Join me as I read through and review all of the Newbery Medal winners from 1922 to the present. I have been looking forward to reading through this list for some time and creating the opportunity to recommend the best books on this list to my children and to you, my reader. So, I thought I’d invite you to join me on the journey and enjoy what some would call “quality” reading.Click on the links for my review and to add your comments on specific titles. My ratings and reviews are solely my own opinion. Newbery Medal Winners 1922 to the present 2019: Merci Suárez Changes Gears, written by Meg Medina (Candlewick Press) 2018: Hello, Universe, written by Erin Entrada Kelly 2017: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill 2016: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña 2015: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander 2014: Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo 2013: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate 2012: Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos 2011: Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool 2010: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead 2009: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, illus. by Dave McKean 2008: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz 2007: The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, illus. by Matt Phelan 2006: Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins 2005: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata 2004: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo 2003: Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi 2002: A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park 2001: A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck 2000: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis 1999: Holes by Louis Sachar 1998: Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse 1997: The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg 1996: The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman 1995: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech 1994: The Giver by Lois Lowry 1993: Missing May by Cynthia Rylant 1992: Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 1991: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli 1990: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry 1989: Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman 1988: Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman 1987: The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman 1986: Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan 1985: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley 1984: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary 1983: Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt 1982: A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard 1981: Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson 1980: A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-1832 by Joan W. Blos 1979: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin 1978: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson 1977: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor 1976: The Grey King by Susan Cooper 1975: M. C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton 1974: The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox 1973: Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George 1972: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien 1971: Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars 1970: Sounder by William H. Armstrong 1969: The High King by Lloyd Alexander 1968: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg 1967: Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt 1966: I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino 1965: Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska 1964: It’s Like This, Cat by Emily Neville 1963: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle 1962: The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare 1961: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell 1960: Onion John by Joseph Krumgold 1959: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare 1958: Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith 1957: Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen 1956: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham 1955: The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong 1954: …And Now Miguel by Joseph Krumgold 1953: Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark 1952: Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes 1951: Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates 1950: The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli 1949: King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry 1948: The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois 1947: Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey 1946: Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski 1945: Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson 1944: Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes 1943: Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray 1942: The Matchlock Gun by Walter Edmonds 1941: Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry 1940: Daniel Boone by James Daugherty 1939: Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright 1938: The White Stag by Kate Seredy 1937: Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer 1936: Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink 1935: Dobry by Monica Shannon 1934: Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women by Cornelia Meigs 1933: Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Lewis 1932: Waterless Mountain by Laura Adams Armer 1931: The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth 1930: Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field 1929: The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly 1928: Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji 1927: Smoky, the Cowhorse by Will James 1926: Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman 1925: Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger 1924: The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes 1923: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting 1922: The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon
We have been long-time fans of author Jean Fritz and her delightful American history books, full of facts, humor and wit. Thus, I was delighted when I chanced upon this book written in a fictional style about her early life growing up in China. Growing up as a foreigner in China wasn’t easy. Having been born in China she knew nothing different, but oh, how she long to go “home” to America. Her grandmother wrote long letters to her about life in America and all it’s goodness. Feeling like a misfit in the British school and being a bit of a prankster Jean refused to sing the British National Anthem and mischievously skipped school to cross the bridge where the “foreign devils” were prohibited. Adventurous and fun, this book would make a lovely read-aloud with much to discuss about Chinese culture, braving perilous circumstances (escaping the war), life as an only child, and navigating big emotions (her mother miscarries a baby, but keeps it hush-hush). Do you have a favorite Jean Fritz book?
