• Easy Chapter Books for Kids - great beginner chapter books for early readers
    book lists,  elementary

    EARLY READER CHAPTER BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS – great novels for beginner chapter books

    Today I am collaborating with Abby from Bear Hill Family to share some early reader chapter books with you!

    My second child is in/just getting out of the early reader chapter book stage so I wanted to share some books that have been favorites of my kids over the years.

    If you have some great early reader chapter book recommendations I would love to hear them!

     

    Easy Chapter Books for Kids - great beginner chapter books for early readers

     

     

    EARLY READER CHAPTER BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

     

    Flat Stanley

    When Stanley Lambchop wakes up one morning, his brother, Arthur, is yelling. A bulletin board fell on Stanley during the night, and now he is only half an inch thick! Amazing things begin happening to him. Stanley gets rolled up, mailed, and flown like a kite. He even gets to help catch two dangerous art thieves. He may be flat, but he’s a hero.

     

    A to Z Mysteries

    J is for Jewel . . . New York is the emerald city! Dink’s uncle’s museum there has a new treasure—a golden jaguar statue with an emerald between its paws. But someone swaps the jewel for a fake! Who stole the jaguar’s jewel? Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are sure to find out!

     

    Magic Tree House

    Meet Jack and Annie! Jack and his younger sister, Annie, are just regular kids. But when they discover a tree house in the woods, something magical happens. Jack and Annie are whisked back in time to the Age of Dinosaurs, a medieval castle, ancient pyramids, and treasure-seeking pirates.

     

    Sophie Mouse

    In the first book of The Adventures of Sophie Mouse, springtime has arrived at Silverlake Forest! The animals are coming out of their homes, buds are blooming on the trees, and the air smells of honeysuckles and tree bark. Sophie Mouse can’t wait to go back to school after the long winter break.

    Even better, there’s a new student in class—Sophie loves meeting new animals! But the class gasps when Owen enters: he’s a snake! No one is brave enough to sit near him, or play with Owen at recess, or even talk to him. Can Sophie help her friends understand that Owen’s not scary after all?

    With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Adventures of Sophie Mouse chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

     

    Princess in Black

    Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when . . . Brring! Brring! The monster alarm! A big blue monster is threatening the goats! Stopping monsters is no job for dainty Princess Magnolia. But luckily Princess Magnolia has a secret —she’s also the Princess in Black, and stopping monsters is the perfect job for her! Can the princess sneak away, transform into her alter ego, and defeat the monster before the nosy duchess discovers her secret? From award-winning writing team of Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrator LeUyen Pham, here is the first in a humorous and action-packed chapter book series for young readers who like their princesses not only prim and perfect, but also dressed in black.

     

    Bailey School Kids Jr. Chapter Book

    Who knows what weird thing is going to happen to the Bailey School Kids next? It’s snowing… and snowing… and snowing! Will the snow ever stop? Or does that wild snowboarder have something to do with it?

     

    Boxcar Children

    Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny are brothers and sisters. They’re orphans too, and the only way they can stay together is to make it on their own. When the children find an abandoned boxcar in the woods, they decide to call it home―and become
    the Boxcar Children!

     

    Canadian Flyer

    Since discovering the Canadian Flyer, a magical time-traveling sled, in Emily’s attic, Matt and Emily have outrun dinosaurs in the Alberta badlands, seen the Silver Dart soar high in Nova Scotia’s skies, and evaded slave catchers on the Underground Railroad. In Arctic Storm Emily and Matt find themselves stranded in the Far North in 1976 — and a squall is on the way!

    After a shaky landing on snow-covered ground, the two friends meet a team of research scientists studying animal migration and habitat. Problem is, the scientists are traveling without their guide, they’ve lost their radio and half their supplies (including food and a stove), and now a storm is coming.

    To make matters worse, one of the scientists has brought along his fifteen-year-old son, Arthur, who is becoming increasingly ill and is in need of a doctor. And after the group is spooked in the night by howling wolves, they wake up the next day to find their lead sled dog missing! Can Matt and Emily brave the storm and help their new friends — especially Arthur — back to safety? And will their faith in Moon Dog, an inexperienced sled dog, help him guide the team to safety?

     

    Encyclopedia Brown

    Leroy Brown, aka Encyclopedia Brown, is Idaville neighborhood’s ten-year-old star detective. With an uncanny knack for trivia, he solves mysteries for the neighborhood kids through his own detective agency. But his dad also happens to be the chief of the Idaville police department, and every night around the dinner table, Encyclopedia helps him solve his most baffling crimes. And with ten confounding mysteries in each book, not only does Encyclopedia have a chance to solve them, but the reader is given all the clues as well. Interactive and chock full of interesting bits of information—it’s classic Encyclopedia Brown!

     

    Third Grade Detectives

    Mr. Merlin’s Third Graders are known as the Third Grade Detectives — with some hints from secret code clues and help from Mr. Merlin’s friend, the police scientist Dr. Smiley, they help solve cases. This two-in-one flip book contains the full text and illustrations for the first two Third Grade Detectives books. In their first case, The Clue of the Left-Handed Envelope, the Detectives find out who has been sending Amber Lee anonymous letters. And in their next case, a dirty handkerchief provides a clue to who’s been trespassing in Todd’s tree house.

     

    The Littles

    The Littles is a timeless favorite that’s been enjoyed for decades. Ready to grab the attention of a new generation, fresh cover art brings an updated look to this classic series.

    The Littles live in the walls of the Biggs’ house. But when the Biggs go on vacation a messy family comes to stay, the trouble begins. Mice! Cats! How much can one small family take? Will Tom and Lucy, the littlest Littles of all, be able to save the day

     

    Greetings From Somewhere

    When Ethan and Ella learn that their mother has accepted the position of travel writer for The Brookeston Times, they are not happy. Move away from Brookeston? Say good-bye to all their friends? What could be worse? Their mom and dad promise them that this will be a great experience, but that doesn’t make the kids feel any better.

    The day before they are set to leave, their beloved Grandpa Harry stops by. As a gift, he gives Ella a pretty journal since he knows she loves to write, and he gives Ethan a gold coin that Ethan decides he will always keep in his pocket. But the morning of their departure, Ethan realizes he’s lost the coin! Together, he and Ella must retrace their steps from the day before. Will they solve the mystery of the missing coin before it’s time to head to the airport?

