Friday, January 8, 2016

What We're Reading :: For Christmas

In lieu of my What We're Reading post for December, I figured I'd wait and share our Christmas books--because that's pretty much all the kids have been reading since they unwrapped them!

Warning: this is a monster post.  It was a delightfully bookish Christmas this year. ;)

On Christmas Eve, I went out to the stockroom (aka a hidden bookshelf in my garage!) and chose books for each child out of my stash from used book shopping throughout the year.  It is so much fun picking out which ones go to which child!  I try to gauge both reading level and individual interest, and of course it depends on what I have on hand too.  I barely ever buy books new, so their gifts are always partly determined by what I come across.  Thankfully, I come across a lot of wonderful books! ;)

For Vincent, age 9
Sid Fleischman's Jim Bridger's Alarm Clock and Other Tall Tales
Eric Sloane's Diary of an Early American Boy
Petershams' The Story of Aircraft
the Illustrated Junior Classics version of Arabian Nights
d'Aulaires' Book of Trolls

For Gianna, age 9
Edward Lear's The Four Little Children Who Went Around the World (looks like this is out of print, which is too bad because it is fabulously quirky)
TS Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
Norton's The Borrowers Afloat and The Borrowers Afield (ours are vintage copies, but they have the same illustrator)
Kate Greenaway's Book of Games
Pyle's The Wonder Clock (the vintage hardback is out of print, but they sell new paperbacks thankfully!)

For Cate, age 6
Richardson's Great Children's Stories
Trina Schart Hyman's The Sleeping Beauty
Kate Greenaway's Family Treasury
Hoban's A Bargain for Frances (although ours is the oversized hardback)
Gutmann's I Love You: Verses and Sweet Sayings

For Xavier, age 5
Margaret Wise Brown's Seven Little Postmen
Cooper Edens' The Glorious American Songbook
Margaret Wise Brown's Little Fur Family
Hoffmann's The Story of Christmas
Richard Scarry's ABC

For Bridget, age 4
Eloise Wilkins' The Christmas Story
Gutmann's Nursery Songs and Lullabies
Susan Jeffers' Hansel and Gretel
Sylvia Long's Mother Goose
Aylesworth's Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Mosel's Tikki Tikki Tembo and Richard Scarry's Little ABC and About Animals (for Clara, age 3)
Eloise Wilkins' My Good Morning Book and The Provensens' The First Noel (for the Baby Boys)
the songbook Cock-a-Doodle-Doo!, illustrated by Anita Lobel (for the Big Kids)

From Grandma..,.

Winnie-the-Pooh on audio (for Bridget)
Little House in the Big Woods on audio (for us all)
Elsa Beskow's Around the Year (for Clara)
Stratemeyer's The Minute Boys of Bunker Hill and The Minute Boys of Lexington (for Vincent)
Farjeon's Heroes and Heroines (for Gianna)
Elpel's Botany in a Day (for me!)
Kahl's The Duchess Bakes a Cake (for Cate)
Jim Arknosky's Wild World (for Xavier)

And other goodies!

O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi, illustrated by Lynch (from a friend who knows we love classic tales beautifully illustrated)
Charles Dickens' Christmas Stories (from a friend who knows I never mind a book straight from the thrift shop!)
Nature Anatomy (for my boys from their aunt)
...and some more Little House picture books and a lovely hardcover Douay-Rheims (picked up for my husband from the thrift store!)

And just before Christmas, this sweet package arrived in the mail from dear Kimberlee--she said she saw the books at her local used bookshop and thought of us...

I love that people see vintage Italian texts and sweet baby board books and think of our family! :) It even came wrapped in tissue paper and colored string, which my girls thought was so charming and tried to duplicate in their own wrapping this year.

And now to find homes for all of them...  Thankfully my husband gave me bookshelves for Christmas!

So what were your favorite books to give and receive this year?  Is your home as full of Christmas book readers as mine is?  Are you plotting out your 2016 reading plans?  I'm up for a little all-things-books chat if you are! :)


  1. Just LOVELY, Celeste! I put some on my wishlist to remember. Just so you know, I started my own box like yours! Such a fabulous idea. I also add toys or clothing that I find onsale for baby showers etc.

    I gave my hubby Severe Mercy for Christmas and he also received The Wright Brothers by David McCullough.

    Oldest wanted a Linda Craig Horse Mystery, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, and I got her Scout: The Secret of the Swamp by Piet Prins

    Second oldest: The Green Ember and Andrew Henry's Meadow

    Third: Two Arnold Lobel readers...Grasshopper and Owl titles

    Fourth: The Complete Brambly Hedge...this is BEAUTIFUL! Big, gorgeous illustrations!

    Fifth: I Will be You and You Will be Me by Ruth Krass

    Sixth: The Little Train by Lois Lenski

    I bought my sister two books she wanted:
    Basrayatha: The Story of a City
    Khudayyir, Muhammad and A Sky So Close: A Novel
    Khedairi, Betool

    My brother I got: Mississippi Solo and his wife, Little Book Stop of Big Stone Gap

    My mom Own Your Life and my Dad Still My Utmost for His Highest

    My nieces and nephews, Weslandia, Story of Ping, and The Seven Silly Eaters


    1. Oh and an watercolor art book for my other sister!

    2. Ahh, my youngest got The Little Train too. =)

    3. I love the Lois Lenski "Little" books! They are such a treat. And do you know--we don't have The Complete Brambly Hedge yet? We have checked them out from the library, but I haven't found a copy of our own yet. I think I'll put that on Cate's list for her birthday because she's right at the age to adore it.

      Such a wonderful list, Amy! How fun!