Have any animal lovers in your house? I certainly do. My kids can’t seem to get enough of adventurous stories with lead animal characters. We laughed with Ferdinand, we cried with Pax, we howled at the crazy antics of Brighty, and we were held in suspense with every chapter of the Green Ember. We thought you would enjoy a few of our favorites, so we compiled a list of 21 of our favorites here to share with you. Enjoy! CLICK HERE to download the booklist in printable format The Story of Ferdinand by Leaf Munro This classic 1936 story is about a bull who is different from the others; he is happy to sit and smell the flowers and is perfectly content just being himself. When the matadors come and try to make a fighter out of him, well, the results are pretty funny. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon A beautiful picture book about a small bat who gets separated from her mother and ends up accidentally being raised by a bird. She is chided for not being like the birds but later comes to the realization that being bat is a beautiful thing. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne I couldn’t resist putting this classic on the list. The timeless adventures of this little bear and his friends will continue to delight children throughout the ages. Pooh goes on many adventures and learns many wonderful lessons throughout the pages. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White This book is best in an audiobook format where the wonderful trumpet music is played. We loved the story of the voiceless swan who finds his voice in an unusual way. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White This lovable little pig will steal your heart. Young Wilbur learns many things about friendship, love, life and death through adventures with his dear friends. Dear Charlotte always giving out wisdom; Templeton doing the dirty work and Fern, ever there to protect him. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco Nursery magic is a rare and beautiful thing shared among the toys. A young boy’s beloved stuffed rabbit discovers that he can become real only through wisdom and experience of love, as the Skin Horse explains. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot These heart-warming stories of an English country veterinarian will delight the whole family. They are full of humor, wit, wisdom and warmth as Mr. Herriot tells of his travels from farm to farm tending animals and delighting in the wonders and eccentricities of life. The Cricket In Times Square by George Selden I had trouble thinking that I would enjoy a story about a cricket, but this little guy won me over. The story of a cricket who accidentally finds himself in a Times Square subway and then discovers a magical talent within himself. With the help of his friends he becomes everyone’s favorite cricket. Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry As always, Marguerite Henry, amazes me how she can turn something seemingly ordinary into an unforgettable story. This tale of a wild little donkey, roaming free in the Grand Canyon, who won the hearts of all who knew him and helped dedicate a bridge for Thoedore Roosevelt, will not disappoint. Every page is filled with adventure. Justin Morgan had a Horse by Marguerite Henry This is the story of how the true American horse, the Morgan, began. Coming from obscurity into the talk of every horseman in the country, Little Bub is truly an outstanding horse. He can outwork, outrun, and outtrot any horse around. A story of tender love between a boy and his horse. Lassie Come Home by Eric Knight There never was a more faithful dog or a boy who loved her more. After being sold to an unkind handler who had taken her to a remote part of Scotland, Lassie, traveling alone, journeys back to her beloved boy. Too far for any dog to make alone, she meets many a generous soul along the way and finds her way home. War Horse by Michael Morpurgo A boy’s beloved colt, raised and handled with care is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of war in 1914. The boy and the horse are both heartbroken. Joey joins the army in hopes that he will discover the whereabouts of his beloved horse. The Green Ember by S.D. Smith Ordinary lives suddenly turn upside down in this story. Friendship, courage, bravery, and fear are all a part of this adventurous tale of two rabbits, Heather and Picket. War threatens to tear them apart and brings unlikely friendships into their lives. Every chapter of this book leaves you hanging on for more. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell The story of a horse, a good, gently, hardworking, animal whose life isn’t always pretty. Good times and hard times Beauty bears it well and leaves an impression. A treasured classic. Bulu: African Wonder Dog by Dick Houston This little dog will steal your heart as he did his owners. Raised in the heart of Africa where dogs end up more often wild-animal food than family pets. Rehabilitating orphaned animals is this little dog’s specialty. His miraculous life saved more than once, his fighting spirit conquers death so that he can befriend and help more animals in need. Poisonous snakes, bull elephants, and floods are all a part of this African adventure. Ice Whale by Jean Craighead George I never realized how little I knew about whales until I read this tale of a young boy and his journey following a whale that keeps re-appearing throughout his life. This story follows Siku the whale through 200 years of his life and many generations of Eskimo. A somewhat sobering story of the whale and a curse and in the end the girl who finally breaks it. King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry Yet another story of a horse and his boy that you will not soon forget. A mute stable boy befriends a small, swift horse with a scorned pedigree and together they become legend. This fictional story of the history of the Arabian horse as he travels from Arabia, to France to England is unforgettable. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’brien Their home is being destroyed and her son is deathly ill. Mrs. Frisby and her 4 mouslings will be forever grateful to the rats of NIMH who saved them from impending danger in the nick of time. Pax by Sara Pennypacker A boy raises a young fox as a pet after its family is killed. His father enlists and he now has to move in with his grandfather, but the fox cannot come. He takes the fox into the wild and releases him. Regretting this action Peter decides to go after the fox and attempt to reunite their bond. This is their adventures. The Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London (Grades 6+) This classic tale of unbreakable spirit and the fight for survival will keep you on the edge of your seat. It takes place in the frozen Alaskan Klondike during the gold rush era and pulls from the authors own experience as a miner. Harsh treatment of the dogs and harsher scenes between dueling miners make this a good read for an older audience. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (Grades 6+) We’ve all seen the Disney version of the Jungle Book, but there is so much more to the story as told in Kipling’s original. His vast vocabulary and wonderful turns of phrase make this book a difficult but delightful read. The story twists and turns through the jungle like a boa constrictor and leaves the reader feeling satisfied at having accomplished a journey through the jungle, avoiding Where Kahn’s claws, rooting for Rikki-Tikki-Tavi as he fights the snake, becoming friends with the lovable Baloo. CLICK HERE to download the booklist in printable format Do you have a favorite animal character from childhood?Share them with us below.
I read a piece of marriage advice the other day that was encouraging the couple to watch a movie and then spend 4 separate days discussing it as a way of creating depth of conversation and more intimate friendship. I thought this might be a good experience for my kids too and would help us gain far more out of what we are reading and watching than if we simply watched it once and moved on. This idea would allow us to ponder, consider, reflect, and mull over the contents of the book, movie, music, and numerous other parts of life; a skill at which I feel our fast-paced society is quickly becoming inept. Pondering adds depth to our thought-life and value to our silence. I believe that teaching my children to spend time in thought will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Ask Lots of Open-Ended Questions I tried this theory out with my kids after watching the new Dumbo movie and I was amazed at how many thoughts they had about the movie for days afterward. It was like a gold mine of which I had previously only skimmed the surface. To get the conversation started I used Sarah McKenzie’s 5 questions… Should he have done that? How is x like y? How is x different from y? Who was the most __________ (courageous, proud, obnoxious, noble) in this story? Which other story does this remind you of? And then I added a few questions of my own… Who is like you in this story/movie? If you could be any character in this story, which one would you be? Why? Which character in the story am I? It was hard for me to savor each question and spread them out over several days, but I found as I did this that we had more to talk about and deeper conversations. We also just finished listening to the adventurous audiobook of Peter Pan. We loved the story and there were so many characters and adventures to talk about that we all continue to bring it up and talk about it over and over. This made for excellent dinner table conversation and lots of laughs. Try it out for yourself and let us know how it goes in the comments.
I love the stage in early reading when my kids suddenly realize that there are words everywhere. My son recently went through this stage and I would hear him in the back of the car sounding out every word he could find on signs, buildings, billboards and more. He was so excited that this whole new world was opened up to him, he couldn’t stop reading. This stage is my cue to begin strategizing where to place plenty of my favorite early readers within his grasp. I fill my home with books at his reading level and a little above. I start by heading to the library and bringing home stacks of quality books by my favorite authors. I look for a variety of genres, mystery, true stories, joke books, folk tales, poetry, and factual. I let him pick out a few of his own books too, but I’m a stickler about content so I try to encourage him towards certain authors or titles. I like books that are easy to read, but not dumbed down in story line, vocabulary or grammar. If I wouldn’t enjoy reading it with him, it’s usually a no. I fill the book shelf near his bed so he can enjoy books last thing at night and first thing in the