We Love to Read: January 2014

We are a book-loving family.  
We read many books each month, but choose our favorites to share with you.
We’re always looking for more books to add to our library bag (which literally burst at the seams as we left the library today).  I’d love to hear your recommendations!

Reads for Mama

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine

 I was chosen to be part of a marketing team for this book release and recieved an advanced ebook copy to read.  I thouroghly enjoyed reading about Crystal’s experience going from frazzled, over-worked and over-tired  to a more restful, peaceful and happy Mama.
Reading about her search to find her true passions inspired me to do the same. I am also motivated to manage the other responsibilites I have ( including letting go of what is not truly important) in order to live the best life I can. I’m already planning to re-read it to glean more from her life-changing ideas an inspiration.

Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters

Start by Jon Acuff

This is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time. It was in a similar vein to Saying Goodbye to Survival Mode, but is more focused on helping you find your passions and start (right now, today) on the path to achieving your dreams.  I appreciated Jon Acuff’s humorous approach to a heavy topic.  One main point I took away from this book is that we should never stop stretching ourselves.  Once we acheive one goal, it’s time to move on to the next.  We are not meant to stagnate in the land of average.

The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

This was a re-read for me.  I very rarely re-read books; there are so many amazing books in the world, more than I will ever have time to read, I have a difficult time going back to re-read something when I know I could be experiencing an entirely new story instead.  But, this book was worth the time to re-read it.  It’s definitely in my list of all-time favorites.  A beautifully written, poigniant WWII story from a unique perspective.  The characters are complex and alive.  It’s one of those books that you read quickly and then are sad you did, because you long to be back in the story again.  Read it before you see the movie!
 (Note: There is quite a lot of strong language.)


Wonderstruck by Brian Selzneck

I find Brian Selzneck’s style so engrossing (he is also the author/illustrator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret).  He tells the story through his incredible illustrations as well as through the words.  Despite its heft, this book is a quick read because more than half of the pages are beautifully intricate pictures.   I don’t feel like I can do the book justice.  Just read it!

Read Alouds

The Hundred Dresses

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

Ellie and I read this for our Mother/Daughter book club in January.  It is a sweet story, with a good moral. We found during our discussion with other bookish moms and daughters that it provided an interesting impetus for discussion.  I loved to see how this book added spark to their realization that all people have worth.  It doesn’t matter if you have a funny last name and only one clean but shabby dress.

Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House, #1)

Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne

Ethan is fully and whole-heartedly addicted to the Magic Tree House series.  I actually really enjoy these books as well (which is good because we’re averaging 1-2 per week around here).  They are informative without being dry, and exciting without being scary.  That is the perfect mix for my sensitive, fact-loving boy.  I try to read them in order, but it’s not completely  necessary to do so.  We jump around a bit if we’re learning about a particular subject covered by one of the books.  We recently read Night of the Ninjas during our Feudal Japan study.

Family Read Aloud

The Search for Delicious

The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbit

A sweet, fun read aloud for the whole family; not just entertaining for children.  Jason and I both really enjoyed this book as well as the kids.  It has a subtle humor that makes it enjoyable for a wide age range.


The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog (Hank the Cowdog #1)

Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson

Ethan has been tearing through this series during our afternoon quiet time.  He thinks they are absolutely hilarious and frequently quotes them for us.  I must say that I can’t listen to them as often as we would like (which is why they have been relegated to quiet time).  They are very, very fun for little boys, though.

Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation (Jack Blank Adventure, #1)

Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation

We listened to this book in the car and both kids (and I) enjoyed it.  It’s a very imaginative fantasy full of magic, amazing technology and robots.  There are some intense/scary moments, so I can’t recommend this book for sensitive or very young children.  Highly recommended for those who enjoyed Fablehaven and the like.

ps–I should mention that I can’t possibly keep track of the books Ellie reads on her own. They are not represented here, but I will ask her for recommendations in the future. 🙂

What are your favorite books you’ve read this month?