Our favorite way to start the day is with some breathing exercises or yoga, an intention for the day, candles and a storybook. Sometimes we read it cuddled together on the couch. Sometimes we read it sitting at the work table. We read lots of different types of stories and don't worry about them fitting in with any of our other subjects. These are just for fun. They have beautiful pictures, or words. They are seasonal. They might remind us how to be a better person, or give us something to think about. They might just be funny.
How do we choose our book each day? Sometimes we just are attracted to the cover at our library, or we already have it at home but haven't read it in a while. Most of the time we heard about it from a friend or a blog post or Instagram blurb. When I see an interesting book recommendation, I go immediately to our library website and reserve it. We go to the library at least once a week and having that reserved stack of books ready for us is the most amazing thing ever!
Without further ado, here are some of our favorites from this past fall:
This is My Home, This is My School by Jonathan Bean
We read this on our inaugural day of homeschool and it couldn't have been more perfect! The illustrations are busy and fun and the text perfectly conveys how I would want to describe our homeschool efforts. The fact that the author was homeschooled leaves me hoping my own kids have such fond memories of the experience.
On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne
The boys have read about Albert Einstein before, but this book really pays homage to his imagination and creativity in a way that isn't conveyed as well in a traditional biography. It encourages kids to wonder and imagine and ask questions. It's perfection.
Infinity and Me by Kate Hosford
The boys had a vague idea of what infinity meant before we read this, but I think the idea is much more firmly planted now. Uma asks everyone she sees what infinity means to them and the answers vary from an endless line of ancestors to a spaghetti noodle cut in half again and again.
i carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings, illustrated by mati mcdonough
A beautiful poem with sweet, whimsical illustrations. I'm always happy to expose the boys to more poetry and this type of book is a great way to do that.
Stopping by Woods on Snowy Evening by Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers
This is my favorite poem of all time and I love seeing it set to such beautiful illustrations. My favorite page was the old man joyfully making snow angels beside his bewildered horse, although most of them are more serene.
Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
We read all of the books about Muth's lovable and wise panda. I still think this one is the best. A mysterious panda moves in across the street and the siblings all come to him with their problems. He tells them each a tale to gently show them the way. A thought provoking serires with beautiful illustrations.
The Midnight Library by Kazuno Kohara
We were first introduced to Kazuno Kohara from her book Ghosts in the House, which was Will's favorite book for at least a year. Her illustrations are instantly recognizable to us, with their bold use of black and limited color palette. We realized that her books are available in Spanish at our library, too. We love to find good Spanish picture books to learn a few more vocabulary words and recognize the words we already know. It's adorable in whichever language you choose. When I see this book I think of the turtle happily heading home with a book he has fallen in love with tied to his back. We have reserved her version of Jack Frost at the library and can't wait to pick it up this week.
Seven Silly Eaters by Marla Frazee
This is an all time family favorite. The story is very silly and the rhyming text adds to the fun. Mrs. Peters is exhausted preparing food for her picky brood. When they decide to give her a break for her birthday, they inadvertently find a long-term solution to her woes.
How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath & Mary Reckmeyer
This story takes the abstract concept of how actions and words make us feel and gives it a very concrete visual. I hope we are still talking about "filling our buckets" when they are in college!
The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie dePaola
I have a soft spot for Tomie dePaola, as he was one of my favorites as a child. This retelling of the classic St. George and the dragon tale is wonderful. Instead of fighting they figure out a fun way to work together and still use their talents. My boys thought this was the best story we heard leading up to Michaelmas and they were glad to see the dragon didn't get killed.
My Teacher is a Monster by Peter Brown
A chance meeting at the park allows a teacher and her pupil to interact in a fun way, as the drawings of the teacher morph from monster to human. The boys think this one is great fun.
A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Lucy Roth Cummins
This one is really cute and has a nice surprise at the end.
The Snow Globe Family by Jane O'Connor
This one is just so fun! The little tiny family that lives in the neglected snow globe on the mantle is just hoping someone will give them a good shake. They haven't had a real blizzard in years. The only excitement is from the occasional flurry when the maid does the dusting.
The Garden of Abdul Gasazi by Chris Van Allsburg
The illustrations are superb. The tale of the boy searching for a runaway dog will leave you wondering. A perfect combo for a book that will stay with you.
The Trouble with Trolls by Jan Brett
This has been a family favorite for years. When Treva hikes up the mountain to visit her cousins she encounters one troll after another along the way. They all want her dog. She manages to tempt them with her lovely mittens, hat and sweater to get him back. Finally, she runs out of trinkets to ransom the dog with. The boys love the greedy, fighting trolls and delight in the heroine's clever way to deal with them.
The Bear's Song by Benjamin Chaud
This is a book that gets read often in our home. Mostly to the three year old, but the older boys are happy to listen. They love finding the bear cub and bee on each page and absorbing all the details of the Paris scenes in the illustrations.
Home by Caron Ellis
Beautiful, whimsical illustrations of all kinds of houses, both real and fantastical. A great prompt for drawing homes.