Well-Read

“Well-read” may be an adjective attached to someone you know, and I am quite confident that I have many friends who fall well within this category, but I am not positive I have ever thought of myself as well-read. Of course, it technically means that a person is knowledgeable and informed as a result of extensive reading: which perhaps is only allocated to a specific subject or realm. Perhaps well-rounded and well-read do not always overlap, or perhaps the Venn diagram would show only a minor connection between the two. Regardless, as we come to the close of another calendar year, I am looking back at my reading journal and consider myself as growing towards the well-read. My friends at scholesisters.com have encouraged and challenged me to read widely, think deeply, and apply faithfully this last year… and now I am gearing up to jump in again.

A year ago when I created my first 5×5 reading challenge with the Schol√© Sisters, I chose five categories and assigned myself five books within each. I thought it might have been lofty, especially as I do not always stick to a set reading stack, but tend to read a good bit on a whim, particularly when relying on library holds because those are absolutely unpredictable. I can put twelve things on hold at once, and never know whether they will be doled out one by one or all arrive the very same day. And if they are a popular title at the time, I may only have a month (or, in some cases, a mere 14 days if it is a newly released title) to finish the book before it is due back for the next person in line on holds. Let’s just say, I do find this more than a little anxiety-provoking.

But I gave it a shot, and apparently it went well enough for me this last year that I am willing to give it a go again! In fact, I have friends telling me to add the Literary Life reading challenge to my year… perhaps if I can overlap them enough, I might just see how far I can get on that one… but I make no promise and will not hold my breath.

I thought about going through my entire reading list in a post, but realize that isn’t necessarily helpful or even fun. I’m not entirely sure I want to read the lists of others, so I decided not to share mine either. ūüėČ The point is: I read widely, I thought deeply (and enjoyed deeply), and have been seeking to apply faithfully. I set out to read 25 specific books for the 5×5 challenge, and completed 23 of them. One is still untouched on my shelf, and one was a “through the year” prayer book that I wasn’t nearly as faithful to as I had hoped so I am not counting it. But when I received an email from the Schol√© Sisters which said “twenty books counts as complete for 2020,” I was pretty stoked.

In all, I have read (combining audiobooks with handheld paper books) 115 books this year… plus countless picture books that I would never even begin pretending to keep track of. I am actually really surprised that I have that many titles under my belt for 2020! While some people have said this year brought them a superabundance of free time, or time for different pursuits, I absolutely did not find that true for myself. As a fulltime homemaker and home educator already, this year did not give me less time commitments or responsibilities: if anything, it added to my plate. The presupposition that homeschoolers didn’t find 2020 bringing alterations to habits or routines is completely false. Let me tell you: we were thrown for a loop as much as anybody.

I read 60 books on my own this year: 31 nonfiction, 29 fiction. I had zero plan of seeking to balance fiction with nonfiction, but I am rather pleased that it happened to shake out that way. I also did 40 read alouds with all my children (please note that when you live out in the country, you can make a lot of headway in audiobooks while driving over the course of a year), and 15 more read alouds with just certain children (some with just my daughter, a couple with my younger set, a few with just one son at a time and a few with my two oldest sons).

I knew that I was always keeping my reading stack going as well as always keeping my earbuds at the ready. I went through this year continually acknowledging that I wanted to be engaging in both fiction and nonfiction, with and without my children, on a regularly ongoing basis. But on a day to day, or week to week, basis I never really knew how much progress I was making. The plod of my daily and weekly routines as worker, wife, mother, educator, and friend kept me so constantly on my toes that I simply kept reading, kept listening, kept writing titles down upon completion… and only now have finally gone back to count them up and see the real accomplishment. Honestly, it is super satisfying, gratifying: a blessing.

I may not have read as well-rounded of a list as some others I know, but this was a year where I branched out, planned ahead, kept moving forward, and honestly grew. I didn’t know I could grow even deeper in my love of reading… but I actually did. Just when I thought I was already passionately in love with books, I realize there is always more to learn, more to apply, more to love, more to read.

I have always known that I loved historical fiction, but Susan Meissner and Ruta Sepetys have shown me that there is a bittersweet depth to it which I had not previously plumbed. I have also always known that I loved books which marry cooking with memoir (thank you, Robert Capon), but I discovered Ruth Reichl this year with great pleasure. I learned that I feel a much stronger gravitational pull toward Christian nonfiction than secular, particularly when habits or disciplines are discussed: for instance, while I really gleaned goodness from Atomic Habits, I can not get over how much more it would have left an impression if James Clear had backed up his philosophy with fruit of the Spirit. (I genuinely missed Jesus in that book.) I learned anew how much my children love a good series, and are much disdained if I ever feel tempted to give up a series before its completion. They are diehards and love to complete a story arc. I also learned this year that it is okay NOT to complete a series, or even to set a book aside that isn’t whetting the appetite. There are too many marvelous books to read in my one short life to waste hours on something that doesn’t spur me on to love, good works, blessing, or fancy. And honestly: I want my kids to learn that lesson too.

As I type this, my five year old is sitting beside me with exactly twenty picture books splayed all around… he is reading them aloud to himself, and each time he picks up a new book, he declares with glee: “ooooh I love this one!” That’s my boy. (Let’s be honest: I only produce bibliophiles. Ginger book-lovers, all five.)

Are you setting reading goals for 2021? Do you put together a literal TBR stack? How do you keep track of your reading habits or completed books? What reading challenge(s) are you signing up for this year?

I will occasionally share more bookish updates here as I seek to become ever more well-read. It brings me joy right here in the center of my domestic little life. Bring on the books!

Joyful Domesticity’s Summer Reading Challenge, 2019 ~ Book Suggestion Links

Here are some ideas from our own family experiences (mostly thanks to our county library system… although our own personal home library has more of these titles than you might think… haha!) and reading lives to share with you, according to the categories in our Summer Reading Challenge. We have read almost every single title listed below ~ either all the kids (up to age 11), or just some of us. For instance, my big kids don’t love Eric Carle or Alice Schertle anymore, and my littles aren’t quite ready for John Hendrix or J.K. Rowling. Please feel free to share more ideas in the comments if you have favorites for any of these categories!
But most importantly: have fun cultivating a love of story in your home!

