Our September Reads

our_september_reads_2018Fall has officially arrived! – Well, in theory. – Here in SoCal we’re trying to wrap our minds around the fact that it’s fall while still enjoying our swimming pools and sipping lemonade. Learning is well underway, with more activities than ever crowding our calendars and keeping us on our toes. In the midst of all the adventure, it’s time to share the few reads we’ve enjoyed during September. The month’s list is short, but sweet. And each one of them a blessing in one way or another.

We’ve broken down our list into categories and included our personal rating from zero to five stars. To read more about a particular book, simply click the title!

Learning Resources:

Children’s Books:

How are we rating these reads? Good question! If the book has a five, whether learning or for fun, it’s clean and we want it on our bookshelf permanently. Four stars are sorely tempting us, but as our local library carries them we’re in luck. Three stars are worth a look, but we don’t see ourselves reading them too often. Two stars were entertaining, but once was enough. One star was acceptable. And zero. Well, it’s zero.

What to be on the lookout for… 

  • Politics According to the Bible is an outstanding resource. This was a suggestion through our pastor, and we can’t say enough good things about this book. We have chosen to adopt this as a portion of our oldest daughter’s senior program, and couldn’t be more pleased by what she is learning. We highly recommend this selection.
  • Scarlet Letter was chosen in connection with our history lessons, and has provided a passageway into wonderful conversation and additional learning. While War of the Worlds was a book club choice which offered a fun look into the world of science fiction.
  • The Atlas of Fairy Tales was truly charming, although not what I anticipated. I was given the impression the book itself would be – well – maps! Instead what we found were re-tellings of classic fairy tale stories. Cute, but not “atlas-like” in any regard.

With the start of a new learning year and the return of scheduled activities, our family often notices a smaller collection of reads. However, we’re confident things will pick back up with an entirely new stockpile of books. Join us again during the month of October as we explore a world of books and the adventure of reading. What will we read next?

We’re curious… Does your family determine reading selections which correspond with the seasons/holidays?

“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.”
~ Psalm 101:3

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Our June Reads

Our_June_Reads_2017It never ceases to amaze us how many books we finish in a month. The lists we share here are merely books we’ve used in a homeschooling/parenting capacity; there are many more which we read on our own! June’s list has a ton of incredible finds from our local library. Everything on this month’s list was completely new to us, which is always fun. All of them were used in our learning to some capacity. Most of them are now on a book wish list.

  1. What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? (Judith Viorst) – From the beloved and internationally bestselling author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst comes a brand-new collection of clever, hilarious, and poignant poems that touch on every aspect of the roller-coaster ride that is childhood.
    A poetry book I specifically chose for the kids. The poems are cute and a great conversation starter regarding feelings. 
  2. The Big Bad Book of Beasts (Michael Largo) – Michael Largo has updated the medieval bestsellers for the twenty-first century, illuminating little-known facts, astonishing secrets, and bizarre superstitions about the beasts that inhabit our world—and haunt our imaginations.
    The title alone had me, but the book itself is a gem. The Big Bad Book of Beasts is a fantastic reference guide for authors and artists, filled with both realistic and fantastical creatures to explore. This was pushed to the top of my ever-increasing book wish list. 
  3. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew (Daniel Pool) – For anyone who has ever wondered whether a duke outranked an earl, when to yell “Tally Ho!” at a fox hunt, or how one landed in “debtor’s prison”; this book serves as an indispensable historical and literary resource.
    Our girls continually seek more knowledge about old English traditions and mannerisms. This book was the perfect fit. We highly encourage a slow reading to fully intake the multitude of knowledge to be found within.
  4. The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling (John Muir Laws) – The ultimate guide to nature drawing and journaling. This is the how-to guide for becoming a better artist and a more attentive naturalist.
    The ultimate guide to nature journaling, to be sure. Mr. Laws does a lovely job of explaining how to nature journal, including tips on drawing various creatures and nature finds. Don’t be scared of the obvious skill Mr. Laws has as an artist, however. Enjoy the beautiful examples of his work and move forward in confidence. 
  5. Kid Artists/Kid Athletes (David Stabler) – The series that began with Kid Presidents has new volumes that chronicle the childhoods of 16 celebrated artists and athletes!
    Okay, it was the adorable covers which caught my attention. I admit it. But the pages within are absolutely fantastic! Forget the kids, I enjoyed reading these books and continually am encouraging the kids to dig in. 
  6. Rebel Science (Dan Green) – If you think scientists are boring eggheads in white coats who never leave the lab, this dynamically illustrated book will set you straight!
    We discovered this read at our local bookstore and immediately checked it out from our library to fully explore it’s contents. Now, I’m going to have to buy it. It’s that good. Please note, the author isn’t Christian but that doesn’t come into play when reading, as the book’s intention is to give a timeline of when scientists lived and their contributions to science in general. 
  7. The Atlas of Oddities (Clive Gifford) – Atlas of Oddities takes kids on a round-the-world adventure that will help them see our planet in a whole new light.
    Maps hold a fascination for me. So when I can pick up a beautifully illustrated book for my children to enjoy, I’m all over it. The illustrations are out of this world cute and teach so much. You’ll definitely want to give this one a try.

