Reading good books was a huge part of our year. We have morning read-aloud time as part of our homeschool day and it might just be our favorite time together. Through our move and the changes that came because of it, one thing that was consistent was our time spent in books. A highlight of the year was having my youngest fall in love with reading. Before this year he loved books and listening to them, but this year he's taken off and has found books that he enjoys reading independently. I knew this moment would come, but honestly it was a test of patience and faith.
As we wrap up the year I have asked my boys to look through the list of books we read together and the lists of books they read on their own and give me their top five recommendations.
1. The Kingdom of Wrenly Series. He has read nearly all of the books in this simple adventure series on his own in the last few months. It's a great series for boys or girls who are looking for adventure stories, but aren't quite ready to jump into larger chapter books.
2. The Crow-Girl. "I like it because it has a bit of adventure in it."
3. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. This was a book I read as a child so my younger boys were especially interested in it. While it isn't my favorite, it led to some interesting conversations about how we should treat our family members. "It's funny. Don't let your little kids read the second book, Superfudge, or it will ruin the Santa secret."
4. Island of the Blue Dolphins. This is a survival story which is a theme that is always a hit with my boys.
5. Crispin and the Cross of Lead. "I like it because he's trying to escape from all these bad people." (This was also on my middlest's list of favorites although it didn't make the final five book cut.)
1. Fablehaven Series. "It shows that in some conflicts it's not just black and white." "You don't want to put it down." (This has been a favorite of my biggest too. I think he's read the series three times.)
2. Farworld Series. "I like that the ending lets you think about what happens next."
3. Ice Drift. "It shows a darkness before the dawn, that things can get really bad before they get happy."
4. The Green Ember. "It's a really good adventure story."
5. The Unfinished Angel. "It's just a really, really nice story. It makes me feel good inside."
1. The Law. "I like this book because it explains the fundamentals of a good government."
2. The Real Benjamin Franklin. "It talks about Benjamin Franklin's achievements in chronological order instead of just learning it in bits and pieces."
3. The Unfinished Angel. "I like that it was an inspiring story that ended happily. I really like happy endings." A lot of the books we read together this year illustrated real life challenges and portrayed some true and sad stories. I was surprised to see this book on my older two boys' lists as we read it early in the year. Apparently it made a big impact. It just goes to show that a small book can have a lasting effect.
4. Faith of a Scientist. "This book shows that religion and science can go hand in hand. They compliment each other, and I don't think that people always think they do."
5. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. "This is a good story and it has a lot of meaning." We read The Chronicles of Narnia when my oldest two boys were little and it is so neat to revisit the series and have the older boys share it with my youngest as well.
1. The Hiding Place. This true story showed how love and faith can carry you through trials. Corrie Ten Boom is a true hero. She lived with grace and took something horrific and created beauty.
2. My Story by Elizabeth Smart. I listened to the audiobook with Elizabeth reading her own story. I lived in Utah when Elizabeth was taken and her family's story touches my heart. This was a difficult story to hear and I am forever changed by it. I recommend this book because Elizabeth Smart shows us through her experiences and faith that although bad things happen, we can hold to who we are and have hope. I love that Elizabeth realized throughout her ordeal that this was not God's will for her, that this was the result of evil choices of others. She knew that God loved her and she saw miracles even while living a nightmare. I am so grateful for her willingness to share her story in such a tasteful and honest way.
3. The Girl Who Drank the Moon. This was another book I experienced as an audiobook. We listened to it as a family on a road trip and it was engaging and deep and crazy and lovely. It includes magic, love, light vs. dark, and looking within for true worth.
4. The Chosen. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The contrast in the styles of parenting and mentoring were enlightening. The enduring friendship was inspiring.
5. A Wrinkle In Time. This may be my new favorite book. I cannot believe I had not read it before. The themes of light and dark, the idea of stepping outside of comfort to address troubles, the different types of genius we each have, the powerful effects of love, the idea of being the ONE that might be needed, all came together for an amazing tale of adventure and growth.
We have had so much fun reflecting on some of the books we have read this year. It was hard to pick just a few to share. What are the books that have impacted your year? Share them in the comments below. I would love to add them to our ever-growing list of books to read.