I started reading to the girls when they were babies and have never stopped. My younger daughter loves reading and once she could manage chapter books she ditched me. My older daughter, however, doesn’t really enjoy reading and won’t pick up a book on her own. She loves stories though and so we have a book club together. We read together almost every night- usually she will pick up her room, she does art projects etc.. while I read. Last night she was practicing Dutch Braids on little sis. It is a nice time we always have together at the end of the day.
Someone asked recently for a list of books that we have read together or that are on our to read pile so I thought I’d share with everyone. I try to read more serious topics with her and then take a break with something a little more fun/light.
My daughter is 13 and she is especially interested in historical novels so we spend a lot more time on those.
I started reading this one on my own and it was so compelling in the first chapter, I stopped and decided to save it to read with my daughter. This is the story of the Watsons, an African American family in Michigan in 1963 struggling to make ends meet. After nearly freezing through winter, the family decides to take a road trip South to Birmingham for warmer weather and to visit Grandma in the hopes that she might help knock some sense into 13 year old Byron. The Watsons arrive in Birmingham at the height of the Civil Rights movement and are witness to the day Grandma’s church is burned down.
We started this book and paused it because my daughter started in on a WWII section in school and I wanted to jump over to a related book. I am looking forward to getting back to the Watson family because the first few chapters we read were very compelling.
I read this awhile back with my older daughter and was pleasantly surprised when it was recently assigned to my 6th grader. It is the story of 10 year old Annemarie, whose Jewish best friend Ellen is taken in by the family in 1943 and hidden until she can be safely reunited with her family in Sweden. This story is remarkable because it describes the Resistance in Denmark that successfully smuggled their entire Jewish population to safety in Sweden. I don’t remember learning about this when I was in school and it is really quite remarkable. This is a great example to show kids that there are always heroes.
I read this ages ago and haven’t yet read this with my daughter but it is one I really want to get too. A beautiful story of a young girl that manages to survive by stealing. She lives with her musician foster father and a Jew hidden in her basement. The little family finds solace in the one thing Liesel can’t resist stealing- books. I forgot they adopted this into a film so I am putting that on our list to do this week as we are expecting rain again anyway.
And can I just ask… my daughter is 13 and when they recently started a unit on the Holocaust in school there was only one kid in her entire Zoom class that knew anything about WWII. We have read lots of books on the topic and so she was the only other kid sharing information about it but please tell me children are learning about this topic in school and it is just her district that is lacking.
This is the new version of Wolfpack designed for young readers. It is based off an exceptional commencement speech Abby Wambach gave at Barnard College encouraging young people to find their voice and believe in themselves. This is a really quick read- we read the original Wolfpack together and then my teenager’s soccer coach actually assigned this to the team over the holiday break to read. I assume everyone knows Abby- she is a beast and a legend in the soccer world- if you are not familiar with her, here is one of her games where she splits her head open and then staples it back together on the sideline and resumes play. This isn’t just for soccer players. Any athlete should be able to take something from this book.
We enjoyed this book and it is a really fascinating story about a young woman that everyone should know, especially girls. This was a great book to introduce my daughter to a culture she isn’t super familiar with and to understand how much she takes for granted in the US. At times this book is a little long winded but overall it is for sure one to read.
This is a long book but so hard to put down! The story of Louis Zamperini is remarkable and fascinating and I actually read this on my own and then read the young adult version with my daughter. We watched the movie after reading the book and we looked up a bunch of Zamperini’s interviews on You Tube as well.
My 13 year old once did a report on Nelson Mandela and I thought this would be a perfect book to help her understand Apartheid a little more. This book was quick to read and although it does touch on really complex issues, Trevor Noah keeps it engaging and not too deep for a young person to understand. Some parts are heartbreaking but most of the story is filled with Trevor’s wit and sense of humor.