morning. Sometimes I strew books. I take a few books off the shelves or out of our library box and strew them on the couch, the footstool, the coffee table, the counter, the play room, etc. I leave them open to a captivating page with hopes that my son will see them and show interest. I read a page you read a page is oneway I encourage him to gain fluency and confidence without feeling overwhelmed. It gives him a break and keeps the story flowing. We also get some one-on-one time this way. I’ve also been known to employ the help of the cliff hanger. I will read the first chapter or two of a book aloud and then stop at a cliff hanger and set the book down making some excuse to do something else. Generally, my little readers can’t stand the suspense and will pick up the book and begin reading it to themselves. We continue to read aloud often. Reading aloud together continues to give my son confidence in his own reading and decoding. Especially if he can look over my shoulder and follow along while I read. Last, I make sure that he sees me reading books too. It’s pretty hard to encourage our kids to read books when all they see us reading is our electronics. Let books be your friend. The Quick Recap Lots of books – Books near bed – Strew books – I read you read – Cliff hanger – Read-aloud together – Be a reader yourself. Our favorite classic early readers: Little Bear is a classic for sure but one you cannot go wrong reading. These sweet stories started the early reader revolution. I love the freedom that Little Bear enjoys in these stories to go exploring and have adventures. Be sure to look for all the titles. Frog and Toad are good friends that help each other with life. We love these simple stories that encourage kindness and sympathy. We haven’t found any by this author we didn’t enjoy. Mercer Mayer is another beloved author. Simple stories about a boy and his little sister, and their adventures through life. Good family values and easy reading. Daniel’s Duck is an easy to read book parents will enjoy as much as their children, about a boy who learns a bit of wood carving and a good lesson about people and life. Great for boys. Emmet’s Pig is the epitome of persistence and single-mindedness. A story about a boy, his dream for a pig, and some very thoughtful parents. The White Stallion is a Children’s historical fiction about a young girl who’s family is traveling in a wagon train in 1845. She gets lost with her horse and the Stallion helps them both get back to her family. Ready to move on to easy chapter books? Billy and Blaze – a boy, his horse and their ever exciting adventures of Cowboys, Indians and narrow escapes. Be sure to read the whole series. The Bears on Hemlock Mountain will keep you in suspense all the way to the end. Our favorite part is visualizing the boy hiding under the pot. Adventure awaits. My kids are really enjoying mysteries right now and The Mystery of Meerkat Hill is no exception. This book keeps you guessing and has a surprise ending. We enjoy the multicultural aspect of this novel which takes place in Botswana, Africa. The Whipping Boy is another mystery of sorts, if getting out of scrapes and cleverness count for that. This book takes a naughty prince and his whipping boy on a hair raising adventure and back again. What are your favorite early readers? Please share in the comments below
Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, but it does have some wonderful tried and true benefits. One of the things I love about homeschooling is that no one is telling me what I have to do. I get to make decisions and choose what my children are going to learn, when, where and how. Sure, sometimes being the one making all the decisions is incredibly overwhelming and I wish someone would just step in and say, “hey, do this”, but most of the time, I love it. Here are 10 reasons I believe you will love homeschooling your kids too. 1. TIME FOR YOU As a homeschooling mom I can create the schedule that works best for me. If I like to sleep in, or get up early. If I like to exercise before my school day starts. If I want to take a walk, ride a horse, sip tea or run errands before we begin our school day it’s okay. I can do all of those things because I dictate my schedule. 2. A PRETTY HOME My happiness makes me a better teacher. I love to fashion the environment in which I want to my children to learn and one that makes me happy as well. I personally prefer a clean, quiet learning area for myself and the kids. A cup of coffee, soft music playing, a clean house and maybe a candle burning. I can do that. My kids on the other hand could pretty much care less at this point in their lives. They’ll sometimes take their workbooks into their crazy messy bedrooms and work just fine. It suits them. I also enjoy changing locations depending on the weather. I love to take art on a hike with us, write at the coffee shop, or do research at the library and practice alphabetizing and reading. 