Books We’re Reading: January 2021

The past month, we’ve read at least a hundred children’s books and I’ve read several titles of my own. These bloomed into our favorites, ones we pored over slowly, ones we read multiple times, or discussed again afterwards. I’m told “silence is boring.” Because we often reading or listening to audiobooks, these gems were easy to spot.

1 Thank You, Miyuki by Roxane Marie Galliez, Seng Soun Ratanavanh (Illustrator)
// Buy in CO
This graceful, mindfulness story was a beautiful addition to our morning reading. It not only tells the story of a grandfather sharing meditation practice with his granddaughter, Miyuki, by simply paying attention throughout the day, it shows children how. We spent minutes on each page, reviewing the whimsical imagery, practicing meditation alongside the main character.

2 Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox by Susan Blackaby,
Illustrated by Carmen Segovia // Buy in CO
What happens when groundhogs wake too early? Brownie definitely sees her shadow, then proceeds to glide through fun, snowy activities with a hungry fox in tow. When will he eat her? Adorable illustrations make this one of our winter favorites, and we’ve read this three years in a row, along with its newer companion (ruining the end a bit, sorry): Brownie Groundhog and the Wintry Surprise.

3 XO, OX: A Love Story by Adam Rex, Illustrated by Scott Campbell // Buy in CO
Oh, man, was this one funny! When Ox writes love letters to Gazelle, a beautiful superstar, he receives form letters in return. Twice. But he still loves her! So he shares more, and more, and the responses grow funnier each round. Gazelle is clear she would never love a stocky, stinky ox. So… why are they writing? And how will it end?

4 Zombies vs Turtles, The S.Q.U.I.D. Squad #2 by Megan Miller // Buy in CO
Wilder received this book for Christmas and I thought little of it. That’s not true. What I actually thought was, “Oh great, more Minecraft!” However, he’s reading this one on his own – occasionally spelling out words to me – and thinks it’s interesting and funny enough to muddle through. I am told, however, the Greta “talks too much.” Fair warning for those with emerging readers. But see his bookmark? He’s dedicated.

5 Down by the River by Andrew Weiner, Illustrated by April Chu // Buy in CO
A sweet inter-generational story about a boy fishing with his mother and grandfather in the family spot. Of course, it’s not exactly fishing season, but we needed something to look forward to. Because we fish weekly, starting in early spring, this seemed like a decent book to try. What I didn’t realize was that all the flies are illustrated on the inside front and back covers, which led to poring over the book a second time, comparing flies and discussing what types we need for fishing here.

6 Raising Free People by Akilah S. Richards // Buy in CO
I’ve followed Akilah’s podcast, Fare of the Free Child, for four years now. I tend to stockpile episodes and listen to them in a row while on long hikes. It’s a grounding of sorts. Of course I am not her primary audience, but I love her voice and her perspective on unschooling as freedom work, in all the ways. I’ve taken her online course (twice!), From Schoolish to Self-Directed by becoming a patreon – well worth the monthly donations. I credit this woman’s work with my view of unschooling as freedom. It’s been life-giving to shift perspective in this foundational way, even after years of nature-based, child-led homeschooling and gentle parenting. This isn’t a light read, btw. It’s hard-won knowledge, grounded in Ms. Richards’ years of liberation study, and each chapter is thick with personal stories and learned experience. I used lotsa highlighter. Even if you don’t homeschool but you’re curious about how tightly bound personal freedom is with education, I highly recommend this book.

The links provided show where to buy the work, no matter where you live. However, please consider supporting independent bookstores. If you live in Colorado, these stores are my favorites:

I also support buying used whenever possible. Online, try

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