Check Out Our Family’s Reading List: October 2021

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Our family had a solid month of reading for school and for fun.

My 9th grader discovered a love of mystery books after an introduction to Agatha Christie this month. Mystery books are my favorite so it was fun to see him fall in love with them too.

In addition to our personal book choices, you’ll also find the names of the books we are listening to on audio or I am reading aloud to the kids.

As always, let me know what you and your kids are reading. I love adding more titles to my reading list!

This list includes the books read in our family in Octoboer 2021

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This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.

Our October Reading List

This collection of books represents the ones read in our home this month. This includes books read by individual kids, myself, or books read as a group.

7th Grade Book Choices

Wonderland
Barbara O’Connor

My thoughts: Three lives will intersect in this touching story which is told through alternating points of view.

Mavis Jeeter is fearless and bold. She has just moved AGAIN because her mother has taken a job as a housekeeper for the Tully family. Rose Tully doesn’t fit in with the neighborhood girls so her only friend is the gateman, Mr. Duffy. Henry is a runaway dog who is looking for kindness and love. When their lives intersect, they find friendship in unexpected places.

I absolutely adored this sweet story and highly recommend it for a family read-aloud or a great book for your child. This delightful story of friendship is an easy and quick read. The rotating point of view offers a variety of perspectives on the situations in the story.

In addition to having plenty of fun moments, there are also age-appropriate emotions and challenges faced by the characters. Of course, the best part is that this childhood story involves a dog that doesn’t die!

Dan’s Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Ransom Riggs

My Review: A strange collection of photographs, and mysterious death, and his grandfather’s stories lead Jacob to a remote island in search of answers after his grandfather dies. There he finds the ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, where his grandfather was raised. As he searches for answers he stumbles upon the truth of his grandfather’s life as well as peculiar children with a story to tell.

The first time I read this book, it was a bit of a letdown. It might have been the fact that there was so much hype about it at the time and it didn’t live up to it for me. Now, reading it again a few years later, I enjoyed it much more. The story drew me in and felt more believable and exciting. I did find it a bit disgusting at times and skipped some of the gory descriptions (just not my thing), but they didn’t detract from the overarching adventure of it all.

Additional Thoughts: I read this one out loud to my 7th and 9th graders, but it was the book club selection for my 7th grader so I am listing it here. My 9th grader joined us because he could overhear us at the start and immediately wanted to listen to the book.

My personal opinion is that this one is better for ages 13 and up. That said, it made for a creepy read-aloud for October and we all enjoyed it.

NOTE: It has language, which I could edit when reading aloud, and it has some very minor sexual content, which I could also edit.

Dan’s rating (age 12): ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
David’s rating (age 14):
My rating:⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


The Lemonade War
Jacqueline Davies

From the Publisher: Fourth-grader Evan Treski is people-smart. He’s good at talking with people, even grownups. His younger sister, Jessie, on the other hand, is math-smart, but not especially good with people. So when the siblings’ lemonade stand war begins, there really is no telling who will win—or even if their fight will ever end. Brimming with savvy marketing tips for making money at any business, definitions of business terms, charts, diagrams, and even math problems, this fresh, funny, emotionally charged novel subtly explores how arguments can escalate beyond anyone’s intent.

Dan’s Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads | More Info


Dogman Series
by Dav Pilkey

From the Publisher: “George and Harold have created a new breed of justice. With the head of a dog and the body of a human, this heroic hound digs into deception, claws after crooks, rolls over robbers, and scampers after squirrels. Will he be able to resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty?”

My Note: I haven’t read this book, but my son immediately asked me to get the rest of the Dogman series from the library so he clearly enjoyed it!

Dan’s rating: ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Nameless City Trilogy
Faith Erin Hicks

My Review: Those who live in the Nameless City don’t get caught up in the unending wars. Their city will remain Nameless despite the leaders’ attempts to rename it every time a new group takes over. They see the ruling tribes as outsiders and Kaidu is one such outsider. He befriends a native of the Nameless City, Kai, and together they decide that they want to see things change in the city they both love.

This book series is my 12-year-old son’s favorite. He has read it many times and loves the images and the action. I read book one and was intrigued enough to finish the series, mostly to see why my son loved it so much. The book is a historical fantasy that addresses the themes of acceptance and friendship.

