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.

What We're Reading in July 2018

What We're Reading in July 2018

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The other day while browsing the bookshelves of our local library, I nearly tripped over my middle son. He was sprawled out on the floor surrounded by every single book in the If You Had Animal... series, or at least all the titles our library owns.

Since he's going to be in 6th grade this coming year, some would see this series as being well below what he should be reading and enjoying. Our school district seems to think so. According to the hand-scribbled number the Old Guard has asked the librarians to place on the inside flap of each of these books, they are beneath him and not worth his time. The "professionals" would rather redirect him to more robust books. But here's the one solid truth that that little number ignores: a good book that is worth reading is worth reading no matter what your age or grade level.

He's in 6th grade, reads at a high school level, but still enjoys books that he read a few years ago. Luckily for him, we homeschool, so he never has to be constrained by someone else's arbitrary number or risk embarrassment from his peers for reading a "baby" book.

Here's a look at what else he (and we) are reading this month.

What We're Reading in July 2018

Read aloud- everybody

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness- We're still only about halfway through Book 1 in the Wingfeather Saga. For the most part, the chapters are super short which seems to be keeping us from making much headway. But trust me, our sluggish pace is NOT because of any dislike for the story. It's colorful and captivating. (And that's pretty high praise from someone who generally stays miles away from the fantasy shelves of a bookstore.)

(Note to self: When attempting to read your daughter's most-favorite-book-series-EVER out loud to her and her siblings, be prepared to be interrupted often with phrases like, "That's not how her voice sounds, Mom. It should be deeper than that," or "He's supposed to have more of a pirate accent. Why does he sound British?" She's walked through the last three years of her life with these characters and knows them deeply. You've been warned.)

Jamie- that's me!

Girl, Wash Your Face- I actually just finished this book like 2 seconds ago, so the themes are still percolating in my head. This was the first title I've ever read by Rachel Hollis and was pleasantly pleased to find that I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It's fast, funny, and filled with enough nuggets to make it worth reading. The basic premise can be summed up in this way: Stop making excuses for yourself and your life. All that to say, like so many other popular writers and speakers in the current Christian culture, the author's theology was slightly off-center. Parts of the book were covertly draped in a "girl power at the expense of your home and family" and "whatever faith works for you" sentimentality that does not align with my own personal convictions. (I think this post sums up the major wrong turns with GIrl, Wash Your Face

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire- I'm currently reading this with my two best friends. It's so good! It gives witness to the miraculous power of prayer in one of the toughest neighborhoods in America and has been a great reminder to me that the injustices of this world can never be truly changed through legislation or loud voices in the public square. Why? Because the human heart cannot be regulated. Only prayer can move the hand of God and only God can transform lives and change nations.

Sweetie Pea- 10th grade

Daring to Hope- My girl was working at a Bible camp on and off through most of June and wasn't home long enough to finish this book that she started last month. But she enjoyed it so much in her rare moments of rest that she set aside several other titles she was also reading in order to devote more time to finishing it. It is the sequel to Kisses for Katie, the memoir of a young lady who left the luxuries of America to spread the hope of Jesus to the frail and orphaned of Uganda. 

Super Boy- 7th grade

Big Red- I mentioned last month that my oldest son would be starting this Jim Kjelgaard classic about a young hunter and his dog. But he didn't. He got sidetracked by a different book. And that is A-O.K. in my opinion. So, he just cracked Big Red open a few days ago. 

Please note: Kjelgaard wrote in a different era of children's lit and chose to write about an off-the-grid culture that was particularly rugged. Occasionally, you'll find a swear word like he*l or da*n in his stories. 

World War II- I purchased several titles in the You Choose History series for my son on his 12th birthday. It is an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure historical fiction collection based on the major wars of American history. He's loving them! (Do I get any extra "Mom" points for finding these gems?)

Blonde Warrior- 6th grade

Snow Treasure- This one is a perfect read for my brave boy. It's got Nazi soldiers, hidden treasures, courageous kids, and sledding. What's not to love about a suspenseful novel set in war-torn Norway? As an added bonus during his reading time, my son is gleaning a few snippets of his cultural heritage--he's about 1/3 Norwegian.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe- This is his third time reading this one. Like most life-long readers I know, he revisits his most favorite titles whenever he can't seem to find something else that sparks his interest.   

Greased Lightning- 4th grade

The Trolley Car Family- Don't let the vintage and the somewhat utopian-looking cover of this book fool you. It's packed with fun and misadventure. The basic premise is this: When trolleys are quickly replaced by city bus lines, Pa Parker loses his job as a driver. With no place to work, he impulsively uproots his family and moves them to the country...in his retired trolley car! The family of six (plus a cranky neighbor) soon learn that life in a trolley is not quite what they had expected. (This is a vintage book that has been reprinted several times since the 40s when it was first released.)

The Dude- 1st grade

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 learned last year in kindergarten.

Five o'clock Charlie- I'm reading this lovely Marguerite Henry classic out loud to him. It's a lengthy picture book about a horse who refuses to retire despite the misgivings of his owner who has put him out to pasture.

That's what we'll be reading in July. How about you? Do tell.


  1. My teens and I are finishing up Great Expectations this week. My elementary crew and I are reading 101 Dalmations. Our audiobook in the van is The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.

    My 16 year old is so loving Daring to Hope. (It is so spot on that it left me literally breathless sometimes.) It's due at the library today after 2 renewals because she left it unread for so long, and now she's regretting it. We may incur a bit of a fine to let her finish it. :)

    1. We loved 101 Dalmatians! I think it made it to our top 3 favorite books one year.

      My daughter's copy is overdue also. Eek!

  2. Love these posts, as always! I am reading the war that saved my life as our read aloud. We are only 1/4 of the way in but so far it's caught my kids attention. Have you read it before?

    1. I've never heard of that. I'm going to go look it up right now. It sounds like a book my boys would love.

  3. This is our month of read-alouds, apparently. :) I am currently reading three different books aloud to my kiddos. We are all reading "The Perderwicks at Point Mouette" (you got us hooked on Penderwicks). :) With my two boys, I am reading "Sugar Creek Gang - The Swamp Robber" - attempting to entice my oldest son to read the rest of the series that my sister-in-law loaned us. My youngest and I are reading "Because of Winn Dixie" aloud at his request. :)

    I find that my personal pile of books is growing right now. I am in the middle of several right now - "the Mom Project" by Kathi Lipp and "Caught up in a Story" by Sarah Clarkson are two of the non-fiction ones I have started. I always seem to have trouble finishing the non-fiction ones and trouble putting fiction books down. :) My fiction book right now is "Calculated Risk" which I checked out from the library.

    My sophomore daughter is reading "Three from Galilee" as well as working through a pile of fiction books she got from the library.

    My 6th grade boy has been reading quite a bit this summer - lots of different titles - some from his bookshelf and some from the library. I saw a couple of Boxcar Children Mysteries in the mix last week.

    My kindergartner is reading anything and everything he can get his hands on! So fun!!! His library bag is always full to the brim of books we are reading. :)

    1. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one with an excessively full library bag. I've wanted to read Caught Up in a Story for several years. My library doesn't have it and I just haven't pulled the trigger on Amazon. How are you liking it?

  4. We are finishing Anne of Green Gables. Kids have enjoyed it. I haven't read it since 6th grade.

    Maybe we will read Shiloh next. I am interested in looking into several you mentioned. Thanks!

    1. Anne with an E is the best. I haven't read that book in years also.