What We’ve Been Reading July 29, 2016


If you ever feel bored, that’s a sign that you need some new books to read! Thanks to the Give Your Child the World summer challenge, I found some new books to read according to geographic themes. We got some books for the first three weeks, and with a San Diego vacation in the middle, we are still reading the books for the first three themes: multicultural week, Africa week, and Europe week. I am thinking we will keep reading books from these themes for a few weeks, and then move on to the North America “week” which will be more like a month. The GYCW summer challenge just moves too fast for me!

So I read aloud Listening for Lions while the kids did dishes this past July. When Grandma was here she joined in reading and listening. This was one book that caught my interest right away, and I couldn’t wait to get reading to the kids after breakfast every day while they cleaned the kitchen so I could find out what happened next. Reading that book sure made the morning grind/routine something to look forward to! We even read Friday night and Sunday before Grandma left so we could finish the book faster. It’s about a girl who lives in Africa and is orphaned and gets entangled with evil people who ship her off to England in a web of deceit. I love the author’s use of metaphors, similes, and descriptive phrases of African flora and fauna. 5 out of 5 stars.


I like to read aloud one chapter a day from the above book, according to the theme from Give Your Child the World. So we read about Dr. Livingstone when we did Africa. For the North America theme, you can do people like Dwight Moody, for Asia, Amy Carmichael. I love learning about people who felt the call of God to spread the word about Christ.


The books featured above and below are for the “Multicultural week.” I was hoping the older kids would read them on their own, but they didn’t start reading them right away. So to whet their appetites, I am reading a chapter over dinner or while they do the dinner dishes. They are full of short 2 to 3 pages of people who changed the world for good. Reading these stories is such an inspired way to end the day and to perk up mealtime. Some of the people I’ve heard of, like Bill Gates, Florence Nightingale, and Wilma Rudolph, and some I have never heard of, like Marie Curie’s daughter, Irene. Did you know she won a Nobel Prize just like her mother did? 


The book below is for the Europe week. It’s about two Jewish girls during WW2 who go into hiding in Sweden. Sounds similar to Number the Stars. We just started it for the “breakfast dishes” reading, alternating with the next book I have pictured. 


The one below is also for Europe and I am reading it aloud while the kids do lunch dishes, sometimes alternating with the one above for breakfast dishes. It is about a girl who was found as a newborn baby and grows up not knowing her birth mother, in servants’ quarters in a home of three professors in Vienna Austria during WW1.


Now for a few picture books:


We are still in the middle of the one above, but I have a feeling it’s going to turn out well!


The maps book is an illustrated atlas with fun pictures of the animals, plants, and landmarks found in that area. It is fun to pore over with my 6 year old guy!


The above book looks fascinating! I hope to read it to the 6 year old this upcoming week.

Now for the books we finished by listening in the car to books on CD:


We listened to Heidi in the car on the way to Utah and back and then to CA. I heard parts I don’t ever remember reading before so I am wondering if I actually ever read it all the way through like I thought I had. It’s one of those books that I’ve heard so much about that I think I have read it when I actually haven’t I guess. I thought it ended after Clara learns to walk, but was I ever wrong. It just keeps going and going after that! It has so many references to God that I love. It is definitely a book about healing. Sometime I will have to blog separately about that. 


I finally finished listening to Outliers, after hearing the TJED world talk about it for years! I listened to it in the car, alternating with Heidi, for the Utah road trip, and then for all the trips back and forth to town here in AZ, when the kids were either sleeping or talking and didn’t seem interested in listening to whatever kid book I had picked out for them on CD.  It’s a great read!  5 out of 5 stars. If you read it you will find out success is not just a factor of hard work, but that the timing of your birth and your cultural heritage also factor in. For example, why are the best hockey players in Canada all born in January? Why are the three top computer geeks all born within a six month window in 1955? What is the connection between math proficiency of Asian high school students and rice farming culture? Read the book and you will find out the answers!


Ever year in June I get a hankering to learn more about the Founding Fathers. So for this year I picked the above book, to listen on CD. It was kind of a slog to get through, because I don’t have a mind that naturally finds battle descriptions intriguing, but it was worth it. I actually listened to Disc 1 twice because my mind kept wandering. I got to hear about Washington’s and the two Cornwallis brothers’ stategies, and how an outside force was shaping the turn of the war to the American colonists’ side. 4 out of 5 stars.

Now for some totally creatively practical books:


I got this book this past week and will be posting a review and giveaway soon! It’s a sequel to Melissa Richardson’s first book, The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast. Stay tuned!

I got the following two books pictured below because my 20-year-old daughter is coming home next week, for the whole week!.


I got this one because my daughter loves to sew, and reconstruct clothing. The whole book features instructions on how to take thrift store clothing finds and turn them into something even more treasured. I thought it would be fun to show her the different ideas in the book, like how to turn a poncho into a skirt, or a turtleneck into a bolero jacket. My favorite idea is how to turn a muumuu into a peasant top!


The above one has cool ideas for making outdoor space more livable. Not that I will be doing any of it, probably, since the inside space isn’t “done.” It’s fun to dream though!

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