2007 Booklist

January

  • Everlasting by Carol Johnson – Written by an Oklahoman author about an Oklahoman family. It had a self-published feel to it in terms of editing and some story gaps, but was interesting to me because I grew up in Oklahoma. I thought the author has some good potential.
  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate Dicamillo – Oh my word. This book just shot up to the top of my very favorite children’s books list. We started another one immediately after finishing this one and I want to read every single book Kate Dicamillo has ever written. Seriously.
  • William the Baptist by James M. Chaney – I just asked Craig to put this book at the top of his “next to be read” list because the book has changed my perception of the baptism view like nothing or no one else ever has. And I was a die-hard Baptist.
  • The Tiger Rising by Kate Dicamillo – See annotation above. Next up The Tale of Despereaux.
  • Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld – One of the last books in our Sonlight Core 1 program. It was pretty interesting in an ancient fictional mystery sort of way.
  • Finding Out About Everyday Things (Explainers) by Eliot Humberstone – Science book; feels like we’ve been reading it forever, but of course very informative and interesting.
  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith – A very enjoyable read. The title had made me skeptical for a couple of years, but then this semester, Professor Jerram Barrs recommended it and I decided to finally give it a chance. I’m not sorry I did.
  • Usborne Time Traveler by Judy Hindley – Another (long to me) Sonlight history book – we’re really close to finishing Core 1!
  • George Mueller: The Guardian of Bristol's Orphans (Christian Heroes: Then & Now) (Christian Heroes: Then & Now) by Janet and Geoff Benge – Man, does my faith seem small.

February

  • Five Children and It by E. Nesbitt – Cute story. I’ve never read anything by her before, but C. S. Lewis was a big fan. I think I might be now as well.
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patherson – Totally not what I was expecting from the movie trailers we’ve seen (I never read this as a child). Really strong themes, really harsh language. I had to edit a good number of words into different ones simply from sheer volume of them. I’m not sorry we read it, particularly because we had planned to go see the movie when it comes out. I’m not sure if we’ll still go see the movie now, but if we do, I’ll be much better prepared for it.
  • Red Sails to Capri by Ann Weil – Our first completed work of Literature for Sonlight Core 2. Gotta love anything where the girls demand you finish the book after you’ve declared you’re done for the day with only one chapter to go.
  • God Our Teacher by Robert W. Pazmino – Read for Teaching and Learning, a seminary class I’m in. Good stuff in here.
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – Read for a book discussion with a group from my church in conjunction with The Big Read Program here in St. Louis. Kind of surprised I didn’t have to read this in school. Okay, so maybe not totally surprised there; my education wasn’t exactly that of the Great Books.

March

  • Kristin Lavransdatter II: The Wife by Sigrid Undset – Second in the series (as if the “II” didn’t tip you off already). There was definitely some redemption felt that wasn’t resolved in the first, but I’m still unsatisfied here. Wondering about III…

April

  • Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes – A Sonlight 2 book. We all really enjoyed this cute story, though it seemed to take forever for them to find Ginger again!
  • Postmodern Children’s Ministry by Ivy Beckwith – Don’t let the word postmodern scare you. This book is excellent for helping the church think better about how to minister effectively to children with their families. There will be a few things you probably wouldn’t agree with, but overall, this book was very very helpful.
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – Recommended reading by Professor Jerram Barrs after a conversation in which we confessed we were struggling with a really selfish child. Said child “got” the story as well as the application of her own selfishness. Problem named, solution still-in-progress. But then when aren’t we?
  • To Be Told by Dan Allender – Tagline: God Invites You to Coauthor Your Future – Good reading (and required for one of my classes) – Not meant to be rushed through in a week like I did, but read slowly with the goal of really wrestling through your story, even on paper. I didn’t give it its due, but will write a 1-page reflection paper on it nonetheless.
  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo – Dadgum, that woman. I don’t know how she does it, but she’s done it every time. Good, good story.
  • Leading with a Limp by Dan Allender – Another rushed read. Good info, but I’m about Allendered out by now. (No offense, Dan. Of course.)