     

    Kingdom of Wrenly

    Meet Lucas, the eight year-old prince, and Clara, the daughter of the queen’s seamstress. Lucas is an only child who longs to make friends and go on adventures. Clara knows the kingdom well, so she and Lucas team up and explore the lands of Wrenly!

    In The Lost Stone, Lucas and Clara search for Queen Tasha’s missing emerald. On their exciting adventure, they travel to all the main attractions of Wrenly: Primlox (the island of fairies), Burth (the island of trolls), Crestwood (the island of dragons), Hobsgrove (the island of wizards), and the beautiful Mermaid’s Cove. King Caleb has promised to reward the person who finds the precious stone, and Lucas and Clara are determined to search the entire kingdom until they find it!

     

    Princess Pink and the Land of Fakebelieve

    Princess Pink is back for another fractured fairy tale adventure!

    This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line called Branches, which is aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow! In the Land of Fake-Believe, Princess Pink meets Scaredy-Pants Wolf–a baker whose bakery has been robbed! Little Red Quacking Hood is stealing pies from the Big Bad Bakery! Princess, Scaredy-Pants, and their friend Moldylocks follow Little Red over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s hair salon. Can they stop Little Red? With easy-to-read text and engaging full-color artwork throughout, kids will be drawn right into Noah Z. Jones’s latest fractured fairy tale!

     

    Chicken Squad

    Meet the Chicken Squad: Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie. These chicks are not your typical barnyard puffs of fluff, and they are not about to spend their days pecking chicken feed and chasing bugs. No sir, they’re too busy solving mysteries and fighting crime.

    So when Squirrel comes barreling into the chicken coop, the chicks know they’re about to get a case. But with his poor knowledge of shapes (“Big” is not a shape, Squirrel!) and utter fear of whatever it is that’s out there, the panicky Squirrel is NO HELP. Good thing these chicks are professionals.

    But even professionals get worried. Especially once they see that round, shiny, green, BIG thing in the yard. What if it’s a UFO full of aliens who want chickens as pets, or worse, dinner? It’s up to the Chicken Squad to crack a case that just might be out of this world.

  • Family Read Alouds for our Homeschool Year 2021-2022
    audiobooks,  book lists,  elementary,  middle grades

    FAMILY READ ALOUDS: 13 books we want to read in our homeschool in the 2021-2022 school year

    We love a good read aloud in our family and today I am sharing thirteen (not twelve like I said in the video) books we want to read aloud (aka listen to) in the next school year.

    Now, when I say read alouds what I actually mean is listen tos because I am terrible at reading aloud so we usually listen to our book together as a family while we eat our meals.

    We use an amazing Bluetooth speaker, we’ve had it for years and only have to charge it about twice a year. Here’s an updated version of our Bluetooth speaker

    My plan is for us to pick and choose from this list throughout the year. When we are done one book we’ll come back to this list and pick another.

    Oh, and while we have little ones as well, it’s the big ones we are catering this list to, they are going to be in grade 3 & 6 in the fall.

    I would love to hear what is on your read aloud list for this next year!

    And if you want to see what was on our list from last year, you can do so here!

     

    Family Read Alouds for our Homeschool Year 2021-2022

     

     

    13 FAMILY READ ALOUDS

     

    Absolutely Truly

    An unsent letter in a first edition copy of Charlotte’s Web leads to a hunt for treasure in this heartwarming middle grade mystery from the author of The Mother-Daughter Book Club.

    Now that Truly Lovejoy’s father has been injured by an IED in Afghanistan and is having trouble finding work back home, the family moves from Texas to tiny Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, to take over Lovejoy’s Books, a struggling bookstore that’s been in the family for one hundred years.

    With two older brothers and two younger sisters clamoring for attention, her mother back in school, and everyone up to their eyebrows trying to keep Lovejoy’s Books afloat, Truly feels more overlooked than usual. So she pours herself into uncovering the mystery of an undelivered letter she finds stuck in a valuable autographed first edition of Charlotte’s Web, which subsequently goes missing from the bookshop. What’s inside the envelope leads Truly and her new Pumpkin Falls friends on a madcap treasure hunt around town, chasing clues that could spell danger.

     

    The Mysterious Benedict Society

    “Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children–two boys and two girls–succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they’ll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. So, if you’re gifted, creative, or happen to know Morse Code, they could probably use your help.

     

    Christian Heroes Series

    Written specifically to challenge readers with the powerful lives of missionaries who have profoundly shaped history, the books in the Christian Heroes: Then & Now series answer today’s call for positive role models and for opportunities to see how God works through the lives of those who follow him.

    The exciting life stories of these heroes will inspire readers as they witness the drama of faith and character being tested under the most extreme circumstances.

    Readers of all ages love these fast-paced adventures that take them to the heart of a nation, an era, and what it means to live a life dedicated to serving God and those He loves. Parents report that even kids who have never liked to read have eagerly read all of these – sometimes more than once!

     

     

    Wingfeather Tales: Seven Thrilling Stories from the World of Aerwiar

    Immerse yourself in a land of bomnubbles and quarreling cousins, sea dragons and book publishers, thieves and Fangs and secret maps. Here within these pages lie seven stories of the distant past, lost adventures, forgotten songs, and heartbreaking histories. The Shining Isle is restored, but Aerwiar is vast—and these authors have tales yet to tell:

        Explore the inner walls of Yorsha Doon, just West of the Woes of Shreve, on the edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, from the eyes of young Safiki in “The Prince of Yorsha Doon” from the creator of Aewiar, Andrew Peterson.
        Jennifer Trafton’s warm and whimsical writing brings to life a publishing nightmare populated by the many beasts of Skree in “The Wooing of Sophelia Stupe.”
        Learn the origins of Ollister Pebmrick’s mysterious entry in the Creaturepedia about his encounter with a raggant in “Willow Worlds” by N. D. Wilson.
        Travel with young Podo Helmer on an epic hunt for sea dragons in “From the Deeps of the Dragon King” from A. S. Peterson.
        Jonathan Rogers presents “The Ballard of Lanric and Rube,” sung by Armulyn the Bard, tale-spinner of the imaginary Shining Isle of Anniera, in On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness.
        Discover what life was like for Maraly and Gammon in post-war Skree in “Shadowblade and the Florid Sword”—the first-ever Wingfeather comic—by Andrew Peterson.
        Douglas McKelvey’s epic, heartbreakingly hopeful novella “The Places Beyond the Maps” recounts a father’s journey to redemption.