We generally gather our reading materials from the library, but several of these have been added to our book wish list. Great reads are worth revisiting!  We were so excited to find another incredible selection this month! A few of them were excellent aids in nature study. Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading.

Your Turn!: I’ve been on a poetry kick lately, do you have a favorite poet?

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Our May Reads

Our_May_Reads

It never ceases to amaze us how many books we finish in a month. The lists we share here are merely books we’ve used in a homeschooling/parenting capacity; there are many more which we read on our own! May’s list has a ton of incredible finds from our local library. Everything on this month’s list was completely new to us, which is always fun. All of them were used in our learning to some capacity. Most of them are now on a book wish list.

  1. Ordinary People Change the World (Series by Brad Meltzer) – WE CAN ALL BE HEROES. That’s the inspiring message of this lively, collectible picture book biography series from New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer.
    A friend on Instagram shared this incredible series. We immediately pulled every available book in the set. My son is in love. So am I.
  2. Make: Magazine (Maker Media) – As the leading voice of the maker movement, Make: publishes tested projects, skill-building tutorials, in-depth reviews and inspirational stories, accessible by all ages and skill ranges.
    I happened across this publication while perusing for other periodicals. This is an amazing resource for learning! Each issue is filled with tons of incredible projects to make with detailed instructions. Check them out… Make:
  3. The Beauty of the Beast, Poems from the Animal Kingdom (Selected by Jack Prelutsky) – A stunning collection of poems celebrating “the beauty and wonder of the animal kingdom.” Poet and anthologist Jack Prelutsky has chosen 200 works by 123 poets from Carl Sandburg to Seamus Heaney, with a tip of the hat to his own “The Multilingual Mynah Bird.”
    An incredibly fun book to explore with the kids. Many animals were covered, and all of the poems lovely.
  4. The Curious Garden (Peter Brown) – While out exploring one day, a little boy named Liam discovers a struggling garden and decides to take care of it. As time passes, the garden spreads throughout the dark, gray city, transforming it into a lush, green world.
    It was the art which drew us in, but the story which kept us coming back for multiple readings. The Curious Garden is a wonderful story and quite inspiring.
  5. Art & Max (David Weisner) – Max and Arthur are friends who share an interest in painting. Arthur is an accomplished painter; Max is a beginner. Max’s first attempt at using a paintbrush sends the two friends on a whirlwind trip through various artistic media, which turn out to have unexpected pitfalls.
    An adorable read, through and through. We loved how this story explored the fun and adventurous aspect of art.
  6. What To Do With a Box (Jane Yolen & Chris Sheban) – If you give a child a box, who can tell what will happen next? It may become a library or a boat. It could set the scene for a fairy tale or a wild expedition. The most wonderful thing is its seemingly endless capacity for magical adventure…
    We’re continually on the lookout for books which encourage children to think creatively. In this case, outside the box. Mission accomplished!
  7. The Little Island (Margaret Wise Brown and Leonard Weisgard) – There is a little island in the ocean—and this book is about how it is on that little island, how the seasons and the storm and the day and night change it, how the lobsters and seals and gulls and everything else live on it, and what the kitten who comes to visit finds out about it.
    Suggested by an online acquaintance, this charming story helped us focus on our nature studies; learning to experience God’s creation through all of our senses. 
  8. A Child of Books (Oliver Jeffers) – A little girl sails her raft across a sea of words, arriving at the house of a small boy. She invites him to go away with her on an adventure into the world of stories… where, with only a little imagination, anything at all can happen.
    I confess, the cover caught my attention. It went in my basket without further thought. Was opened in the quiet of my home. And devoured entirely, from beginning to end. We loved the clever illustrations and thoughtfulness of the story. 
  9. Finding Wild (Megan Wagner Lloyd) – There are so many places that wild can exist, if only you know where to look! Can you find it? Two kids set off on an adventure away from their urban home and discover all the beauty of the natural world. From the bark on the trees to the sudden storm that moves across the sky to fire and flowers, and snowflakes and fresh fruit. As the children make their way through the woods and back to the paved and noisy streets, they discover that wild exists not just off in some distant place, but right in their own backyard.
    Another nature study find by Mom. I appreciated the thoughtfulness of the story without the tendency of some books towards glorifying nature to the point of considering man an evil. 
  10. The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs (Tristan Gooley) – Gooley has compiled more than 850 outdoor tips—many not found in any other book in the world—that will open readers’ eyes to nature’s hidden logic. He shares techniques for forecasting and tracking, and for walking in the country or city, along the coast, and by night. This is the ultimate resource on what the land, sun, moon, stars, plants, animals, and clouds can reveal—if you only know how to look!
    I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. It came highly recommended so we gave it a chance and were pleasantly surprised. We learned so much from just the first chapters, we cannot imagine pushing through this book quickly. Even a single reading will not be enough to fully absorb its material. For nature explorers, this book is a wonderful guide and help!

