I love reading books meant for all ages. Any book with stars by it is one I'd consider reading again in the future (or would consider having my kids read in the future) so presumably you (or your kids) might like it too. If you've read (or wondered about) any of these books feel free to comment -- I'd love to chat with you... Oh and if you love a book I don't (or vice versa), we can still be friends.
Mary Poppins, P.L. Tavers
After watching "Saving Mr. Banks" I was inspired to read this novel. If you like Disney's version of Mary Poppins, avoid reading this novel at all cost. Mary Poppins stares at her own reflection much of the time and snaps at the children the rest of the time. One chapter is very creepy and another has a strong New Age message: "Bird and beast and stone and star -- we are all one, all one ---". I strongly do not recommend.
***Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project, Jack Mayer***
The true inspirational story of Irena Sendler (a Polish Catholic) who saved over 2,500 Jewish children during WWII in Poland. This novel tells Irena's story and tells of the highschool students who brought her story to light. A few swear words.
The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
This novel tells the story of a butler who strives for greatness and dignity in all that he does. Stevens reflects on his life of service while taking a roadtrip to meet an old co-worker. A bit of a slow read for me.
Below Stairs, Margaret Powell
This memoir is the inspiration for the tv show Downton Abbey. Margaret retells her experiences in household service and her ongoing journey to better her lot in life. Some innuendos.
Sweet Sanctuary, Kim Vogel Sawyer
Lydia is a single parent who is desperate to keep her son safe from his drug addicted father. Lydia's old friend, Micah, becomes a source of encouragement and help. Themes include: WWII immigrants, substance abuse and doing what's right.
Alone, Yet Not Alone, Tracy Leininger Craven
Check out my review here
Through the Deep Waters, Kim Vogel Sawyer
Dinah is the daughter of a prostitute who is trying to make a new life for herself. She wrestles with insecurities and wondering whether God (or anyone) could truly love her. Themes include: jealousy, God's unconditional love and judging others.
A Promise Kept, Robin Lee Hatcher
This novel tells the story of Allison who learn about her great aunt Emma's life in the 1920s and 1930s through a collection of journals. Themes include: secrets, divorce and unanswered prayers.
The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
This novel tells of the relationship between Lily and her African American housekeeper as well as between Lily and her abusive father. Themes include: abandonment, looking for belonging and racism. A made-up Catholic inspired "religion" is paramount throughout the novel which made the novel less enjoyable in my opinion.
What Once Was Lost, Kim Vogel Sawyer
Christina runs the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor. An unexplained fire displaces Christina and all the residents -- including Tommy a young blind boy. Themes include: secrets, the judgement of others and being saved by Grace.
Gone-Away Lake, Elizabeth Enright
This novel tells the story of two young cousins who find a near ghost town of summer houses and two elderly residents. Julian and Portia spend their summer learning about the past and exploring the area. Some talk of ghosts and witches. Written in 1957. Aimed at pre-teens, but a bit long-winded.
Persecuted, Robin Parrish
This novel is a political thriller about religious "equality". Popular evangelist, John Luther, is accused of murder to silence him and further a political agenda. Themes in this novel include: standing up for what's right, redemption and betrayal.
The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd
Sarah and Handful, the slave given to Sarah on her 11th birthday, tell their stories of living in the south during the early 1800's. Themes include: freedom, slavery and relationships. Inspired by a true story of two sisters who battled for racial and gender equality. Some language.
Echoes of Mercy, Kim Vogel Sawyer
This Christian novel is set during the 1900s and tells the story of Caroline -- who is sent undercover to work at a chocolate factory to solve the mystery of the death of the former investigator. Themes include: trust, secrets, poverty and child workers.
Beloved, Robin Lee Hatcher
This novel is third in the "Where the Heart Lives" series and is a little more mature than the other two. Diana's "dead" husband, Tyson, returns after a 7 year absence and claims that he has changed and would like a second chance. Themes include: forgiveness, trust and helping others.
***Sarah, Plain and Tall, Patricia MacLachlan***
This pioneer chapter book tells the story of two children whose mom died years ago and how their father tries to find a wife for himself and mother for them. Themes include: life by the sea vs life on the prairies, finding love and belonging. Aimed at Grades 2/3 and up, but a great read for any age.