    You’ll also find delightful illustrations by Justin Gerard, Hein Zaayman, Cory Godbey, John Hendrix, Nicholas Kole, Aedan Peterson, Joe Sutphin, Jay Myers, and Doug TenNapel.

    Enter a rich, imaginative world that becomes more real, more mysterious, more dangerous, and more beautiful with each story’s telling.

     

     

    On The Edge of The Dark Sea of Darkness

    Janner Igiby, his brother, Tink, and their disabled sister, Leeli, are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that they love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang, who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice. The Igibys hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera.

    Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers’ groups are sure to enjoy discussing for its many layers of meaning. Extra features include new interior illustrations from Joe Sutphin, funny footnotes, a map of the fantastical world, inventive appendices, and fanciful line art in the tradition of the original Frank L. Baum Wizard of Oz storybooks.

     

    Rescue

    Six hundred and fifty-seven days ago, Meg Kenyon’s father left their home in France to fight for the Allies in World War II, and that was the last time Meg saw him. Recently, she heard he was being held prisoner by the Nazis, a terrible sentence from which Meg fears he’ll never return. All she has left of him are the codes he placed in a jar for her to decipher, an affectionate game the two of them shared. But the codes are running low, and soon there’ll be nothing left of Papa for Meg to hold on to at all.

    Suddenly, an impossible chance to save her father falls into Meg’s lap. After following a trail of blood in the snow, Meggie finds an injured British spy hiding in her grandmother’s barn. Captain Stewart tells her that a family of German refugees must be guided across Nazi-occupied France to neutral Spain, whereupon one of them has promised to free Meg’s father. Captain Stewart was meant to take that family on their journey, but too injured to complete the task himself, he offers it to Meg, along with a final code from Papa to help complete the mission — perhaps the most important, and most difficult, riddle she’s received yet.

    As the Nazis flood Meg’s village in fierce pursuit, she accepts the duty and begins the trek across France. Leading strangers through treacherous territory, Meg faces danger and uncertainty at every turn, all the while struggling to crack her father’s code. The message, as she unravels it, reveals secrets costly enough to risk the mission and even her own life. Can Meg solve the puzzle, rescue the family, and save her father?

     

    Echo Mountain

    After losing almost everything in the Great Depression, Ellie’s family is forced to leave their home in town and start over in the untamed wilderness of nearby Echo Mountain. Ellie has found a welcome freedom, and a love of the natural world, in her new life on the mountain. But there is little joy after a terrible accident leaves her father in a coma. An accident unfairly blamed on Ellie.

    Ellie is a girl who takes matters into her own hands, and determined to help her father she will make her way to the top of the mountain in search of the healing secrets of a woman known only as “the hag.” But the hag, and the mountain, still have many untold stories left to reveal.
     
    Historical fiction at its finest, Echo Mountain is celebration of finding your own path and becoming your truest self. Lauren Wolk, the Newbery Honor– and Scott O’Dell Award–winning author of Wolf Hollow and Beyond the Bright Sea, weaves a stunning tale of resilience, persistence, and friendship across three generations of families.

     

    Amari and the Night Brothers

    Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good.

    So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton—if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real.

    Now she must compete for a spot against kids who’ve known about magic their whole lives. No matter how hard she tries, Amari can’t seem to escape their intense doubt and scrutiny—especially once her supernaturally enhanced talent is deemed “illegal.” With an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she’s an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t stick it out and pass the tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.

     

    The Wild Robot

    Can a robot survive in the wilderness?

    When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is all alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is–but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a violent storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island’s unwelcoming animal inhabitants.

    As Roz slowly befriends the animals, the island starts to feel like home–until, one day, the robot’s mysterious past comes back to haunt her.

    From bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Peter Brown comes a heartwarming and action-packed novel about what happens when nature and technology collide.

     

    Father and I Were Ranchers

    Ralph Moody was eight years old in 1906 when his family moved from New Hampshire to a Colorado ranch. Through his eyes we experience the pleasures and perils of ranching there early in the twentieth century. Auctions and roundups, family picnics, irrigation wars, tornadoes and wind storms give authentic color to Little Britches. So do adventures, wonderfully told, that equip Ralph to take his father’s place when it becomes necessary.

     

    Gregor the Overlander

    This irresistible novel by Suzanne Collins tells the story of a boy who embarks on a dangerous quest in order to fulfill his destiny — and find his father — in a strange world beneath New York City.

    Gregor the Overlander joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor’s arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland’s uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it — until he realizes it’s the only way to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever. This unforgettable novel by Suzanne Collins, the international bestselling author of the Hunger Games series, is rich in suspense and brimming with adventure.

     

    We the Children (Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School)

    Benjamin Pratt’s school is about to become the site of a new amusement park. It sounds like a dream come true! But lately, Ben has been wondering if he’s going to like an amusement park in the middle of his town—with all the buses and traffic and eight dollar slices of pizza. It’s going to change everything. And, Ben is not so big on all the new changes in his life, like how his dad has moved out and started living in the marina on what used to be the “family” sailboat. Maybe it would be nice if the school just stayed as it is. He likes the school. Loves it, actually. It’s over 200 years old and sits right on the harbor. The playground has ocean breezes and the classrooms have million dollar views…MILLION DOLLAR views. And after a chance—and final—run-in with the school janitor, Ben starts to discover that these MILLION DOLLAR views have a lot to do with the deal to sell the school property. But, as much as the town wants to believe it, the school does not belong to the local government. It belongs to the CHILDREN and these children have the right to defend it!

     

     

    The Whispering Wars

    From the award-winning Jaclyn Moriarty comes a spellbinding tale of unlikely friendship, unexpected magic and competitive athletics.