We haven’t read this one yet but I am a big fan of Jennifer Weiner’s adult series so I am looking forward to checking this one out. This is the story of a lonely 12 year old girl, off at boarding school, that stumbles upon a lovely and bright Bigfoot one day in a lake. As the two become closer, they discover Bigfoot hunters are on their trail. My daughter went through a Bigfoot phase awhile back so I think she will enjoy this book and it will a bit of a break from some of the heavier stuff we read.
This was such an interesting book about a topic I didn’t know much about. It is the story of 14 year old Mattie, living in Philadelphia during the yellow fever plague with her Mother and Grandfather. As the plague ravages the city, many residents try to escape to the countryside and those left are stuck behind closed doors, alone and trying desperately to find food. We both enjoyed this book and it was a pretty quick read.
I read Pax a few years ago with both my girls and it is still a favorite. I will say it is quite long- a little too long in my opinion- but it is a beautiful story of a young boy that is forced by his father to surrender his pet fox to the wild. After moving 300 miles away to his grandfather’s house, and with his father away at war, the boy decides to embark on a journey to retrieve Pax. In the meantime, we follow the adventures of Pax as he tries to navigate a new world of independence out in the wild. We all loved this story and it is a good one for tweens or elementary age kids.
“Stay gold Ponyboy. Stay gold.” Man… I sobbed at this movie when it came out. I remember the movie and reading the book and vaguely remember the plot line and now my daughter was assigned this to read in 8th grade. So far she is really into this book and the class is planning to dress up in 1950’s outfits for a movie day once they finish the novel. I remember the story is fairly violent so this might not be for everyone. But I do think it raises really interesting discussions on class differences and how that compares to politics and the social situation today. Definitely one for older kids.
This book is set to be released in February so I have not read it yet, but sounds very interesting. It is the story of three children, orphaned in 1940 England. The children decide to keep their situation a secret and head into the countryside in the hopes of finding a temporary home that will last forever. The children navigate some ghastly experiences in foster care until they stumble upon a wonderful librarian that provides a place of solace. But the librarian is married to a German, whose whereabouts are unknown… so will the village allow the children to stay despite suspicions about her?
There are certain books that everyone should read in a lifetime and I think this is one of them. A young girl comes of age in the Jim Crow South with a father that is a highly respected attorney in their small Alabama town. When he is assigned the defense of a black man wrongly accused of raping a white woman, Scout quickly learns a lot about doing the right thing even when it is hard. This is a wonderful story and seems especially relevant right now. I have been waiting to read this one with my daughter but now that she is 13, I think she is ready for this book.
I just finished reading this one myself and I realized at the end my daughter would have enjoyed it and it does remind me a lot of To Kill a Mockingbird. This is the story of Jake Brigance (how can anyone forget Jake from A Time to Kill- “Turn ‘Em Loose!! Turn ‘Em Loose!”). This time around Jake is assigned the case of a young boy accused of shooting and killing his Mom’s boyfriend. The town sides with the boyfriend considering he was a popular policeman and Jake has to find a way to defend his client against a Death Row sentence. This would be inappropriate for younger kids but more mature teens might like it. Please note there is abuse and sexual abuse discussed in the book but I didn’t find the content to be too graphic.
This is intended for younger kids not tweens and teens but I still have it on our reading list. We talk about courage frequently and they don’t come any more courageous than Harriet. Also with the $20 bill changing, I think this is a good time to spend a little time on her.
Hopefully that gives you some ideas of books that might be worth picking up together or maybe listening to on audiobook during car trips etc…
We also read the entire Harry Potter book series together starting around 8 years old. She loved the series but my 11 year old has never really gotten into Harry. We plan to read the Hunger Games books together soon- I read them all years ago and she has seen the movies. Eventually I’ll get to Divergent books too. We have touched on a few classics- we recently read Little Women. It was a bit long so I think the abridged version might have been a better choice. Right now the book we switched too was one I actually started on my own and then switched to reading with her once she began a unit on WWII in Language and Literature, Daughter of the Reich. So far there have only been a few lines here and there that I glaze over that are romantic shall we say… nothing explicit but I wouldn’t hand this over to a kid to read until I finish the book to be sure it doesn’t get graphic.