What We're Reading -- April edition

I often have people ask me what we're reading in our house, and I enjoy hearing what others are reading. I thought I would periodically share a little about what's being read by anyone 7 and older in the Nelson household. (Considering several members of our household are still enamored with the millionth reading of The Big Red Barn and Peak-a-Boo I figured that was a good cut off point!).

The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett: This was/is a favorite of mine and since we've read all of our "read alouds" for 1st grade, I decided to add it in. Today we read the first, rather morbid chapter of this mysterious and engaging children's classic.

Among the Pond People by Clara Dillingham Pierson: A delightful collection of nature stories told by the animals which include great information on their species. My five year old nature enthusiast son loves these! These and the others like it are available free online.

The Complete Fairy Tales by George MacDonald: George MacDonald was my favorite author from about age 9--19. He's still one of my favorites. These stories were delightful to me as a child and still are as an adult. My favorite from this collection is "The Light Princess". I also highly recommend The Princess and the Goblin. My children have heard that novel at least twice now and still would love to hear it again. The MacDonald fairy tales are some that will be utilized in the fairytale portion of the RiverTree/Ambleside curriculum.

Redwall: the Legend Begins by Brian Jacques: Rodney is reading this to the 7yo and 5yo for bedtime stories. I read this about 10 years ago and enjoyed it then. Several boys at our church love, love, love this series. The other day Rodney commented that this book is different from the others he'd read to the children recently in that Cluny the Scourge is a modern villain vs. the classic villains of the other recent books like Treasure Island and The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood. The children are enjoying this, although Cora looks forward to a "less intense" adventure book next time.

Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
published by Orbis Books: This book is arranged so that there is a reading for each day of Lent by great Christian thinkers of the past and present. I haven't read exactly one a day, so have a bit of this book left even though this is holy week. I have been blessed, and recommend it for a deeper devotional life during the penitential season of Lent.

All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholemew: Spring is here in Minnesota and I'm eager for gardening! This book lays out very clearly what I've been trying to do the past couple of years, but was trying to figure out for myself. This is a great resource for gardening efficiently in small spaces. We're doing nine 3ftx3ft vegetable beds. This is a great size for kids to work in too. Mel has a program called Square Yards in the School Yard. Wouldn't that be a fun option for RiverTree to do someday?

Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin: I tend to read and re-read various books about simplicity each year. This is one of the original books of the "movement". While I don't agree with all the principles or rational given by this author, I am a fan of voluntary simplicity. I'm hoping to be less cluttered and distracted each year and more focused on the truly important things of life. One of my favorite simplicity books is Living Simply with Children by Marie Sherlock. I've read this a couple times and continue to be inspired by it. I also enjoy a similar book called Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry by Katrina Kenison. Both are worth reading at least once.

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon: If you've seen this book, you'll understand why I can say I've been reading this particular health and nutrition book for about a year. It is a tome filled with good recipes and basic traditional foods and nutritional wisdom that I think every family should ponder and own.

The Boxcar Children
by Gertrude Chandler Warner: Our 7yo read this in about 3 days in between school and other commitments. I think that's a pretty good endorsement. I enjoyed the narrations I heard of it. She's now moved on to book #2.

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes: Again the 7yo brought this along during errands this week and is enjoying it. I haven't had her narrate it yet, so I'm not sure of the details, but it came highly recommended by my children's literature expert sister.

Rodney's Books: I can't exactly list them here because I'm sure I'd miss several. At present I know he's reading two books he's mentioned in an earlier post. The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes our Future * or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30 by Mark Bauerlein is one that Rod claims is a bit depressing, yet compelling. It marries well with some of our other favorites such as Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. Another he's reading, or queuing up to read is Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age by Maggie Jackson. I'm sure there's some more uplifting reading that he's doing too, just not sure what. Rodney and I also enjoy a couple periodicals each month.

So those are the books, as far as I can recall, of April. We do a lot of reading around here and are thrilled when we find good books and can share them with friends.


Thanks for this great list, Marybeth! I LOVE knowi...

Thanks for this great list, Marybeth! I LOVE knowing what people are reading. Our family just finished a book by Sharon Creech entitled The Castle Corona. I think it would be a hit with both of your older ones. It has castles and princes and a wonderful strong female character. Ours were all on the edge of their seats and there were many nights that they BEGGED for one more chapter. How could we possibly send them to bed not knowing what was going to happen next?!Bekah Jones