Take a look at the books piled in every room of our house, and you’d be able to tell we read a lot. I wondered what a Week in Books would look like, if I catalogued it. I did just that over the past seven days. Here are the results! Some of these we read in their entirety; others were only sampled during the week. Some are recommended; others are just an honest look at what this family’s reading life looks like. (Note: I didn’t catalog what Dad read, just the readings of the kids and me, or things we read as a family.)
Pyramid by David Macauley
It took us about 40 minutes in just one sitting. The kids and I loved this fascinating telling of how an Egyptian pyramid is built. Highly recommended!
A Tangled Web by L. M. Montgomery
By the author of Anne of Green Gables, this charming book for grown-ups explores the ripple effects of life choices through the fictional account of a large extended family. Each family member has his or her own dreams and doubts, fears and fantasies. As they intersect, the results create a tangled web indeed. A sweet end of summer read for me.
Knight Owl by Christopher Denise
I’m not sure which of my kids read this, to be honest, but it was on the couch when it had been in the reading basket. Someone enjoyed this sweet story of a tiny owl who only wants to help keep his land safe.
Mr. Putter and Tabby Turn the Page by Cynthia Rylant
Our kindergartner is making strong strides in reading and loves tackling small chapter books (this series is a favorite) with a bit of help.
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
My current read-aloud with the kids. My second time reading it, their first hearing.
Story of the World: Volume One by Susan Wise Bauer
Our history text. We read chapter five this week.
“The Big White Book” (Natural History by Smithsonian)
We often summon “The Big White Book” when we read or hear about an animal, plant, or mineral that is foreign to us. With pictures and one-line descriptions of thousands of species, it’s a perfect resource. We consulted it this week regarding swallows, gentian flowers, and milkweeds.
Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis
After a long hiatus, we finally returned to this Narnia book, a family read-aloud that had been abruptly cut short sometime around May. Completing the final few chapters would have been more satisfying if we had read without such a long break, but it was nevertheless a rewarding read.
The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
I’m trying something new with my fourth-grader for this history novel. We both have a copy and are reading it independently, but keeping the same pace. Every few chapters, we have a little chat about it. It’s our own mini book club and so far it’s delightful.
Hints on Child Training by Henry Clay Trumbull
I started this book years ago. I pulled it off the shelf again this week and am hoping to finally read the whole thing. Trumbull keenly explains how to train your children toward what is good, without over-correcting or ignoring their own individuality. There are many lessons I need to learn in this book.
Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans
There are more prayers in here than I will ever need to pray. I have been lingering on just one of the prayers in the section “Help Me Begin the Day” for a few weeks, praying it every few days as I need its reminders again.
Shanghaied to China, Spy for the Night Riders, and Defeat of the Ghost Riders by Dave and Neta Jackson
The fourth-grader is picking away at all three of these stories of famous Christians during his reading times. Yes, he’s reading three at once. I guess he takes after me!
Three Little Kittens by Paul Galdone
A favorite. This was a bedtime story one night this week.
With Love, Edith by Edith Schaeffer
Speaking of missionary stories, I have been savoring this collection of Edith Schaeffer’s letters for years. Even just one page of this book displays enough faith to coast on for a few days. Edith, her husband, and their three (later, four) children followed God’s call to ministry in Switzerland. Her stories of the highs and lows and everyday middles of ministry life are a huge encouragement to me.
Mio, My Son by Astrid Lindgren
After finishing Caspian, we picked up this sweet fairy tale to start as our next read-aloud. We’ve gotten through a few chapters now. I read it to our now-fourth-grader a few years ago. He and I both loved it, so I hope the whole family enjoys it!
The Ology by Marty Machowski
Every couple days, I read one (very short!) section of this to the kids and we discuss it. This week, it was “God is Perfect.”
New City Catechism
My fourth grader has been memorizing these question and answer sets for a few years. He is on question sixteen. My kindergartner is just getting started. In the past week, she mastered questions one and two.
In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World by Virginia Hamilton and Creation: Read-Aloud Stories from Many Lands by Ann Pilling
I skimmed these two collections, hopeful that they would aid me in teaching my kids how unbelieving cultures have distorted the true story of God’s creation, yet retained a kernel of truth. While that aim could certainly be met in careful reading and discussion of these stories, I found too many of them to be distasteful and/or desperately off-base, and decided not to spend time unpacking them with my children. It could be an excellent study topic for older students.
The Golden Books Family Treasury of Poetry collected by Louis Untermeyer
We’re gearing up for our next Family Poetry Night, so I found one in this book to memorize myself and two short ones to help our 5-year-old memorize. I can’t tell you what they are; it’s a family rule to keep the poems a secret until Poetry Night.
An Illustrated Catalog of American Fruits and Nuts published by the US Dept of Agriculture
To be clear: I didn’t read this book. It’s more drawings than words anyway. But I did page through it, appreciating the skill and care of the artists from 1886 – 1942 who brought these fruits to life on the page. Though I doubt the publisher intended this result, I found myself impressed once again at the way God built his world of orderly categories and creation that is both beautiful and useful. I stumbled upon this tome when searching on the library web catalogue for books on Egyptian or Sumerian agricultural life. It looked intriguing, so I requested it. And that is the beauty of a good library system.
There you have it: the reading life of one family in just one week. What would your reading spread look like if you collected it over seven days?
curated by Brittany Mountz
English major and unsuspecting English educator at ALC