What We’ve Been Reading

The following is by editor Kara Fleck.

With all of our talk about reading this week, I thought it might be fun to share with you what books my kids and I have been enjoying. Now that the holidays are over, we’ve savoring the slower pace of evenings and weekends.  It is the time of year for cocoa, cookies, and curling up beside the fireplace with a few good books.

Our favorites so far this winter …

Family Favorites

Cooking Together

I’m not sure that Cooking Fun: 121 Simple Recipes to Make with Kidshas made it back to the bookshelf for months. This book has been living on our kitchen counter.  Rae is a contributor to Simple Kids, and if you’ve been reading for long, then you know that my oldest daughter is an especially big fans of her books.

Cooking together is a favorite family activity and lately we’ve been making Rae’s snickerdoodles, sponge cake, pancakes, and I do believe that rice pudding may have to be on the menu sometime this weekend.  Rae has recipes for all seasons, but we’ve been focusing on comfort foods and warmth during these Winter months and her recipes have been perfect.


Our whole family has been enjoying the Little House on the Prairie series.  We’re using these books as our bedtime reading with my oldest. Eyes were wide when Laura, Mary, Baby Carrie, Ma, and Pa were in a cabin with only a sheet on the door between the family and a wolf pack. Every day Jillian tells me what a good dog Jack is and we have discussions comparing her childhood with Laura’s.

I loved the Little House series myself as a child, so I’m doubly enjoying my child learning to love the same stories.  My husband never read the books growing up, and it has been neat to watch him fall in love with them as well.


Jillian, my oldest, is also going through a nature  and animal books phase, and has been spending some time with An Egg Is Quietby Dianna Hutts Aston, pouring over the illustrations and marveling at the great variety of eggs and creature there are.  I think that A Seed is Sleepy by the same author is going on our list next.

This week, over on my personal blog, Rockin’ Granola, I shared a couple of other book titles the kids and I have been enjoying lately.

Keeping Track

Are you looking for a neat way to keep track of the books your family reads?  Jolanthe of Homeschool Creations has free printable book report forms and reading logs. A blank book or journal dedicated to keeping track of your family’s reading lists might be fun, too.

What about your family?  What are you reading right now?

Do you keep a record of what books you read? What are you reading with your kids right now? What books are you discovering, or rediscovering, together?

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

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  1. Kara, we read the first 5 LHotP books ot Noah this past fall – and my husband had never read them either! It was fun to see him get into Farmer Boy and the others.
    Aimee @ Simple Bites´s latest post: Ideas and Tips for a Winter Picnic in the Snow

  2. Oh how I love the Little house on the Prairie books!
    Hannah@CraftsAkimbo´s latest post: – Natural Living – All Year –

  3. I have a son 6 and a daughter 2 3/4 and they love the My First Little House books which are more picture book than the original books which I loved growing up. I think this way they’ll love the original books when they get older.

    We recently discovered a gem by Virginia Kahl called The Duchess Bakes a Cake. It has a great rhyming scheme and neat pictures. It was written back in the 40s but our library had it and one can buy it at Amazon.

  4. My favorite books as a child were the Little House on the Prairie books. I have debated many times whether to read them aloud to my 3 and 6-year old daughters. However, I remember how I felt when I read them for the first time and I don’t want to spoil that experience for my daughters who may want to discover them on their own. What do you think?

    We have been reading aloud some of the beautiful and engaging nonfiction animal books written by Steve Jenkins (Dogs and Cats, Move! and Sisters and Brothers). My 6-year old daughter has started reading the Magic Tree House series of books. My 8-year old son is reading the How to Train Your Dragon series. For anyone who has not looked at these books, they are really wonderful. Currently, there are eight books in the series. The ninth book is set to be published this June. You can get the first seven books in the US, but you can only get the eighth book in England. By the way, you can get a lot of books that are not published in the US from bookdepository.com and the shipping is always free.

    • Hi Stacey :-) I know in the case of my oldest, when I tried to introduce her to the Little House books a year ago, she simply wasn’t that interested. This year, we read Farmer Boy for homeschool and that led her to discovering the rest of the series. She loves them! I think that it was, as you said, a more wonderful experience for her to discover them on her own – that they are “her’s” more in that way. That has been our experience, at any rate. I know every child is different.

      You’re not the first person to recommend the How to Train Your Dragon series. We’ll have to look into those :-)

      Best Wishes!
      Kara @SimpleKids´s latest post: What We’ve Been Reading

    • We just read the LHotP wolves scene yesterday! It was intense. I debated reading this series aloud, too, as I also loved experiencing the books on my own as an older child. Ultimately, considering how my own reading of well-loved books has changed according to my current stage in life, I decided that sharing them now wouldn\’t prevent my children from forming their own relationships with the books down the line. In addition to changing perspectives, many other stories will come between, and details will be forgotten in time.

      I keep a loose record of books read on Goodreads and highlight a few favorites on my blog.

