by Stefani on 29-October-2010

Hi friends!

I’m seeing that there’s just no easy way to gracefully catch up and tell you all that we’ve been up to in our absence from blogville. Every time I sit down to do it I get overwhelmed and decide to curl up in bed with a book instead.

So…. how about I just jump in and tell you what we’ve been reading over these last few months?

My middle son James read The Magnificent 12 – The Call and gave it two eager thumbs up. He can’t wait for the next installment.

From the publisher: “Twelve-year-old Mack MacAvoy suffers from a serious case of mediumness. Medium looks. Medium grades. Medium parents who barely notice him. With a list of phobias that could make anyone crazy, Mack never would have guessed that he is destined for a more-than-medium life. Until one day…”

This is the first book in what will be a series of…. 12? It’s witty, wry and fresh. I WILL warn you that the story starts out with an awful lot of talk of bullies and swirlies and a teacher that likes to sneak out for a smoke… in other words, some topics and humor that are just a tad bit mature for my boys, but considering the abysmal gross-em-out-and-shock-em literature offerings for boys today, I’d say that it was all very mild and in fact rather thought provoking and smart.

What boy doesn’t dream of a strange creature showing up in the public restroom to tell him that he’s really a hero, bound for amazing adventures?

Owing to a recommendation from my friend Hannah, my oldest has been completely lost in the Ga’Hoole series for months now. Essentially, it these books chronicle the journey of a band of young owls as they fight against the evil forces that threaten to end life as they know it.

We read the first together, and he was hooked. He hasn’t shown much interest in seeing the movie. It got sort of “eh” reviews and he doesn’t want to “watch anything that might spoilt he books” for him. Love that.

I had never even heard of this Beverly Cleary book, but given that all three of my boys are die hard Ramona and Henry fans, I thought that Mitch and Amy might be just the thing to listen to (audiobook) on the way to Granny’s house a few weeks back.

We all loved it. I never cease to be amazed by Ms. Cleary’s ability to see straight into the heart of childhood. This, as with all her stories, is just a simple look at the ordinary lives of a brother and sister, but each of us, from the 36 year old mama to the 5 year old boy found ourselves identifying with and rooting for Mitch and Amy. Delightful.

And BTW, we DID see Ramona and Beezus this summer and loved it. Loved. It!

We read The Well of Sacrifice aloud as part of our history studies. It’s a little scary, suspenseful and more than once whatever else we had planned for the day got pushed aside so that we could read “just a little bit more!”

Okay, where have I been? I didn’t even know until recently that 101 Dalmations was a BOOK before it was a movie. Did you know that? The boys and I read it aloud and were completely smitten. It’s really such a smart endearing tale. As cute as the movie is, the book is far and away better.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever was one of my all time favorite books as a girl, so when I saw The Best Halloween Ever at the grocery store, I was thrilled. We read it aloud this week, and while it was not quite as tears-through-laughter enchanting as the first, it was fun to return to the Herdmans. This book is short, funny and was a great lunch time read aloud for the week before the big night.

Are you noticing a trend?

Yes, most of my reading lately has been beneath my grade level πŸ™‚

Hello, I’m 36, and I read at a 4th grade level.

I DO have two grown up books on my nightstand though. I’ve actually even read a few intriguing chapters of 1000 White Women.

What about you? What have you been reading lately?

Pam - captured by our cameras October 29, 2010 at 8:57 am

Oh, I so enjoy your book recommendation posts. The Magnificent 12 sounds very interesting. I’ll have to look to see if our library carries it. My son has read the first two books in the Ga’Hoole series. I promised to read them next after I finish reading Rick Riodan’s The Red Pyramid. There are so many great kid’s books out there.

For in the car during school pickup I am reading, Tea and Dog Biscuits: Our First Topsy-Turvy Year Fostering Orphan Dogs by Barrie Hawkins.

PS. 1000 White Women is a favorite of mine. Such an interesting story.

Stefani November 1, 2010 at 9:39 am

Okay so I WAS enjoying it, but it’s gotten a little hard to read… I’ve just gone through the whole whiskey episode. Sheesh. Not light reading at all! I shall press onward though πŸ™‚

Pam - captured by our cameras November 2, 2010 at 7:49 am

Oh do press on.

Carine October 29, 2010 at 9:39 am

Stefani, we have been reading Suzanne Collins’ The Underlander Chronicles, (we were #70 on our library waiting list for “The Hunger Game”, another 3-books serie of her which I have heard is very good btw, and thought we would try “Gregor the Overlander” while waiting). I have read all five books around the clock and so has my daughter. It’s a boyish hero, and it’s just gripping and funny and sad at the same time. You get very attached to a wide variety of characters. Anyway, I wish there were more than 5 books. On another note, my 12 year old daughter loves Sharon Creech. Worth looking into maybe? There’s a poetry and a folktale feel in it that I find very touching. She often has young characters with great grandparent-ly figures in their lives. I love how she portrays inter-generational relationships.

