This post contains affiliate links.  Because we were at home for half of March, we didn’t listen to many audio books.  We did read a lot, though.  I think we’re set to finish our Sonlight Level C curriculum four or five weeks early at the pace we’re going.  Here are the best (and worst) books for ages 8 to 12 {March 2020}:

 

Books We Read

We continue to read multiple books at the same time, and this month, since we were home so much, we finished 8!!:

The Best Books

We had one favorite this month:

Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story by Gregg Lewis and Deborah Shaw Lewis

I knew most of the details of Ben Carson’s life, but the girls didn’t, so we read Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story.  I loved this book because I think it can teach most kids about the value of working hard and not giving up.  Also, Ben was on a bad path in high school because he wanted to fit in with the other kids and he was violent.  (He tried to stab a friend, but luckily, he hit the friend’s belt buckle.)  Ben turned over his anger to God, and he never struggled with out of control anger again.

Clearly, religion is very important to Ben, and that is reflected throughout the book.

This book has 171 pages.

Other Books We Read

About Average by Andrew Clements

We love Andrew Clements’ books, but I found About Average, strangely enough, just average.  In the story, Jordan Johnston is teased and depressed that she has no impressive skills.  However, when a tornado strikes the school, Jordan takes charge and saves the day, proving she’s anything but average.

This book has 120 pages.

A Llama in the Family by Johanna Hurwitz

The Best (and Worst) Books for Ages 8 to 12 {March 2020}

Adam can only dream about having a new bike, but his parents’ money is tight.  His mom decides to buy a llama and begin a business taking tourists in Vermont on a hike and picnic with a llama to carry their supplies, hence the name of the book, A Llama in the Family.  By the end of the book, Adam has changed his mind about the bike and instead decided to give his mom the best gift she can imagine.

This book is 98 pages long.

Emily’s Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary

The Best (and Worst) Books for Ages 8 to 12 {March 2020}

Emily’s Runaway Imagination was a fun book.  Emily and her mother are determined to bring a library to the town, and they work hard throughout the year to do just that.  Their biggest donation comes from Fong Quock, an elderly Chinese man that Emily tries to avoid because he teases her after she tries to correct his pronunciation of her dog’s name.  Throughout the year, Emily is always involved in some kind of adventure such as trying to bleach her horse white.  My kids loved reading about her adventures and her excitement when the library finally launches.  (I have never known a time when I didn’t have a library available to me, so understanding that this wasn’t always the case was also enlightening.)

This book is 269 pages long.

White Stallion of Lipizza by Marguerite Henry

The Best (and Worst) Books for Ages 8 to 12 {March 2020}

In The White Stallion of Lipizza, Hans longs to train with the white stallions of Lipizza.  However, he’s the son of a bakery owner, and he has a job to do.  Every day he must deliver bread, but he can’t help but stop and watch the Lipizza’s every morning.  Against incredible odds and hard work and determination, he finds a way to make his dreams come true.

This book is 111 pages long.

Greek Myths (Classic Starts)

The Best (and Worst) Books for Ages 8 to 12 {March 2020}

Cuddle Bug picked Greek Myths.  I remember taking a class on Greek myths when I was in high school and enjoying it, but I didn’t find this book quite as interesting.  Maybe it was because the stories were simplified.  At any rate, this was a good introduction to mythology, and it gives Cuddle Bug a good framework for when we study myths later.

This book is approximately 145 pages long.

The Usborne Book of World History

We’ve been reading The Usborne Book of World History bit by bit since we started the new school year last fall.  This book is part of our Sonlight Level C curriculum, and we enjoyed it.  We all wished, though, that there had been some actual pictures instead of just illustrations.

This book is 191 pages long.

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois

The Best (and Worst) Books for Kids Ages 8 to 12 {March 2020}

The Twenty-One Balloons won a John Newberry Medal, but I don’t know how.  I found this book so tedious and painful to get through.  PB & J Girl also disliked it, but Cuddle Bug enjoyed it.  It follows the story of Professor William Waterman Sherman who leaves San Francisco in a hot air balloon and flies off course, landing in Krakatoa, a rich land filled with just a few families.  This story was just too fantastical and slow-paced for me.

This book is 180 pages long.

Audios We Listened To

We listened to some fabulous audios this month:

The Best Audio Book

Johnny Tremainby Esther Forbes

The Best (and Worst) Books for Kids Ages 8 to 12 {March 2020}

We only listened to three audios this month because we started staying home mid-March.  Of the three (and we enjoyed them all), we had one hands down favorite, Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes.

Johnny is a cocky, skilled apprentice working for a silversmith.  He is working on an important piece on Sunday, unbeknownst to his devout master.  Through a series of events, the silver he is pouring spills, and he burns his hand badly.  Because he was working on a day of rest, he isn’t taken to a doctor, and his hand heals incorrectly.

Johnny goes through a series of emotions, and he looks for work in a different field, but he is largely rejected.  But, then he gets a job delivering newspapers, and he learns about and is welcomed into the Sons of Liberty.  As the Revolutionary War begins, Johnny’s life is changed in ways he could never imagine.

This audio is approximately 8.75 hours long.

Other Audios We Listened To

Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Gossamer is a book that seems at times like it should have been two stories.  The story begins with two spirits, maybe, I’ll call them that, who give people dreams.  Throughout the story, the spirits have their own story line and also force their way gently into the second story line.  The second story is about an older woman living alone who becomes a foster parent to a young boy who has lived a troubled life with an abusive father and a mother struggling to get on her feet.  Cuddle Bug and I agreed that the second story would have been a fabulous story on its own.

This audio is approximately 2.75 hours long.

The Big One-Oh by Dean Pitchford

The Best (and Worst) Books for Kids Ages 8 to 12 {March 2020}

In The Big One-Oh, Charley is growing up with a busy mom and a disinterested older sister.  He generally fades into the woodwork, but since his 10th birthday is coming up, he decides he wants a party.  He tries to make friends at school (so he’ll have someone to invite to the party), but his attempts fail.  His mom knows of his party idea, but after Charley accidentally burns down the garage, she forbids him from having a party.  But Charley has one more idea, and it involves disregarding his mom. . .

This audio is approximately 4.50 hours long.

Make sure to check out the best (and worst) books for ages 8 to 12 {February 2020} that we read last month, and the best (and worst) books for ages 8 to 12 {January 2020} that we read in January!

MARCH STATS:

Books read: 8

# of pages read: 1,285

Audios listened to: 3

# of hours listened: 16

2020 STATS:

Books read in 2020: 22

Audios listened to in 2020: 13

Total books read or listened to in 2020: 35

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