 

Goldfish on Vacation by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Books by Sally Lloyd-Jones:
The Jesus Storybook Bible
Found: Psalm 23
Baby Wren and the Great Gift
Bunny’s First Spring
The House That’s Your Home
Hats Off to Mr. Pockles

Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner

Books by Kate Messner:
Over and Under the Pond
Over and Under the Snow
How to Read a Story
The Brilliant Deep

Otis and Will Discover the Deep by Barb Rosenstock

Books by Barb Rosenstock:
Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library
The Noisy Paint Box
Through the Window
Dorothea’s Eyes
Ben Franklin’s Big Splash

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart and David Small

Books by Sarah Stewart and David Small:
The Library
The Journey
The Quiet Place
The Money Tree
This Book of Mine (coming out this summer!)

Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson

Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek by Deborah Hopkinson

Miracle Man by John Hendrix

Graphic novel by John Hendrix:
The Faithful Spy
Hook’s Revenge

Books illustrated by P.J. Lynch:
The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower
Melisande
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
The Gift of the Magi
When Jessie Came Across the Sea
No One But You
Mysterious Traveller

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

A book that became a movie:
The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe
Harry Potter & the Sorceror’s Stone
Anne of Green Gables
The Princess Bride
Little Women
The Secret Garden
A Little Princess
The Hobbit
Tom Sawyer
Swallows and Amazons
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Paddington Bear
Where the Wild Things Are
The Cat in the Hat
Charlotte’s Web

A graphic novel:
Hazardous Tales
Calamity Jack
Anne of Green Gables
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
Zita the Space Girl Trilogy
Mighty Jack
Mighty Jack and the Goblin King
Mighty Jack and Zita the Space Girl
The Drawing Lesson
The City of Ember

A biography:
Now & Ben
Neo Leo
Timeless Thomas
Balloons Over Broadway
Some Writer!
Nothing Stopped Sophie
Snowflake Bentley
Brave Girl
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Six Dots
The Remarkable Benjamin Franklin
A Picture Book of Benjamin Franklin
Papa is a Poet
Balderdash
Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen
Emily
The Right Word
The Boy Who Loved Math
A Boy, A Mouse, and a Spider
A Poem for Peter
Abe Lincoln: the Boy Who Loved Books
A Boy Called Dickens
A Picture Book of Louis Braille
A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus

A classic:
Charlotte’s Web
Little House in the Big Woods
Farmer Boy
Treasure Island
The Jungle Book
Peter Pan
The Wind in the Willows
The Wizard of Oz
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Pilgrim’s Progress
Little Pilgrim’s Progress
King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
Illustrated Stories from Dickens
Classic Treasury of Aesop’s Fables
Winnie-the-Pooh
The Iliad and the Odyssey

A book with a dragon:
Henry and the Chalk Dragon
My Father’s Dragon trilogy
Saint George and the Dragon
Beowolf
Sir Gawain & the Green Knight
King Arthur & His Knights of the Round Table
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

A book with a lighthouse:
Hello Lighthouse
Our Castle by the Sea
The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge
The Lighthouse Kids
The Lighthouse Children

A wordless book:
Journey
Quest
Return
Unspoken
Museum Trip
Flora and the Flamingo
Flora and the Peacocks
Flora and the Penguin
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
Spot, the Cat
Flashlight

A book written by a female author:
Alice Schertle
Sally Lloyd-Jones
Laura Ingalls Wilder
L.M. Montgomery
Shannon Hale
J.K. Rowling
Kate DiCamillo
Gail Gibbons
Deborah Hopkinson
Tasha Tudor
Beatrix Potter
Sandra Boynton
Grace Lin
Edith Nesbit
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Louisa May Alcott
Margaret Wise Brown
Jennifer Trafton
Maryrose Wood
Barbara Cooney
Jane Yolen
Beverly Cleary
Laura Numeroff
Astrid Lindgren
Madeleine l’Engle
Patricia Polacco
Helen Oxenbury
Rosemary Wells
Trina Schart Hyman
Jean Fritz
Patricia MacLachlan
Cynthia Rylant
Barb Rosenstock
Virginia Lee Burton
Peggy Parish
Ruth Stiles Gannett
Helen Oxenbury
Kate Messner
Melissa Sweet
Linda Sue Park
Janet Stevens
Mary Pope Osborne
Caroline Starr Rose
Candace Fleming

A book written by a male author:
Eric Carle
Ezra Jack Keats
P.D. Eastman
Bill Martin Jr
Aaron Becker
Jonathan Bean
Richard Scarry
Gene Zion
S.D. Smith
Jason Farley
N.D. Wilson
Andrew Peterson
C.S. Lewis
A.A. Milne
John Bunyan
Roald Dahl
Gary Paulsen
E.B. White
Dr. Seuss
Arnold Lobel
Maurice Sendak
Chris Van Allsburg
Rudyard Kipling
Robert McCloskey
Tomie dePaola
Lewis Carroll
Shel Silverstein
J.M. Barrie
David Macaulay
Lloyd Alexander
Michael Bond
Jonathan Auxier

A book based a true story:
Finding Winnie
Winnie
Winnie’s Great War
Rescue & Jessica
One Hen
Beatrice’s Goat
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt
The Faithful Spy

Historical fiction:
Phoebe the Spy
The Cabin Faced West
Birchbark House
Winnie’s Great War
Listening for Lions
Homer Price
Billy and Blaze
Betsy Tacy
Anne of Green Gables
Kilmeny of the Orchard
Emily of New Moon
Dear America Series
Henry Huggins
Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine
Hatchet
Summer of the Monkeys
Leepike Ridge
A Long Way from Chicago
The Matchlock Gun
The Sign of the Beaver
The Railway Children
The Orphan Band of Springdale
The Bobbsey Twins
The Boxcar Children