We generally gather our reading materials from the library, but several of these have been added to our book wish list. Great reads are worth revisiting!  We were so excited to find another incredible selection this month! A few of them were excellent aids in nature study. Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading.

Your Turn!: How do you know when a book is so good, you have to buy it?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitter& Pinterest!

Our April Reads

Our_April_Reads_2017

It never ceases to amaze us how many books we finish in a month. The lists we share here are merely books we’ve used in a homeschooling/parenting capacity; there are many more which we read on our own! April’s list has a few incredible finds from our local library. Everything on this month’s list was completely new to us, which is always fun.

  1. Lindbergh: The Tale of the Flying Mouse (Torben Kuhlmann) – A story of toil and triumph—inspired by Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight! These are dark times . . . for a small mouse. A new invention—the mechanical mousetrap—has caused all of the mice but one to flee to America, the land of the free. But with cats guarding the steamships, trans-Atlantic crossings are no longer safe. In the bleakest of places . . . the one remaining mouse has a brilliant idea. He must learn to fly!
    The illustrations are what sell us on Torben Kuhlmann’s books. They are simply amazing. But you’ll love this adorable story about a little mouse with big aspirations. The kids thought this was a perfect read. 
  2. Beautiful Birds (Jean Roussen) – In this stunningly illustrated introduction to the world’s most beautiful birds, Jean Roussen and Emmanuelle Walker pay homage to an alphabet of birds in all their feathery fancies.
    A nature study read for the month, the colorful illustrations were wonderful and definitely helped us explore the world of exotic birds. 
  3. Before After (Anne_Margot Ramstein) – Just as day turns into night and back again, a many-tiered cake is both created and eaten down to a single piece. Each spread or sequence of spreads explores a before and after.
    A wordless book I wanted to explore with the kids, this book is perfect for littles or the art of storytelling. 
  4. The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts (Maja Safstrom) – Did you know that an octopus has three hearts? Or that ostriches can’t walk backward? These and many more fascinating and surprising facts about the animal kingdom are illustrated with whimsical detail in this charming collection.
    I’ll be honest, I picked up this book because of the cover itself. It’s adorable! However, I was pleased to find the pages within just as charming. We recently discovered there’s a sequel! This was a great book for nature study. 
  5. Three Swords for Granada (Walter Dean Myers) – In the year 1420, the cats from the kingdom of Spain attacked their foes: dogs led by the cruel Fidorean Guards. Full of bravery and ready to give their lives for their country, the cats begin a swashbuckling journey of swordplay and derring-do.
    As we are studying the Renaissance, this seemed a perfect read for the younger kiddos. Three Swords is a cute book and a fun read. 
  6. None Like Him: 10 Ways God is Different from Us (Jen Wilkin) – Jen Wilkin leads us on a journey to discover ten ways God is different from us – and why that’s a good thing. In the process, she highlights the joy of seeing our limited selves in relation to a limitless God, and how such a realization frees us from striving to be more than we were created to be.
    One of my parenting/mommy books of the month, I discovered this read through an Instagram account I follow. Each chapter was a blessing and an encouragement. Grab it, you won’t be sorry.
  7. Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too (Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish) – With humor and understanding, Faber and Mazlish explain how and when to intervene in fights, provide suggestions on how to help children channel their hostility into creative outlets, and demonstrate how to treat children unequally and still be fair.
    Parenting can be tough sometimes, so this book suggestion piqued our interest. While the overall principles were sound, we were saddened to find the concepts within were not grounded on a moral foundation. While this is not mandatory in writing a parenting book – by any means – we, personally, prefer it. Without Christ, we are nothing. 

