Now that the school year is in full swing, our family is doing more reading overall.
I am definitely the one who reads the most all year long, but once the school year kicks in the kids have assigned reading so they finish more books as well.
In addition to our personal book choices, there are 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!
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Our September 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.
Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
From the publisher: For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it’s the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher, and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger. Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game.
The Friendship War
Grace and Ellie have been best friends since second grade and usually, Grace is the sidekick. But Grace suddenly starts a new fad that sweeps the entire school and everyone is fighting over buttons. Unfortunately, it could mean the end of their friendship because Ellie isn’t used to sharing the spotlight, so what will Grace do?
The Lemonade War
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.
by Clare Vanderpool
From the Publisher: “Newcomer Jack feels lost yet can’t help being drawn to Early, who won’t believe what everyone accepts to be the truth about the Great Appalachian Bear, Timber Rattlesnakes, and the legendary school hero known as The Fish, who never returned from the war. When the boys find themselves unexpectedly alone at school, they embark on a quest on the Appalachian Trail in search of the great black bear.
But what they are searching for is sometimes different from what they find. They will meet truly strange characters, each of whom figures into the pi story Early weaves as they travel, while discovering things they never realized about themselves and others in their lives.”
City of Ember: The Graphic Novel
From the Publisher: “In the spring 2003, kids, parents, teachers, librarians—whole communities—discovered and fell in love with Jeanne DuPrau’s story about a doomed city, and the two children who found a way out. Nearly 10 years later, that story, The City of Ember, is a bona fide classic, with over 1.7 million copies sold. Now experience Jeanne DuPrau’s vision anew as artist Niklas Asker faithfully brings to life the glare of the lamps, the dinginess of the streets, and the brilliance of the first sunrise.”
My 9th-grade son is reading short stories in his English Class. This month they read and discussed:
Ransom of Red Chief by O’Henry
After Twenty Years by O’Henry
Cop and the Anthem by O’Henry
Casey at the Bat
David’s favorite was Cop and the Anthem because it was ironic. He also enjoyed After Twenty Years, which would be his second choice for a favorite.
This year my daughter and I are reading and discussing one book (at least) a month. She doesn’t love to read, but we are selecting a few great titles to discuss for her junior year.
Secret Life of Bees
Sue Monk Kidd
Lily Owens lives in South Carolina in 1964 and after the death of her mother, she is mostly being raised by her housekeeper a black woman named Rosaleen, because her father is angry and abusive. Rosaleen ends up in jail after spitting on the feet of one of the town racists and Lily breaks her out. Together, Lily and Rosaleen set off to Tiburon, SC because she is convinced the town holds the secret to her mother’s story. Lily and Rosaleen are taken in by a group of sisters who live together and raise bees. During her time with them, Lily will learn about life, faith, friendship, and her mother.
This book is full of beauty and wisdom and healing. While there is also sorrow and tragedy, there remains purpose and hope. I enjoyed reading this one with my high school daughter. There were so many nuggets of wisdom for her and me to discuss. Then, of course, we watched the movie to compare and enjoy!
>>> More Teen Books Made into Movies <<<
Family Read Alouds
Boys in the Boat (Young Readers Adaptation): The True Story of an American Team’s Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics
Daniel James Brown
This true story of the nine boys from Washington State who won the gold medal for rowing at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The team was composed of rowers from working-class backgrounds who never imagined they would defeat the elite teams from the East Coast. This is the team’s story, though the tale focuses on the experiences of Joe Rantz, one of the nine winning rowers.
This young reader’s version is a great story of perseverance and hope and made for a fantastic read-aloud to my boys. The story takes place during the Great Depression so there is a lot of history woven naturally into the plot. While there were a few sections that moved slowly for my 9th and 7th graders, we were completely excited and cheering for the win by the end.
The Girls I’ve Been
Nora O’Malley is the daughter of a con-artist who grew up learning to help her mom con various men. She eventually escapes after her mother falls in love with one of the men they planned to con. Now she finds herself as a hostage in a bank robbery with her ex-boyfriend and current girlfriend. She will have to use the skills she learned growing up to help everyone get out safely.
This is a Young Adult novel that I chose because Netflix is going to make it into a film, and I like to read the book before I see the movie. It wasn’t my favorite thriller, but I did enjoy the twists and turns. The time period of the book switches back and forth from the past to the present. The reader learns about the stories from Nora’s childhood and then the book returns to the present moment back robbery situation. I enjoyed the connection between the two time periods as they developed. Overall, this one was a pretty fun ride.
We Begin At The End
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.
Such a Quiet Place
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.
Outschool Fiction Book Club Choices
Lion of Mars
Jennifer L. Holm
(Middle School Book Blub Choice)
Bell is an 11-year-old kid who has spent most of his life on Mars. He enjoys his friends and community, but wonders why they must remain so isolated from the other communities on Mars. When a mysterious virus infects all of the adults in Bell’s community, he and the other kids must determine what to do. Will they turn to the other countries for help or follow the direct orders from Earth command?
This book was a completely delightful read. It is a science fiction book that feels very realistic and relatable. The setting on Mars felt realistic despite being completely fictional. I loved the details about life on Earth that continually fascinated the kids on Mars, including information about animals and fashion.
(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.
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
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.
Treaty Trenches Mud & Blood
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.
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?
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.
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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