    The town of Spindrift is frequented by all kinds of Shadow Mages and charlatans. It’s also home to the Orphanage School, where Finlay lives with Glim, Taya, and Eli. Just outside town is the painfully posh Brathelthwaite Boarding School, home to Honey Bee, Hamish, and Victor, Duke of Ainsley. When the two schools compete at the Spindrift Tournament, the stakes are high, tensions are higher, and some people are out to win at any cost. Before long, the orphans and the boarding school kids are at each other’s throats. And then the Whispering Wars break out, and Spindrift is thrust onto the front lines. Children are being stolen; witches, sirens, and a deadly magical flu invade the town; and all attempts to fight back are met with defeat. Finlay, Honey Bee, and their friends must join forces to outwit the encroaching forces of darkness, rescue the stolen children, and turn the tide of the war. But how can one bickering troupe outwit the insidious power of the Whisperers?

     

    I would love to hear what is on your read aloud list for this next year!

  • The Best Picture Books of 2020 - the best picture books for kids published in 2020
    book lists,  elementary,  picture books

    The Best Picture Books Published in 2020

    It’s time for one of my favorite book lists of the year:

    The Best Picture Books Published in 2020!

    Well, okay, this is my first time every writing this particular post but I’ve made lists for the past number of years and it’s a fun annual one to write. In case you are curious, here are are favorites from previous years:

     

    The Best Picture Books of 2020 - the best picture books for kids published in 2020

     

    I also like to do a mid-year version of this post, here’s The Best Picture Books of 2020 (so far) from a few months ago.

     

    The Best Picture Books Published in 2020

     

    I actually got a copy of this beautiful book sent to me by the author and illustrator but that’s not why it’s on this list, it’s on here because it is a gorgeous book with a wonderful message.

    Also, I just mentioned this book in my recent Homeschool Day in the Life post, with it’s great rhyme and rhythm we used it in our poetry tea time.

    Oh, The Beautiful Things He Makes

    It’s a question we all wrestle with. Why do bad things happen? But it’s not just adults asking this question. Children want to know too. Oh! The Beautiful Things He Makes! follows a sweet, yet candid dialogue between a mother and her adoptive panda cub about life’s tough subjects. Written specifically for children, this book has a repetitive, resounding message–that God makes beautiful things out of any circumstance. If children grow up embracing this truth, they will be able to face these challenges with confidence, and come out stronger on the other side.

    Oh! The Beautiful Things He Makes! touches on topics such as selfishness, bullying, prejudice, grief and loss, among others. The end of the book has 7 supplemental origami crafts meant to inspire further creativity and connection.

     

    There are a few books on this list that while they are picture books they aren’t storybooks, this is a beautifully illustrated book about flowers. I’ve enjoyed this author’s entire series.

    The Big Book of Blooms

    In The Big Book of Blooms, the next installment in the wildly successful Big Book series, Yuval Zommer’s charming illustrations bring to life some of the most colorful, flamboyant, and unusual flowers from across the globe.

    In the opening pages, readers will learn all about botany, including how to recognize different types of flowers. Subsequent pages illustrate the various habitats that are home to flora such as pitcher plants, the giant water lily, and the weirdly wonderful corpse flower. Readers will discover which flowers are endangered and why some blooms are fragrant or colorful, not to mention grisly details about carnivorous and poisonous flowers.

     

    This is a funny little story/spin off from Captain Marvel all about the Flerken, my kids loved it.

    Beware the Flerken

    Hello! I am Goose.
    I look like a cat.
    But I am not a cat.
    I am a Flerken!
     
    In this adorable picture book told from Goose”s point of view, our favorite Flerken embarks on an adventure alongside Captain Marvel that leads them to Louisiana, where Goose SLORPS some alligators and finds a new friend in Monica Rambeau!
     
     

    Rita and Ralph’s Rotten Day

    In two little houses,
    on two little hills,
    lived two best friends…

    So begins the story of Rita and Ralph. Every day they meet to play beneath the apple tree. It’s always fun and games — until one roundly rotten day when a new game means someone ends up crying. Who knew it could be so hard to say “I’m sorry”?

    Just when it seems nothing will ever be right again, a surprising thing happens. The old friends try something new, that isn’t new at all. Something they’ve done a hundred times…

     

    Are You a Cat?

    Dogs chase cats. Everyone knows this, especially cats.

    When Dog wants to chase Cat, he politely asks, “are you a cat?”

    To outrun and outsmart Dog, Cat pretends to be other animals that dogs wouldn’t ordinarily want to chase. It’s a masterful plan indeed. But when an unexpected creature walks by, it’s impossible for Cat to play pretend for much longer.

    In a charming picture book filled with pleasing banter and hilarious quips, rising talent Coll Muir creates the perfect story about staying true to yourself.

     

    Mable: A Mermaid Fable

    Mabel isn’t like the other mermaids. Lucky isn’t like the other octopuses. But when they find each other, they discover that true friendship isn’t about how you look, and that sometimes what we are searching for is right under our noses.

    The inimitable Rowboat Watkins is back with another humorous tale about being true to yourself.

     

    I didn’t do a very good job keeping up with picture books in 2020, in large part because the library was closed for a number of months, I’m hoping to do better in 2021 and have a longer list!

    Actually, this year I am writing monthly book lists with picture books that are being released that sound really good, you can check out January’s list and February’s list so far.

  • 2021 New Picture Book Releases - great sounding picture books that are being released February 2021
    anticipated releases,  book lists,  elementary,  picture books

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: February 2021

    I’m excited to share a list of books that are coming out in February that sound really good!

    In case you missed it, I recently shared a post that had January’s new picture book releases as well as middle grade novels that are being released in the first few months of 2021.

    Once again, I’ve spent quite a bit of time sifting through picture books that are being released and I think I’ve found some really good winners! Obviously, I haven’t actually been able to read these books yet so I can’t promise they are going to be amazing but I hope so.

    I hope to read as many of these as I can so that throughout the year I can share which books have been our favorites.

     

    2021 New Picture Book Releases - great sounding picture books that are being released February 2021

     

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: February 2021

     

    Sadie Sprocket Builds a Rocket

    February 1st

    Sadie Sprocket is a girl with a big dream—to go to Mars! No one has been to Mars (yet!), so of course that’s where Sadie sets her sights. She learns everything she can about the planet and space, then assembles her crew of trusty stuffed animals. Together they build a rocket and prepare for the historic journey. And then finally—blastoff!

