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 June 2020

This month, I've been reminded once again what a stubborn reader I am. I don't like being told what to read. A suggestion is good. I never mind a suggestion. But, when I'm forced to read a book for a class or to fulfill a requirement, I usually end up hating it. 

It can be a critically-acclaimed book that ranks high on every list. It can even be a book that I'd otherwise really value and like. If "have to" has been stamped on it in any way, I can almost guarantee that I will plod my way through it, forcing my fingers to turn each page. 

What can I say? I guess I'm a bit of a book rebel. 

And so this month, I'm finishing up a book that was assigned to me for a Biblical counseling class that I'm currently taking. I'm sure when I've reached "the end" I'll appreciate having read it. But right now, all I can think about is the stack of books that just arrived in the mail from my mom--books that I want to read but can't read because of the book I have to read.

If you're a reader, you can understand my position, I'm sure.

On the plus side, in these past few weeks of slogging through that title and being reminded of my disdain for forced reading, I've also been reminded of the importance of offering choice to my kids. In creating a reading list for them, I have to remember that reading grows out of delight, not duty. I can't just force them to read one particular book. I have to invite them to choose a book to read by placing many great options in front of them. 

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Here's what we're reading this month, whether because we want to or because we have to. (Since the 2019-2020 school year has officially come to a close, the grade levels I've listed for my kids will now reflect their standing for the upcoming school year.)

Read Aloud- everybody

The Pushcart War- In this fictional and often hyperbolic book, the author uses a journalistic approach to show the evolution of a disagreement and how it can eventually lead to war. 

There's a growing frustration between the pushcart vendors and the big trucking companies of New York City. After one seemingly accidental incident, the frustration turns to rage which turns to violence. The author expertly uses humor and exaggeration to show the foolishness of ungrace, pride, and a me-first mindset. Written over fifty years ago, The Pushcart Wars still carries a timely message for all of us today.

Jamie- that's me!

Instruments in The Redeemer's Hands- I was excited to read this one by well-known and respected pastor and teacher, Paul David Tripp. But as I mentioned, reading an assigned book is not the best way to grow readerly affection for it.

The book reads like a textbook which is both expected and appropriate for a formal class setting. I just don't have the bandwidth for academic reading right now and I'm really struggling to apply the information to my everyday life. I have appreciated the helpful list of open-ended questions that are included in a few of the chapters and have no doubt that they will help me as I seek to counsel others. 

Real Change- This is the companion workbook that I am using in my Biblical counseling class. Each chapter contains Scripture readings, pointed questions, and practical exercises designed to help a person cultivate change in one particular area of life. The class participants have been paired up and are each working through one area of struggle in their own lives in order to learn how to help others through personal difficulties.

Left Behind- For my June pick of the Storied Mom Reading Challenge, I've decided to take a recommendation from my daughter and re-read the Left Behind series, or at least the first book. I started reading this end-of-days fiction series in college when it was slowly being released, book-by-book. Trouble was, it was difficult to wait weeks or even months before the next installment hit the shelves. Somewhere around book four or five, I decided to hit pause on the series and wait to read the rest of the titles until the entire collection had been published. Unfortunately, over time, I lost interest and never returned to the books.

Fast-forward to the fall of 2019...my daughter began reading Book 1 but wasn't able to finish it before it came due at the library. Determined to try again, she challenged me to return to the series too. And so I have.

Sweetie Pea- 12th grade/college sophomore

Left Behind- As I mentioned, my daughter and I are reading this one together. She only has a few more days until she'll be heading off to work at a Bible camp for the summer, so she's feverishly reading to get it done.

Super Boy- 9th grade

The Purpose Driven Life- I'm slowly putting together a discipleship reading list for my son similar to the one I put together for my daughter as she entered high school. The Purpose Driven Life is a great start for any teen. Its short but very pointed chapters are easy to digest and can help shape a person's worldview. This particular version has been updated and expanded to meet the needs of the current culture. 

He started it last month and is still working his way through it. 

Blonde Warrior- 8th grade

The Bark of the Bog Owl- My middle son is revisiting this title that he read a while back. It is the first in a three-part fantasy series loosely based on the life of young King David.  

Greased Lightning- 6th grade

The Mystery on Apache Canyon Drive- In this first book of a high-tech Hardy Boys-esque mystery series, four teenagers step into the Old West of Prescott, Arizona to save a little girl. My son is almost done with it and has really enjoyed it. It's a light read with some hair-raising plot twists. I wouldn't call it exceptional literature, but it's clean and contains enough action to keep him coming back for more.

The Dude- 3rd grade

Phoebe the Spy- Notably one of my most favorite illustrated chapter books, Phoebe the Spy is a historical fiction loosely based on a failed assassination attempt of General George Washington. A young housemaid learns of a plan to poison the General at dinner and single-handedly stops the traitorous soldier in his tracks. 

That's what we'll be reading in June. How about you?


  1. I completely get what you mean about being forced to read a book. Sometimes when someone repeatedly tells me I need to read a book I might 'feel' forced into it and I'll read it, then oftentimes I am over-critical of the book.

    Family read aloud - Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers
    Me - America's First Daughter - loving it and learning so much
    - Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell - I'm finding his writing highly accessible and if anyone can make economics interesting, it's him
    - Framed by James Ponti - my 3rd grader is reading the 2nd book in the series and told me I just had to read this one
    5th grade son - Alex Rider #? (I cannot remember which one he's on at the moment)
    3rd grade son - Vanished by James Ponti
    1st grade daughter - lots of early readers

    1. I read America's First Daughter a couple of years ago and loved it! It was such a fascinating look at the life of Thomas Jefferson. I learned soooooo much.

  2. Yay for the Wilderking Series. We are now working through the third book as our family read aloud. We all love it! The feechies are hilarious!

    My senior (um - wow!) daughter is working through the Karen Kingsbury Baxter family series.

    My 8th grade boy is working his way through the Left Behind for kids series. He hopes to finish in the next month or so.

    My 2nd grade boy is reading lots of books. Some highlights this month are Beverly Lewis series books Cul-de-sac kids and his Action Bible (the book he most often will go pick up). I am reading some Beverly Cleary books with him in hopes of getting him to read more in the different series. We finished Ralph S. Mouse and are almost finished with Henry Huggins now.

    I just finished The Widow of Larkspur Inn at the recommendation of a friend. It was ok, but I am not sure I will go back for more like it.

    1. What a great stack! It sounds like y'all could be our reading twins. We seem to like similar books.

  3. The Pushcart War is great idea. We read this together as a family since my husband remembered it from childhood. My kids loved it! It is one of those "old" books that just has such a quality of writing and storytelling that it makes for a treasure.

    1. Yes, it has been a great one so far. I'm actually surprised that it is as old as it is because its message is still so timely and important.