3. LOTS OF FAMILY TIME When kids are gone at school, have evening homework, and play sports, it’s easy for family time to get lost. As a homeschool mama I have the opportunity to spend many wonderful hours with my kids that I’ll never regret. I am grateful for the hours of fun and enjoyment we spend together as a family learning and sharing experiences. This time together helps me to be encouraging when they are away at their various sports or activities and not feel cheated out of family time with them. 4. MORE LOVE All kids bicker and fight and mine are no different. The difference I see in homeschooling is that my kids are quick to recover from a fight, to make up and move on. They know their siblings are going to be right here tomorrow. My kids have a broad range of areas to relate to each other because they have so many shared experiences and opportunities. They see each other’s strengths and weaknesses all day long and they can share in those and cheer each other on. 5. YOU ARE IN CHARGE You are in charge of the learning. You get to decide what gets learned, when it gets learned and how it gets learned. If you love history and want to spend all your time at the local museum, historical site, or cleaning grandma’s attic looking for old letters, you can do that. If you want your kids to sleep in and give you a few quiet hours in the morning, you can give them that opportunity (though, they may not always take it. *wink*). It’s up to you. 6. YOUR VOICE Yes, of course there are state standards and basic criteria we need to meet to give our kids a proper education, however, how your children learn those basics are up to you, Mama. Sometimes I enjoy teaching my kids math, but other times I want to throw math out and help them see how math works in the real world. We play with math instead by playing games (Yahtzee, Monopoly, Tenzi, Black Jack), double a recipe, create a mock business plan, count, round and multiply the number of people in the stadium at the baseball game, etc. We take what we are learning and bring it to life. This counts as school but I don’t have to tell the kids it’s school or make it part of our “school hours”. It’s life-schooling. 7. EXTRA HOURS IN YOUR DAY No more time spent going to and from school. Prepping school lunches, homework, PTA meetings, fundraisers, jog-a-thons, or volunteer hours. You have your time back. You now get to decide what to do with it. I like to give myself time to read, blog, run, play games and read-aloud to the kids. Today, I took one kiddo out to coffee for a treat and a game of Chess. It was bliss. 8. FIELD TRIPS WITH FRIENDS YOU LOVE I love a great field trip, but you know what makes that field trip ten times better? Field trips with Mama friends that I love. I plan my field trips around which of our favorite friends can come along. This way Mama gets time to be filled up, the kids can hang with their favorite people too and we all go somewhere new and exciting, it’s a win-win all the way around. There’s no better way. 9. YOU GET SMARTER You’ll never realize how much you missed in school until you start homeschooling. It’s true. You could have been a straight-A student, and graduated college, and thought you were pretty smart; until you started homeschooling that is. Something about it brings us to a humble place in our lives. Don’t worry, you can do it. You’ll be amazed at how smart you become when you start studying alongside your children. It is a fabulous benefit to homeschooling. You become smarter because now you’re the teacher, and it’s a whole lot more enjoyable because you’re teaching – and being challenged – by your own kids. On top of that, you’ll read a whole lot of wonderful, incredible books too. Great books should always make you feel smarter and happier. 10. YOU CAN QUIT HOMEWORK I can give my kids homework or not. I am not subject to evenings full of tired kids and miserable homework assignments. What do you love most about homeschooling?
Gameschooling is a favorite around here. We love to play games that challenge our minds to work harder and faster, and also cut down on handwriting and bookwork. This past semester I needed to boost moral first thing in the morning and encourage my kids to get out of bed and to the school table in a timely manner. Games were a sure-fire way to help with motivation. It worked like a charm and we all started our day on a happier note. Each of these games is short and easy to play, but still entertaining enough to keep everyone happy. Like a fast paced scrabble game only better. This game will make you work hard to build words without the help of the other players. Great for building spelling skills. Test your logic, science, math and history with this trivia game. It’s a quick way to find your child’s strength areas (and where they might be lacking too). First player to answer a question correctly in each category wins. Find and connect as many letters as you can to make words in 1-minute. This one is a favorite. You must be able to write quickly to keep up with this one. The longer the word the more points you obtain. This high-energy dice game gets crazy quickly and keeps us all laughing. It’s a race to get the correct pattern shown on the cards before anyone else. Excellent number recognition, patterning, logic and a bit of math thrown in as well. Q-bitz will challenge your eyes as well as your mind. This one is all about logic and being able to see and transcribe the pattern from the card to the blocks. Which is not necessarily as easy as it looks at first glance. Turn your brain inside out and give it a rest after a few rounds of this fun game. I keep a dedicated shelf near the school table and we rotate through the different games throughout the week. I recommend playing for about 20 minutes before starting the school day and noticing how much more enjoyable the day becomes. What are your family’s favorite gameschooling games?
