Across Five Aprils, by Irene Hunt
Read aloud for Silas that I pre-read and he listened to on CD. I'm not drawn to war stories and it took me a few chapters to get into this one, but it was a good book. It's set during the Civil War and is about a boy, who due to relatives fighting for both the North and South and family members with health issues, is forced to grow up faster than most kids. Not only is it informative as a piece of historical fiction, but it's also a neat story about family, coming of age, and dealing with things that aren't completely right or wrong.
Shades of Gray, by Carolyn Reeder
Pre-read for Silas. Good story, easy read, probably one of the kids' school books I've most enjoyed over the years. It's the fictional story, set immediately after the Civil War, of a boy who has lost his whole family to the Yankees and is then sent to live with relatives, including an uncle who wouldn't fight for the Confederacy. Good lessons in respect, courage, and understanding those who make different choices than our own.
Strawberry Girl, by Lois Lenski
Read aloud for Devon. This was our second time through the book and I'd forgotten how much I liked it. Maybe I was better at the accents this time around ... or maybe I just didn't care so much about getting them perfect. Anyway, it's the fictional story of a family living in the backwoods of Florida during the 1800s and dealing with business ventures, neighbor problems, etc. Both of our boys have enjoyed this book.
The Minstrel in the Tower, by Gloria Skurzynski
Read aloud for Devon. Roger and Alice, the two main characters, are siblings whose mother is very sick and whose father never returned from battle. They set off in search of an uncle they've never met, in hopes that he can help them care for their mother. They get kidnapped along the way and have to demonstrate some courage in order to get help for their mother. Short chapters, lots of illustrations. Both boys have enjoyed this book each time we've read it.
Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board, by Bethany Hamilton
I'll eventually watch the movie, but wanted to read the book first. Bethany has an incredible story to tell, as any shark attack survivor would, but the book itself wasn't particularly amazing. Talking about the attack and days immediately following was interesting, but the other 150 (or whatever) pages are just about her life. It's a pretty ordinary life, except that she's a good surfer.
Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids, by Kip Fulbeck
While I did read the text, this book is primarily pictures of mixed kids. Cute kids and it was interesting to see what the particular mix of each kid was. I learned two new terms from this book - Blaxican (black & Mexican) and Jewpanese (Jewish & Japanese). Random, I know.
The Secret to True Happiness: Enjoy Today, Embrace Tomorrow, by Joyce Meyer
Lots of "duh" stuff and some chapters I just skimmed, but also some good reminders about the attitudes we choose to have and the way we deal with our circumstances.
p.108 - I like to define wisdom as "choosing to do right now what you will be satisfied with later on."
p.187 - As we move beyond saying, "I'll be glad when ..." we need to begin saying, "I am glad now. I am going to be happy and positive today. My life may not be exactly what I want it to be, but I choose to be glad today."
Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living, by Tsh Oxenreider
I just skimmed this book, as it's filled with a lot of things I already do, but it would be an excellent read for someone whose home holds more stuff than they can keep track of, schedule is jam-packed, spending is not accounted for, or who otherwise needs to get some aspect (or more) of their life under control.
The Peach Keeper, by Sarah Addison Allen
Romance, mystery, friendship, memories ... this book has a little of everything and I enjoyed it. That being said, I'd love some books of a simiar style that don't have sex scenes. I hate getting super far into a book and then having a sex scene show up. I realize Christian books don't have sex scenes, but those books are often so corny that I can't bear to read them. So, any suggestions for books, Christian or not, that aren't cheesy and avoid sex scenes?
Not My Daughter, by Barbara Delinsky
A group of high schoolers make a pregnancy pact. The mother of one of the girls is the high school principal and was also a teen mom. The pact and resulting pregnancies rock the community and strain various relationships, both personal and professional. I got totally sucked into this book, curious to see if the community would be successful in removing a woman from her job because of the decisions her child made and wondering how all the relationship dynamics would play out.
Lucky, by Alice Sebold
With an incredibly graphic beginning, the author tells the story of being beaten and raped, the way it changed her relationships, and how she was ultimately able to help convict the man who attacked her. Violence, language and sex (not just the rape) are part of this book, but it's not gratuitous. It's real and relevant. It's the author's life. For me, that makes a difference in my willingness to read it. It's a hard read, though.
All Sail Set, by Armstrong Sperry
Read aloud for Silas. Between every other word being ship lingo and most conversation taking place with heavy accents, neither of us could get into this book. We bailed halfway through. It's the first time we've ditched a school book out of boredom.
Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Compassion, by Gregory Boyle
Random pick from library shelf. It was the book's disjointed feel that made me bail about a third of the way through.