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We have read so many books together this summer! I set up a tent in Wyatt’s room and it has become a place for reading books together every day, which has been a pretty great addition to our summer. We’ve gone to the library countless times, and for the first time in two years Wyatt was able to go in with me and choose his own books. (I mean, I of course chose some for him as well – picture books are just so pretty!) We’ve filled bags and wagons full of books, happily carting them home with us, where we set them all out on the floor and look at them all, flipping through them before putting them on the library books shelf. With school coming up, we will still be reading a lot of books but we won’t be getting to the library quite as often as we do now, but I still will make it part of our Fridays, when I pick up my mom and the three of us go together, three generations who have grown up using the same library and still do.
I couldn’t list all of the books that we have read together this summer, but I do want to share our favorites!
We will start with Wyatt’s favorites, as is appropriate.
Knight Owl was adorable and Wyatt really got into the whole medieval theme, with the knights and dragons. You know I made a mental note of that! And it was super cute, about a little owl who becomes a knight taking over the night watch; unlike his predecessors who have gone mysteriously missing, he is able to stay up all night – and make some unlikely friends.
Don’t Eat Bees literally had him laughing through the whole book. Chip the dog is full of advice about what is ok to eat, and what not to eat…bees. It was cute and Wyatt loved it.
Cannonball was all about making a splash, learning how to execute the perfect cannonball, and to listen to your own voice even when you feel it is being drowned out by the voices and advice of others. Into the Outdoors was a simple little book, about well, being outdoors. My kiddo I think enjoyed the idea of being outside and the simpleness of the story. A Good Place is about bugs, so of course he loved that one. In it four little bugs are looking for a place to live; each place they try is not quite right. Finally they find the best place, the good place. He loved all the bugs and the colors – I liked the message regarding the importance of nature and gardens.
Acorn Was a Little Wild was another one that had him cracking up. Acorn was having himself a blast on all sorts of adventures when one day he is buried by a squirrel! There he is forced to stay patient because he is pretty well stuck. He still manages to enjoy himself, and never loses his free and wild spirit.
The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl is absolutely wonderful. Wyatt loved the illustrations in the is book, there is just so much to see. He also liked how the dad and son would have music and dance parties together, two things that Wyatt also loves. The overall storyline I don’t think he was too interested in, but he really loved looking the pictures over in this one.
And now for my favorites!
Let’s start with Sunrise Summer! I thought this book was so cool and different. It is about a family who relocates to Alaska every summer, not for vacation but for work. They travel as a family and work for a commercial salmon company, while living as part of a beachside community. They fish and get up in the middle of the night, eat cold spaghetti for breakfast in the rain, and overall just work really hard. But the sense of family and community and the satisfaction of doing a hard job well, while working together is sort of refreshing. This book also included infomation on how the fishing is regulated by the Alaska Game Office to ensure these fish are not overfished. It was sort of a fascinating book – for me at least. I think Wyatt was intrigued by the adventure of it all but wasn’t super interested in the fishing parts. Oh! The last few pages of the book are about Alaska and fishing and the author’s life and experience fishing for salmon in Alaska.
Sonya’s Chicken was another surprising book. Sonya is given three chickens to raise, and she cares for them well and loves them. One morning she discovers that a fox has stolen one of her chickens, and obviously is very upset. Her dad explains that “What might seem unfair to you might make sense to a fox.” He tells her a story about this fox, how he lives in the woods with babies that he needs to feed as well. So while they might be sad about the chicken, they can understand why the fox did what he did. Sonya still feels bad about her chickens but keeps the fox kits in mind. Eventually one of her remaining chickens lays an egg that hatches and Sonya has a brand new chick to raise. I really loved this one honestly. It is sometimes a tough subject, explaining to kids why nature can seem so mean, when other animals eat each other, etc, and I think this book did a spectacular job in explaining that, and how nature is a circle of life.
These next two are very similar. The More You Give and The Garden We Share both deal with grief and nature and lasting memories and honoring what you have been taught, and finally about the everlasting legacy of planting gardens or trees together. Let’s start with The Garden We Share. First, I loved that this book had characters that were friends despite decades between their ages. When I was little, I loved visiting my neighbors who were in their 80s and listening to their stories about Scotland and Canada and sitting with them on their porch in the summer. The little girl and her grandma in this book planted a garden together but by next spring the grandma had passed. I did surprise both Wyatt and I by bursting into tears in the middle of reading this book. It was just so beautiful but so sad and I thought about my uncle and how much I miss him, especially in the spring when planning and planting my garden. Just typing that makes my eyes well up with tears. Anyway, this book is gorgeous and if you have a child struggling with grief I recommend this book.
The More You Give…this is maybe one of my favorite books I have read all year, including books that I read for me. I feel like it is a modern day take on “The Giving Tree” which I loved as a kid but it is so depressing. In this story, a young boy and his grandmother live together and have a great life filled with pancakes and hugs and nature. Together they plant an acorn which becomes a tree, etc. Eventually the boy grows up and teaches his daughter this lesson and so on, until the meadow they lived in becomes a forest. I am not doing this book justice in this review. It is just so beautiful and I want everyone to read it because that will be infinitely better than whatever I have to say.