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 December 2021

Reading by a fire

So far, December has been a month of reading duds, at least for me. I've had to grit my teeth to power through some titles and have completely abandoned ship on others. Fortunately, most of my boys have faired a bit better in their book selections.

As the year comes to a close, I'm looking for a few captivating titles. I've no desire to head into 2022 with a sour reading taste still lingering. So, if you've got any good suggestions, be sure to send them my way. In the meantime, humor me for a few moments while I complain about my current reading situation. 

Here's what we've been reading this month.

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What We're Reading in December 2021  #reading #kidlit #booksforkids

Read Aloud- everybody

Miss Pickerell Harvests the Sea- We were all quite underwhelmed with this one. The protagonist, a cross between Miss Piggle-Wiggle and Mary Poppins, was likable enough, but her personality was overshadowed by a formulaic plot. Turns out, the book is number 8 in a collection of science-themed fiction titles and like most series books, it's repetitive and predictable. Any literary value it offered seemed to elude us because of the thinly veiled oceanography lesson found on every page. 

I Saw Three Ships- After the death of her parents, Polly Flowerdew finds herself living with her two unmarried aunts who approach Christmas with much more trepidation than Polly is used to. The little girl hopes that despite her aunt's fears, she'll still get to see the three ships of the Magi docked in the harbor, carrying special gifts of the season.
This short, illustrated chapter book reads like a Dickens' novel and is our Christmas read-aloud for the year.

Jamie- that's me!

The Secret Keeper- Because I was reading several other books already, I decided to listen to this book club selection on the free Libby app. I'm so glad I did. The narrator's gift at both the British and Australian dialects made the story extra compelling. 

Aging British actress Laurel Nicolson returns to her childhood home to say goodbye to her dying mother and to uncover the truth behind some long-held family secrets. I've never read anything by Kate Morton before, but I will definitely be exploring her back catalog. The book was relatively clean and extremely captivating, with unexpected plot twists in nearly every chapter. 

The Best Worst Christmas- I snagged this short Audible original for free this month in hopes that it would help me welcome the Christmas season. Unfortunately, there was so much language in the first chapter or two that I never finished it. 

An American Marriage- I love domestic fictions, especially ones with complex characters living ordinary lives. For that reason, I wanted to love this book so much. But like The Best Worst Christmas, it too was riddled with F-bombs in the very first chapter and was promptly filed as a DNF in my reading journal. 

Super Boy- 10th grade

God's at War- My son is finishing up this book that tackles the idols of the heart and asks the following thought-provoking questions: 

What do you sacrifice for?
What makes you mad?
What do you worry about?
Whose applause do you long for?
I specifically did not have my son read the student edition of this title because I feel like most student versions of Christian non-fiction books are watered down or make misguided assumptions about a teenager's spiritual maturity or lack thereof. 

Blonde Warrior- 8th grade

The Mysterious Benedict Society- As I've mentioned before, my middle son and I host a tween/teen book club. This is our pick of the month for the group. 

When this book was first released in 2008, I was hesitant to pick it up because it had garnered so much hype from secular sources. But, I'm so glad I finally gave in and vetted it for our club. It's a very clean adventure story about four orphans who save the world from the sinister plans of power-hungry Mr. Curtain. All in all, our group gave it 4.5 stars out of 5.

Greased Lightning- 7th grade

The Phantom Freighter- My son is currently plowing through our entire Hardy Boys collection. He just happens to be on #26 at the moment which takes place on the high seas when a band of smugglers attempts to stop Joe and Frank from booking passage on a freighter ship.

The Dude- 4th grade

Caleb's Story- About once a year, I read Sarah, Plain and Tall out loud to my crew. It is my most favorite middle-grade fiction book of all time. Reading it to my kids is an excuse to read it again to myself. This particular time around, my youngest son enjoyed the story so much that he decided to read the sequels. He's currently on the third book in the 5-book series which features Caleb and a long-lost family member who unexpectedly turns up in the barn one day. 

That's what we're reading to end out the year.  What about you? What's on your shelves in December?


  1. Thanks for the book recommendations! I had a similar experience with An American Marriage - I really wanted to like it, but I was put off by some of the content. Just added The Secret Keeper to my holds list on Libby! :) We've also read a few of the others your kiddos are reading - so many great books! I'm excited to check out Gods at War for my son as well. Thanks again!

    1. It's always such a bummer to start a book you've heard so much about only to have to put it aside because of language. I hope your son enjoys Gods at War!

  2. If you haven't read any of Elizabeth Goudge's books, I recommend you do! She has both adult and kid books that I love. I found her book The Little White Horse when I was in the fifth grade in our school library and loved it. It fell off my radar and I rediscovered it as a homeschooling mom to share with my daughter and loved it just as much. Her book The Scent of Water is one of my favorites. In her adult books, she's not afraid to deal with difficult subjects like mental illness and the after-effects of war, but in a compassionate, gentle way.

    1. All of my boys have individually read The Little White Horse aloud to me at various times. It's such a sweet story. I've not read The Scent of Water but it's been on my TBR for ages! Perhaps 2022 will be my year to finally crack it open. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. What age do you recommend starting Hardy Boys? My son is 8 and I've been waiting to start him on that series. Also, did you read any of the other Miss. Pickerell series? If so, was the first book worth reading? Thanks for the reading posts! They always help me select books for my kids.

    1. I think most of them can be read alouds for someone as young as 8, but I'd hold off handing them over as a read alone until your son is at least 10. We've not read any other of the Miss Pickerells. Like so many other series, it's possible that the first book is fantastic and the rest get watered down.

  4. I've just finished White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner. I enjoy her as an author, although I have to say that this book was about three and a half stars. Definitely not her best writing. I also read the Christmas box by Richard Paul Evans. It's an incredibly short story that took about a day and a half to read but I did enjoy it, definitely helped to get in the Christmas spirit. I'm currently working my way through The Locket by Richard Paul Evans. I found it in a Christmas bin, tucked away his other book and decided to give it a go this Christmas season. I highly recommend you pick up any of Genevieve Graham's books. They do deal with difficult subjects (child abuse, racism/prejudice) but are relatively clean historical novels dealing with a lot of Canadian history that I knew very little about. They are captivating and difficult to put down. I would add one to your Christmas wish list if it's not too late!
    My 6th grader just finished I Saw Three ships and really enjoyed it. My fourth grader is reading Tucker's countryside, the sequel to A Cricket in Times Square. My third, first, and Pre-K kids are enjoying the large stack of Christmas picture books we set out for the Advent season. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas!

    1. What a great stack of books your family has made! Thanks so much for sharing. I will definitely look into Genevieve Graham's selection. I've not heard of her before. I appreciate the introduction. Merry Christmas!