    Sadie and her team make it to Mars, but what will they encounter when they leave the ship? And will they travel home safely as the world watches?

    With cheery rhyming text and quirky artwork, this is a story about dreaming big and reaching for the stars. The book includes facts about Mars and women in space to inspire budding explorers everywhere.

     

    I loved Miracle Man by this author and am excited to get my hands on this one!

    Go and Do Likewise!: The Parables and Wisdom of Jesus

    February 2nd

    But Jesus was going somewhere.
    His journey to find those most in need of him began anew each morning.
    Jesus walked . . . and ever since, people have followed him.
     
    Through parables of the good Samaritan and the prodigal son, the lost sheep and the beatitudes, Jesus taught his disciples the redeeming power of sacrificial love and showed mercy to everyone around him—especially the sick, the poor, and the downtrodden.
     
    In this inspirational and richly illustrated book, John Hendrix brings to life the wisdom of Jesus. Interweaving hand lettering with his signature, award-winning art style, Hendrix captures the spirit of Jesus’s timeless message that will resonate with readers of any Christian faith.

     

    Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre

    February 2nd

    Celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Floyd Cooper provide a powerful look at the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation’s history. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa’s Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community.

    News of what happened was largely suppressed, and no official investigation occurred for seventy-five years. This picture book sensitively introduces young readers to this tragedy and concludes with a call for a better future.

     

    Love Gave: A Story of God’s Greatest Gift

    February 2nd

    From author and spoken word artist Quina Aragon comes this one-of-a-kind poetic picture book for children. Love Gave tells the story of the incarnation and the good news of Jesus Christ in language kids can understand.

    Children will hear how God created us to be His friends, but because of sin, we were separated from Him. Out of love, God gave us Jesus who died and rose again to solve our sin problem and restore our friendship with God.

    The final page provides a clear explanation of the gospel and an invitation for children to trust their heart to God and accept His gift of eternal fellowship. This is a book your whole family will enjoy and is sure to become a favorite for years to come.

     

    What’s Inside A Flower?: And Other Questions About Science & Nature

    February 2nd

    Budding backyard scientists can start exploring their world with this stunning introduction to these flowery show-stoppers–from seeds to roots to blooms. Learning how flowers grow gives kids beautiful building blocks of science and inquiry.

    In the launch of a new nonfiction picture book series, Rachel Ignotofsky’s distinctive art style and engaging, informative text clearly answers any questions a child (or adult) could have about flowers.

     

    Goodnight, Astronaut

    February 2nd

    Scott Kelly was born for adventure. But exploring takes a lot of enery–and sleep is the super fuel to turbocharge dreams. Luckily, sleeping can be exciting if you’re drifting off in the right place.

    Scott has fallen asleep at the bottom of the ocean, in the cockpit of an F-14 fighter jet, in a yurt on Mount Everest, and of course in space! Join Scott on his many adventures, and maybe they’ll inspire dreams of your own!

     

    The Secret Fawn

    February 2nd

    A little girl is always missing out on the wonderful things her family gets to see and do, just because she is the youngest and smallest. She misses seeing shooting stars because she goes to bed too early; she can’t pick the first apple of autumn because she’s too short; and, this morning, everyone else got to see a deer . . . except her. She goes into her backyard in search of the deer, a sugar cube tucked in her pocket. She sees a flick of brown in the orchard — is that the deer? No, it’s just the neighbor’s friendly dog (Shhhhh, Nala!). Is that it by the pond? No, that’s just a bird, playing in the water. Just when she’s about to give up, she spots a fawn, beautiful, quiet and small . . . just like her.

     

    Flashlight Night: An Adventure in Trusting God

    February 2nd

    Flashlight Night is narrated by a boy whose parents have used chalkboard paint to create a wall where he and his siblings can write out all their fears, cares, and concerns: Will I learn to blow a bubble? Tie my shoes? Stay out of trouble? Be the friend they choose?

    When the boy worries that God isn’t responding to his prayers, he and his mom climb the stairs and visit the chalkboard wall at nighttime with a flashlight. She shines the light on some prayers and turns it off at other times, pointing out that the prayer (and his faith) is still there, and in God’s hands.

    “Sometimes we see His yes,” Mom says.
    “And sometimes we just don’t.
    But just because it hasn’t happened,
    doesn’t mean it won’t.”

    Even when it’s dark and dim
    and when I cannot see,
    I choose to place my trust in Him
    And I know God’s close to me.

     

    How to Promenade with a Python (and Not Get Eaten): A Polite Predators Book

    February 2nd

    Celeste is a cockroach, and everyone knows that cockroaches are survivors, so who better to give advice on surviving an encounter with a polite predator? Everyone also knows that taking a moonlit promenade with a deadly reticulated python (named Frank) is a very bad idea. But Celeste loves very bad ideas, and she is willing to put your life on the line to prove herself right! Need to stop a python from swallowing you head-first? Wear a lamp shade as a hat! Want to speed up a three-hundred-pound snake? Try roller skates! What’s the perfect light snack for a python? A chicken! Using her superior pythonine knowledge, Celeste comes up with various strategies and solutions — many dangerous, most absurd, but all based on the biology of pythons. Meanwhile, Frank is hatching his own plans.

     

    Milo Imagines the World

    February 2nd

    Milo is on a long subway ride with his older sister. To pass the time, he studies the faces around him and makes pictures of their lives. There’s the whiskered man with the crossword puzzle; Milo imagines him playing solitaire in a cluttered apartment full of pets. There’s the wedding-dressed woman with a little dog peeking out of her handbag; Milo imagines her in a grand cathedral ceremony. And then there’s the boy in the suit with the bright white sneakers; Milo imagines him arriving home to a castle with a drawbridge and a butler. But when the boy in the suit gets off on the same stop as Milo–walking the same path, going to the exact same place–Milo realizes that you can’t really know anyone just by looking at them.

     

    The Owl Who Asks Why

    February 2nd

    Little Owl and Little Wolf have so many questions for their parents. “Why can’t we move our eyes?” “When will I no longer be a pup?” But owls don’t ask “Why?” They ask “Whooo?” And wolves don’t ask “When?” They ask “Hoooow?” Mom and Dad say it’s silly to even consider asking those sorts of questions.

