Hi again! I’m back with the post where I tell you all about the books we’ve read, the books we’re reading, and the books we want to read…in hopes that you find something you want to read (or gift!) as well.
For me, children’s books need to be an ideal balance between beautiful words and images, but I’m a pretty big sucker for quirky/creative illustrations.
I just stumbled upon this Little people/BIG DREAMS series on Amazon, and, while I have little to no interest in quite a few of the people about whom the books are written (I just don’t see myself sitting down to read my kids a book about David Bowie or Bob Dylan), there are quite a few options to choose from, and I like that each book comes in hardback or board book form and features simple language for younger readers and fun, imaginative illustrations.
Some of the titles that caught my eye:
(It just so happened that all of the titles that I was drawn to were women, but that was mostly because I felt like a lot of their male offerings were lacking interest for our family).
I mentioned The Wingfeather Saga in last year’s list, but we hadn’t started it yet. Well we read the entire series last year, so I can now say with resounding confidence that I. LOVED. IT. And so did my kids. The first book is a bit slow and glitchy (some unnecessary quirks like long, nonsensical footnotes) in parts, but persevere, my friends. Because, after Book 1, the series soars. It is phenomenally well-written, developed, and plotted with meaningful relationships and poignant, Biblical lessons taught in such a compassionate and complex way that you could read this series coming from any faith background and still be touched (although, I would argue its most significant from a Biblical standpoint of sin nature/redemption). I seriously can’t say enough good things about this series (obviously). Just buy it. You won’t regret it!
Another series that my boys, especially, got really into is Redwall. I think there are 17 books total, and they are fairly hefty, so they could keep your kids occupied for a good while. We (mostly Ezra and Simon) listened to at least 6 on audio book. I will say that there’s a great deal of fighting and death (the characters are talking animals), but the line between good and evil is always clearly delineated, and the action is non-stop. Great for adventure-loving boys. (Also, be warned that there is the occasional “damn,” so younger kids who are more prone to parrot dialogue should probably be steered clear).
Another favorite Audible listen this year was Matilda. I know that Roald Dahl books are well-known classics, but I had never actually read any. I loved Matilda, though, in no small part due to Kate Winslet’s superb narration. But I could tell from the prose that it would make a delightful read-aloud for the whole family
Kate Dicamillo is another classic children’s author that I hadn’t actually experienced much of myself, but we read The Tale of Despereaux together this year and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Next on our Dicamillo hit list?
Our current read aloud series is The Mysterious Benedict Society, which should keep us busy for quite some time and already has the kids on the edges of their seats with every chapter. Funny note: I love to do accents and started out this series thinking that it was British based on a red double-decker bus on one of the covers (and also on the style of the writing/dialogue, which has a decidedly English flair). I ended up having to switch accents a few chapters in when I read a line about “George Washington, the father of our country.”
Oh well. I still highly recommend so far!
After the Benedict Society, I want to get this.
Also on my hit list because I’ve read such good things about them…
The One and Only Ivan (which I may have to intersperse with Benedict Society, since I’m so eager to read it).
…The Family Under the Bridge
and A Long Walk to Water
As far as books that I have no intention of reading aloud but that my kids love, these are great:
The Imagination Station series is a great set of adventure books aimed at ages 7-10
And the Passages series by Paul Mccusker is another great one for tweens.
I’m all about books that teach my kids truth by engaging their imaginations, minds, eyes, and hearts. And I am loving the look of these options:
How Great is Our God
A couple more that I’m ordering for my kids:
This is How We Do It
The Big Book of Birds (there are other Big Book titles as well if you scroll; we love The Big Book of Bugs)
A Rock is Lively (we have several books in this series, and we love them!)
And let’s not forget that there are books for mamas as well!
I have both of Ruth’s books, and they are simply delightful. I think you or any other woman in your life would love them too!
Beholding and Becoming
Another great one from a blogging friend of mine, Just Open the Door has lots of great practical ideas for growing in Biblical hospitality.
Another good one to encourage the mamas in your life: Risen Motherhood.
This was not the year of the novel for me. But I did manage to read (aka: listen to a few good ones).
Before We Were Yours is a heartrending tale based on (incomprehensible real-life events). It’s captivating from start to finish.
Once Upon a River is a story with an almost Dickensian feel and some of the most beautiful, lyrical prose I’ve ever read.
Resistance Women is the continuation of my obsession with all things WWII. It’s not as emotionally engaging as some I’ve read, but considering that it manages to efficiently weave together multiple story lines, all of which are based on historical people, it’s an impressive and informative read.
And there you have it! Enough books to keep you and your kids occupied for a good long while. Hope you find something you love!