We generally gather our reading materials from the library, but I know a few of these have been added to our book wish list. Great picture books are worth revisiting!  We were so excited to find an incredible selection this month! A few of them were excellent aids in nature study. Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading.

Your Turn!: Do you have a favorite “wordless” picture book?

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Our February Reads

February Reads (2017)

This was the month of love, and we’re loving us some books. In February, we explored a world of literature and did some learning along the way. Join us as we share our favorite picks of the month.

  1. Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon (Torben Kuhlmann) – A long time ago a mouse learned to fly . . . and crossed the Atlantic. But what happened next?…
    I know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But when the cover is this cute, you just have to pick it up! The pages inside? They only get better. Cute beyond words; this is on my growing ‘wish list’ of books to buy.
  2. Pen Pals (Alexandra Pichard) – An octopus and an ant are paired up to write letters for a school project in this charming picture book.
    Absolutely adorable! My son thought this was the sweetest book and read it multiple times. In honor of our own pen pals, this book was added to our stack and thoroughly enjoyed.
  3. Design Wise (Vern Yip) – Have you ever wondered exactly how high to hang your artwork? How about the light fixture over your dining table? Trusted designer Vern Yip answers these questions, and more, by revealing the right formulas and measurements that can make any room feel just “right.”
    Interior design is a hobby of mine. Perhaps it has to do with my organizational nature; who knows. This book intrigued me, what with all the formulas for amazing rooms, and it didn’t disappoint. Design Wise is a perfect handbook.
  4. See America, A Celebration of Our National Parks & Treasured Sites – Just in time for the 2016 centennial anniversary of the National Parks Service, the Creative Action Network has partnered with the National Parks Conservation Association to revive and re-imagine the historical legacy of WPA travel posters.
    This was another book cover which caught my eye. We enjoyed exploring the pages within and seeing the creativity each poster offered. The artistry and imagination of each illustrator is incredible. Pages include details on the national park listed, which was fun to learn. This is another book added to my ‘wish list’. 
  5. You Will Not Have My Hate (Antoine Leiris) – One night last winter, Antoine Leiris was at home looking after his son while his wife, Hélène, was at a concert with friends… That night Hélène was killed, along with 88 other people, at the Bataclan Theatre.
    A touching read. You Will Not Have My Hate is an honest retelling of one man’s struggle with the murder of his wife, and the aftermath of raising his son in a world which offered him pity. Told in journal form, this was a quick read, but one worth the undertaking.
  6. The Wild Robot (Peter Brown) – When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. Why is she there? Where did she come from? And, most important, how will she survive in her harsh surroundings?
    I’ll be honest, this book was nothing like I expected. I was anticipating adventure and mystery. Instead, we received a shipwrecked robot’s perspective of nature on the island she is marooned. The story is slow-moving, if you’re looking for action, yet there is so much to gain from this book. For the homeschooler, each chapter offers mini-lessons one could easily adapt to nature studies. 
  7. Pax (Sara Pennypacker) – This is the story of Peter, Pax, and their independent struggles to return to one another against all odds. Told from the alternating viewpoints of Peter and Pax.
    This book came highly recommended. The story is about Peter, a boy, and his pet fox, Pax, who are separated by the boy’s stern father and desperate to find one another again. Parents might wish to read this story before handing it to younger children; death, the violence of war, and other issues are discussed within. Despite the heaviness of several passages, this is a lovely book and one worth reading. 