Betrayal, Robin Lee Hatcher
This is a Christian pioneer novel and sequel to Belonging in the "Where the Heart Lives" series. Hugh and Julia meet unexpectedly and find that they can help each other out. Themes include: financial troubles, haunting pasts and secrets and betrayal.
***The Auschwitz Escape, Joel C. Rosenberg***
This novel tells the story of Jacob and Luc and how their lives become connected through the events of World War II. Inspired by true stories of people who were sent to the death camps and the few who were able to escape. Themes include hope and the desire to share the truth with the world.
*Belonging, Robin Lee Hatcher*
This is a Christian pioneer novel that tells of a young teacher looking for a fresh start. Felicia develops a close bond with her struggling student, Charity, and inadvertently for her father as well. Themes include: the orphan train, the judgement of others and finding a place in the world.
***Maisie Dobbs, Jacqueline Winspear***
This novel is a detective novel and Great War novel all rolled into one. Maisie is a wise and compassionate detective who is searching for the truth for a client. This search causes her to deal with her own past and to uncover some of the horrors of war.
***The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis***
This is a classic novel which I always enjoy. My kids (8 and 10) and I read it together with everyone reading their own parts out loud. Great themes for discussion: redemption, forgiveness, an allegory of Christ's death and resurrection, etc...
The Bell Bandit, Jacqueline Davies
This is book 3 of the Lemonade Ware series. Jessie and Evan are faced with their Grandma's failing health and the mystery of a missing bell. Themes include Aspergers and Alzheimers although neither one is mentioned by name. Aimed at and recommended for pre-teens.
The Truth of Me, Patricia MacLachlan
This novel tells the story of a young boy and the relationship he has with his absentee parents and his loving grandma. Aimed at pre-teens. An easy read, but some harder themes.
Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek -- Book 1, Jill Osborne
Check out my review here
Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids -- Book 2, Jill Osborne
Check out my review here
***Someone Named Eva, Joan M. Wolf***
Milada and her family face terrible trials when they are separated by the Nazi's in World War II. Milada, a young girl from Czechoslovakia, is re-trained to be the perfect German citizen. Inspired by real events. Aimed at pre-teens, but a great read for adults too.
Son, Lois Lowry
This is the fourth book in The Giver series which brings closure for the series and its characters. I was really drawn into the first part, but liked the second and third parts less. I was back on track by the ending. Aimed at teens.
The Templeton Twins Have an Idea, Ellis Weiner
This tongue in check novel will have pre-teens chuckling to themselves as they follow Abigail and John on their journey. Some sarcasm. Aimed at pre-teens.
Messenger, Lois Lowry
This is a sequel to The Giver and Gathering Blue. This novel tells the continuing story of characters introduced in the first two books. Themes include doing what's right and loyalty. Special powers are also thrown into the mix. Aimed at teens.
***Escape on the Underground Railroad, Nancy LeSourd***
This is a book in the Liberty Letters series that tied into our homeschool outcome of the Underground Railroad and Canada's part in helping to abolish slavery. Aimed at pre-teens. Recommended by Desiree (age 10) and me for any age pre-teen and up.
Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver
This sequel to Delirium was hard to get into at first. I just kept thinking do you or don't you have silverware? Half way through it picked up pace, but little inconsistencies and predictability in the novel made it frustrating. Aimed at teens.
Delirium, Lauren Oliver
This dystopian fiction tells of a world where love is considered a disease that you must be cured of. Lena is looking forward to her procedure until... (dot dot dot). There was some necessary suspension of belief, but it was an interesting read -- not as violent as other dystopian novels. Aimed at teens.
*** The Longest Ride, Nicholas Sparks ***
This novel tells the story of two couples -- one couple's story is set during World War II and the other is set in the present day. Themes include love despite differences, financial struggles, keeping secrets. Soon to be released as a movie -- I hope it's a great one!
Pie, Sarah Weeks
This novel tells the story of a young girl and her relationship with her aunt prior to her death. Themes in this mystery include a secret pie crust recipe, competition and love (in family and friendship). Aimed at pre-teens.
~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~