I didn't "get into" reading until about 5th grade.

My 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Stephanopolous, challenged us to read 50 novels that year.  It wasn't so much a challenge, as it was an assignment...and being the type of student that I was (my husband would refer to it as brown-nosing) I was 100% on board!  I had my 25 read and reported by Christmas and I was on my way to finishing before April!

We didn't have a great library and my mom didn't have a car at home.  Mostly I relied on my teacher bringing in boxes of books or borrowing from whomever would share.  I read all sorts of genres that year...basically whatever would contribute to the challenge and get me the next star.

The thing is, I was hooked...I discovered that reading was an was a safe place away from talk of heart surgeries and blocked out arguments and books I forgot that we couldn't afford the "nice" stuff or that my mom sewed most of my clothes...

And though it began as an escape, it morphed into a passion and love for the written word.  I began to journal too...when "closed captioning" became a thing, I turned it on so that I could READ the movie, as well as watch it...

I loved where words took me...I lived with the characters of my stories...I hurt and triumphed with them...

I'm mostly drawn to historical fiction...probably because it's safely in the past already...I suppose if I really want to analyze it...but, I do love the different eras, the eloquence of the language of the time...

Reading is definitely something that takes "time", and for some it could be considered just a luxury...during certain seasons of life, I would consider it the the same time, it's a NEED for me.  It's a way to calm my soul, to force myself to slow down a bit when life feels like a cyclone ripping around me. It's my healthy way to release anxiety and remember that life isn't the sum of my circumstances or my's also a reward for a job well done, a time to relax and enjoy!

With this in mind, I wanted to share a few favorite reads...and also see if anyone else has some recommendations. If you haven't been on, I highly recommend the site!

So here is a short list of recent (and not so recent) reads that left an impression! If you check out my Instagram Profile and click on the instastory highlight BOOK NOOK you'll get a little info on some of these! (I've linked some titles to amazon and some to my goodreads reviews if you are interested)

Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
The Nightengale by Kristin Hannah
Karolina's Twins by Ronald Balson
Where the Wind Leads by Vinh Chung
Before we were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Sisters First by Jenna & Barbara Bush
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers
Before We were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meisner
You can do this by Tricia Lott Williford

Young Adult Reads:

Elementary Student Reads:

It all starts with Narnia! It's a classic, I know.  If you want to start at the beginning, go to Magician's Nephew, but my favorite is this one. You will find courage, you will cry, you will be exhilarated.  It's a worthy read!

This tends to be a popular read aloud by teachers.  So you may have already heard of it.  If not, please do not let childhood slip by without reading this to your littles. I guarantee you all will cry! 

I didn't actually read The Trumpet of the Swan aloud to my girls, but rather, we listened to it in the car whenever we drove somewhere.  The author, E.B.White, has a grandfatherly voice and told us the story over miles to grocery stores and errands.  Another fantastic read!

Favorite Picture books for kiddos:
Perfect for "getting ready for Spring" this picture book features something similar to Beatrix Potter's tale of Peter Rabbit, but without the death of Father Bunny.

I love Mo Willem books...they keep the adults entertained with the subtle sarcasm and witty humor, while still being wonderfully appropriate for little ears!

An ALL TIME favorite is The Gruffalo.  If you have not read this and in turn, seen the little video, PLEASE RUN TO THE LIBRARY and get it!  I made felt pieces for this story for my youngest, and made an old time flannel board for her to "retell" the story over and over.  It's wonderful!

I love ALL the Bonny Becker bear books.  You MUST do voices when reading these.  Your older children will love them too!

This one may be for a bit older elementary but it's hilarious!  Definitely a fun read aloud on a Saturday or before bed :) 

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