I read this fascinating book recently. It is wonderfully well written with such captivating imagery you can almost feel the waves crashing over the ship and hear the fife playing. The story is of a young boy who is kidnapped and taken to a slave ship. He learns to work on a ship and accept his lot for the moment. Nobody explains to him what will happen after the slaves come on board except that he is to “dance” them with his fife. His boyhood slips away as he watches the cruelty of the ship’s crew towards the slaves. In a turn of fate at the end of the story, his faith in humanity is restored through the friendship of a young colored boy. As I was absorbing the gruesome reality of the story one night, and feeling the young boy’s horror as a little slave girl was tossed over the side of the ship, my almost 10-year-old walks in and says “I read that one, Mom. How do you like it?” Yikes!!! I cringed and looked up. You what? You read this book? All my parental fears surged up as I realized that I did not want to hear what she had just said. Parent fail! Apparently one day she was desperate for a new book to read and was frantically searching our book shelf for anything she hadn’t read. She says she picked up Slave Dancer and the story goes that I said she could read it…I obviously knew nothing about the book at that point, except that it was a Newberry Award winner. She read it and never mentioned anything to me. After I finished the book, and took a few deep breaths to get over the horror of it, my daughter and I had some long conversations. It turned out to be ok. I wasn’t a total failure as a parent, nor did I scar her life forever. But she may never think about slavery the same way again. The story of the book is tragic, and sadly much of it true of the times. My daughter got a stark wave of reality in recognizing good from evil while reading it and she talked a lot about that. Not having as much life experience as myself, she didn’t put as much weight on certain issues in the book as I did. But nothing can cover up the ugliness of cruel, inhumane treatment of other human beings, especially children. All of this was a grim reminder to me of the importance of having a good book list specifically for my daughter to refer to in order for her (and myself) to find excellent books to read that are not going to be too gruesome to soon. With that said,Here are a few of her favorites she wanted to share with you all. Perfect for 8-10 year-old girls. All-Of-A-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor Strawberry Girl by Lois Linski Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher Heidi by Johanna Spyri The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight The Moffats by Eleanor Estes The Children Who Stayed Alone by Bonnie Bess-Worline What are your favorite chapter books from childhood?
“This I know. We must teach thy hands to be skillful in many ways, and we must teach thy mind to go about whether thy legs will carry thee or no. For reading is another door in the wall…” “We shall read together.” – Margeurite De Angeli (The Door in the Wall) I just love how in this passage the friar says “we must teach thy mind to go about”. This is the beautiful thing about books. They invite us to adventure with them. From any part of the world to any part of the world. Many an exciting journey to a distant land can be had through wonderfully written books. The mental pictures drawn for us in books can provoke us to experience through the characters beautiful, difficult and powerful emotions. For our children, experiencing emotions, like death, through someone else’s experience and watching them deal with the circumstances can ease their own emotions when it is their turn to feel them. They have a reference point, a friend so-to-speak who we can feel with and share the burden of emotion. When I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up, I remember Marie Kondo saying that one of the hardest items for people to part with is their books. I so get this. We create a relationship with characters in a book and they become a part of us. Letting go of that part of us is like tearing at our flesh. I did eventually part with one box of books and oh it was hard. So many of my books “spark joy” and bring back wonderful memories of parts of my life that I want to remember. Reading aloud with my children gives us the opportunity to make those sweet memories and share deep emotions together. And just for a fun…a few medieval books we enjoy immensely. Links below. The Door in the Wall by Elizabeth Janet Gray Adam of the Road by Marguerite de Angeli The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle (I also recommend Classic Starts Robin Hood for younger readers) The Little Duke by Charlotte Yonge King Arthur and the Round Table by Hudson Talbott Castle by David Macaulay Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle Leonardo’s Horse by Jean Fritz Brendan the Navigator by Jean Fritz How is reading a “door in the wall for you”?