A book in a series:
The Green Ember
The Mistmantle Chronicles
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Anne of Green Gables
The Chronicles of Narnia
The 100 Cupboards
Betsy Tacy
The Penderwicks
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place
The Wilderking Trilogy
Edward Eager’s Tales of Magic
The Wingfeather Saga
Edge of Extinction
The Mysterious Benedict Society
What You Do Matters
Mercy Watson
The Princess in Black
Tumtum and Nutmeg
Prince Martin
Cilla Lee-Jenkins
A to Z Mysteries
Magic Treehouse
I Survived

A book with a one-word title
A book with a dust jacket
A book without a dust jacket

Re-read something you loved:
Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine
The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic
Henry and the Chalk Dragon
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes
Sophie Quire
Sweep
Gone Away Lake
The Family Under the Bridge
Flora and Ulysses
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Miracles on Maple Hill
Building Our House
This is My Home, This is My School
The Remember Balloons
The Book of Mistakes

Read poetry:
Papa is a Poet
100 Great Poems for Boys
100 Great Poems for Girls
Where the Sidewalk Ends
A Child’s Garden of Verses
Sing a Song of Seasons
Poems Every Child Should Know
A Treasury of Poems for Young People
A Child’s Introduction to Poetry

Read Shakespeare:
Pop-Up Shakespeare
Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children
The Shakespeare Stories
Poetry for Kids: William Shakespeare
Poetry for Young People

Read about science:
Outside Your Window
A Rock is Lively
A Beetle is Shy
An Egg is Quiet
A Nest is Noisy
A Butterfly is Patient
The Girl Who Drew Butterflies
Leonardo and the Flying Boy
Indescribable
The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes
The Girl With a Mind for Math
Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code
Margaret and the Moon
Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine
Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science
The Girl Who Thought in Pictures
In the Bag
Great Inventors and their Inventions
Marvelous Mattie
The Inventor’s Secret
Mr. Ferris and His Wheel
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
A Picture Book of Thomas Alva Edison
Young Thomas Edison
Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions
The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book
Klutz Lego Chain Reactions Science & Building Kit
STEAM Kids

Read about art:
The Girl Who Drew Butterflies
The Boy Who Drew Birds
A Child’s Introduction to Art
The Story of Paintings
Discovering Great Artists
Seek & Find: Art through the Ages
The Children’s Book of Art
The Magical Garden of Claude Monet
Linnea in Monet’s Garden
Monet Paints a Day
Picasso and the Girl with the Ponytail
Degas and the Little Dancer
Van Gogh and the Sunflowers
Camille and the Sunflowers
Joining the Dots
Cezanne and the Apple Boy
Matisse the King of Color
Through Georgia’s Eyes
My Name is Georgia
A Book of Postcards
The Artist in the Desert
Rembrandt and the Boy Who Drew Dogs
The Noisy Paint Box
Katie and the Impressionists
Katie and the Mona Lisa
Katie and the British Artists
Katie and the Waterlily Pond
Small Stories of Great Artists

Read something patriotic:
The 4th of July Story
Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution
The Declaration of Independence
George vs. George
John, Paul, George & Ben
Red Coats & Petticoats
Aaron & Alexander
Paul Revere’s Ride
The Journey of the One and Only Declaration of Independence
America: a Patriotic Primer
A More Perfect Union

Read something about ice cream:
Ice Cream: the Full Scoop
Curious George and the Ice Cream Surprise
Curious About Ice Cream
And Then Comes Summer
Ice Cream
Isaac’s Ice Cream Tree
Ice Cream Summer
The Scoop on Ice Cream
Ice Cream for Breakfast
Ice Cream Sunday

Read something about food:
Food Anatomy
Blueberries for Sal
A Medieval Feast
The Kitchen Knight
Fannie in the Kitchen
Julia, Child
The Seven Silly Eaters
Bon Appetit
Minette’s Feast
Bee-Bim Bop
Each Peach Pear Plum
Everybody Cooks Rice
Pancakes, Pancakes
Walter the Baker
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the USA

Read something about gardening:
Nature Anatomy
A Packet of Seeds
Miss Rumphius
We Are the Gardeners
The Secret Garden
The Tiny Seed
Tops and Bottoms
From Seed to Plant
The Vegetables We Eat
The Fruits We Eat
Flowers
Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt
A Seed is Sleepy
Miss Maple’s Seeds
Oh Say Can You Seed

Read something about water:
The Little Island
Over and Under the Pond
Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man
Island Boy
Hello Lighthouse
Time of Wonder
One Morning in Maine
Harry By The Sea
The Circus Ship
Flotsam
Water Can Be…
The Brilliant Deep
Papa and the Mechanical Fish
Shark Lady
Otis and Will
Water is Water
Coral Reefs
Paddle-to-the-Sea
Seabird
Coral Reefs
Marshes & Swamps
Surrounded By Sea
Exploring the Deep, Dark Sea

Read something about outer space:
A Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky
Lost in the Solar System
Star Stuff
On the Launch Pad
A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars
There’s No Place Like Space
Go For the Moon
Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars
Hidden Figures
Papa Put a Man on the Moon
Eight Days Gone
If You Decide to Go to the Moon
When We Walked on the Moon
A Computer Called Catherine
Look to the Stars
I am Neil Armstrong
Moon
The Moon Book
The Planets
Planet Earth
Galaxies, Galaxies!
Stargazers

Read a Psalm
Read a Proverb
Read an Epistle
Read a Gospel
Read from the Pentateuch
Read from the Prophets
Read in bed
Read while eating
Read standing up
Read in the car
Read aloud to someone else
Listen to someone read aloud to you

Listen to an audiobook:
Trumpet of the Swan
Echo
Listening for Lions
The Wingfeather Saga
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place
The Little House Series
The Princess and the Goblin
The Wizard of Oz

Read in the morning
Read by flashlight
Read outside
Read upside down
Read to a sibling
Read to a parent
Read to a friend
Tell a friend about a book
Read for 20 minutes
Read for 40 minutes
Read for 60 minutes
Read & lose track of time

 

Joyful Domesticity’s Summer Reading Challenge, 2019

Joyful Domesticity Summer Reading Challenge

One of the things I really love about homeschooling is how each of our family members both contributes and receives from the culture in our home without much contradiction from outside input. We are constantly discussing, evaluating, and sifting what we see, hear, and experience through our Christian worldview and family culture. I have posted before (it seems so long ago) about the main loves in our family and home ~ broadly stroking, books & food & music.

