Favorite Family Read-Aloud Books (Fall 2018-Spring 2019)

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We are finishing up the school year. History is over and science fair projects have been completed. We are shifting gears for summer. One of our favorite parts of our day is “Circle Time” which is in the afternoon right after I put Ava to bed for her “Quiet Hour.” Then we often gather a few snacks and make our way to the living room. We spend the next hour or so reading various books. Over the year we’ve watched CNN 10 for current events, read our history text, The Story of the World, Vol 4, read tons of picture books, mapped our way around the world, took notes and wrote narrations. But our favorite book is whatever we’re reading as our family read aloud.

We usually have a couple going at the same time. One that I’m actually reading and one we listen to on audiobook when we’re driving. We read in community this year as I put together a book club for our school year. We chose books that loosely coincided to our history studies to bring the era alive. And wow, did we ever read some great books! Here’s what we read:

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
A favorite from my own childhood this one was the most complicated in terms of language, but the kids ended up loving it even more than I thought they would. It’s just so compelling, sobbing our way through the end. The relationship between father and son in this book is just incredible.

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Despite the fact that Laura is now a young woman these books still kept my kids spellbound, and I certainly enjoyed revisiting a favorite, once again, from my own childhood. Reading of the simple pleasures of pioneer life remind me to be thankful for our abundance today.

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink (audiobook)
I just love Caddie! And all the kids did too. This book is filled with adventure and is a great discussion starter to discuss the pioneer/Native American relationship, as many views are presented in this book.

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (audiobook)
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall (audiobook)
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall (audiobook)
The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall (audiobook)
The Penderwicks At Last by Jeanne Birdsall (audiobook)
My kids LOVED the Penderwicks and were so sad when this series was over. I, however, was not. I liked the first couple of books but as they went on they became less compelling. The final book didn’t even really have a plot.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munzo Ryan (audiobook)
This book had a bit of a slow start but it was so good! It is a story of Mexican immigration during the Depression and I discovered some things I did not know about history. Because of the Spanish this is a good choice for audio. The story is one of overcoming hardship and making a new life for yourself.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (audiobook)
This book captured our attention immediately and the writing was strong and vivid. Perfect middle grade historical fiction. I loved it and so did the kids! Somehow I missed this one as a kid, glad to get a chance to finally read it! Again, I was introduced to history I knew nothing about: how the people of Denmark worked together to remove a huge amount of its Jewish population by small fishing vessels overnight to Sweden after Nazi invasion!

I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916 by Lauren Tarshis (audiobook)
I Survived the Battle of D-Day, 1944 by Lauren Tarshis (audiobook)
I Survived the Attack of the Grizzlies, 1967 by Lauren Tarshis (audiobook)
Because we were studying W. W. II we listened to the battle of D-Day but then got interested in animal attacks. :) These are faced-paced historical fiction that are great to go along with history topics or introduce an era. Not classic literature but fascinating and based on true events.

George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans by Janet Benge
I realized this year we’ve not read any in-depth biographies of Christians. While we’ve read some picture books, I thought it was time to get a more detailed picture of some Christians who have made a lasting impact in the world. George Mueller was my first choice. The kids kept asking, “this guy becomes a missionary?” because his life was so marred by fast-living and outright theft. Hard to believe this man who loved money ended up being known for trusting the Lord for literally, the daily bread of hundreds of children. What an amazing man and ministry!

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor (audiobook)
I was so excited to listen to this book, as it again was one I missed as a kid. This book was incredible! The characters were vivid and my kids couldn’t get enough. It was hard to listen to sometimes but it brought to life an era that was hard for them to imagine.

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (audiobook)
The back-and-forth narrative style was fast-paced and brought home how other people live life around the world. When we were finished we watched videos about the real people depicted in this book and marveled at all Salva went through.

This year’s books were incredible! We were captivated and learned so much. We look forward to starting our new summer book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone! I don’t know who’s more excited, me or the kids!