Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Books We're Loving

Over the years I've consciously sought out and purchased books to keep our home library diverse and have added a few new books lately that we're really enjoying.  Today I'm sharing a few books from our bookshelf that we LOVE (some are old and a few are new) in the hopes that you can find a few to add to your bookshelves as well.

Jabari Jumps  is a new addition to our bookshelf and it is SO CUTE!  Jabari has finished his swimming lessons and heads to the pool with his dad and sister to tackle the diving board.  The sweet story of overcoming fears along with the mixed media pictures (LOVE the high rises peeking out over the trees) have made this a fast favorite at our house.

I talked about  Those Shoes on my instagram story - this book GOT ME!  It is incredibly thoughtful and moving and had a couple of my kids teary eyed.  

"All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing. Though Jeremy’s grandma says they don’t have room for "want," just "need," when his old shoes fall apart at school, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes, even a thrift-shop pair that are much too small. But sore feet aren’t much fun, and Jeremy soon sees that the things he has — warm boots, a loving grandma, and the chance to help a friend — are worth more than the things he wants."

Fry Bread  is one of my favorite books right now.  The illustrations are lovely and the way it's written is simple and meaningful.

The book talks about "fry bread" and what it means to the Native American culture.   I'd recommend reading the Author's Note first because it contains SO MUCH great information and detail about each page. 

For example, on the Fry Bread is Food page the notes talk about how "the beautiful dish held by the grandmother is modeled after a bowl made by Afton Quall, a 1969 graduate of Wewoka High School in Oklahoma.  Wewoka, where my mother's family has lived for generations, is the home of the Seminole Natin of Oklahoma.  Afton, who now lives in Arkahsas, made this bowl with poplar wood, milliput (a black putty that hardens when it dries), and dowel rods.  This bowl was seatured in the collection of the Seminole Nation Museum, which promotes artisans and craftspeople from the area."

And that's only about 1/3 of it for that page.  The story itself is great for younger kids, but there is so much more for older kids.  I read through the author's notes first so I could relay some of the info and point things out as Griffin and I read the book.  

I picked up the  30 Stories for Boys with God-Sized Dreams and  30 Stories for Girls with God-Sized Dreams books a few weeks ago and we have all been LOVING THEM! 

The books detail the lives and accomplishments of 30 various people from all different periods of history framed from a Biblical perspective.

Each story has a prayer at the end making them perfect bedtime or mealtime reading.

I love that there are biographies of people in sports, science, business, etc. and that the stories were short but still super informative.

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas  was a book I picked up a while ago and it is so much fun!  It's a retelling of Goldilocks and the three bears but with a lunar new year twist.  The story is funny and the characters are lovable.

This book also has a great Author's Note section with info on Chinese New Year.

We ADORE this series of books and  Ada Twist is no exception.  This has been on our shelf for a couple of years and we love it so much!

"Inspired by real-life makers Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, this beloved #1 bestseller champions STEM, girl power and women scientists in a rollicking celebration of curiosity, the power perseverance, and the importance of asking “Why?” "

I Had A Favorite Dress  is a bedtime favorite around here - the story is creative and the illustrations are whimsical.  The sweet main character outgrows her favorite dress and rather than getting rid of it she transforms it into a shirt, a tank top, a headband, etc.

Another Chinese New Year favorite is  Ruby's Chinese New Year.  While it really doesn't provide a lot of info about the new year it does introduce the animals of the zodiac and the book is beautiful.

Sofia Valdez, Future Prez  is a new addition and it is SO GREAT!!!  Sofia feels like her voice is small but she uses it anyway when she sees a problem and big things happen.  The illustrations are detailed and fun and I've always been a sucker for a good rhyming book.

A Bike Like Sergio's was another tear-jerker.  Ruben's family doesn't have a lot of money (in fact there's a page where you see his mom making a grocery list, counting her money and then crossing things off) but all he wants is a bike like Sergio's.  He finds what he thinks is a $1 bill but it turns out to be a $100 bill and he's faced with a dilemma because it's enough money to buy the bike...

... he ends up returning the money to the lady who lost it and I loved that the book ended with doing the right thing being the reward.  I feel like sometimes kids expect to be rewarded for doing the right thing (i.e. the lady buys him the bike or his parents surprise him with it, etc.) but doing the right thing is the reward. 

HIGHLY recommend this one!  (I purchased a few extra copies of this book as well as these shoes for our school library and classroom libraries)

I'm a BIG Katherine Johnson fan for lots of reasons and while my kids have so enjoyed this book I'm going to bring it up to my classroom for my middle schoolers in August.  I have several logic games, puzzles, etc. for them to use if/when they have extra time and I think this will be a great addition to that collection.