Dan’s Rating:⭐️ ⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
Mom’s Rating:⭐️ ⭐️⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


9th Grade Book Choices

The Outsiders
S. E. Hinton

From the Publisher: No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he’s got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his friends—true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit. But not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is beating up on “greasers” like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect—until the night someone takes things too far.

David’s Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads

Did you know The Outsiders is also a movie?

Looking for more teen books that are also movies:

Teen books into movies


And Then There Were None
by Agatha Christie

From the Publisher: “Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to an isolated mansion on Indian Island by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear. On the island they are cut off from everything but each other and the inescapable shadows of their own past lives. One by one, the guests share the darkest secrets of their wicked pasts. And one by one, they die…

Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?”

My Note: You should know that my son read this and immediately started another Agatha Christie book.

David’s rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Murder on the Orient Express
Agatha Christie

From the Publisher: “Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to an isolated mansion on Indian Island by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear. On the island they are cut off from everything but each other and the inescapable shadows of their own past lives. One by one, the guests share the darkest secrets of their wicked pasts. And one by one, they die…

David’s Rating:
Amazon | Goodreads

11th Grade

This year my daughter and I are reading and discussing one book a month. She doesn’t love to read, but we are selecting a few great titles to discuss for her junior year.

Be Dazzled
Ryan La Sala

From the Publisher: Raffy has a passion for bedazzling. Not just bedazzling, but sewing, stitching, draping, pattern making―for creation. He’s always chosen his art over everything―and everyone― else and is determined to make his mark at this year’s biggest cosplay competition. If he can wow there, it could lead to sponsorship, then art school, and finally earning real respect for his work. There’s only one small problem… Raffy’s ex-boyfriend, Luca, is his main competition.

…when Raffy is forced to partner with Luca on his most ambitious build yet, he’ll have to juggle unresolved feelings for the boy who broke his heart, and his own intense self-doubt, to get everything he’s ever wanted: choosing his art, his way.”

My Thoughts: I selected this one because I wanted a book that would capture my girl who doesn’t like to read. She LOVES cosplay and she makes her own outfits so I knew this story would interest her. It also has teen drama in relationships so it’s another point for her!

Note: There is some sexual content and descriptions so be sure to do your own research.

Tricia’s Rating:⭐️ ⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Family Read Alouds

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Rivalry, Adventure, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements
(Young Readers Edition) 
Sam Kean

Publisher’s Description: “Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie’s reputation? And why did tellurium (Te, 52) lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history?

The periodic table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it’s also a treasure trove of adventure, greed, betrayal, and obsession. The fascinating tales in The Disappearing Spoon follow elements on the table as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, conflict, the arts, medicine, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.

Adapted for a middle-grade audience, the young reader’s edition of The Disappearing Spoon offers the material in a simple, easy-to-follow format, with approximately 20 line drawings and sidebars throughout. Students, teachers, and burgeoning science buffs will love learning about the history behind the chemistry.

My Thoughts: This one is a little more dry than I anticipated, though it does include a ton of interesting information. It just isn’t what I expected. That said, about halfway through, I asked my kids if they wanted to continue to read it and all three of them did! I am sure it is a fantastic read for a kid interested in history and/or chemistry.

Our rating:⭐️ ⭐️⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Mom’s Booklist

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island
Colleen Oakley

From the Publisher: Piper Parrish’s life on Frick Island—a tiny, remote town smack in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay—is nearly perfect. Well, aside from one pesky detail: Her darling husband, Tom, is dead. When Tom’s crab boat capsized and his body wasn’t recovered, Piper, rocked to the core, did a most peculiar thing: carried on as if her husband was not only still alive, but right there beside her, cooking him breakfast, walking him to the docks each morning, meeting him for their standard Friday night dinner date at the One-Eyed Crab. And what were the townspeople to do but go along with their beloved widowed Piper?
 