    Feeling teased and misunderstood, Little Owl and Little Wolf decide to run away from home for good. After straying too far from the path, the pair discovers that they’re lost in the forest and begin to wonder if they’ve made the right decision by leaving the pack. Little Owl and Little Wolf realize that the only way to make it back to their families is to not be afraid to ask the right questions, their own way.

     

     

    Paris by Phone

    February 9th

    When Josephine Harris decides that Paris is where she really belongs, all it takes is a quick call on her magical phone to whisk her away. The city of lights has fancy cafés, baguettes under every arm, the Eiffel Tower, and a fabulous new family who can’t wait to show her around.

    The city is a feast for the senses, but each new discovery brings a pang of melancholy. There’s something missing here. Could it be the person who loves Josephine’s best–her own mother?

     

    Headstrong Hallie!: The story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the First Female “Fire Guard”

    February 15, 2021

    Hallie Morse Daggett loved spending time outdoors, hiking among the tall trees of the forests in California’s Siskiyou Mountains. She wasn’t afraid of the bears, coyotes, and wildcats. But Hallie was afraid of fire and understood the threat it posed to the forests, wildlife, and people. And more than anything, she wanted to devote her life to protecting her beloved outdoors; she decided she would work for the US Forest Service. But in the 1880s the Forest Service didn’t hire women, thinking they couldn’t handle the physical challenges of the work or the isolation. But the Forest Service didn’t know Hallie or how determined she could be.

    This picture-book biography tells the story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the first woman “fire guard” hired by the US Forest Service, whose hard work and dedication led the way for other women to join the Forest Service.

     

    Shy Willow

    February 16th

    Willow is shy. VERY shy.

    Her home is in an abandoned mailbox, and she’d rather stay put. Outside kids scream and soccer balls collide, trees look like monsters, and rain is noisy in a scary kind of way. It’s much nicer to stay inside, drawing. But then a young boy drops a letter in Willow’s mailbox: it’s a note to the moon asking for a special favor. Willow knows that if she doesn’t brave the world outside, the letter will never be delivered, and the boy will be heartbroken. Should she try? Can she?

    Cat Min delivers a breathtakingly illustrated story about shyness, the power of empathy, and what it means to make a friend.

     

    Mars! Earthlings Welcome

    February 23rd

    Meet Mars! The red planet. Planet Marvelous. Favorite sibling of Earth (or so he claims). Sometimes they’re close (just 34.5 million miles apart). Sometimes they need space (250 million miles apart)! Earth and Mars have a lot in common―clouds, mountains, polar icecaps. And while Earth has Earthlings, Mars makes a persuasive case for why people should make the journey to spend time with him. His day is 7 minutes longer! He is home to the largest volcano in the whole solar system. He’s, well, marvelous.

  • January 2021 New Picture Book Releases - Anticipated Picture Book Releases we are excited about!
    anticipated releases,  book lists,  elementary,  picture books

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: January 2021

    Last week I shared a list of middle grade books coming at in the first few months of the year and this week I thought I would share some new picture book releases that sound really good.

    Originally I was going to make this list include picture books that were coming out January through to March but I got started with the list and realized there were enough good sounding books to make separate monthly lists!

    I actually did this a few years ago and so I guess this year I am bringing back the monthly picture book releases lists.

    I’ve spent quite a bit of time sifting through picture books that are being released and I think I’ve found some really good winners! Obviously, I haven’t actually been able to read these books yet so I can’t promise they are going to be amazing but I hope so!

    I hope to read as many of these as I can so that throughout the year I can share which books have been our favorites.

    I’ll have the list of February picture books up in about two weeks so be sure to check back soon!

     

    January 2021 New Picture Book Releases - Anticipated Picture Book Releases we are excited about!

     

    New Picture Book Releases We Want to Read: January 2021

     

    I am raising three different kids from three different races, we love to recognize and celebrate the differences.

    Eyes That Kiss in the Corners

    January 5th

    A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers’. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother’s, her grandmother’s, and her little sister’s. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.

    Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self-love and empowerment. This powerful, poetic picture book will resonate with readers of all ages.

     

    This book looks so cozy!

    Blanket: Journey to Extreme Coziness

    Behold, the powers of your blanket are REAL.

    Readers will learn how to make their own snuggly, cuddly cocoon and all the things you can do when you feel safe and warm. Your blanket might take you to space, under the deep blue sea, or anywhere you can imagine. But what happens when you leave your blanket? Not knowing is scary, but also exciting!
     
    This adorable and exuberant story is filled with open-ended questions that encourage readers to be true to themselves, both inside and outside of their blankets.

     

    I can totally picture my daughter on the cover of this book.

    Outside, Inside

    January 5th

    Something strange happened on an unremarkable day just before the season changed.

    Everybody who was outside . . .

    . . . went inside.

    Outside, it was quieter, wilder, and different. Inside, we laughed, we cried, and we grew.

    We remembered to protect the ones we love and love the ones who protect us.

    While the world changed outside, we became stronger on the inside and believed that someday soon spring would come again.

     

    I like owls and I like picture books that have lots of facts and good information.

    So You Want to Be an Owl

    January 12th

    Welcome to Owl School! Professor Olaf Owl is here to tell you everything you need to know about being an owl, from hunting to camouflage to seeing in the dark. Study hard, and soon you’ll be a first-rate member of Team Owl! This engaging nonfiction picture book is full of vibrant, humorous illustrations and owl lessons that will have readers eagerly practicing their hoots, toe swivels, and alertness (even if they can’t grow feathers).

     

    I’m excited for another great sounding picture book biography!

    She Caught the Light: Williamina Stevens Fleming: Astronomer

    January 19th

    Ever since Williamina Fleming was little she was curious, and her childhood fascination with light inspired her life’s work. Mina became an astronomer in a time when women were discouraged from even looking through telescopes. Yet Mina believed that the universe, with its billions of stars, was a riddle—and she wanted to help solve it.

    Mina ultimately helped to create a map of the universe that paved the way for astronomers. Newbery Honor–winning Kathryn Lasky shares her incredible true story.

     

    I love helping my children have a strong vocabulary and this book sounds like a good one for it!

    Seaside Stroll

    Go on a snowy, sandy shore walk in a story where every single word starts with the letter S!

