What We Read Aloud in 2008

We're always looking for good read-aloud suggestions.  Thinking that you might be, too, I thought a post about our last year's read-alouds and what we thought of them might be helpful.

Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends was a re-read for us, but the principles are so good we went through it again.

Also a re-read. There is a limited number of good read-alouds that correspond with the study of ancient history, and I am not opposed to revisiting the better ones every four years or so. Vinegar Boy is the story of a young orphan boy whose task it is to offer the crucified men vinegar as they hang dying. His encounter with Christ on the cross changes his life.

We rented the 1930's version of Captain's Courageous several years ago and so loved the story of the boy spoiled rotten who learns to live and love the simple life of a fisherman on the coast of New England. The book was more difficult- the colloquialisms abounding in its dialog made it a tricky read-aloud. Wonderful fiction for an older child, particularly a boy, to read through on his own.

Great little series about an Australian man who spends several years in Africa as a jungle doctor. All of my ages enjoyed the stories of peril and adventure, as well as his clear presentation of the Gospel.

The second in the Jungle Doctor series.

We began our study of the Middle Ages in September and I was looking particularly forward to reading Men of Iron because I had heard so many good things about it. We weren't disappointed! The story's hero has to overcome multiple obstacles, including his own immaturity and unpolished character, but the end is a triumph that thoroughly sucked even my skeptical 13-year-old right in!

Our older boys have had to make some tough decisions this year because their water polo club has tournaments on Sundays. I pulled out Chariots of Fire for a movie night, knowing that Eric Liddell's example of walking away from his most important race in the 1922 Olympics was a poignant one. My husband began reading his biography to us after dinner and our admiration for this faithful man of God grew even more.

"Father" is quite the character. I needed to edit a few bits and pieces, but overall Life With Father made us laugh out loud and gave us all a greater appreciation for our very even-keeled dads.

I threw out a few suggestions for read-alouds set in the Middle Ages, but when I mentioned Shadow Spinner, everyone begged for it. We read it four years ago when we were studying the Middle Ages during our last history cycle, but even those who remembered the story line well wanted to hear it again. It is a gem- a story of Sharahzad and the 1001 Arabian Nights.

Do you like quirky stories? I was raised with a wonderful older brother who read Roald Dahl and Ray Bradbury to me, so a little nuttiness in a story just seems fun. 100 Cupboards is definitely quirky, but that's the draw. Once the story's hero finds a set of knobs and their adjoining cupboard in his bedroom wall, the fun has just begun.