Plenty of book love going on over here. This month’s list proves you’re never to old to appreciate a great picture book and nature books are making a strong come back.

p.s. If your interested in learning more about the See America Project, give them a look!

Your Turn!: What is your favorite picture book of all time?

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Our November Reads

november_reads_2016

November was a relaxing month. A holiday. Some family. Outings. Nothing too crazy. Just plain and simple fun. Along with those incredible memories, came outstanding reads.

All of November’s books were school, family or personal reads. We’re taking a new approach to Our Morning Basket; one we can’t wait to share with you during the new year. Here’s a rundown of the books we enjoyed during the month of November:

  1. The New Concise History of the Crusades (Thomas F. Madden) – In this sweeping yet crisp history, Thomas F. Madden offers a brilliant and compelling narrative of the crusades and their contemporary relevance.
    This book was a must read which came directly from my husband’s office. We’re covering the Crusades in history, and this was an assigned read. My husband found it fascinating. My oldest girl found it informative, if a bit dry. 
  2. Uninvited – (Lysa TerKeurst) – In Uninvited, Lysa shares her own deeply personal experiences with rejection. With biblical depth, gut-honest vulnerability, and refreshing wit, Lysa helps readers: …Stop feeling left out and start believing that “set apart” does not mean “set aside.”
    I’ve been needing this book for years. Uninvited is brilliant, insightful, and beautiful. I loved every word. Then, passed it off to my daughter who needs every word as much as I. 
  3. Secret Keepers (Trenton Lee Stewart) – Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author and E.B. White Read Aloud Award winner Trenton Lee Stewart returns with a captivating, heart-stopping adventure about thrilling secrets and dangerous mysteries–and the courage to reveal the most frightening of truths.
    I enjoyed Mr. Stewart’s previous series, The Mysterious Benedict Society, and had great hopes for this read. While the story was interesting, I found it rather dry and dull. I was constantly comparing it to his previous works and coming up short. 
  4. Once Upon a Dream, A Twisted Tale, #2 (Liz Braswell) – What if the sleeping beauty never woke up? Once Upon a Dream marks the second book in a new YA line that re-imagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways.
    My oldest gal found this read and had it ordered at the library. She liked it well enough, but preferred #3 better. 
  5. As Old As Time, A Twisted Tale, #3 (Liz Braswell) – Belle is a lot of things: smart, resourceful, restless. She longs to escape her poor provincial town for good. She wants to explore the world, despite her father’s reluctance to leave their little cottage in case Belle’s mother returns–a mother she barely remembers. Belle also happens to be the captive of a terrifying, angry beast. And that is her primary concern.
    The much admired book #3, ‘T’ really enjoyed this book. Frankly, the Beauty and Beast story has always been a personal favorite as well. 
  6. Nature Drawing & Journaling (Barry Stebbing) – A unique combination of nature journaling instructions, reflections, and space for your own work, Nature Drawing and Journaling will keep you outside observing & thinking for hours. Filled with Barry Stebbing’s 40 years’ worth of insights on studying nature and keeping an art journal, with patience and practice you’ll be able to create your very own!
    Another fun resource we added to our library recently. I am no artist, and am completely in-adept at teaching journaling as an art form. I feel I’ve learned much from merely perusing this book; I can’t wait to dig in fully and take this for a spin.
  7. Achieve What Matters in 2017 (Michael Hyatt) – 8 Strategies Super Successful people are using now to accomplish more next year.
    Who doesn’t like starting the year off on the right foot? I’ve enjoyed several of Mr. Hyatt’s previous works, and this read was no exception. A refresher course to re-energize the blogger, homeschool mommy, and wifey that I am. Whew!