May

  • Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski – A Sonlight read. I didn’t know anything about it and thought it was just going to be a cutesy story about a girl who picked strawberries, but it really painted a vivid picture of a hard time in life. Kind of a Hatfield-McCoy meets The Grapes of Wrath meets 2nd grade literature.
  • What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain – Such a good book. I read half a couple of months ago and the rest of it this past week which isn’t necessarily the recommended way to read this book, but there was a lot of good stuff in here for me to apply in my own teaching of my elementary aged kiddos. Great, great book.
  • The Minstrel In The Tower by Gloria Skurzynski – Very short Sonlight read. I’m almost ashamed to add it to my list here, it was that short, but it was a read aloud in the curriculum and I did read every word… so here it is. On another (and much more related) note, this was one of the girls’ first times to actually connect the story with the history readings we’ve been doing for the past two weeks on knights and barons and the like. I enjoyed seeing that light come on.
  • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo – You probably don’t need to hear me say it again, but I will. That woman can write. The girls were asking me every single night to keep reading, and it wasn’t just for their normal bedtime stall tactic – it was becauase they wanted to know more about the story. Mary even clapped when I got to the end.
  • Castle Diary: The Journal of Tobias Burgess by Richard Platt and Chris Riddell – Read for Sonlight. Interesting read, but the girls had a bit of trouble staying on task (As in, turning themselves upside down on the couch to "listen" while I read it. Can anyone say, "Time for Summer?").
  • First Encyclopedia of Animals by Usborne – Again, a Sonlight read. The girls really liked it and kept relating everything in it to Finding Nemo.

June

  • The Innocent Man by John Grisham – Interesting to me because of my Oklahoma background, but also – it's Grisham. A good read, of course.
  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery – This book became my favorite in the 9th grade when I first read it. I now remember why. I still love it, 18 years later.

August

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling – Had to keep up with my 8-year-old who finished this last week. I kept saying that once she started the series I would read it too, to be able to discuss it with her. Here we go. Time for book two now.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling – Ummm, read quickly in order to get ahead of my 8-year-old, so I can discuss it with her as she reads it and not after she reads it. Yeah, that's it. Guess it's time to give it back to her now.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling – Yes. I am a hopeless case.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling – I can no longer pretend that this has anything to do with my 8-year-old. I can't help it and that's all there is to it.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling – *Sheepish Grin* I must really stop this staying up until 1 am business.
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling – Sad, sad, sad, sad, sad. Why did no one bother to warn me?
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling – Now what am I going to do?

September

  • A Dark Oval Stone by Marsena Konkle – Fantastic storytelling. I'm notably skeptical of fiction put out by Christian publishing houses, and fiction by first timers (I mean, I know they've got to start somewhere, but still…). This book was both: first time work by Marsena Konkle, published by Paraclete Press. And I was very impressed. This is redemption. This is true-to-life storytelling. This was very good. I thought she could have benefitted from a more careful editor (there was a bit of awkward phrasing, but it didn't distract overall). Nice job, Marsena! I can't wait to read more.
  • Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith – Second book in No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency; fun read.

October
What happened this month? Oh yes, my job.
November

  • The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall – Perhaps the new Kate Dicamillo? I LOVED this book and am thrilled that her next one, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street is coming out in April. If I ever write a book, I want to be like Kate Dicamillo or Jeanne Birdsall.

December

  • Meet the Austins by Madeleine L'Engle – What I said above about Kate Dicamillo and Jeanne Birdsall? Also applies to Madeleine L'Engle. Dang, those women can write.

Looks like I only managed 40 this year, and a majority of those kid books, either for school or for family fun. No regrets, though. I met (and slightly exceeded) my actual goal of 3/month, so maybe I'll make the goal 4/month this year (though I doubt my reading time will be any more than it was last year).
I didn't read as many books to the girls this fall as I like and I intend to remedy that starting last week. We started A Wrinkle in Time tonight, and will probably pick up more of the Austin books after that. The girls are all four in one room again and we moved in a comfy chair so I have a good place to sit and read to them (as opposed to the floor in the hallway between the two rooms like before).
Choosing books to read to them that *I* really like is a huge plus. I really want to get in there and read a couple of chapters each night. I'm not sure I will ever grow out of children's literature. I don't think I ever want to.
Did anyone else compile your 2007 list? I'd love to see it!

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