This last year, perhaps more than any other, our love for books and love of story has been quite pronounced. I have long loved the Read Aloud Revival, and have enjoyed the community of membership there this last year. I have found encouragement and validation and camaraderie over literature there, and it brings delight to my heart. I have also found a lot of encouragement and camaraderie at Simply Convivial and Scholé Sisters this last year, thanks to the community-building efforts of my friend Mystie. It is such a blessing & boon to know that I am not alone in my journey, even if many of my connections necessarily happen online.

Something that I have loved every summer with my children is pursuing a variety of reading challenges. We participate in Read to Ride, Barnes & Noble’s summer reading journal, Pizza Hut’s Book It program, and we have also enjoyed summer reading challenges from Exodus Books and Veritas Press in the past. This summer I have crafted a slightly more personalized take on it for my children. They will get to put stickers on their completed squares through the end of August, and there will be rewards for every dozen squares marked off. You may notice that there are a few specific books and authors ~ these are to help my children & me keep up with the Family Book Clubs my friend Sarah & her Read Aloud Revival team host each month. And then we love taking rabbit trails from those ideas, exploring more of the authors & illustrators we meet there, and build a lot of our library holds list from that. But the majority of these challenge boxes are much more open, more free. It is up to parental discretion whether a book can be used to check off more than one box, or whether each book should only qualify for one box at a time.

REWARDS for every dozen checked boxes:

  • Ice cream sundae
  • Movie date
  • Staying up thirty minutes late
  • Cookies & lemonade picnic
  • Choosing a new book on Amazon
  • Visiting local amusement park (with free tickets!)

I will also be sharing some of our favorite titles and authors that suit some of these categories, to encourage your own library holds list to grow!

Please feel free to print and enjoy Joyful Domesticity’s Summer Reading Challenge, and fatten the hearts & minds of your family this season along with us! And if you are so inclined, please leave comments sharing some of your favorite authors, illustrators, titles, and wins so we can learn from one another.

Seeking the Lord, at Co Op Vol I

Last week as we began a new foray into a small homeschool co op with just five families, I was in charge of leading our first Chapel session. We will begin each co op day with Chapel, being the formal title for the thirty minute session where we will gather all together for prayer, Scripture, singing, and devotion. There are three of us moms who will rotate preparing and leading Chapel, and we each have different backgrounds and styles, so we are excited to see how the variety fattens our Christian walks and shapes the experience for all the children. It is good to remember that we have both unity and diversity in the body of Christ. It is wonderful to have opportunities to see, hear, interact, and experience different kinds of Christian practices.

I happen to be a very structured and traditional sort of woman, especially when it comes to things like my Christian faith. I love the old ways. I love the traditional texts, songs, liturgies, and formalities.

So I decided to jump right into the deep end and share my style & loves with the other families in our new little homeschool co op. We began with prayer, using a liturgy from Every Moment Holy (which does happen to be one of my favorite books).

Liturgy for the Midday:

O Christ our rest, we pause amidst the labors of this day to remember the best reason for our laboring.

We labor, O Lord, as stewards of Your creation, and as stewards of the gifts
You have apportioned to each of us for the good of all.

Bless then the works of our hands and minds and hearts, O God, that they might bear fruit for Your greater purposes.

May our work this day be rendered first as service to You, that the benefits of it might be eternal.

Receive this, the offering of our labors, O Lord.

Amen.

If our hearts have already been tempted this day to believe anything about ourselves or others
that does not take into account Your creation, Your mercy, Your sacrifice, Your grace, Your forgiveness, Your redemption, and Your unshakeable love, O God,

remind us again of these truths, giving us faith enough to believe
and hope enough to choose to embrace them again and again.

Or if we have been swayed from the place of resting in Your grace today‚ÄĒswayed by shame, by error, by vanity, by pride, or by love of the praise of people, act, O Holy Spirit!

Reveal our error, convict conscience, and bring us to quick repentance.
Rekindle our affections, restoring them again to their one worthy object,
who is Christ, and who alone holds the words of eternal life.

Let us now consider such words, from Holy Scripture.

Shape our thoughts, O Lord, by Your truth, even as you shape our hearts by Your love.

(my children took turns reading aloud the following Scriptures)
This is My command: be strong and courageous!
Do not be afraid or discouraged,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Proverbs 9:9-10

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.
You are serving the Lord Christ.
Colossians 3:23-24

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to Him.
The Lord is the strength of His people; He is the saving refuge of His anointed.
Oh, save Your people and bless Your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.
Psalm 28:7-9

Now grant us strength and grace, O God, sufficient to the remains of the day, that we might move through its unfolding in humble obedience to Your will and in sensitivity to Your Spirit and in joyful expectancy of Your coming Kingdom.

May the light of that eternal city illuminate our hearts, our paths, our vision through these next hours, O Lord.

Amen.

It was beautiful to hear our little co op group join in on the liturgy, speaking aloud the bold portions. I don’t know for certain, but I assume that this type of liturgy would be a new (& quite possibly strange) experience for those moms and their children.
Then I pulled out a book that Joni Eareckson Tada had sent to my children as a gift a few months ago, which we enjoyed using over the summer during our morning routine. I very quickly taught the children (even the tiny tots) the chorus, and then read the devotional pages aloud before we all jumped into singing the entire song together acapella, before finishing with one more liturgy from Every Moment Holy.