  5. Every few winters I like to pull out either Farmer Boy or The Long Winter. We’re halfway through The Long Winter and I’m amazed at how even my almost-12-year-old son is enjoying it, even though this is his third time hearing it. Plus there are lots of yummy cooking tie ins. I just finished reading A Tale Dark and Grimm, but I wouldn’t do it as a read aloud. My 9-year-old is now reading it by herself.
    Annette´s latest post: Fairy Tale Friday- The Snow Maiden

  6. I just began reading The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child by Francisco Jimenez to my 7, 10 and 12 year-olds last night. It’s an autobiography about a Mexican family who came to America. Clear and concise writing. My older two especially liked it and begged me to keep going.

    Whereas the main character in The Circuit is a boy, in Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan, the main character is a girl who comes to America from Mexico and lives a similar lifestyle. Her parents are migrant fruit and vegetable pickers.

    Both books show how hard some children had to work in previous generations and have spurred numerous conversations in our family, especially conversations about gratitude.
    Suzita @ playfightrepeat.com´s latest post: Spanish Immersion in Costa Rica- Unexpected Highpoints for My Kids

  7. Natalie (age 8) is loving “The World According to Humphrey” series – actually we are all enjoying them since she is reading them aloud to us. What a treat!

    Delaney (age 6) is all about animals right now. She has been enjoying “Why Do Dogs Bark?” and “Why Do Cats Meow?” They are done in a q&a format and not too difficult.

    For read-aloud time, we have been reading through the American Girl Kirsten series. Little House on the Prairie books are next – can’t wait!
    Amy@Let’s Explore´s latest post: Teacup Bird Feeders

  8. Our current longer fiction read is The Capture, which is the first Guardians of Ga’hoole book. We picked it up because our 5-year-old saw trailers for the movie and asked to see it in the theater. Both my husband and I are “Read the book before seeing the movie” people, so we’re reading the book first. :) It’s been a great book for him. We’ve been reading adventurous classics lately (like Alice and Wonderland and Peter Pan) so this follows right along.

    For non-fiction we’ve been reading a lot of the “Let’s Read and Find Out” books with science topics. They answer the daily “why???” questions that pop up around here and I love being able to say, “let’s find the answer together” instead of just telling him.
    Erin´s latest post: Our Education

  9. I am reading all of the books I “should have” as a child in the last few years. I am loving the LHOTP books and Anne of Green Gables and recently just started reading George MacDonald’s “The Little Princess” formerly called “The Wise Woman”. It is AMAZING!!! Love it.

    But enough about me. The boys (3yr old twins) and I are enjoying our library check outs although there has not been a stand out among the bunch this time. I guess I will check out the comments here for some good recommendations.
    becky@oursweetpeas´s latest post: A Glimpse

  10. We are reading Strawberry Girl. I love gleaning selections from Sonlight’s reading lists. They have led me to so many gems that I otherwise would never have heard of! Loved this post!

    • We use Sonlight & just read Strawberry Girl this fall as part of the 2nd grade program. I wasn’t sure at first if my daughter would like it, but she ended up loving it and has even reread the book on her own. I absolutely agree with you that Sonlight has brought many books to us that I would have otherwise overlooked.

  11. We live near Walnut Grove and my husband and daughters act in the Wilder Pageant every summer, so Little House is a big part of life here. :) We just finished “The Long Winter” and it was a good reminder that although this winter is VERY bad in MN we are pretty lucky!

    I love Rae’s books too and really enjoy that cookbook. All of her books are fabulous!

    As for reading logs, we’ve tried in the past but we all read so many books at such a rate that it never worked out. If I were more organized, I’d keep the receipts the library gives us and use those as a log. As it is, I just count our books read as “a lot” and leave it at that.
    Magic and Mayhem´s latest post: Science Nifties!

  12. Great list! We are big fans of the little house series too (I blogged about it here http://95acresofsky.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/little-house/), it just has us enchanted. I use goodreads to keep track of our books, makes me feel like we’ve achieved a lot when I look over our list!

  13. My personal opinion is that it never “ruins” the discovery of a book by reading it out loud. In fact, I think it helps provide the desire in a child to experience that book and subsequently others by first hearing how exciting the stories can be. Being read aloud to never stopped me or my children from then reading that same story on their own. In fact, if you have a reluctant reader, reading aloud is the perfect way to get them hooked on books.
    We are in the process of reading the Little House series ourselves right now. (We just finished By the Shores of Silver Lake.) Each time, my seven-year-old then reads the book on her own. Sometimes she reads ahead in the book we are reading aloud, but that has never stopped her from clamoring for more read-aloud time.

  14. Allie May says:

    I don’t have kids yet, but as a voracious reader myself, I’m already thinking of ways to foster this love in my own children. One series I especially loved is The Boxcar Children. The four kids (2 boys and 2 girls) go on all sorts of adventures together, solving mysteries and working together along the way. I think it’s a very positive role model, and I remember spending many summer afternoons reanacting various parts in my backyard. Anything that encourages imaginative play gets a star in my book–it seems like all kids do these days is play video games! The brothers and sisters get along well in these books too, looking out for each other and being self-sufficient.

    I also enjoyed Anne of Green Gables…my copy finally fell into pieces last year!

  15. Jennifer Smith says:

    reading is such a fun thing to do with kids isn’t it? I guess i would love to share and introduce to them books about fantasies, educational books, and other books that seeks to enhance their imagination..
    Jennifer Smith´s latest post: The Secret to a Successful Outdoor Camping Activity


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