What I Read with the Kids in June, 2018

I thought I’d start a new little feature–what we read each month.  Cuddle Bug loves, loves, loves to be read to, and right now, that is how she is getting a lot of her schooling.  We’re also in the car for at least an hour a day, so we try to listen to audio books during that time.

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Books We Read

Here are the kids’ books we read this month:

Milton Hershey: More than Chocolate by Janet & Geoff Benge

I hadn’t been too excited about reading this book, but in the end, I really enjoyed it, as did Cuddle Bug.  I walked away with a deeper admiration of Milton Hershey’s character.  Hershey didn’t get married until he was 39, and he doted on his younger wife, bringing her flowers every day.  This is in stark contrast to reading about Thomas Edison just a few weeks ago who was a workaholic who left his family to fend for themselves emotionally most of the time.  Read our full review of Milton Hershey: More than Chocolate.

The Enemy Above: A Novel of World War II by Michael P. Spradlin

Cuddle Bug picked up The Enemy Above: A Novel of World War II last year as a freebie as part of the library’s summer reading program, but we just read it this month.  This book was fabulous!  It’s written for 5th to 7th graders; Cuddle Bug had no trouble understanding it, but it was rather gruesome in some parts.  This story is about a boy (Anton), his grandma (“Bubbe”), and his uncles, who are all Jewish and live in the Ukraine.  They hide in a cave when the Germans come, but they are soon discovered.  Many of those living in the cave escape, but his Bubbe does not, and Anton stays because he cannot bear to leave her.  At the last minute before the Germans invade the cave, Anton successfully hides from them.  However, he’s on a mission to save his Bubbe from the Germans.

This book had us on the edge of our seats, and we read it all in less than three days because Cuddle Bug kept begging to read more.  I highly recommend this book, though there is a graphic execution scene.

Kit Learns a Lesson (American Girl Collection) by Valerie Tripp

We had read Kit Learns a Lesson before, but we read it again.  Kit is a young girl living through the Great Depression.  Her father is out of work and her mother has taken in boarders at their home, which Kit despises.  Yet, when Kit visits a soup kitchen, she learns that the Depression has hit her family more deeply than she realized.

Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady by Ellen Emerson White

Margaret Brady is an orphan living in an orphanage with nuns when Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady opens.  One of the nuns suggests Margaret accompany a wealthy woman, Mrs. Carstairs, across the ocean on the Titanic.  This is a blessing for Margaret as her only sibling, William, has already made his way from England to the United States, so the two could be reunited.

Cuddle Bug and I both enjoyed this book, especially all of the many details about the voyage on the Titanic.  Margaret Ann Brady was a real person who actually kept a diary of the events, so that makes the story even more powerful.  At the end of the book, there are several pages of facts about the Titanic as well as a Titanic timeline beginning in 1898 when a writer prophesized an event just like the Titanic all the way to the underwater discovery of the Titanic in 1986.  This is an entertaining and educational book.

Caught in the Act by Joan Lowery Nixon

Caught in the Act is book two in The Orphan Train Adventures, and we loved it!  I think we read aloud the book in three days, which is a near record for us.  The story follows a boy, Mike Kelly, whose father died, leaving his mother and five siblings penniless.  Mike resorts to stealing to help feed the family, but when he’s caught, the entire family (save his mother) ends up on the orphan train.  Most of the kids are separated when they’re “adopted” by families.  Mike is adopted by Hans Friedrich, but Friedrich plans to use Mike as a hired hand, as unfortunately happened to many older boys on the orphan train.  Mike is poorly treated at the Friedrichs, but he does befriend the other hired hands.  When one of the hired hands goes missing after a fight with Mr. Friedrich, Mike fears the worst and starts his own investigation.

We loved this book so much that we plan to read the rest of the books in the series, starting with the first one.

Nellie’s Promise (American Girl Collection) by Valerie Tripp

In Nellie’s Promise, Nellie and her sister are orphans who have been taken in by Nellie’s friend, Samantha, and her aunt and uncle.  Nellie is enjoying her new life until her previous guardian, Uncle Mike, shows up, threatening to take her and her sisters back and make them work in a factory so he can take their money to buy his alcohol.  Nellie and Samantha’s relationship is affected when Nellie doesn’t tell Samantha about Uncle Mike, and Samantha doesn’t share her feelings with Nellie.

Audiobooks We Listened To

Here are the audio books we listened to:

Titanic Crossing by Barbara Williams

We enjoyed Titanic Crossing, and both girls found it suspenseful.  This story is about Albert, a 13 year old boy, who boards the Titanic with his 6 year old sister, Virginia, and his mother and uncle.  Ginnie is a fairly annoying character as she can be whiny and demanding, but overall, the story was good.  I was expecting more about the Titanic, but the actual sinking didn’t occur in the story until disc 4 of 4.  Even though we enjoyed the story, I did not care for the narration by Jeff Woodman.  His narration made Ginnie even more annoying than she was already, and there was not a lot of variation in the characters’ voices.

Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan

Set in Norway in 1940, Snow Treasure tells the tale of Peter, a young boy whose father runs the bank.  The bank has plenty of gold, and Peter’s father and his uncle are determined to sneak the gold out of Norway so that the invading Nazis will not find the money and use it to cause harm and injury to the Norwegian people.  In the end, they decide that the best way to get the gold onto the ship is to have the children cart it in their sleds to a rendezvous point.

This was a gripping story that captivated the girls as well as my mom and I.  In fact, my mom went on to read the book and watch the movie with Cuddlebug.  The narrator, John McDonough, was a delight to listen to.  I felt like I was listening to a grandpa sitting by the fire telling a fascinating tale.  Excellent!

Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson

Treasure Island was a short listen (only one disc), and Cuddle Bug loved the adventure aspect of the story.  PB & J Girl didn’t like the story because she thought it was too graphic and gruesome.  She said it’d be the perfect story for a boy.  😉  Jim Weiss, the narrator, was pleasant to listen to.

Have you read or listened to any great stories recently?  I’d love to hear and add them to our list!

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