August 27, 2015

books we've loved

Sometimes it feels like all we do is read. We do the nightly read aloud which is always from a chapter book and then sometimes I read aloud at breakfast or lunch (when people are having a hard time being nice to each other, or mama is just done). I will frequently put on a Sparkle Story or other audio book in the car, and Laithe has been known to spend hours listening to Magic Treehouse books on cd up in his bedroom while playing Lego and introverting. And Guthrie, I feel like I'm constantly saying, finish your paragraph and put the book away!
Honestly, I sort of have mixed feelings about all the reading. I know, crazy, but it's how I feel. 

I rely heavily on homeschooling friends (who all read all the time too, oh the reading aloud...) recommendations and blogs and utilize Goodreads to keep me organized. I really don't like to be without our next book on the shelf at all times. So, I wanted to post what we have enjoyed these past few months with the kids being 8 and 5.*

The Cricket in Times Square  - We loved this! It was an easy read and I felt like it was fully accessible to Laithe. I did edit a bit of the written in Chinese accents/language because, well, it is an old book. 

The Wanderer - This was a little more complicated. A lot of people rave about it, but I had mixed feelings. There were some really tough subjects (death, adoption, repressed memories) and I was nervous about how the author would handle it at the end, but it was fine. The one thing we all really enjoyed was that it's written in diary entries by two kids with very different voices and viewpoints.

A Bear Called Paddington - I picked this up after we'd seen the new movie and also at a friend's recommendation. It was as charming as I had hoped it would be and a good bedtime read. 

We're also making our way through the Little House series, but stopped when we got to The Long Winter -- because you have to read that in winter. Obviously. 

The past couple weeks though we've read the first two in the Series of Unfortunate Events. Whoo boy, mixed feelings on my end, but the kids loooove it. Even if it gives a certain young man nightmares. I appreciate that it's written, sort of, in the way of fairy tales; in that there are archetypal characters, but I didn't entirely appreciate explaining what an autopsy was. A few of the tropes the author uses get sort of tiresome, but I think the kids really like the predictability of them and I get that when those tropes are present and used repeatedly it makes some of the subject matter feel less scary. Hmmm. And seriously, if we weren't firmly in the realm of playing all orphans all the time already these books have solidified it. And in case you were wondering, even the most patient mother will glare if she hears (after a particularly long and trying day) "so let's say our parents died and we were orphans and then our dogs' parents died and they were orphans too..." one too many times. Because really??

Next up is Tuesdays at the Castle which was recommended by the same mama friend who suggested Paddington. I'm really looking forward to it and Guthrie has just finished a trilogy by the author. 

Speaking of Guthrie - here's a short list of what she's really raved about the past few months. (the list does not include that Judy Blume book about self esteem I tried to get her to read. sigh.)
  • The Familiars (recommended by homeschool friends) this was her first real series beyond the Magic Tree House and at almost 400 pages each I was surprised that she both kept with it and was able to answer questions about the plot in detail. 
  • Dragon Slippers - and this was her first "i wish there was one more book to say what happens to them." I also caught her reading the last chapter of the last book before she started it. I stopped myself from demanding "WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THINGS HOLY ARE YOU DOING?????" I said it in lowercase instead. It took restraint. 
  • Anything by Grace Lin.
  • And the American Girl series. I think she's a bit out of them now, but I notice that she balances the long books with a few short books in between. I do the same. I'm having her read the Addy series for our unit on Civil War before our trip in a couple weeks. 
  • There have been several small books about cats and dogs and magic. And sometimes ponies. I am choosing to just kind of gloss over those ;)

Any further suggestions? I feel like I comb blogs and pester friends for recommendations all the time! 

*so aside from language exposure and comprehension as well as complexity of plot I would say that the kids are almost on the same level for what is appropriate for each of them. Part of it is first and second kid and part is just very different personalities. It's been interesting to watch. 

1 comment:

Luci & Loree said...

Mom used to tell me to put the book down too, there were things that needed to be done.. we were on a farm and the sheep needed fed!!! Water changed, you know, life...
Has she read Black Beauty? Louisa May Alcott?


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