  2. On and my friend, I got Doomsday by Connie Willis :)

    1. Lots of spelling errors as I'm trying to type too fast! SORRY! :P

  3. Lots of friends have recommended the book Botany in a Day to us. I have looked through it, but am particularly interested in the kids book written by the same author: Shanleya's Quest, which by appearances seems to be a living book about plant identification by families. I would love to know how yall like Botany in a Day, and if you buy the cards for games and such! I know nothing about plant identification- but want to!

    1. I have heard about that book, Katie, but for some reason I have a fuzzy memory that there's a New Age-ish element to it? I can't remember where I read that, so please don't take my word for it and let that turn you off on its own, but that's why I haven't yet picked it up. I'll have to give it a closer look and see if it's something useful for CM families. I wish I could preview it, but our library doesn't carry it.

      I have, though, previewed Botany in a Day, and am really excited to jump in! Obviously it's for me, not my kids, but I'm hoping to pull them along for the ride as I share what I've learned with them. :)

  4. The old Italian text looks good!

    1. It does! Gianna dug in right away to see if she could already do some translations, and she could! Once I give it a closer look I'll share about it here. :)

  5. Wow, this post is just lovely! I always enjoy seeing the wonderful used books you find, Celeste - you really seem to have a knack for finding the most beautiful and worthy ones.

    I must say though, that I am glad your husband gave you bookshelves for Christmas! I'm sure you needed them. :)

    1. Thanks, Laura Jeanne! I'm very thankful for really good book-hunting luck! And yes, my poor long-suffering husband...I think he agrees to more bookshelves because otherwise we'd be drowning in stacks. He is so accommodating of my crazy bookish habit! :)

  6. So, so many of these we own and love. I just kept nodding and smiling through this post!

    I have never heard of Botany in a Day and we have Farjeon's Kings and Queens and read it along with Our Island Story. We all LOVE it, and even have the audio version as well because the lady who reads it aloud is wonderful.

    I also have a hidden book stash. I "shop" it for Easter, Christmas, birthdays, and even times when we need a special treat. Too bad I do not have a hidden bookshelf stash. Instead we periodically visit Ikea. As in, when my poor husband cannot take another pile of books laying about. =) (shh, I just think of those piles as decor.)

    1. Yes, I told my mom about Kings and Queens too--we don't have it, so I'm hoping she'll gift that one next time around. ;) Those books are just perfect for Gianna. She loves verse and loves humorous writing, and of course, thanks to OIS, she "gets" the history references. Such fun.

      Isn't the hidden bookshelf a life saver? But a hidden bookshelf stash? I like the way you think! ;)

  7. As always, I'm swooning here looking at your beautiful book finds, Celeste. We had a wonderfully bookish Christmas, too. My boys' faves included SD Smith's Green Ember and Black Star of Kingston and The Tales of King Arthur books by Hudson Talbott for my youngest.

    1. Oo, I hadn't heard about The Tales of King Arthur books, Dawn! The illustrations look particularly lovely.

    2. We hadn't either until earlier this year when Lucas discovered them at the library. After he had me check them out for the fifth time or so I realized what a great gift they would make for him:).

      He also got the latest Jim Arnosky book - Frozen Wild. I noticed one of your boys got an Arnosky, too:).

  8. Have you tried the Little House on the Prairie cd in your vehicle yet? We got that one and Little House in the Big Woods for Christmas. I can only get Little House in the Big Woods to play on a computer and was curious if others had the same issue of not being able to play it in a vehicle.

    1. Not yet, but I *think* it should work because our van's CD player says it's mp3-friendly. (Our minivan doesn't have a CD player, so definitely can't play it there. ;)) I do know that I saw reviews about the Swallows and Amazons audiobook I purchased a few months ago from people saying they weren't able to play it in their cars.

  9. So many familiar favorite books in your gifting stacks! Frances, Pyle, Beskow, Greenaway...I didn't know the Four Children was a stand alone story book; we have it in a Lear collection and it has always been one of my grown kids' favorite. They actually made a home movie years ago that's rather a spoof of the story. Quirky indeed. Also didn't know about Farjeon's books of poetry, though we have long loved The Little Bookroom. What a great find to get a Douay-Rheims at the thrift shop! You never know what treasures you'll find there.
    We are delighted to hear you are enjoying the Italian books. :-)

    1. These books by Farjeon are really delightful, especially if you've done a good bit of history and can get the inside jokes (like many homeschooled kids have!). Gianna has been choosing to do many of her written narrations in verse this year, and these are in the style she often writes in, so she was absolutely tickled to get this book! It has been such fun for her to read and has her itching to make her own narrations even better, so a win all-around. ;) I have heard her Kings and Queens is even better.

  10. I love looking at your books for inspiration and especially enjoy when I see titles from our shelves among your piles! My children got D'Aulaire's Book of Trolls for Christmas this year too!

    1. Isn't it fun to meet kindred booklovers? :) We love the D'Aulaires' collections--we now have their book of Norse myths, and Greek myths, and trolls, and they're all so good!

  11. Always fun to get good book ideas from fellow good-book lovers :-)
    Thanks for some new ideas. I really like the looks of those "Minute Boys" books!
    We also have "Diary of an Early American Boy", d'Aulaire's "Trolls" (although it is quite beat up, but I found it cheap and wanted to see if it was any good), and we have "A Bargain for Frances". We have a few Frances books. They are good for building those reading muscles :-)

  12. Oh, actually I should say instead of the "Trolls" book it is "The Terrible Troll-Bird" by d'Aulaire.

    1. My 6yo new reader really likes the Frances books. :)

      We don't own The Terrible Troll-Bird but have gotten it from the library. I feel like everything the d'Aulaires wrote is golden. :)

      I bet Royal would enjoy the Minute books. They are fun for battle-loving boys!