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.

Favorite Read Alouds from 2018

Read aloud time holds a permanent place in our day. It's written in stone and happens no matter what. (Although, ironically, it didn't happen today. So, there's that.) Our official time to read is just-after-lunch-but-not-before-the-table-is-cleared-and-the-dishes-are-put-in-the-dishwasher. At least that's the time my clock always shows when we start.

Sometimes it happens with handwork, and sometimes it happens without. It usually depends upon how squirrely my boys are feeling and/or how much silence I want whilst I read.

No matter how harried our day gets, I try to never budge on read aloud time because sharing a story always has a way of re-calibrating our attitudes, mine included.

This past year, we read some great ones. We got to travel to a small Dutch fishing village, escape the Fangs while heading north to the Ice Prairies, and find out what it feels like to be "all the colors." As always, it was difficult to pick only ten favorites. But after much group deliberation, here's what we came up with.

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10- The Sword in the Tree

by Clyde Robert Bulla

This is a short heroic tale of a young knight-to-be who saves his father and his family's castle from a band of enemies, one of whom just happens to be his long-lost uncle. This is a great book to read during a study of the middle ages.

We actually read it together years ago when my oldest kids were in early elementary and decided to reread it this summer for the sake of my youngest ones who missed it the first time around. 

9- Ramona Quimby, Age 8

by Beverly Cleary

Since I've had four eight-year-olds pass through my family already, I know exactly how hard being eight can be. You're too old for little kid stuff, but not quite big enough for big kid responsibility. It can be a tough age for some. This was such a fun book to read this year since my three youngest boys are all right in those messy middle years like Ramona. Interestingly enough, a book that was designed to be light and humorous became an empathy builder. My kids could easily see themselves and their own daily struggles in Ramona's story. 

8- Five True Dog Stories

by Margaret Davidson

This book is filled with the true stories about the adventures of five different dogs throughout history, the most famous of which is Balto, the dog who saved the children of Nome, Alaska.

This was also a re-read for our family. We seem to get a lot of mileage out of animal-themed stories around here.

7- Ramona's World

by Beverly Cleary

In the newest-but-not-very-new installment of the misadventures of Ramona Quimby, fourth-grade Ramona learns some valuable lessons about growing up and her place in the world. She makes a new friend but struggles to know how to navigate the relationship when things take a difficult turn.

6- The Invention of Hugo Cabret

by Brian Selznick

Orphaned clock-keeper, Hugo, lives in the walls of a busy French train station where he stumbles upon a mysterious mechanical man made years earlier by his father. In order to obtain the necessary parts to fix this old treasure, he begins working at a toy booth owned by an eccentric old movie director. While there, he makes friends with a young girl who helps him uncover the connection between the mechanical man and his new boss and who leads him to his forever home.

We listened to the audio version of this book while on a long car trip. I, personally, didn't love the story, but my kids seemed to enjoy it. Please note: Some of the language is rather crass and at times unkind. 

5- Henry and the Clubhouse

by Beverly Cleary

Whenever we need a light, breezy book, I always turn to the tales of Henry and his dog Ribsy. With four rambunctious boys at home, I can count on the childish calamities of well-meaning Henry to set us all in good spirits. This is the sixth and final book in the series and tells of how Henry and friends attempt to build a no-girls-allowed clubhouse. Not surprising, his plans don't turn out as he had hoped. 

4- North or Be Eaten

by Andrew Peterson

This is the second title of the four-part Wingfeather Saga. It finds Janner, Tink, Leeli, their mother Nia, their pirate Grandfather Podo, and a few others on the run from the Fangs of Dang. They head North to the Ice Prairies in an attempt to freeze out their foes but find that sometimes they each are their biggest worst enemies.

Like most second-in-the-series books, this one kind of felt like filler to me. It's sorta the book you have to read in order to get to the book you want to read. But my kids loved it, so I guess that's all that matters.

3- The Wheel on the School

by Meindert DeJong

The premise of the book is a bit atypical and may not appeal to everyone: Lina, the only school-aged girl on the island of Shora, observes that storks no longer nest in her village. With much imagination and a little scientific know-how, she along with her teacher and male classmates begin devising a plan to get them to return. All it will take is a wheel. But, they quickly discover that those aren't so easy to come by.

2- The Ostrich and Other Lost Things

by Beth Hautala

11-year-old Olivia Grant has reached an age when her older brother's autism diagnosis begins to mean new things for her and her family. She grapples with her place in this delicate sibling relationship. In her misguided effort to help him find normal, she learns a powerful lesson about unconditional love.

1- On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

by Andrew Peterson

Taking the top spot of 2018 is the first book in the Wingfeather Saga. It was a nice introduction to the Igiby family and to their impending doom. Like any fantasy, it's filled with a seemingly endless amount of extraordinary characters and out-of-this-world places.

I'm not a huge fan of fantasy myself, so this one was difficult for me to slog through. That being said, now that we're deep into Book 3, I've grown to love the plot and am hoping that Book 4 provides a "happily ever after" for Janner, Tink, and Leeli. 

We're only a couple weeks into a new year and we're nearly done with our first read aloud. We can't seem to put it down, so I'm guessing it will make our 2019 list of favorites. Can't wait to tell you about it! Stay tuned...

More of our favorites


  1. It took me at least 2 starts to get into the Wingfeather Saga. But by the end, the series has been one of my most satisfying reads of 2018. I would say more except I don't want to say anything that would be a spoiler. Enjoy!

    1. That's what everyone keeps telling me. I'm too far in to quit now. Plus, I've finally gotten to all the exciting parts. Thanks for the encouragement to keep reading!