Well, that was it for the month! December is here and we’ve already started on our next reads. As usual, Mom is just as excited as the kids. No surprise there! Prayerfully we’ll all enjoy the selections coming, and the memories will keep on building.

📢 Chime In!: Which inspirational book are you taking into the new year?

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Our May Reads

May Reads 2016May was a full month on all fronts. With our longer reads, promotion night plans in full swing, and my kiddos slowing down in anticipation of the upcoming break, our family reading list was quite short. However, shorter lists make for more in-depth conversation, and this month was no exception!

All of these books were included in Our Morning Basket. Mommy had a full month of activity, thus her personal reading time was put on the back-burner. Here’s a rundown of the books we enjoyed during the month of May:

  1. The Orange Fairy Book (Andrew Lang) – Includes 33 tales from Jutland, Rhodesia, Uganda, and various other European traditions: “The Magic Mirror,” “The Two Caskets,” “The Clever Cat,” “The White Slipper,” “The Girl-Fish, and more.”
    We discovered this read through an online acquaintance, and can’t express in words how grateful we are to have found this series. Our family adores fairy tales, and this set is no exception. The Orange Fairy book is one of fifteen in Andrew Lang’s color collection, each one obviously named after a different color. A few of the tales were familiar, most were unique and a treasure. Oh, to buy the entire series. A new goal!
  2. Prayers That Changed History (Tricia Goyer) – Martin Luther. Sojourner Truth. Helen Keller. St. Patrick. We read their stories, and of other people like them, in history books and hear about the amazing things they did to change the world. But one part of the story is often left out: Each one of them wouldn’t have accomplished what they did without prayer.
    Given as a gift at a local homeschool convention, we’ve been using this book as part of our morning devotion throughout our learning year. What a blessing being able to read beyond the typical biography, and discover the power of prayer in each of these people’s lives. Each chapter was an inspiration and an unforgettable lesson.
  3. A Wind in the Door (Madeleine L’Engle) – A Wind in the Door is a fantastic adventure story involving Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe; the chief characters of A Wrinkle in Time. Charles Wallace is having difficulty in adapting to school. He is also strangely, seriously ill. Can Meg and Calvin help Charles Wallace before it is too late?
    A great read. What surprised us most was how well it tied in with a recent Biology lesson without us even making the attempt. I always love the conversations which arise from reading anything by Madeleine L’Engle. Her books offer much to ponder with our children.
  4. A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Madeleine L’Engle) –  In this companion volume to “A Wrinkle In Time” and “A Wind In The Door”, fifteen-year-old Charles Wallace and the unicorn Gaudior undertake a perilous journey through time in a desperate attempt to stop the destruction of the world by the mad dictator Madog Branzillo.
    A fantastic story which led to in-depth conversations regarding time travel, God’s view of time, character, and so much more. Our kids enjoyed this story very much. 

June’s stack of books is already piled high and we’re ready to get moving. With a summer break coming up, I’m praying to get back into my own personal reading time and explore incredible summer reading ideas to share. Plus, summer reading programs kick in this coming week. I can’t wait to score some incredible prizes!

📢 Chime In!: Does your library offer a summer reading program?

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Our January Reads

JanuaryReads

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.
~Attributed to Groucho Marx

The month of January included some great reads. Some of these were family reads, while others were on my personal list. Here’s a rundown of the books we’ve enjoyed this month:

  1. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them (JK Rowling) Ever wonder how to defeat a troll? Want to know what you feed a dragon? Fantastic Beasts is a clever book by the author of the Harry Potter series, written as an encyclopedia of all the fantastical creatures featured in the original series, and more!
    With an upcoming movie release, our family wanted to review this fun read. Short, silly, and full of imagination, this was a great book. If you’re a fan of the Potter series, or plan to watch the upcoming film, this might be a book you’d enjoy.
  2. The Nature of the Beast (Louise Penny) A little boy known for telling tall tales is found dead. The question is, which of his stories was worth murdering for? A retired inspector must find the answer to this puzzling question before their little town is turned upside down by chaos. 
    This was a read from my stack. I had never heard of this author before, but am always willing to try a new read. I was pleasantly surprised. The story was cleverly told, and the characters well-written. The back story was based on actual events, which piqued my interest and taught me something new. While there was some language in the book, it was minimal. Over all, it was a good read. It will be interesting to see if other books in this series prove as well written.
  3. Pulling Back the Shades (Dannah Gresh/Dr. Juli Slattery) Where does God stand on the issue of intimacy in marriage? What is acceptable and what’s forbidden? Pulling Back the Shades is a short read laying out the Biblical concept of intimacy in a Christian marriage.
    This read was suggested to me as a ministry aid. Many women in the church have questions about Biblical intimacy, and just as many are not receiving much-needed answers. I found this book to be incredibly well thought-out and Biblically sound. I loved the authors’ take on the issues, and their encouragement to seek Christ in all areas of life, especially our marriage.
  4. The BFG (Roald Dahl)   Instead of going to bed as she should have, a little girl finds herself being whisked away to the land of giants. There, to her horror, she discovers humans are the giants’ favorite food! With the help of the BFG – the big, friendly giant – she must find a way to stop the giants’ evil doings and save the day!
    This read was part of our Morning Basket for the month of January. This is another book seeing a movie released soon. While I’ve read this story before, this was a first for the kids. It was lots of fun! The kids found the story quite appealing and are anxiously waiting for the movie.
  5. The Flower Recipe Book (Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo) A handy guide to creating gorgeous bouquets for your home, The Flower Recipe Book will walk you through essential elements of flower arranging.
    Yet another read in my stack, this book was brought to my attention by a fellow WP blogger! While we’re encouraged to not judge a book my its cover, it was the colorful front image which caught my attention. The pages between didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed learning about various flora and being a taught a thing or two about the joys of decorating my home with lovely bouquets. I borrowed this one from our local library, but this is one which might be gracing my own shelves at home soon.
  6. Fairest (Melissa Meyer)  What if Cinderella’s evil stepmother wasn’t always evil? Perhaps she has her own story to tell; a tale of sorrow, rejection, and evil sisters who’ve scarred you for life. The newest book in the Lunar Chronicles series, Fairest allows Cinderella’s stepmother a chance to tell her story. Told in a futuristic universe, we’re given a glimpse of what life was like before Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress tried to bring down the evil queen.
    Part of my growing stack of books, this newest installment was everything I expected. Categorized as young adult, this series is fairly clean, but a little dark to pass onto my girls yet.
  7. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of Her Own Making (Valente) Little September is bored with her life. Adventure is what she wants, and adventure is what she gets! Carried off by one of the Harsh Winds in his sporting green jacket, September is taken to a land of fairies desperately in need of help.
    This book was a complete gamble; I had never heard of the series nor the author. However, it proved to be an interested read. Reminiscent of Phantom Tollbooth with its cleverly named characters, this was a fun read to share with my children.
  8. All Dressed in White (Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke) – Laurie is looking for yet another mystery to uncover on her hit TV series, Under Suspicion. She finds it in a missing persons case involving a possible runaway bride. But, is this a case of wedding jitters or murder?
    The most recent book written by Ms. Clark and Ms. Burke, All Dressed in White was another good read.  A great mystery, with well-written characters; this book will keep you guessing until the end.

Finding good, non-Christian fiction is definitely a challenge. Even when it comes to young adult fiction, clean literature is a needle in a haystack. We also understand the Lord has given each family different convictions about which books to read. Some enjoy fairy tales and fantasy, while others find such literature an issue.

We read a lot. To the best of our ability we keep our reads clean. While we’ve enjoyed this month’s reads, we highly recommend doing your own research before picking up a book. Ask the Lord to guide you in picking literature for your family.

February’s stack of books is already piled high and we’re ready to get moving. Here’s to good books and comfy chairs to read them in.

🔔Time to Chime In: Fiction or nonfiction, do you have a book suggestion for us? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this month’s reads, and ideas for our 2016 book list.

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