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I don’t know how it happened, but we read or listened to 11 books this month!  There were some real gems this month, too.  So many good books are out there for kids this age!  Here are the family read alouds for ages 8 to 12 {November, 2019} that we read:

Family Read Alouds for Ages 8 to 12 {November 2019}

Books We Read

We continue to read multiple books at the same time, but these are the ones we finished:

Dusty’s Trail by Mattie Richardson

See my full review of all of the books in Mattie Richardson’s collection including Dusty’s Trail.

The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great by Gerald Morris

We all loved The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great!  This was such a funny story.  We enjoyed the way quick-witted Sir Lancelot could get himself out of jams his fame often put him in.  For instance, a woman asked Sir Lancelot to get her falcon out of a tree.  He climbed the tree, but then, he realized the ruse when another knight appeared below and surely had him cornered, or did he?  Sir Lancelot’s quick thinking and wit save him yet again.

The Golden Bull by Marjorie Cowley

I love history, but I’m not a big fan of ancient history.  I was surprised, then, at how much I and the girls loved The Golden Bull.  the story follows a brother, Jomar, and sister, Zefa, in ancient Mesopotamia who are starving on their farm with their parents.  There is a drought, and what little food they do get must go to the temple.  Out of desperation, Jomar’s father apprentices him to a goldsmith in Mesopotamia and asks Jomar to bring his sister, Zefa.  Along they way, they meet a devious man, and once in the city of Ur, finding a place for Zefa is difficult as there are so many poor who seek shelter in the city.

Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill by Maud Hart Lovelace

In general, I like older kids’ stories because they’re wholesome and tell a good story.  However, for some reason, Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill drove me bonkers.  (The girls loved it though.)  This book follows three little girls, Betsy, Tacy, and Tib on their daily adventures, culminating in a competition with their older sisters to see who could be “queen.”  To decide, they go around the neighborhood soliciting votes.  In the end, they find a true princess and decide she should be their honorary guest at a celebration they throw.

Dawn of Fear by Susan Cooper

Set in England during World War II, Dawn of Fear is a story about young boys who live in the same neighborhood.  While the air raid sirens often go off at night and they have to stumble groggily to the air raid shelters, they find the idea of war fun and are curious about the bombings.  They build a fort, and then some other neighborhood boys start a “war” with them.  Tragedy interrupts their war, and suddenly war is no longer a game but a real-life event with deadly consequences.

The School Story by Andrew Clements

In The School Story, when Zoe finds out her friend, Natalie, is a talented writer, she decides to become Natalie’s agent and get her book published, even though they’re both only in 6th grade.  They send the manuscript to Natalie’s mom, Hannah, who is an editor, and Hannah loves the book!  Soon Zoe and Natalie find they’re in over their heads, so they recruit their teacher to help them.

We really enjoyed this story about two girls who pull off an unlikely task–not only getting Natalie’s book published, but making it a best seller!

Resistance by Jennifer A. Nielsen

We’ve been reading Resistance since June!  This book is intense, so we read it slowly.  It’s about Jewish resistance fighters who do their best to sabotage Nazi advances and help the Jewish people in the ghettos.  Each resistance fighter knows that they’ll likely end up dead, but they fight on, knowing they won’t defeat the Germans but that they will make their victory more difficult to achieve.  This is based on a true story!

Audios We Listened To

We listened to one fabulous audio this month and one I wish we’d skipped:

Leap by Jane Breskin Zalben

Sometimes, I look up books on Common Sense Media to make sure that they’re appropriate for my girls at their ages.  Boy do I wish I would have done that with LeapLeap follows a boy and a girl who have been friends for years.  They stop spending time together under the pressures of 5th grade and teasing by friends.  They resume their friendship when the boy is seriously injured.

Overall, this was a sweet story, but wow, did it veer off the rails sometimes.  This was especially true in one locker room scene where the boys and their coach have a discussion about night time emissions, though not in such polite language.  I quickly fast forwarded through that, but not without questions from my daughters.  For the explicit sexual content and references to drug use, I would NOT recommend this for listeners ages 8 to 12.

This audio is approximately 7.25 hours long.

Marley: A Dog Like No Other by John Grogan

Marley: A Dog Like No Other, was a fun audio to listen to. . .at first.  We enjoyed hearing about and laughing at Marley’s ridiculous exploits.  However, of the four audio CDs, the last two focused on his old age and dying. . .and it was depressing.  In the end, when they had to put Marley to sleep, I was bawling!  My kids didn’t quite understand, but I was wasn’t bawling because of Marley but because it made me remember my own beloved cat that had cancer and I had to put down when I was 7 months pregnant with my first child.

This audio is approximately 4 hours long.

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

Last month we listened to Al Capone Shines My Shoes.  This month, we listened to the first story in the series, Al Capone Does My Shirts.  I wish that we would have listened to them in proper order because this book filled in a lot of information that was just glossed over in Al Capone Shines My Shoes.

This audio is approximately 5.75 hours long.

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

One of my favorite audios we listened to this year is Echo.  What a beautiful story!  A queen gives birth to three girls in a row.  Unbeknownst to the queen, her husband sends them out to be murdered because he wants a son as an heir.  The midwife can’t bear to murder them, so she sends them to live with a witch.  The story is too long to tell here, but a harmonica is connected with them with the mission to save a life at some point.

The harmonica makes its way into the hands of Friedrich, who is growing up in Nazi German and has a large birthmark on his face, which is reason enough for him to have to undergo a forced sterilization.  Rather than that, he and his father plan their escape.

The harmonica then makes its way to Michael, an  orphan, who, along with his brother, try to find a loving home.

Then it makes its way to Ivy, a girl growing up in California during WWII whose family is taking care of a Japanese family’s home and farm while they’re in the internment camp.

Each story is compelling, but the last segment of the book connects all of the stories together and ties up the book beautifully.

This audio book is 10.5 hours long.

Books read in 2019: 35

Audios listened to in 2019: 58

Total books read or listened to in 2019: 93