Anders Caldwell’s career is not going well. A young ambitious journalist, he’d rather hoped he’d be a national award-winning podcaster by now, rather than writing fluff pieces for a small town newspaper. But when he gets an assignment to travel to the remote Frick Island and cover their boring annual Cake Walk fundraiser, he stumbles upon a much more fascinating tale: an entire town pretending to see and interact with a man who does not actually exist. Determined it’s the career-making story he’s been needing for his podcast, Anders returns to the island to begin covert research and spend more time with the enigmatic Piper—but he has no idea out of all the lives he’s about to upend, it’s his that will change the most.

My Thoughts: This was a completely fun read. I enjoyed the characters on the island and their daily lives. I am so glad I read it.

My Rating:⭐️ ⭐️⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


We Begin At The End
Chris Whitaker

My Review: This book contains the story of several people in a small town and how their lives intertwine. Walk is the police chief who has lived in the small town all his life and is still healing from some of his demons from the past. Duchess is a 13-year-old girl struggling with the death of her mother which leaves her in the care of a grandfather she has never met.

People love this story of sorrow and healing and resilience, so clearly, I am not in the majority on this book, but I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t feel any attachment to any of the characters at all. After reading about 3/4th’s of the book, I found myself skimming so I could get just get to the end to see what would happen.

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Such a Quiet Place
Megan Miranda

My Review: Hollow’s Edge is considered a safe and friendly neighborhood until two residents, Brandon and Fiona Truett, are murdered. The accused neighbor was convicted but a year and a half later her conviction is overturned and she returns to the neighborhood. Everyone is curious and nervous about her plans, even more so as it becomes clear that not everyone told the truth about the night of the Truett’s murders.

I enjoyed this twisty tale, though it was slow a bit at the start. It kept me guessing and I do enjoy a book that keeps me guessing. It was a fun thriller for the start fo the school year.

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


The Night She Disappeared
Lisa Jewell

My Review: In 2017, Tallulah leaves for a night out with her boyfriend but neither of them return home, which leaves the son she adores with her mom. Two years later, Sophie has moved to the area and she discovers a mysterious sign telling her to “dig here.” Tallulah’s story begins to collide with Sophie’s current life and the story of what really happened that night begins to unfold.

I love a good thriller and this one did not disappoint. The twists were a little unbelievable, but it was still a fun read that kept me guessing.

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Outschool Fiction Book Club Choices

The Lemonade War
Jaqueline Davies
(My Book Club Choice for Ages 8-10)

My Review: Join Evan Treski and his sister, Jessie as they battle it out for the best Lemonade Stand sales. Of course, the real battle behind The Lemonade War is about much more than lemonade sales and eventually, Evan and Jessie are going to have to talk about their feelings. In the meantime, it’s game on when it comes to lemonade sales!

This story was a fun read with my own kids and then again years later with my online book club for kids. There are so many options for a great discussion when you are reading a book with siblings in the middle of a heated battle. I enjoy some of the subtle creative writing aspects such as the chapter titles, which are all business concepts and definitions that apply to the events in the chapter. It’s a fun read for kids, though I was surprised how many were really annoyed by the dramatic fighting.

My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads | More Info


Nim’s Island
Wendy Orr

(Elementary Book Club Choice)

Nim and her father, Jack, live together on a secret island. Jack is a scientist and decides to leave Nim on the island alone for a few days while he travels to study plankton. Nim is content to do her daily chores, play with her animal friends, and talk to her father nightly at their planned time.

Of course, things don’t go as smoothly as planned and plenty of adventures ensue, including a volcanic eruption and an ongoing correspondence with her favorite author of adventure stories.

I enjoyed this book more than I anticipated. I have never seen the movie so the entire storyline was new to me. Nim was a delightful, innocent character who had plenty of fun on the island. Her animal friends never communicate directly with her as “talking animals” in the story, but they are a fun part of her adventures.

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads | More Information

TIP: This book is also a movie, so be sure to watch the movie after you are finished.

>>> More Kids Books Made into Movies <<<


Outschool Graphic Novel Book Clubs Choices

Dam Keeper
Robert Kondo

Pig and his father are the Dam Keepers who keep the city safe from the deadly black fog. Unfortunately, one day Pig’s father disappears into the black fog, leaving Pig to take care of the city on his own. The fog is getting stronger and disaster is on the horizon. Eventually, Pig finds himself on an adventure with Fox and Hippo as they learn what secrets can be found beyond the dam.

