Thursday, June 29, 2017

What We're Reading :: June

Lots happening on the reading front here!  Summer reading is in full swing (including one newly-fluent reader and two in the learning-to-read stage), boxes of books coming in the mail for next school year, and Vincent celebrated a birthday so we have birthday books to share as well.

Connie Willis' Passage (just finished, it was only so-so as opposed to her other fabulous books)
Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov (halfway through for a local book club)
Megan Hoyt's A Touch of the Infinite (I'll be bringing this with me to the hospital)
Charlotte Mason's School Education, aka Volume 3 (with my local study group)
And just finished Volume 2 with my online study group!  We'll be moving on to Volume 5 next. :)

Vincent, age newly-11
He is enjoying the stack he got for his birthday last week:

Spalding's two-book series: The Marks of the Bear Claws and The Race for Copper Island
Morpurgo's Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (linked to the paperback, but I bought them used hardcover and the larger format is lovely!)
Lainier and Wyeth's The Boy's King Arthur

Gianna, age 10
The long lazy days of summer have meant she is tearing through her free reading shelf:
Margaret Lane's Beatrix Potter: a Biography
Marguerite Henry's The Wildest Horse Race in the World and White Stallion of Lipizza
The Remarkable Rough-Riding Life of Theodore Roosevelt

Cate, age 8
Cate finally took off reading fluently a couple months ago and can now be seen with her nose in a book pretty much all the time!
Windeatt's Saint Rose of Lima and St. Catherine of Siena (on Sundays)
Caudill's The Fairchild Family series (she loves these and is re-reading)
Lang and Hague's Rainbow Fairy Book
Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the Big Kids are reading her this in the afternoons)

Xavier, age 7
Also reading quite a bit on his own, but he also just loves to page through books and be read to...
Billy and Blaze books (he loves these and uses them for reading practice)
Baum's The Wizard of Oz (the Big Kids are reading him this in the afternoons)
Malcolmson and Burton's The Song of Robin Hood (thanks to our reading it in Form I this year)

Bridget, age 5
Reading to Clara: Go, Dog Go and Hop on Pop (because they're easy enough for her to read straight through)
Reading to herself: The Little Bear Treasury (with someone's help)
The Illustrated Book of Ballet Stories (she can spend an hour paging through this!)

To the Littles
The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies (Clara's current favorite)
Dyer's Animal Crackers and Hoberman's Seven Silly Eaters (the Baby Boys' current favorites)

As a Family
Ransome's Winter Holiday (just started on audio after finishing Peter Duck a few weeks ago -- delightful!)
Pyle's Robin Hood (also on audio, just finished the epilogue today!)
Pyle's Pepper and Salt and Hawthorne's A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys (in Morning Basket)

In the Mail
First up: I made a huge order of religious books from St. Augustine Academy Press.  They are one of my very favorite publishers and there were a bunch from their collection we did not own yet, so I decided to take the plunge and buy almost their whole catalog before planning our religion studies for this coming year. I am glad I did!

Sister Philip's The Sacred Heart and Mine in Holy Communion
Most Rev. M. de Langalerie's The Month of St. Joseph
Mother Loyola's With the Church, Volume 2: the Ascension to Advent (we already own Volume 1)
Dom Camm's The Voyage of the PAX
Mother Loyola's Confession and Communion, Heavenwards, Coram Sanctissimo
Canton's A Child's Book of Warriors and A Child's Book of Saints
A Pictorial Catechism and An Alphabet of the Altar

Here's a closer look at the two on the bottom, which are really lovely.

In addition to that box, I've gotten a bunch of Amazon and used online orders:

The Holy Gosepls of St. Luke and St. John (I've been eyeing this for ages and finally bought it for our Morning Basket New Testament reading for next year)
Pope Saint Pius X and St. Athanasius (for my Year 6 students' study of modern and classical times)

Young Jesus of Nazareth and Young Mary of Nazareth (with paintings by the Masters)
Carrighar's One Day at Teton Marsh (an author Amber recommended to me)
The Last of the Mohicans (illustrations by Wyeth)
Gray Squirrel at Pacific Avenue and Skunk at Hemlock Circle (to add to our Smithsonian nature collection)
Can You Find It Outside? (I like this series for my littles)
vintage copies of Ozma of Oz and Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz (I really like the look of the hardcover Books of Wonder copies though!)
Flowers (for our growing collection of hardcover Golden Guides)
Eager's Magic by the Lake and The Time Garden (collecting his Tales of Magic series)
Goudge's The Bird in the Tree (for me!)
The Perilous Journey of the Donner Party (pre-reading this for a free read)
Castleden's The Book of Saints (I believe this is by an Anglican publisher? not sure yet)

My grandfather is selling his home and moving to a smaller place, so he has been trying to downsize. Part of that process is bringing me books he finds hiding in boxes in his garage. :)

One of My Book House volumes (I already have a few from this particular printing thanks to my grandparents' old stash!)
The Family Finds OutCherry Tree Children, and The Big Jump and Other Stories (vintage easy-to-read book from the 50s)
the Freemans' Your Wonderful World of Science
All Through Storyland
A couple hardcover Marguerite Henry books: Cinnabar and Justin Morgan Had a Horse
The Contented Little Pussy Cat
Martignoni's Every Child's Story Book
I am a Bear (a sweet oversized board book that I handed off to Drew)

...and a couple complete sets I'm not sure what I'll do with yet.

This Fabulous Century (shown in previous photo)
The Book of History (shown above -- this actually looks very promising for an adult audience!)