I've mentioned God's Very Good Idea a few times before but it is worth mentioning again because it's AMAZING!!!

The book starts outlining God's very good idea being a world FULL of different people doing different things...

... enter sin...

... and then Jesus...

It's SUCH A GREAT ONE - I really can't recommend enough.

Next up -  The Power of Her Pen is PACKED full of great info.  It's probably not great for younger kids (it's less of a story, more of a biography) but for my kids ages it's wonderful.  The book details the life of Ethel Payne who was a journalist who covered stories in Japan during WWII as well as  the White House briefing room where she was the only black female journalist.

I LOVE mixed media illustrations so much!

The Oldest Student  tells the true story of Mary Anne Walker who was born into slavery, freed at 15 and learned to read at 116!  ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN, Y'ALL!!!

It was SUCH a great read and we all really enjoyed this book.

Magnus O'Meere Mind Engineer is PERFECT for those creative, engineer, inventor kids in your life :)  I have a few of those and we LOVED this book!  It highlights lots of great "mind pioneers" and fosters creativity, engineering, imagination, etc.  

As far as non-picture books go... Luke and I have been working through a stack that was recommended by teacher friends for late-elementary and middle school kids.  I'll keep you posted on what he and I think after we work through them.

I hope that today's post has been helpful and that you've found a book or two to add to your library or consider adding to your school's library. 

PS - this post contained affiliate links... thank you so much for supporting my blog and my family's continued support of organizations that are working toward building bridges within our communities.   All commissions from today's post will be donated to  Booktrust - an organization dedicated to providing books for kids in Title 1 schools to "purchase" and take home.


  1. I love your books for kids posts!! Thank you for sharing!!

    1. You're so welcome! Thanks for reading and following along, Genelle!

  2. What a wonderful, thoughtful and diverse compilation of books which has given me more than a few ideas...thank you!

  3. I teach third Grade. One of my favorite read alouds is Escape from the Tower of London, The Ravenmaster's Secret. It is an amazing book (Historical Fiction) It leaves me learning, researching and interested in the Tower of London. (On my bucket list)

    1. OOOH! Sounds so good! Thanks for the recommendation, Patti!

  4. What an awesome selection of books! Several of these are going in my amazon cart! Thanks so much for sharing these, Andrea!

  5. Exciting! My little one just turned 2 and I love all your book posts. I've been trying to get new ones for each season. Where do you store all your books when they're not on display? Just curious!

    1. We store them in our attic with the seasonal decor :)

  6. I LOVE these posts. So helpful to see a whole lot of the inside before buying! They all look so good.

    1. YES! And a lot of the time if you search the book on Youtube you can watch someone read it aloud and decide if you like it.

  7. I love opening the library page and requesting every single book you recommend! A few of our recent favorites:
    Going Down Home with Daddy
    Last Stop on Market Street
    When God Made You
    She Persisted

    1. We have all of these except for Going Down Home with Daddy! i'll have to check that one out - thanks so much, Melissa!

  8. I have one for you to add to that list! The Little Red Fort, by Brenda Maier, illustrated by Sonia Sanchez. It's written in the style of The Little Red Hen, but the twist is instead of hens or baking, it's about a curious and determined little girl who finds some wood and wants to build a fort. The characters she asks to help are her three older brothers, whose first response is telling her, in typical brotherly fashion, that she doesn't know HOW to build anything. The book little girl definitely doesn't conform to that mold ("Fine", she sniffs, "then I'll learn.") Although her brothers continue to be uncooperative, all of the adults are very supportive, which is a lovely message. Beautiful illustrations, wonderful writing, sweet ending as well. Nice twist on a well-known tale, as well as sensitively done with a Latino family as the centerpiece. On a more personal note: I am the oldest of five, my sister is the youngest in our family. She and I grew up with three brothers, so I can tell you from experience that she and the illustrator just NAIL that brother/sister dynamic in this book. LOL. It became a favorite almost from the minute I put it on my Kindle, not just because of all the things I mentioned above, but for the childhood memories it brought back. It is such a good book. I can't recommend it enough.

  9. I immediately ordered Home Front when you recommended it a couple days ago. So glad you did!! It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. I only cry about once a year, but I sobbed twice while reading it.

    1. YES!!! did you sob when she was having to leave her kids? I UGLY CRIED!

  10. You and Luke should check out Bud, not Buddy too. It has a powerful message and an interesting peak into race relations during the Great Depression.

  11. You have so many great books on here! I still read picture books with my boys; even if they are in middle and high school. In fact you mentioned a few here I'm adding to our list for our upcoming school year.


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