(reading of a devotional & singing its song accompaniment‚ÄĒ
pp81-85 in Passion Hymns for a Kid’s Heart by Wolgemuth/Tada)
We praise thee, O God!
For the days of our youth,
For the bright lamp that shineth‚ÄĒ
The Word of thy truth.

Hallelujah! thine the glory,
Hallelujah we sing;
Hallelujah! thine the glory,
Our praise now we bring.

We praise thee, O God!
For the Son of thy love,
For Jesus who died
And is now gone above.

Hallelujah! thine the glory,
Hallelujah we sing;
Hallelujah! thine the glory,
Our praise now we bring.

We praise thee, O God!
For thy Spirit of light,
Who has shown us our Saviour
And scattered our night.

Hallelujah! thine the glory,
Hallelujah we sing;
Hallelujah! thine the glory,
Our praise now we bring.

All glory and praise
To the Lamb that was slain,
Who has borne all our sins and
Has cleansed ev’ry stain!

Hallelujah! thine the glory,
Hallelujah we sing;
Hallelujah! thine the glory,
Our praise now we bring.

Liturgy for Students:

May we learn to love learning, O Lord, for the world is Yours, and all things in it speak‚ÄĒeach in their way‚ÄĒof You: of Your mind, Your designs, Your artistry, Your power, Your unfolding purpose. All knowledge is Your knowledge. All wisdom Your wisdom.

There, as we apply ourselves to learning, may we be mindful that all created things are Your creative expression, that all stories are held within Your greater story, and that all disciplines of order and design are a chasing after Your thoughts‚ÄĒso that greater mastery of these subjects will yield ever greater knowledge of the symmetry and wonder of Your ways.

Along this journey, O Great Architect of Life and Beauty, bless us with teachers who are passionate about the subjects they teach, and with mentors who will take joy in awakening in us a fierce love for those parts of Your creation and Your story that they have already learned to love well.

As I apply myself even to those subjects that I might at first find tedious, reward my efforts with new insights, fresh inspiration, small epiphanies, and with the firm conviction that You are at work in my heart in all circumstances, not only broadening my knowledge, but also shaping my heart by patience, endurance, and discipline that I might mature to more fitly and humbly serve the purposes of Your great Kingdom.

Give us a deepening knowledge of truth and a finer discernment of the ideas we encounter as we study. Guard our minds always against error, and guard also our hearts against the temptation to compare our own performance to the work of peers, and so to fall into either of the twin traps of shame or pride. Grant instead that we might happily steward what scholarly gifts You have apportioned each, and that we might do so as means of preparing ourselves for service to You and others, with our identity drawn from Your love and forgiveness, and not from grades or accolades here.

Open, O Lord, as You will, the paths of my life in the days yet to come. Use my studies to further shape my vision of what my place and call in this world might be. Begin to show me where my own deep gladness and the world’s deep need might meet. And in that light, let me be mindful not only of my studies, but also mindful of the needs of my peers and even of my teachers. Let me respond with mercy to the failings of others.

Let me be in this gathering of students, even in small ways, a bearer of love and light and reconciliation; which is to say, let me in humility be Your child.

God grant these children discernment and wisdom.
Guard us from error.
God grant these children knowledge and understanding.
Lead us to truth.
God bless the labors of this new season.
Shape us for Your service.

Amen.

And that is how we began our new little homeschool co op. With prayer, liturgy, tradition, singing, reading aloud, and begging for God’s mercy upon both the teachers and students in our group.

Then after we had time for each of the moms to share with the kids about the classes they will experience this year together (Apologia science, IEW, music/singing, and PE for the biggest kids – with the younger set doing simpler versions of those things like intro to the human body instead of Apologia science, and Poetry Teatime instead of IEW), the kids got to have playtime while we moms had our first Mom’s Circle where we will do a book study together, pray together, and discuss things related to homeschool, co op, and life in general.

To begin that, I shared some things from Heidi St. John’s new book¬†Prayers for the Battlefield and some snippets from Clay & Sally Clarkson’s book The Life Giving Parent:

WORDS for MOM’S CIRCLE
(from Prayers for the Battlefield, pp55-59
and The Lifegiving Parent Experience, Week One)

Your Word says my children will be like their teacher, Lord. Today I realize that I am that teacher. Would You show me how to become the person You want me to be so that my children can become who You want them to be too? Help me to love You with all my heart, soul, and strength. Help me to remember the commands You have given so I can teach them to my children. Help me to take advantage of every opportunity to teach Your ways to my children, from the time we get up to the time we go to bed. I also see that everyone who influences my children matters. Help me to see influence as something that carries eternal consequences and to act in the best spiritual interest of my child on the battlefield of education. Give me insight into the hearts and motives of those who carry influence with my children. Open my eyes to wrong teaching, wrong motives, and a worldview that opposes You, so I can make sure my children learn what is right according to Your standard, not the world‚Äôs. You say that the person who doesn‚Äôt sit in the counsel of the wicked will be blessed. In this crazy world, it‚Äôs sometimes hard to tell the wicked from the righteous! Snares are everywhere, including on the battlefield of education. You say that if anyone lacks wisdom, they can ask You for it, so I‚Äôm asking. Please give me‚ÄĒand my children‚ÄĒdaily wisdom in discerning good from evil. I pray for my child‚Äôs teachers, Lord‚ÄĒstarting with me. Help me to be an instructor who brings life and truth‚ÄĒYour life, Your truth‚ÄĒto the heart of my children‚Äôs education, no matter the subject.

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge:
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God,
who gives generously to all without reproach,
and it will be given him.

