark passages for my Common Place Journal that I've actually run out of them. It's not difficult to see why this book garnered Christianity Today's 2018 book award in the "spiritual formation" category.


The Silent Governess- After hearing several of my Christian fiction writer friends go on and on about the works of Julie Klassen, I decided to test drive one of her books. I'll be honest, it took me awhile to latch onto the story. The first half is rather thick with unnecessary plot points and could be both shorter and tighter. But, the last half is a bit more redeeming. All in all, I'd say that it's a pretty standard Christian historical fiction. Not soul-stirring, but not bad. 


The Church Comes Home- The Hubs and I are still working our way through this one. We are using it as a reference as we unpack the question, "What does it mean to be the church?" Is the western, American church even remotely similar to that found in the first century? And if not, why? What should our churches look like? How should we practice our faith corporately for our good and God's glory? These are just a few questions that we've been wrestling lately.


Sweetie Pea- 9th grade

Crazy Love- This book is just one of the many byproducts of nurturing a reading culture in the early years of my girl's childhood. Reading has become such a natural and rich part of her lif and in the lives of her closest friends that my they are now recommending books to one another. This book came with high praise from my daughter's friend, so she was anxious to get started on it. Francis Chan is her most favorite pastor to listen to online, so I've no doubt she will enjoy his book. 


Super Boy- 6th grade

Extreme Ownership- After taking to the Facebook airwaves and putting out an appeal for title suggestions for my son who desperately wanted to read a memoir of a war hero SANS foul language, I was inundated with several potential titles. I vetted all of them, created a soldier memoir shelf on my GoodReads account for the ones I thought would be most appropriate, and handed him this particular book on the list because it came highly recommended by a close family friend.

While this one is less of a memoir and more of a life coaching book with personal war stories woven into it, my son is really enjoying it. 


Blonde Warrior- 5th grade

A Boy at War- Apparently, this month's reading list has a bit of a war hero theme. My second-oldest boy caught the memoir bug from his older brother and has been slowly working through this fictional series which tells of the transformation of one boy from young civilian to soldier to war hero during the invasion of Pearl Harbor. As soon as he's finished with the first book in the series, he hopes to move on to the two others, A Boy No More and Heroes Don't Run.

*FYI: There are a few references of soldiers smoking cigarettes in this series. In addition, the main character starts out with a rather rebellious attitude, but has a change of heart as the story progresses. 


Greased Lightning- 3rd grade

Meet George Washington- (Mom assigned book) I am a huge fan of the entire "Meet" series. It is a collection of vintage biographies and biographical collections produced by Step-Up books. Each one is an illustrated chapter book with simple text, just perfect for young readers who may or may not be drawn to longer middle grade biographies. My son read Meet Ben Franklin towards the end of last month and wanted to continue on with the next title. 


Stewart Little- (Just-for-fun book) Like most deep divers, my son often likes to revisit the same topics, titles, and authors again and again until he's practically got them memorized. He's a front-post, back-post learner, to be sure. All that to say, he read this E.B. White classic months ago and wanted to crack it open again. 


The Dude- Kindergarten

Basic Phonics Readers- My youngest son is currently making his way through this set of phonics-based basal readers that correspond with his phonics program. They are eye-catching, simple booklets that focus on the specific sounds he's learning in his daily reading lessons.

That's what we're reading in April. How about you?


15 comments:

  1. Oh I love this month's books you are reading! My little man is also reading Stuart Little. We are ALSO reading The Wheel on the School! Great minds think alike I guess :)
    My little lady is reading Henner's Lydia by Marguerite DeAngeli, she loves anything Marguerite DeAngeli, as do I. The illustrations are exquisite.
    I'm reading The Bird in the Tree by Elizabeth Goudge and The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. I just started the Elizabeth Goudge book, beautiful so far. The Pursuit of Holiness is very good. Very good. Happy reading!

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    1. How are you liking The Wheel on the School? We just finished it yesterday. It's such a different book.
      Elizabeth Goudge's The Scent of Water has come highly recommended by a few different people in my life. I've not read it yet. Have you? Any good?

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    2. We are just starting The Wheel on the School, so I'm not sure yet. I'll let you know as we get further into it.
      The Scent of Water is on my "to read" list. I've heard great things as well. Elizabeth Goudge and Jane Austen are on my "authors I haven't read and really want to read" list. The Bird in the Tree is very well written. I'll keep you posted as I get further into this one as well!

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    3. We are about 75 pages into The Wheel on the School. My kids absolutely love this book. It is a very different book. I like how it changes the way a child thinks about others in the town. We just finished the chapter where Pier and Dirk go into the yard of Janus. We were afraid as to what was going to happen to the boys and I love the way it turned out. This is a good book so far!

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    4. That was one of my favorite parts of the book too! There will be more of that in the coming pages. But, I won't give it away.

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  2. Henry and the Clubhouse is so good too. We have read all the Henry books and listened to them in the car. I love Henry's character. The perfect description of a little boy. We always get a kick out of how Ramona is woven into the story.

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    1. Yes, I love that about Cleary books--she weaves in treasured friends.

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  3. Do you happen to have a list of recommended books listed by theme? I'd love a list of good books that go along with our study topics.

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    1. Specifically history based themes. We are currently studying the Civil War. Finding books isn't hard. Finding GOOD books is. Your Pearl Harbor recommendation prompted me to ask this question. I'd love to tuck it away for when it fits for us.

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    2. I don't currently have a list of those except for this one. But I hope to put together some guides soon.
      https://www.theunlikelyhomeschool.com/2015/07/50-living-books-for-ancient-rome-unit.html

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    3. The Good and the Beautiful has a fabulous book list for $5.00. We are completely switching our entire curriculum to TGAB next year! It is really incredible.

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    4. Turning Back the Pages of Time is really good too. It's a timeline of books organized chronologically, best to read to different ages, and easy to find/hard to find books. It really is a little treasure. $4.50 from Rainbow Resource
      http://www.rainbowresource.com/proddtl.php?id=014761

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    5. Thanks, ladies! I'll have to check those out!

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