My summer reading plan was well thought out and carefully preprepared!!! It involved a weekly trip to the library: One evening each week we headed out and filled our quota of books then we headed home to hours of silence!!! Whatever the kids selected we read… and read and read… I have to declare we have read the library flat. But we haven’t, it is somehow unconquerable. Much as we try we never seem to bring home duplicates!!! So we read and read and if we ran out of books before the end of the week we just went back and replenished our stack.
Now we have some fairly intimidating librarians who will stare the best man down and tell them they have books overdue… so we have a very strict system for keeping our library books under control. We are allowed seventy books a week, everyone chooses about five stories and then two fact books. I use the adult cards to get one poetry book, one classic tale, one great artist book, one great musician and one or two South African interest books (stories, fables, facts) and one or two fact books that fit with a theme we are studying. Then I grab a book for myself and the rest are crafty “to do” books.
The first question folks ask is: Do you read all of them? My three older kids dash through their books in a day or two… thereafter creative swapping and bargaining occurs as they read their way through the other siblings books. My middle kids, at the easy reader stage… trudge through their books, usually a book a day at bedtime… and everyone listens in to the picture books of the little guys at bedtime… the least I can do is three or four stories (a book each) at bedtime!!! Our Sundays are very lazy days and on Sunday afternoons we read through the entire stack of picture books again, just in case we missed one!!!
And the next question is: How do we keep track of them all? We have three library bags: Two have twenty books and one has thirty… they travel home from the library and it is one persons job to put them onto the dedicated library shelf. The shelf does empty out slightly at bed-time as folk take books in various directions… but in the morning they all return and we count to check that seventy books are back on the shelf. It helps to keep a daily check because books that sit on a bedside shelf as long as a week quickly become part of the furniture and “missing in action.” On library day all the books are placed back into their bags and we return seventy books to the librarian. Inevitably they say we haven’t returned a book, but because of our counting system – we confidently know that they are there, but may have been returned inside the cover of another… or whatever. We never leave the desk till all the cards are cleared because if you walk away they will never find the books that missed the “check-in”… I for one do not want to pay for a lost library book, the thought of paying for a lost book freaks me right out!!!
I have to say this has been another summer with plenty of reading!!! So as the nights are getting cooler and the days are getting shorter I thought I would tell you about the books we have read that inspired us to action…
- The Party Book: Who can resist Jane Bull’s wonderful craftiness… and this has so been the summer of paper boats… stacks and stacks of paper boats, piles of paper boats, fleets of paper boats!!!
- The Pencil: We actually won this book from a competition on Playing By the Book… and as I was reading my kids all grabbed their pencils… and watercolors and the results were spectacular!!!
- Don Quixote: We have been working our way through the classics shelf at the library and totally loving it!!! We began with Don Quixote and my kids were enraptured, there were endless hysterical roll on the floor laughing moments, followed by “read more, read more…” The fabulous thing is that everybody has an idea of what the story is about… the story gets absorbed even more as they play it out and then when they read the real thing later on in literature it is so much easier – because they already know the story. We have moved on to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales:
- Rome Antics: We took a trip to Rome, Ancient and Modern… We used David Macaulay’s book and a DK Eyewitness Rome and placed the past onto the present maps… It helped that before we had kids the father person and I spent a couple of weeks there in one of my lecturers apartments – so lots of artifacts: photographs, postcards and so on… not to mention anecdotes – where to get the best ice-cream, and the best days out.
- Make and Play : Explorers, Spies, Pirates and Detectives: This series of books has captured the hearts of all my children at some stage… they are so packed with activities and fun ideas – you literally feel like a spy by the time you have finished the book – seriously!!!
- The Usborne Book of Poetry:Each week we grab a poetry book and add it to our library pile, but not often does it inspire us to more than reading aloud in a shady spot after lunch!!! Well this one did, it is the perfect mix of funny and serious; short witty poems and epic tales… my kids loved it and were inspired into artistic pursuits… If I was looking for a great family poetry book them this would be it!!!
- The Debutantes: This book is coming out a little later in the year. I read this book chapter for chapter with hood #3… and she loved it and has read it again and again!!! It is about a family of four girls living in the English Countryside during the 1920′s. They live in a once grand and rambling mansion with very little means and decide that the only way for them to get anywhere in life is for the oldest sister to get to London and to “come out as a debutante” … Lots of scheming and dreaming about ball gowns and potential suitors. That is the background… but actually it is four funky down to earth gals, who each of their own passions and dreams and of course there is a family mystery… and they discover suspicious clues throughout the story as they search for appropriate ball gowns in the attic and concoct visits with grumpy old aunts – ever family must have at least one!!! Anyway all is resolved, but only in the final pages!!! There is a hint of sweet romance and my 11 year old daughter thought she had simply arrived in the world of literature for grown-ups, a fun read!!!
- How Does My Garden Grow: This gardening book we got out just this week and has sparked a fire of gardening enthusiasm like nothing else has… the seeds were hauled out and sorted according to season… maps of the garden were drawn and plotting and planning has occurred… What a fun book, this book is packed with do-able ideas and things that even the most non-gardening type, adult or child, would be dying to try out!!!
And the se7en + 1th:
That’s us!!! We have a few more books to review and share… but those posts are still “at the drawing board”… Meanwhile happy reading to you all!!!