Pam - captured by our cameras October 30, 2010 at 3:28 pm

We love Sharon Creech’s book Granny Torrelli Makes Soup.

Stefani November 1, 2010 at 9:40 am

Thank you for the suggestions! I had been wondering about Gregor and I’ve never heard of Sharon Creech. Yay! New books for the pile!

Carine October 29, 2010 at 9:46 am

Oh. And grown up reading. Well, I’m all into historical novels right now, I go through phases, so the only thing I can tell you is that I am about to finish C.J.Sansom’s books about Matthew Shardlake, a lawyer/detective in 16th century England. It starts with “Dissolution”, then you go from there. Will look at his other books after that. I personally really liked it. A bit gruesome at time, very fascinating (and accurate from what I have heard) historically.

kerry October 29, 2010 at 10:03 am

I’ll second Carine’s Sharon Creech books! My most favorite book ever is her book Love that Dog. Wonderful and sad and beautiful and inspiring! We’re recently finished the Little House series. We’re now reading the diaries and next up will be Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich for a counterpoint view on Native American Indian life in the late 19th century. I always love to hear what you are reading. I have a little running list for when my boy is bigger!

jacinda October 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm

What a good place to start back. We are in the midst of The Faraway Tree series here and at the same time onto the 4th book of the Little House series. Me, well I’m still struggling with fiction all together but am enjoying John Gatto’s “A Different Kind of Teacher.”

Wendy P October 29, 2010 at 4:42 pm

I read “the Help” and really liked it. Before that I read “Ahab’s Wife” which was also good, but has a few questionable items in it as far as tasteful topics. I can’t ask my Gramma to read it, even though she’d love the style of writing.

Hannah October 29, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Hey you. Guess what we downloaded from iTunes this morning? Mitch and Amy! Hmmm, wonder where we got that idea?

(This means that now y’all have to listen to Peter and the Starcatchers, you realize …)

Grownup reading: I’m reading Jane Austen’s Persuasion right now. But what I would really recommend is the book Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos and especially its sequel, Belong to Me. Her prose is gorgeous, touching and funny. And the characters are terrific.

Stefani November 1, 2010 at 9:41 am

Yes! I was trying to remember the name of the book! Peter and the Starcatchers. Check!

Kris October 30, 2010 at 6:37 am

Yea for book posts, they are my all time favorite!
I can’t wait to get the Beverly Cleary book, I couldn’t agree with you
more. She is one of my heroes! I read the Art of Racing in the Rain last spring.
Oh girl it is sweet. A bit of a tear-jerker.

Stefani November 1, 2010 at 9:41 am

I have been warned πŸ™‚

Kris October 30, 2010 at 6:40 am

Oh & I forgot to comment on 101 Dalmations!!! An all time favorite in our family.
Just seeing it here makes me want to read it aloud again.
Anyone who has not read it is missing out “big time” πŸ™‚

Stefani November 1, 2010 at 9:43 am

I was so pleasantly surprised about this book! I’ve been meaning to look into whether or not the author has written anything else!

Kris November 1, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Yep, she wrote “I Capture the Castle”
which would not be a read aloud, but a pretty good momma book!
Looks like there is a sequel to 101 Dalmations, but I haven’t read it.

Carol October 30, 2010 at 9:59 am

I’m SO glad you’re back! It’s comforting to know that I am not the only woman in her mid-30’s who only reads adolescent fiction! Can’t wait to check out some of the books on your list. Oh, and a recommendation for you (not your kids)- Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (part of a trilogy). I couldn’t put it down.

Stefani November 1, 2010 at 9:44 am

A trilogy!!! Yes!
I will check into it for sure. Thank you!

Claudia November 1, 2010 at 5:33 am

My 7 year old just caught the reading bug, and he’s been enthralled by the Araminta Spookie series. He’s also devouring Time Warp Trio books and Magic School Bus chapter books. Besides listening to his excited re-telling of the books he’s into, I’m reading The Scarlet Letter and The World Needs Your Kid (How to raise children who care and contribute) by Craig and Marc Kielburger.

Good to see you back! I love this space! πŸ™‚

Ashira November 12, 2010 at 10:52 am

If he likes Ga’Hoole, he might like Erin Hunter’s ‘Warriors’ series as well! And Kathryn Lasky has started another series as a tie-in to the Ga’Hoole books; the new one’s about the Wolves of the Beyond, who make an appearance in book…eight? and figure into nearly all the books thereafter.

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