Psalm 1
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Deuteronomy 6:1-25
‚ÄúNow this is¬†the commandment‚ÄĒthe statutes and the rules‚ÄĒthat the¬†Lord¬†your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it,¬†2¬†that¬†you may fear the¬†Lord¬†your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and¬†that your days may be long.¬†3¬†Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly,¬†as the¬†Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

10¬†‚ÄúAnd when the¬†Lord¬†your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you‚ÄĒwith great and good cities¬†that you did not build,¬†11¬†and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant‚ÄĒand when you eat and are full,¬†12¬†then take care lest you forget the¬†Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.¬†13¬†It is¬†the¬†Lord¬†your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and¬†by his name you shall swear.¬†14¬†You shall not¬†go after other gods,¬†the gods of the peoples who are around you‚ÄĒ¬†15¬†for¬†the¬†Lord¬†your God in your midst¬†is a jealous God‚ÄĒlest the anger of the¬†Lord¬†your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

16 “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. 17 You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you. 18 And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers19 by thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has promised.

20¬†‚ÄúWhen your son asks you in time to come, ‚ÄėWhat is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the¬†Lord¬†our God has commanded you?‚Äô¬†21¬†then you shall say to your son,¬†‚ÄėWe were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the¬†Lord¬†brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.¬†22¬†And¬†the¬†Lord¬†showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes.¬†23¬†And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers.¬†24¬†And the¬†Lord commanded us to do all these statutes,¬†to fear the¬†Lord¬†our God,¬†for our good always, that¬†he might preserve us alive, as we are this day.¬†25¬†And¬†it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the¬†Lord¬†our God, as he has commanded us.‚Äô

Only you‚ÄĒparents alive in Christ because of the Holy Spirit within you‚ÄĒhave the ability and the power of the Spirit to make your home a Christian home. Engagement with Christian culture does not define a Christian home; engagement with the living Christ does. That understanding is a necessary first step on the path to becoming a lifegiving parent.

Even as winds of culture howl around our children, our fundamental responsibility is to give them the life of God that we have found in Him. That is what we call lifegiving parenting.

I am eager to see what God does to fill us, shape us, teach us, and lead us with this group this year. We hope it is a place of restful education and Christ-centered learning. We hope it is a place of integrity, honesty, diligence, honor, and joy. We hope it is a place where we can glean wisdom from others as well as share the abundance God has put in our hands. May He be pleased with our weekly offering to Him in this new endeavor.

The Liking of Sentences

As we continue to pursue being a storyformed family with a culture of literature & reading emanating from every corner of our home, perhaps I ought not be surprised when my children start making comments that show they really are encultured in that way! Why does it surprise me when something actually turns out the way that I seek to mold it? I suppose because so often I create something, make it and mold it, only to fire it in a kiln and find it looks completely different than I had intended it in the first place. Like the glazes that change things drastically and surprise you with their outcome, at least until you are familiar with how the chemical compounds work and how they turn out by practice. (Yes, I am missing college ceramics class. Yes, I still wish I had a wheel, a kiln, and an endless supply of mud. Yes, we just finished listening to Linda Sue Park’s¬†A Single Shard again.)

But back to my children actually showing me that they ARE storyformed, that they ARE soaking in the kidlit culture in which I bathe them, that they ARE paying attention & processing ideas & acquiring their own sensibilities of taste while marinating in the stories & ideas I pour upon them from my own sensibilities..

Sometimes having early readers and excellent readers really shows forth its double-edged sword. Like when my children read books that are probably leaps and bounds ahead of their own maturity level, but they CAN, so they WANT to, and they DO. Evangeline recently read¬†Strawberry Hill by Mary Ann Hoberman – she loved it, but it wasn’t exactly printed for a five year old to read by flashlight under her covers at night. Hehe. She was so diligent in reading that fat chapter book! She is also reading The Adventures of Geraldine Woolkins by Karin Kaufman.

But other times, she takes books that are much more bent toward a five year old girl… even if they are often meant to be read-aloud by a parent instead of read on their own.

For instance, a cousin recently shared her love of¬†Ladybug Girl books with Evangeline, which immediately caused my little girl to put every copy on hold that we could find on our library’s website. She has been devouring them! For the last two weeks, they have been her bedtime choice, her read-with-Mommy choice, and her bring-in-the-car choice. And then of course, little brother Simeon discovered¬†Bumblebee Boy and that’s an entirely new yet connected current passion.

I digress.

As we were driving around one crazy day last week, all of a sudden my quiet little book girl piped up from the seat behind me, Mommy, I love this sentence.

The sentence said, “she whips off her coat and hat, and her wings and antennae spring to life.”

After she read the sentence aloud to me, she paused in silence. I supposed she was pondering the words. I could tell she was playing them over again on her tongue. I smiled to myself, wishing I could see her better in my rear view mirror. I asked what she loved about the sentence, and she replied, I love the way the words sound. I like “whips off.” I like “springs to life.”

Interesting side note: while her mama adores adjectives to the moon and back, my little girl focuses on the verbs. She is a little lady of action.

“How does that sentence make you feel?” I asked.

She thoughtfully answered, it makes me feel excited. Like I have energy. Like it’s a surprise. It feels fun.

Something about the depth of maturity it takes for a child to not only love a sentence, but to acknowledge their love of it, and then to be able to share the why behind the love… man. It made this mama proud.

Baby, I like that sentence too. I love that you love it. And I sure love you. More than every freckle on your face.

Fireworks Day

The Bible is worth all the other books ever printed.
-Patrick Henry-

Julyfourth2

My children love ‚Äúfireworks day.‚ÄĚ And this year was no exception. With the specific delight of getting to gather with our church parish group for a cookout and fellowship, followed by meeting up with my parents at a small town fireworks display not too far from our home, there was no end of joy and excitement.

This is all the inheritance I give to my dear family.
The religion of Christ will give them one which will make them rich indeed.
-Patrick Henry-

True to our bibliophilic family’s constant obsession, we began the day with books.
I read to my children about the history of Independence Day.
I read them the Declaration of Independence.
We looked at facsimiles of the document.
We sang a couple of patriotic songs.

Although the eyes of my sweet little gingers well nigh glazed over during the reading of the Declaration of Independence itself, they really loved Alice Dalgliesh’s book on the subject. What other books have you read and loved about America’s beginnings, founding fathers, liberty, & independence?