This children’s graphic novel surprised me with its gorgeous artwork. The scenes are beautiful with strong images of light and dark. It also surprised me how creepy these illustrations and the story might be for sensitive kids. Be sure to preview this book if you want to give it to a younger or sensitive child.

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads | More Info


Treaty Trenches Mud & Blood
Nathan Hale

Join Nathanial Hale for another adventure through history. This time he will take the reader on an adventure through the events of WWI. You’ll learn about famous battles, technological developments, and world leaders.

In my opinion, this book is a fantastic way to learn about WWI history. While you won’t learn every detail, you will skim the surface of the major parties and events involved in WWI history. This graphic novel presents factual information in a fun-to-read graphic format that kids (and parents!) will enjoy.

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads | More Info


Class Act
Jerry Craft

From Publisher: Eighth-grader Drew Ellis is no stranger to the saying “You have to work twice as hard to be just as good.” His grandmother has reminded him his entire life. But what if he works ten times as hard and still isn’t afforded the same opportunities that his privileged classmates at the Riverdale Academy Day School take for granted?

To make matters worse, Drew begins to feel as if his good friend Liam might be one of those privileged kids. He wants to pretend like everything is fine, but it’s hard not to withdraw, and even their mutual friend Jordan doesn’t know how to keep the group together.

As the pressures mount, will Drew find a way to bridge the divide so he and his friends can truly accept each other? And most important, will he finally be able to accept himself?

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Little Robot
Ben Hatke

This is a sweet and simple story of a lost robot who is befriended by a little girl. She takes care of the robot and helps create a circle of robot friends for both of them.

I am a fan of Ben Hatke’s work and this delightful tale didn’t disappoint. The book is practically wordless so it is an excellent option for even early readers. The story is told through images and lots of onomatopoeia (words that make sounds). I believe your elementary school-aged child will enjoy this sweet story.

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads | More Info


Animorphs: The Invasion (Graphic)
K. A. Applegate and Michael Grant

From the Publisher: “Sometimes weird things happen to people. Ask Jake. He could tell you about the night he and his friends saw a strange light in the sky that seemed to be heading right for them. That was the night five normal kids learned that humanity is under a silent attack — and were given the power to fight back. Now Jake, Rachel, Cassie, Tobias, and Marco can transform into some of the most dangerous creatures on Earth. And they must use that power to outsmart an evil greater than anything the world has ever seen. . . .”

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Stargazing
Jen Wang

From the Publisher: Moon is everything Christine isn’t. She’s confident, impulsive, artistic . . . and though they both grew up in the same Chinese-American suburb, Moon is somehow unlike anyone Christine has ever known.

But after Moon moves in next door, these unlikely friends are soon best friends, sharing their favorite music videos and painting their toenails when Christine’s strict parents aren’t around. Moon even tells Christine her deepest secret: that she has visions, sometimes, of celestial beings who speak to her from the stars. Who reassure her that earth isn’t where she really belongs.

Moon’s visions have an all-too-earthly root, however, and soon Christine’s best friend is in the hospital, fighting for her life. Can Christine be the friend Moon needs, now, when the sky is falling?

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads


Ghosts
Raina Telgemeier

My Review: Cat and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, has cystic fibrosis. The cool air of the Northern coast will benefit her breathing. Soon a new neighbor introduces the girls to the fact that there are ghosts in their new neighborhood. Cat is terrified, but Maya is excited to meet them and learn more.

I really enjoyed this story about two sisters who are adjusting to a new town and the new experiences they discover there. The author did a great job representing the complicated relationship between an older and younger sister. While the appearance of ghosts is a bit mysterious at first, the story images and plot remain lively and fun. The book includes enough information about The Day of the Dead celebration to spark curiosity so readers might want to learn more.

NOTE: The younger sister has Cystic Fibrosis and does have to go to the hospital for some time. If your child might be sensitive to this situation, you should pre-read this book.

My Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Amazon | Goodreads | More Info


I’d love to have your child join me for weekly discussions in my Outschool online book clubs. You’ll find options for 8-10 year old and 11-13-year-olds.


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Happy reading!

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