    Explore the beach in winter in this story told through clever language. During a sunset beach saunter, a girl stumbles and drops her doll into a tidal pool. Soaked! Celebrating the natural silence of an off-season location, the surf and sand are brought to life through this engaging story.

     

    Oooh, this is a good one after the last year!

    Windows

    January 19th

    Out the window, I can see
    a new world looking back at me.
    The streets are still,
    there are no crowds …
    but looking up, I see the clouds.

    Told through the voices―and windows―of children from around the world, this story’s comforting message and bright illustrations bring hope into your home even as our world changes outside. The book’s beautiful design reveals similarities―“In different windows everywhere, I see rainbows, hearts, and teddy bears”―that can comfort and unite us, even in hard times.

    Author Patrick Guest was inspired to write this story when he was forced to isolate from his family as a medical worker. His lyrical writing gives hope to our shared experience. In addition, Jonathan Bentley, award-winning illustrator of more than 30 children’s books, infuses the book with warmth and delight.

    When you look out your window, don’t forget that we’re all looking out―together.

     

    This one sounds really sweet.

    Love

    January 19th

    Everyone loves everyone in Tess’s house, but when Tess has to leave for school for the very first time, she is worried that her family’s love might not stretch that far. Mom explains that love is like a string, it connects people together even when they are far away. At school Tess notices that all the children have strings! Some are new, some are old, some stretch a long way, and some even stretch right up into the sky. But what happens when a string breaks?

    Love is the third in a trio of feel-good picture books from author Corrinne Averiss (Joy (2018), Hope (2019)) – a pure delight from start to finish. A wonderful story that subtly tackles difficult topics of death, grief, separation, and overcoming anxiety.

     

    Bear Island

    January 26th

    Louise and her family are sad over the loss of their beloved dog, Charlie. “Life will not be the same,” Louise says, as she visits a little island that Charlie loved.

    But on a visit to the island after Charlie’s death, something strange happens: She meets a bear. At first, she’s afraid, but soon she realizes that the bear is sad, too. As Louise visits more often, she realizes that getting over loss takes time. And just when she starts to feel better, it’s time for Bear to bed down for the winter.

    Once again, Louise believes that life will not be the same. But sometimes, things can change for the better, and on the first warm day of spring, her family welcomes a new member. Here is a lovely, poignant story about loss and healing that will bring comfort to even the youngest readers.

     

    Marsha is Magnetic

    January 26th

    Marsha is a scientist who has never met a problem she couldn’t solve. But when it comes to making friends to invite to her birthday party, she is stumped.
     
    Luckily, Marsha knows the solution to being stumped: the scientific method.
     
    With equal parts creativity, determination, and humor, Marsha sets out to attract as many friends as she can—what could possibly go wrong?

    In this hilarious celebration of friendship and ingenuity, Beth Ferry and Lorena Alvarez show readers that the best way to attract friends is to simply be yourself.

     

     

    As someone who is NOT a hugger I want this book for myself!

    Don’t Hug Doug: (He Doesn’t Like It)

    January 26th

    Doug doesn’t like hugs. He thinks hugs are too squeezy, too squashy, too squooshy, too smooshy. He doesn’t like hello hugs or goodbye hugs, game-winning home run hugs or dropped ice cream cone hugs, and he definitely doesn’t like birthday hugs. He’d much rather give a high five–or a low five, a side five, a double five, or a spinny five. Yup, some people love hugs; other people don’t. So how can you tell if someone likes hugs or not? There’s only one way to find out: Ask! Because everybody gets to decide for themselves whether they want a hug or not.

     

    A Best Friend for Bear

    January 26th

    Bear is in his room. He is sad. He wants a best friend to play with. “Go outside,” says Daddy. “You’ll meet a friend to play with.”
    Bear takes his ball and goes to the forest. But where will he find a best friend? He looks everywhere(behind the trees, between bushes, etc.).
    Rabbit sees Bear and Bear says he is looking for a best friend. So Rabbit joins in on the search. Owl flies down and asks what they are doing.

    So Owl joins in the search but only sees Fox & thinks she can help. Squirrel sees them and she joins in the quest to go to Fox.
    Badger is the last one to join them. But when they got to Fox’s house, Fox tells them Owl was wrong and she doesn’t know where to find a best friend.

    Bear is sad. As he sits on the rock, Squirrel tells him he is not alone, all the animals are there. Bear thinks about it and he lights up. He realizes he not only found one best friend but 5!

     

    What’s the Matter, Marlo?

    January 26th

    Marlo and Coco are best friends. They do everything together―they read together, laugh together, and play games together. After all, they’re best friends. And that’s what best friends do.

    But one day, when Coco asks Marlo to play, he doesn’t answer. Instead, Marlo turns away ignoring Coco, until he’s lost in his anger. Coco is worried about her friend, but then she remembers she can always find Marlo.

    In this charming, thoughtful picture book, author-illustrator Andrew Arnold explores empathy and sadness, and how friends can help each other navigate big emotions. Because that’s what best friends do.

     

    We just spent all of November and December listening to Rend Collective’s A Jolly Irish Christmas Volume 2 album and so now I want to visit Ireland and this book sounds like a fun alternative for the moment.

    The Great Irish Farm Book

    January 31st

    Everything your child needs to know about Irish farms!

    Did you know that there are almost 2,000,000 pigs in Ireland?

    And that sheep have rectangular pupils, which means they have amazing vision?

    Would you believe only 10 per cent of the milk produced in Ireland is consumed here?

    And that hens are pregnant for 21 days, but a horse can be pregnant for up to 345 days?

    How about the fact that despite our love of spuds, grass is Ireland’s top crop, covering 3,700,000 hectares, while potatoes cover only 9,000 hectares?

    From the farmer’s day to the changing of the seasons, from animals and crops to machinery and technology, and from ancient times to the modern day, The Great Irish Farm Book will take you on a fascinating journey through life on an Irish farm.

     

    Do you know of any good sounding picture books coming out in January? (Or other months of the year?)

    Check back soon for February’s list!

  • Family Read Alouds we've read recently - middle grade books for the family
    audiobooks,  book lists,  elementary,  middle grades

    Family Read Alouds

    We are always reading (aka listening to) a book together as a family.

