What I Read with the Kids: July, 2018

Last month I started a new little feature–what I read aloud to the girls 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 in July:

Orphan Train Rider: One Boy’s True Story by Andrea Warren

Last month we read a fiction book about a boy who rode the Orphan Train, so this month, we read the non-fiction book Orphan Train Rider: One Boy’s True Story.  We both enjoyed this book.  The book tells the story of Lee Nailling, who rode the Orphan Train with his brothers when his father gave up Lee and all of his siblings after their mother dies.  Lee was nine years old when he rode the train, and he didn’t have a smooth transition.  He was placed in three different homes before he finally was place with a loving couple he could live with (and could live with him).

The book alternated chapters; one chapter would be about Lee, and the next would be factual information about the Orphan Train.  I liked this format.

The Diary of Minnie Bonner: A City Tossed and Broken by Judy Blundell

In The Diary of Minnie Bonner: A City Tossed and Broken, Minnie is a 14 year old girl whose life is turned upside down when her father gambles away their tavern and leaves the family.  Desperate, her mother agrees to let Minnie move with the family, the Sumps, who now own the tavern, to work as their maid.  Minnie and the Sumps arrive in San Francisco just days before the 1906 earthquake.

This story is suspenseful as Minnie not only tries to survive the earthquake but also fight to get her family’s tavern back.

Everyday Angel: New Beginnings by Victoria Schwab

In Everyday Angel: New Beginnings, Aria is a guardian angel who comes to help Gabby, a 12 year old girl whose older brother is fighting cancer.  Gabby’s mom is a single mom, and understandably, most of her attention goes to her child in the hospital, which leaves Gabby feeling lost and abandoned.  Aria comes to help the family and is successful in the end.

A Family Apart by Joan Lowery Nixon

Last month we read Caught in the Act, which was the second book in Nixon’s Orphan Train Adventures, so this time, we read the first book, A Family Apart, which documents the Kelly children being given up by their mother in order to save the oldest son, Michael, from going to prison because he steals to help support the family.  The oldest daughter, Frances, cuts off her hair and pretends to be a boy because she wants to stay with the baby of the family who is only six.  She’s heard that boys are more likely to be adopted than girls because they can help with farm work.

While the orphan train started out with good intentions, our reading, including the books in this series, show how badly things could go if children weren’t adopted by the right families.

Audio Stories

We only finished three audio stories this month because a large part of the month was spent listening to The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, which is just shy of 14 hours long!  We finished it a few days into August, so I’ll be writing about that one next month.

Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder

We continued to listen to our Little House in the Prairie audio stories.  (We listened to several in May.)  The girls enjoyed Farmer Boy, especially PB & J Girl because there was less singing than in the audio stories about Laura’s life.  Sometimes the girls got a little exasperated with all the descriptions of how to do things back then, but overall, they liked the story.

By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder

When I was young and read all the books in this series, By the Shores of Silver Lake was my least favorite because it seemed so rough.  Ma and Pa move out to Dakota territory, and they’re among the first there.  They’re surrounded by a rough bunch, and the story just feels a bit dark to me.  Listening to the audio story, I realized I still feel the same way about this book.  The girls, however, enjoyed it.

A Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli

I only half listened to A Door in the Wall, but I loved the sentiment of various things in our life that can be doors in the wall, or openings to new things in our lives.  Knowing how to read is a door in the wall, for instance.  Though I thought Cuddle Bug might get confused by the language and setting in this story, she did just fine.

Books read aloud in June and July: 10

Audio stories listened to in June and July: 6

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