Julyfourth1

Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian
and social duty of each individual…
Continue steadfast and,
with a proper sense of your dependence on God,
nobly defend those rights which heaven gave,
and no man ought to take from us.
-John Hancock-

But, as expected, it was really the fireworks that took their breath away.
Enjoying the snuggles with grandparents while some watched through the sunroof, wrists wrapped in glowstick bracelets, covering ears when it got super loud, even counting bats that flew by nearby & overhead in the pine trees beside us.

Julyfourth3

These are moments of memory-making.
I too have memories of Independence Day… my mom throwing pool parties, with buntings and streamers along the deck, patriotic-colored food, even tablecloths made of sewn-together flag handkerchiefs. I remember huge glass bowls of trifle with blueberries and strawberries and fluffy white cream. I remember going to a nearby theme park to watch incredible fireworks with friends and family, and the seemingly-eternal drive to get home through indescribable traffic jams.

And now, here I am, on the other side. Helping my own children to enjoy holidays, make memories, and learn little bits about the seriousness behind the excitement. But let‚Äôs be real: it will be a while before my children call it Independence Day, because the star of the celebration is truly the pinnacle of the night ‚Äď and thus it shall be called, for the foreseeable future, Fireworks Day.

I congratulate you and my country on the singular favor
of heaven in the peaceable and auspicious settlement
of our government upon a Constitution
formed by wisdom,
and sanctified by the solemn choice
of the people who are to live under it.
May the Supreme Ruler of the world
be pleased to establish and perpetuate
these new foundations of liberty and glory…

Thank God, my country is saved
and by the smile of Heaven
I am a free and independent man.
-John Hancock-

IMG_3611

Then join hand in hand,
brave Americans all!
By uniting we stand,
by dividing we fall.
-John Dickinson-

Lit for the Loo

Perhaps it is safe to say that when anyone in our household embarks on (or even simply revisits) anything remotely new or exciting, my response is wholeheartedly,¬†there are books for that. My husband is into things like grilling or smoking meat, roasting coffee, and brewing beer… so he buys books on the subjects. My oldest son is excited to learn computer programming skills and languages, so he spends an immense amount of time finding just the right books from every corner of the library as well as adding a couple extras to the Amazon shopping cart. My middle son wants art instruction on how to draw just the right kind of animals, plants, ninjas, or medieval weaponry, so we gather drawing books from hither and yon. My daughter finds a love of ballet, and suddenly nearly an entire bookshelf in her room is full of ballerina fiction & nonfiction. I need to work on prayer and devotional reading? Four clicks away, and now there are a few new things on my desk to give me the needed boost – Nancy Guthrie, Andrew Case, Timothy Keller, Clay & Sally Clarkson. I need reminders and propellers for educating my children – Katherine Paterson, Andrew Pudewa, Sarah Clarkson and Sarah Mackenzie are ready to jump off the pages and take my hands. When I need cooking inspiration, I grab hands with Danielle Walker, Trim Healthy Mama, and Hot Providence via pages of their books. When I recently jumped into the world of duck eggs and baby chicks, I collected more than an armload of fiction, nonfiction, and picture books for the occasion. It’s just¬†what we do¬†in this family!

Now my littlest ginger is working on a new endeavor, and he found himself a whole stack of books for the process too.

pottybooks

Once Upon a Potty is his absolute favorite. He has actually made friends with the character in the book. For instance, he talks about Joshua going poopy in the potty, and how proud his mother is of him. He then looks up and me and says, “Mommy, you are proud of me too.”¬†Yes sweetheart, Mommy is proud of you.¬†“Simeon and Joshua?” I laugh,¬†yes, of course, Simeon and Joshua.

Skip to the Loo, My Darling is downright cute although definitely pure fun rather than educational. It makes him smile, and he enjoys looking at each of the little potties in the illustrations throughout, especially at the very end. He finds the one that looks most similar to his own little potty, and says, “we match!”

What to Expect When You Use the Potty is honestly a big out of his league. It seems like it would work better for a 3-4 year old going through the potty training experience, rather than a little two year old tot. He got glossy-eyed pretty quick when I was reading it aloud to him; I think it simply went too in-depth and had too much information for what was necessary in our particular scenario. But he still enjoys the pictures, so it goes along with the other two he really enjoys, and he’s got his happy little stack of three… his very own pile of literature for the loo.

And he’s a successful, happy, informed, M&M filled little guy!
One week into the process, we’ve almost got it nailed.
And for right now, that’s an absolute victory.

For icing on the cake, when he was reading AlphaBlock last night, a longstanding favorite of his which he has been reciting¬†completely from memory since last winter, he got to U and quite proudly proclaimed that “U is for Simeon because now I wear undies too.”

AlphaBlock1AlphaU

Summer Reading Stack, take one

It is hard to imagine that summer is so fully underway! With soccer camp behind us and music camp looming just ahead, the garden in full production and the birds nearly ready to start laying eggs, you‚Äôd think I would have a clue. But I totally missed local strawberry season, and the only way I won‚Äôt miss our local cherry season is if I get out there this week with my sister-in-law and all the kids. My children are ecstatic that ‚Äúfireworks day‚ÄĚ is this week, but when my daughter asked this evening, ‚Äúis that the day about St. Patrick?‚ÄĚ I realized that I need to revisit some basic Independence Day foundations with the kids in the next 24 hours. Note to self: dig out the patriotic picture books post haste! I know I have Mary Pope Osborne‚Äôs¬†Happy Birthday America¬†on the schoolroom bookshelves somewhere‚Ķ

While our official school year with the chaos of our weekly co op finished up over a month ago, we are continuing our normal habit of schooling through the summer when we are at home. During soccer camp week, we focused on Bible, reading, music practice, and soccer practice. Plus playdates and swimming! It was exhausting and delightful. It will be a very similar pattern during music camp. The rest of the weeks of summer, though, we are plugging away with piano lessons, ukulele lessons, and the basic subjects at home: Bible (which term we use rather broadly to include Scripture, catechism, hymn, devotional, copywork, & handwriting), math, English, reading, and music lessons.