    I wanted to share some of our thoughts on the books we’ve been reading lately.

    I have all the books listed below but if you want to know what we thought of each of the books, be sure to watch the video.

    If you have any suggestions on books we should read soon that you’ve enjoyed, let me know!

     

    Family Read Alouds we've read recently - middle grade books for the family

     

     

    FAMILY READ ALOUDS

     

    BOOK SCAVENGER

    For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it’s the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game.

     

    SWEEP

    It’s been five years since the Sweep disappeared. Orphaned and alone, Nan Sparrow had no other choice but to work for a ruthless chimney sweep named Wilkie Crudd. She spends her days sweeping out chimneys. The job is dangerous and thankless, but with her wits and will, Nan has managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again.
     
    When Nan gets stuck in a chimney fire, she fears the end has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself unharmed in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature—a golem—made from soot and ash.

     

    Hatchet

    Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson, haunted by his secret knowledge of his mother’s infidelity, is traveling by single-engine plane to visit his father for the first time since the divorce. When the plane crashes, killing the pilot, the sole survivor is Brian. He is alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother had given him as a present.

    At first consumed by despair and self-pity, Brian slowly learns survival skills—how to make a shelter for himself, how to hunt and fish and forage for food, how to make a fire—and even finds the courage to start over from scratch when a tornado ravages his campsite. When Brian is finally rescued after fifty-four days in the wild, he emerges from his ordeal with new patience and maturity, and a greater understanding of himself and his parents.

     

    FEVER 1793

    During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out.

    Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie’s world upside down. At her feverish mother’s insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease.

     

    Sir Kendrick and the Castle of Bel Lione

    As the Knights of the Prince await His triumphant return, they are steadfast in their mission to take His story into the kingdom and recruit as many as are willing. But when a new and dangerous threat is revealed, their mission is jeopardized.

    Sir Kendrick and his young charge, the impetuous Sir Duncan, are sent on a mission to discover the identity and origin of a secretive new order known as the Conquistero Knights. They travel to the city of Bel Lione where Lord Ra has been enticing young people in the kingdom to join his festivals, after which many choose not to return home. Their families keep quiet for fear of repercussion.

    When Sir Duncan disappears while trying to discover the truth of Lord Ra’s castle, Sir Kendrick attempts to find and enlist the help of a mysterious warrior. Time is short for he must save Duncan and call upon the knights of Chessington to join in the battle against the evil Lord Ra.

    Journey to Arrethtrae, where these knights of noble heart live and die in loyal service to the King and the Prince. These knights are mighty, for they serve a mighty King. They are…the Knights of Arrethtrae!

     

    Sir Bentley and Holbrook Court

    Sir Bentley, an honorable young knight, abandons his calling in order to seek the truth of the Prince. Choosing to live as the Prince did, he forsakes his former lifestyle and wealth to live as a pauper. His travels take him to Holbrook, where the townsfolk live in poverty, paying high taxes to support the lavish lifestyle of Lord Kingsley and his court. But something even darker is lurking in the shadows of the beautiful castle.

    Bentley soon befriends Eirwyn, a mysterious but compassionate young woman who often distributes food among the poor. When Eirwyn is kidnapped by a ruthless tribe to serve as a sacrifice, Bentley battles a vicious mountain creature to save her life. But when he discovers who is really behind Holbrook’s downfall, he’s faced with an even bigger challenge–battling the Dark Knight’s most evil commander and his Shadow Warriors as they attack the castle.

    Will greed destroy the kingdom the way it destroyed Lord Kingsley? Or can Sir Bentley and Eirwyn work together to restore order and prosperity to the kingdom through the compassion and grace of the Prince?

     

    Wonder

    I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse. 
     
    August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. 

     

    Loren Cunningham: Christian Heroes Then & Now

    Without warning, a huge map of the world appeared in Loren’s mind’s eye. Loren blinked, but the map was still there. Soon it was covered with ocean waves beating on every shore. Then the waves turned into the faces of young people flowing over every nation. Was Loren being given a glimpse of the future? If so, what part was he going to play?

    Ever since he was a young boy dreaming of writing “God is Love” on the moon so that all the world’s people could see it, Loren Cunningham has committed his life to reaching the whole world with the Good News of Jesus Christ, ministering in every nation on earth.

    Through his unswerving belief that nothing is impossible for God, Loren’s vision of waves of young people became the reality of Youth With A Mission, unleashing young Christians in missionary service when that was unheard of. Today, through the mission he began, multiplied thousands of believers- young and old- are working together to bring the gospel to the whole earth.

     

    George Muller: Christian Heroes Then & Now

    George Muller stared at the beggar girl. She was no older than five and was piggybacking her little brother. Her mother had died in the cholera epidemic sweeping England. Her father had never returned from the mines. Standing in the muddy street, this little girl gave a face to Bristol’s countless orphans.

    With scarcely enough food or money for his own family, George Muller opened his heart and home. Sustained by God’s provision, the Muller house “Breakfast Club” of thirty orphans grew to five large houses that ultimately over ten thousand children would call home.

    George Muller trusted God with a depth rarely seen. His faith and generosity set a standard for Christians of all generations.

     

    Mildred Cable: Christian Heroes Then & Now

    Standing atop a mound of rocks, Mildred wrapped her blue padded jacket tightly around her and squinted against the sand-laden wind. To her right the Great Wall wound east for fourteen hundred miles until it reached the Yellow Sea. Before her lay the rocks and sand of the vast Gobi Desert. She would enter this feared place in peace God was here too.

    Missionary trio Mildred Cable (1878-1952) and Evangeline and Franscesca French were the first Englishwomen to cross the infamous Gobi Desert, living for years among the diverse peoples of northwestern China in places few Europeans ever reached.

    Educated and rich, Mildred Cable once planned to be a concert pianist. Instead she served the people of China through wars and revolutions. Whether speaking the truth to a brutal general who held her prisoner, educating generations of Chinese girls, building self-sustaining Christian communities, or traveling the ancient Silk Road on a mule cart, Mildred followed Jesus with grit, determination, intelligence, and faith.

     

    THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE

    Ten-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.
     
    So begins a new adventure for Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?

     

    VIEW ALL THE BOOK LISTS HERE