Best Read Aloud to Hang On to Summer!


Here it is the first week of August and our summer is winding down! Noooo! I hate this! Summer must last forever! For some odd reason, Arizona loves to start school the first week of August. It’s crazy! Normally as a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool homeschooler I pay no heed to what the public schools are doing. But when I have a kid who loves to play on the high school football team, I do have to go with some of the public school flow. Sigh! Good bye summer!

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High school started today, with released time seminary, and then our once a week family homeschool group starts next week almost two hours away. I have a feeling life is getting a lot more complicated! (I will be driving a lot more! Especially with another kid starting football soon!)


Thank goodness we still have a book I’m reading aloud to the kiddos that helps me hang on to the season. This book is the best read aloud for making me feel like I’m still on summer vacation. I blogged about it before when I read it to my older kids, and now I’m reading it to the younger ones. It’s Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright.

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What I love about this book is that it combines two of the funnest elements in the world: cousins and summertime! You can’t get better than that, right?! I have such fond memories of staying at my grandma’s home, trying to go to sleep but talking late into the night with my best cousin-friend my age, Lisa, giggling under the covers when we could hear Grandpa snore because he would make the whole house shake! The guest bedroom we shared was right underneath his bed!


I am so grateful my kids have cousins their age. We’ve made some great memories this summer working and playing together, on both sides of the family tree. We played with our St. George cousins in May and then our Utah, India, and Maine cousins in June and July. The book, Gone Away Lake, is about two cousins who have a grand summer adventure of exploring together. It has the best line ever in the history of literature about how cool a cousin is:

“If cousins are the right kind, they’re best of all: kinder than sisters and brothers, and closer than friends.”


So in honor of this cool quote about cousins, I am posting pictures of adventures with our cousins this summer.

It also has a yummy quote about the kindness of others:

“Maybe we benefit from the providence of others more often than we know.”


There’s also a baking tip in the book. Mrs. Cheever, one of the characters in the story, says that the proper way to ice a chocolate cake, is to do so generously with chocolate frosting, so that it looks “built” like an adobe home. Mmm, mmm, yess! Lay it on thick please!



This is one of those books where you have to read it while you suspend your parental judgment of safe reality. It reminds me of the book My Side of the Mountain. A few years ago one of my friends in my homeschool group, Katie, asked all the moms of the 12 and unders to read that book. Another mom friend, Kim, delved into it and then came back saying, “There’s no way this would happen in real life! Would any of us really allow one of our children to leave home, go live on a mountain for months on end, and not go searching to bring the kid home?!”


I feel the same way about this book. There’s no way I would just let my kids go wandering through fields and be gone for hours on end, striking up a friendship with two complete strangers, without searching for them and then checking out these people. It bothers me that the main characters hide the friendship with strangers from their parents. That’s definitely something to talk about. Other than that, it’s a great book!


I love all the little mentions of different plants and birds. I look them up on my tablet while I’m reading the book and show the kids the pictures, and then sometimes I draw the image for my drawing lesson of the day, hoping to inspire them to draw more. This is a delightful book that I hope you all read! May cousins and summer live on forever!


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