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 2020

boy reading in a tree

Typically, our preferred read-aloud time is right after lunch. With full bellies, we gravitate to the living room, grab our current handwork project, and scatter around on couches and chairs to listen while our food settles. 

The fluidity of our summer schedule has brought a shift to our reading time, however. We've been eating lunch out on the deck most days. Eating leads to playing which leads to venturing out into the yard. Reading seems to be the last thing on anyone's mind midday. 

But, come dinner time when the sun is beginning to set and everyone is easing into the laziness of evening, we're all more prone to sit and linger around the table. As soon as I swallow my final bite, one of my kids' clamors to grab our current book and asks if I'd read to them while they finish their meals. (Did I mention I'm a really fast eater? I chalk it up to the early years of mothering when I had to quickly slam down an entire meal before the baby woke up and needed to eat. Old habits die hard, I suppose.) 

I'm certain that we'll transition back to post-lunch reading when the school year begins in the fall. But, for now, reading at dinnertime feels just about perfect. All their mouths and hands are busy eating, leaving me with plenty of dead air time with which to fill with a good book. 

Here's what we're reading.

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What We're Reading in July 2020 #homeschooling #readalouds #readaloudrevival #kidlit #booksforkids

Read Aloud- everybody

The Pushcart War- We're almost done with this journalistic style book that shows 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!

The Joy Luck Club- I know I'm super late to the party, but I'm finally getting around to reading this New York Times bestselling book about four Chinese mothers and their Chinese-American daughters. Both generations feel misunderstood and undervalued, but as they share their individual stories, they find that they are more alike than they ever knew.

Don't Overthink It- Confession: I'm not an overthinker. I'm also not an underthinker. I land somewhere in the middle. Additionally, I'm not a fan of Anne Bogel's book lists as I think my personal filter for books is much more conservative than hers tends to be. But, I am a fan of her writing. She typically writes with a conversational essay style, making her books easy to pick up and put down.

I'm only a couple chapters into this one so it's hard to give it a thorough review, but I can say that the writing seems less fluid and more academic than her previous two books. I was hoping that the breeziness of the cover would be a foreshadowing of some breezy writing within. Unfortunately, it is not. The text is a bit clunky and, at times, the illustrative antidotes seem pedestrian, leaving me to assume that perhaps I'm just not the target audience for the message. I still highly value Bogel's words and feel like this would be a perfect book for overthinkers. 

The following two books are titles I am considering for my July Storied Mom Reading Challenge pick. The theme for this month is "a beach read." To be fair, that's not a genre I normally gravitate to, probably because beach books tend to be rather sexualized. I've done some searching and have come up with two books that look both clean and captivating, however. I've requested both from my library and will make my decision after I flip through each of them. But, if you have read or have opinions about one or both, now's your chance to influence my reading stack for the month!

Sweetie Pea- 12th grade/college sophomore

Grace for the Good Girl- My daughter read the teen version of this book last year and was really encouraged to lay down her list of spiritual To-Dos and try-hard expectations in order to embrace the grace offered to her by God. She then read the adult version last February and has decided to reread it this month. It has the same author and the same message as the teen version but with slightly different take-aways.

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 quite a bit ago and is still working his way through it. With his summer work schedule, he's not able to read as often as he usually does in the school year.

Blonde Warrior- 8th grade

The Capture- This is the first in the 16 book Guardians of Ga'Hoole series in which Soren, a young owlet is pushed from his nest by his brother only to be rescued by agents of St. Aegolius Academy of Orphaned Owls. It is an epic tale of good vs. evil. The big question that compels a reader as he undertakes Book 1 is this: Which side is St. Aggie on? 

Greased Lightning- 6th grade

The One and Only Ivan- This is the true story of Ivan, a captive and mistreated gorilla who makes an unlikely friendship with Ruby, a baby elephant, and who later goes on to become a renowned painter in the Atlanta Zoo. What makes this book so unique is the fact that the author has chosen to write it in first-person, making Ivan the narrator of his own story.

The Dude- 3rd grade

Nate the Great- Admittedly, Nate the Great and the entire Nate the Great collection is below my son's reading level. But he just recently discovered them on our home library shelves and has been plowing through one or two a day. These simple, illustrated mysteries have been perfect for bedtime reading. I'm sure he'll read right through the entire series before the month's end. When he's exhausted every title, I will probably introduce him to the Cam Jansen collection, a similar detective-type series that I enjoyed when I was his age. 

That's what we're reading in July. What about you? Tell me your list.


  1. This is probably really late, but I had read The Hideaway back when it came out. I didn't care for it. I felt there was some sneaky stuff in there that was less than wholesome. I'm not sure which one you chose but if you did read that one I'd love your take on it.