Keep? Sell?  What say you?

So: summer is here.  What are you reading, friends?

(All links are Amazon Affiliate links.  That means I receive from Amazon a credit for any purchase made through your click-overs.  Thanks!)


  1. Keep or sell? Hmmm...that's a hard decision. Personally, if they look like good books, I would probably keep them. They look like they would make great reference books. :) However, if space was limited and you really didn't have room for them, well then, I guess I would probably consider selling them. It's always hard for me to get rid of books though.....LOL

    I noticed some of The Wizard of Oz series. I just recently finished reading the first five books in the series. I was pre-reading them for my daughter since I hadn't read them before. I enjoyed them and I think my daughter is really going to like them as well. I bought a huge book that contained the first five books in it. And then I just recently bought the next one that contains books 6-10 in it. It was on the bargain shelf at a local bookstore! I'm looking forward to reading them.

    I just wrote about what we've been reading lately on my blog. (And there are pictures of the two big Wizard of Oz books.) For me, lots of children's books and pre-reading for Year 4. But I did manage to finish a couple of other fiction books that were my own reading. And I'm slowly working my way through "When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers" by Marcellino D’Ambrosio. I'm reading some of the writings of the Church Fathers as I read this book.

    I didn't list A Tale of Two Cities or The Brother's Karamazov in my post though because I've stalled on both books and haven't read from them in awhile. A Tale of Two Cities is one my husband and I are both reading, but he hasn't listened to the audio in awhile so I'm not moving on in my reading of it until he catches up. ;) The Brother's Karamazov....I don't know why I've stalled on that one. I'm about halfway through. What are your thoughts on the book so far? I really should pick it up and try to finish reading it. Maybe once school prep is done...

    1. I am reading Brothers K with my local book club, which is helping to keep me accountable. ;) I am in Book 7 and really enjoying it so far. It took me a while to get into it, but I am usually like that with Russian novels -- it takes me a bit to orient the names, characters, etc. Once the plot picks up, I am usually swept up in the story, and this one has been no exception. Still, I am not making super-quick progress because I have been SO tired at night during my usual reading times. But I'm hoping to finish it in the next couple weeks.

      I haven't read all of the Oz series, but my kids have read a good chunk of them. They still say the first is the best, but they have enjoyed several of the others also.

      I think the Book of History set will be hard to part with, but I'm leaning toward selling the other set simply because we're only covering the modern period so often and it's a big set for just that era. We'll see! :)

    2. So it's not just me then? That it's been hard for me to really get into it? I mean, it's written well. That's for sure! But it hadn't pulled me in yet. When I left off reading, I was just about to finish Book 5. Maybe I just need to give it more time. :)

  2. St. Augustine Press is my favorite too! Did you hear they are coming out with a boy version of King of the Golden City? So excited!

    1. Ooo, I didn't know that -- thanks for the heads-up!

  3. Celeste I love your posts about what you're reading in your home! And I don't think I can help with your dilemma of keep or sell the books your grandpa passed to you! I'm doing something similar as I'm staring to pack our home to move: going through stacks of books I got from a school library, they're going to dump them and I couldn't bear that! So hard to make the decision so I headed to AO Forum and asked there what to keep or not :) It's working well! I have a question about the books you use for religious studies. My oldest son will be receiving first communion next year. Even though he goes to Sunday school during the school year, I'd like to do some work with him at home because he's so interested in that! Any book suggestions? Thanks in advance an thanks for sharing this awesome feast!

    1. I have our First Communion suggestions in a blog post I wrote when Gianna and Vincent were small:

      I will be preparing two to receive First Communion this year using many of the same resources. These two have already heard King of the Golden City and aren't quite ready for Halpin's Retreats, so we'll be focusing on Mother Mary Loyola's First Communion, Montessori's The Mass Explained, and the catechism.

  4. I wanted to follow up to ask what books from St. Augustine Press you use for each age/grade. Praying for you as your big day arrives :)

    1. Hi Katie! I have been just choosing as we go along, sometimes based on personality, sometimes on topic. I think most of those books have a lot of crossover appeal and can be used at a variety of ages, which is why I think they're great for Morning Basket -- they make good family reads. So I wouldn't necessarily assign them to particular grades. They are quite versatile! I do think that her With the Church books are really better for high school and adults. But the others I have read so far are good for mid elementary and up when read aloud.

  5. Hi Celeste! I hope it's okay to post a personal question here for you. We are Catholic, and I am going all in with Ambleside this year (starting in Year 1 with my newly 7 y/o and almost 6 y/o together). Do you have a good substitution for Trial and Triumph? Thanks for your advice! I thought you'd be the best one to ask!

    1. Hi Kelly! I like to substitute saints' lives for Trial and Triumph. We have used a variety of books for that: Our Island Saints, Heroes of God's Church, books from the Vision series that tie into the historical period, Lang's Saints and Heroes, etc. For Year 1, Our Island Saints is a good choice because it focuses on British saints and starts at roughly the same time period as Our Island Story does. It's free online at Baldwin and and written by Amy Steedman. You can also get a print copy here:

      Hope that helps! :)

  6. Thank you so much, Celeste! This helps a lot! Do you happen to have a place where you post all your Catholic substitutions/alterations to AO?

    1. Hi Kelly! I don't have them organized all in one place, though I probably should at some point! Right now, I have each year's substitutions under my write-up of our school plans for that year. For now, you can find those indexed here:

    2. Thank you so much for all of this wonderful information! What a great resource! Thanks for sharing!