Beyond Books, Reflections
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On the Nightstand: One Family’s Current Reads

“What are your kids reading these days, Betsy?”

My friend and I were sitting at the park this week on a gorgeous afternoon while the kids horsed around. I thought for a minute, and I realized that my family has an eclectic reading style. I honestly didn’t know where to start in answering her about our current reads.

Here’s what we’ve read within the past 2 months (many are ongoing). I should qualify this list a touch: I am a Charlotte Mason-influenced educator, and I am not including the books I’m reading aloud to my kids or the ones they are reading on their own as part of their official “curriculum.” These are more the interest-led books we’ve been diving into. If you want the whole list, let me know in the comments, and I’ll comply! You should know that CM educators have LOTS of books going concurrently.

Independent Kid Reads

(ages 10-11; you might say these are the “caught in the act” books. Do note that this list does not connote an official recommendation!)

  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio
  • The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare*
  • Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier
  • Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier
  • The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas
  • Leepike Ridge by N. D. Wilson
  • various Lego Ninjago books on rotation from the library
  • various nonfiction books on birds for my sweet “bird nerd” (he might have the entire library system’s collection at our house right now)
  • *I would NEVER have believed it, but the kids scooped up their new Macbeth books and read the whole play while I was getting dinner ready! We’ll still read it aloud together in the coming weeks for “school.” Wonders never cease!

Family Read Alouds

These are the books we’re listening to in the car or casually whilst we do something else.

  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling (whole family, dad included, when in the car)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling (just finished; hence one child’s picking it up to read on her own now; our rule is that you can’t read HP on your own until we’ve listened as a family and discussed)
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder (mom + kids in the car)
  • Bird Boy by J. B. Cheaney (mom+ kids; just finished last week. It was great and I read the whole thing aloud!)
  • Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson (mom + kids; a chapter or so at a time when we work on art stuff)

Betsy’s Current Reading Stack

Note: Most of this list is my own interest-led reading as of the past 2 months although there are a few titles that have been–or will be–reviewed on RR. I got several read on the plane flights to/from my college reunion last month!

  • Flannery O’Connor’s short stories (along with the Circe Institute’s Close Reads podcast from this past spring–very helpful!)
  • Charlotte Mason’s home education series (dabbling as the mood strikes)
  • Ride On, Will Cody! by Caroline Starr Rose (for review purposes, but also because I “won” a copy off Instagram!)
  • Patina by Jason Reynolds (yes, to review, but also because I like his books!)
  • The River Doubt by Candice Millard (just finished this about a month ago; great!)
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (last month)
  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (read last month in anticipation of the new movie)
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (read last month)
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (read last month)
  • A Heart Set Free by (my friend!) Christina Fox (my “spiritual” read)

What’s on YOUR Nightstand?

Talk amongst yourselves...


  1. Jamie says

    I’ll have to check out some of those books.

    I am currently almost finished reading “The Birth Order Book” by Dr. Kevin Leman (I am getting so much out of it!). I am reading aloud to the kids “On the Shores of Silver Lake” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My oldest son who is 8 is reading “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” by Beverly Cleary.

    Thanks for all you do. I appreciate your website.

  2. I’ve wanted to read that Birth Order Book! Does he talk about twins in it? I’ve been so curious about how birth order plays into the twin dynamic (if at all).

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