Newbery4

What everyone most looks forward to, though, is our regular habit of reading aloud. In general, I am the one who reads aloud to the children while they eat a meal (or two), and while they do things like copywork, artwork, sewing, or other quiet fine motor projects‚Ķ but the children do love being asked to take turns reading passages to one another. (Only the three oldest are solid readers, of course, but even 2 1/2 year old Simeon likes to hold a book and ‚Äúread‚ÄĚ it to us either by reciting what he remembers of a favorite, or by interpreting something from illustrations.) It gives the children practice speaking well in front of others, without the added pressure of needing to recite a memorized passage or write a speech themselves. One step at a time! I am very pleased with their skills of inflection, character designation, and rhythm/speed/pause.
Something I have been incredibly pleased with in the last few months is the broad variety of picture books we have gotten that are biographies of wonderful, creative people, both historic and contemporary. It is wonderful to accomplish humanity studies through the practice of reading aloud with one another.

This morning we enjoyed visiting the world of Virginia Burton, the brilliance behind stories like Katy and the Big Snow, The Little House, and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. We have always loved Virginia Burton, so to read a picture book where we can recognize all of her wonderful characters, as well as find out a little more about her own life, delighted us all.

Burton1
Burton2 Burton3

There is a delightful comment here about Virginia, called Jinnie, making creations with her very magical wands ‚ÄĒ her art supplies!, which made us giggle and have a brief conversation about the magic of creation, using things like charcoal, pencils, brushes, stamps, and God-given hands.

We also recently read about Grace Hopper, which was of particular interest to my own computer programming son, as she was so highly instrumental in creating and streamlining computer code. She found the solution in taking binary a lot further than anyone before. It is good for my son to read about women doing amazing things ‚ÄĒ like computer coding for the naval forces during a war, or painting children‚Äôs books, or cooking gourmet French food, or rocking babies to sleep on a starry night. Each of these things is a powerful force, and could be wielded for great good in God‚Äôs kingdom. I am eager for my children to take note of these things.

Hopper1  Hopper2

‚ÄúSoftware tester. Workplace jester. Order seeker. Well-known speaker. Gremlin finder. Software minder. Clever thinker. Lifelong tinker. Cherished mentor. Ace inventor. Avid reader. Naval leader.‚ÄĚ Such good reminders that a beautiful education is fat with variety, fully faceted all around.

Newbery2

And there are also innumerable books that I want my children to read about incredible, world-changing men throughout history. One of my favorites this week is called Balderdash, about John Newbery himself. What a treasure of a little book! The artwork is absolutely sublime.

Newbery1

The story begins with an introduction to Newbery as a boy in a time when books were not made for children, but rather only for adult sensibilities. And John set out to change this as soon as he had outgrown childhood himself. Apprenticing for a printer, and eventually owning his own printing company, he was the one who put children’s literature truly on the market. The lighthearted way this book describes the life and times of John Newbery is truly satisfying. I think Newbery reminds me a little of my father, and perhaps that is why I think I could have been friends with this gent if I were about two centuries before my time.

Newbery5  Newbery3

Did I mention that Joni Eareckson Tada sent us a couple of books recently? We had written to her earlier this spring, as a family and then also along with a letter-writing class I taught at our homeschool co op. What a delight to receive letters in return (an unexpected surprise, for certain), and the additional of books to enjoy. This woman has been an encouragement to my heart since I was right about ten years old, so it feels full circle now for my son of the same age to be finding joy from her as well.

FunBooks10

But lest you think we do all serious reading, even in picture books, and don’t delve into the realm of lighthearted tale, anthropomorphism, comedy, or jest… think again. When you see a book cover that has your 2 1/2 year old all but pegged (including just one letter off on the author’s name!), you bring it home from the library to pass around and everyone agrees it’s a total ringer for our little Simeon James!

FunBooks11

Or how about the Animal House that had the three big kids walking around our house trying to locate all the animalesque words they could find in our own home? Refrige-gator, seal-ing, floor-mingo, kanga-room, gi-roof, snail-box, chimp-ney, cow-ch, ele-pants, hare-way, chande-deer. The house was echoing with bad puns and uncontrolled laughter for a solid twenty minutes after we finished the book itself.

FunBooks1  FunBooks2

I must quickly mention two sweet picture books we discovered last week, which both could be summed up in the idea of knowing yourself‚Ķ with two very different ways of getting there.¬†Tracks in the Snow¬†is sweetly simple, with a little girl eagerly trying to find the owner of tracks she sees in the snow until she realizes they were hers leftover from the previous day. And¬†Adelaide¬†is truly winsome, in a very subdued message that the little kangaroo with wings has a life that no other kangaroo could have because she was made exceptionally unique ‚Äď which is, of course, exactly the way we want her to be.

FunBooks3  FunBooks4

And lastly for now, our love of bird books continues. We revisited an old favorite,¬†Chickens to the Rescue, which allowed us to introduce it to the youngest member of the family ‚ÄĒ and now our chickens themselves have taken on an adventurous twist of their own when we call out the refrain to them across the backyard.

FunBooks6  FunBooks5

And Calliope… who we now realize is a drake and has thus adopted the nickname Ope rather well… would like to show you our latest ducky favorite. Largely because it’s simple, sweet, and has precious ducky illustrations.

FunBooks7  FunBooks8

FunBooks9

I have two large canvas bags filled with library books ready to be returned tomorrow after our watercolor lessons with Mrs. S. We have potty training books on hold, waiting for us! Somebody around here needs a little extra literary inspiration, I think, to make the final leap in the process of ascending the porcelain throne…
And I have more books and snippet-reviews to share coming up soon.

What kind of children’s books would you like to see reviewed for a tried-and-true perspective?
I’ve got a pile of little gingers who are up for the challenge.