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We love to read together, but Trying to keep up with what my kids are reading barely leaves me enough time to read on my own, let alone get lost in a book. However, I want my children to have this kind of experience. If I don't model it, how can they know what it looks like?
Here are my top 10 page turners that I couldn't put down...in the order in which I met them:
Like many, I first met this book in high school. Recently, I picked it up to read again in preparation for Challenge I. Everything about this book made me want to keep reading. I loved Scout's simplicity, and especially her view on the changes in public education. When I first read this, I related more to Scout, but reading it again now, I see so many new insights from the father's perspective. There are depths to this mine. This summer a sequel is coming out: Go Set a Watchman. I can't wait to experience this small town all over again from a fresh perspective.
2, 3, & 4 The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers
I was introduced to these books in college by my sister. She raved about the series, and I thought she was crazy. Why would I want to read about gladiators and Romans? I gave in (sister pressure) and began reading A Voice in the Wind. The first couple of chapters were slow, but only the first time I read the book. After that, the characters are so well developed, and the faith of the leading lady is beyond inspiring. There is no possible way that you can read the first book and not hunt down Echo in the Darkness the second you finish. This book takes you further into the depravity of the Roman culture, which was fascinating as the Apostle John appears in the story line. Thankfully, the second book ends without the cliffhanger of the first. The final book, As Sure as the Dawn, continues the story of other characters that we met in the first two books, and their journey into ancient Germany. I'm pretty sure I've read the series four or five times, but as I write about them, I think I need to pull them out this summer to get lost reading again!
The next on my list was recommended from the book A Thomas Jefferson Education as a modern classic rich for discussion. The Chosen is a fascinating look into the life of two Jewish boys in New York during World War II. Even though they are both Jewish, their families live very different lives. Not only did this book express the complicated relationships between the boys and their fathers, but it also explains the rich history of the Jewish people from the time Jesus came to the present.
This one made my top 10 because it represents a challenge not yet mastered. Oh, I read it, and I turned pages because it was a fascinating story masterfully written, however, I know there is a deeper meaning to all of the characters, setting, and plot, and I have yet to discover them. Philosophy was not a part of my formal education, but now as I see that there is no way to understand history, art, science, or music without knowing the thinking behind the leaders in those areas, I have begun to delve into the basics of philosophy. It is my hope that as I build a foundation of grammar in Philosophy, the next time I pick up this book to read, Chesterton's world will be revealed to me.
My first year homeschooling, this book was on our read aloud list. It was my absolute favorite, and I've read it again myself several times since. Mr. Nat Bowditch is such an inspirational character that I related to. He endures heartbreaks, perseveres through hardships, and achieves the impossible. As simple as this book is to read, caution - keep tissues on hand, and brace yourself for trembling voice if you're reading aloud. Additionally, Nat exemplifies the beauty of the classical method for learning.
In Challenge B, we read Moody's first book Little Britches. When I started reading the series, I had no idea that they were based on Ralph Moody's life. Again, the cliffhanger issue from the first book propelled me to read Man of the Family and Mary Emma and Company. Quickly, these books became some of my favorites. Moody transports readers to a different time, and the challenges that the family faced supporting a large family with limited resources. But young Ralph is one of the most resourceful 11-year-old's I have ever met. There are five more books in the series, and I can't wait to read them all, and then share them all with my family.
I had low expectations for this book. When I picked it up to read, I fell in love with this sweet young girl that finds herself struggling to fit in to the big city lifestyles of her friend. I wish I would have read this in high school. It is one of the sweetest love stories I have ever read, but presents romance in a way that both honors the one who has never known love, and the ones that have.
What books have you loved? If it's been a while, I encourage you to find a good book to get lost in. Yes, the laundry will still be there when you're done, but your soul will be refreshed, and your children inspired.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.