classics

10 Book-Based Movies Worth Watching

“The book was better” is a common mantra proudly proclaimed by bookworms everywhere. While this may be true, the movie version often has its merits. Not only that, a good story told is a good story told whether it comes to us via printed words or on a DVD.

If your young reader is a purist and the movie does not follow the book exactly, watching the movie version will probably end in disappointment. However, if you have a hard time convincing your young reader to pick up a book, watching the movie might be the motivator they need to get reading.

While I usually try to read the book first, most of the movies on this list I watched, loved, discovered they were based on a book and then read the book. When I watch a movie after I’ve read the book I try to keep an open mind. I don’t mind if the movie departs from the book or adds new plot twists, as long as it keeps the feel of the book. Every once in a while the book has been the disappointment. (Mary Poppins is one example that comes to mind. I love the movie so much, and the book just didn’t come close.)

Mysterious, Classic, Scary and Sweet - a Fall booklist perfect for cold nights and cozy blankets

Fall is the perfect time for reading. The shorter days and colder nights drive us inside and create the ideal opportunity to snuggle up with a cozy blanket and a good book.

Yep, Autumn and reading go together like peanut butter and jelly, a classic combination.

There are certain genres of books that feel especially appropriate this time of year. Cold and gray outsides, make the insides extra cozy and the thought of diving into a thick book or classic work more inviting. Shorter days and longer evenings can be motivating to start a longer series of books. A spooky story or compelling mystery can be just the thing to set the mood for a late night read in bed while the wind howls outside the window.

Today’s list contains ideas and recommendations from all of these categories, making it a fairly diverse list. If you have a sensitive reader, some of these books might not be a good match. But, if your young reader enjoys the thrill of a scary story every once in awhile, I am excited to share some new discoveries.

Wherever your child falls on the spooky spectrum, I think today’s list has a little bit for everyone. Hopefully you will find the perfect book for your kids to dive into this Fall, to read on their own or to share together.

Exploring Castles and Dealing with Dragons - a book list

A little over a month ago I had the opportunity to travel to Scotland. Throughout our visit we hiked trails, rode trains, toured castles and (of course) looked for Nessie all amidst beautiful and varied landscapes. At times, it felt like we were in another world, a world where fairies and dragons most definitely exist.

Now that we are home, I will grudgingly admit that these fantastical creatures (probably) don’t exist. But, I will always be thankful they ARE meant to live in our imaginations and come alive through the telling of fairy tales and the reading of good books. Scotland was a place where their existence felt possible and that is one of many reasons why I hope to return.

Until then, I am thankful for books filled with castles and dragons that give us the opportunity to get lost in a good story and visit far-off lands.

Today’s list, inspired in part by Scotand, contains books and series where castles come alive, dragons live and peasant girls try to become princesses.

Quick Pick Books for When Your Kids Don't Know What to Read Next

Have you ever walked into your local public library with your kids determined to emerge well-stocked with armloads of books only to find yourselves overwhelmed and unsure what books to pluck from their overstuffed shelves?

Me too! 

With so many options, it can be challenging to figure out exactly what book to read next. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, here are 10 books (covering a variety of genres and ages) to give you some direction. The next time your kids feel library overload, see if they'd like to give one of these stories a try: 

Quick Picks - May Edition

Some of my current reads make it into lists that go straight to the blog, others will make it to future lists yet to be determined. And some best fit this list, a list of what I've been reading lately.

Below are three books (all very different from each other) I have enjoyed over the past month and wanted to share. 

What have you and your kids been reading lately? 

Nine-year-old girl seeks Classic Heroines

Alea is a smart, responsible and creative nine-year-old who is currently in 3rd grade. She is a reader. She loves getting lost in a story. She especially likes funny stories and books that help her learn what life was like “back then.” She does not appreciate it when characters use words like “OMG” and “What the heck?” When she’s not reading, Alea loves ballet, playing outside and snuggling with her mom. When asked if there was anything else she would like to say about books and reading, she gave the encouragement to “Read on!” She is my kind of girl. 

I am excited to give Alea a few personalized picks. To help me help her, I asked Alea to share three of her favorite books and one she was not so crazy about. Here are her favorites:

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, the Classic and the Modern twist

I loved Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle stories when I was a kid. I love them as an adult too. Although I have to admit, reading them from a parent's viewpoint adds a whole new layer to these classic books. As a kid, I loved the cures Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle would use to heal children of "diseases" like selfishness, never-want-to-go-to-bedders, and fighter-quarreleritis. (Ah, if only!) Her cures felt so out-of-the box, extreme, and funny. As an adult, her cures feel a lot like using natural consequences to teach a lesson. (Hmm, I wonder if the author had an ulterior motive...) 

Quick Picks AKA What My Kids Are Reading

As I have been blessed with a large passel of kids with a variety of ages, interests, and reading levels, I thought I’d do a “quick pick” list inspired by them. Below are the books my kids are currently reading. If you are looking for ideas for your young reader, maybe one these books will interest them.

Mya Recommends: To Kill a Mockingbird

Mya is 14 years old and an avid reader. We love talking about books together. I thought a teenage perspective might be beneficial if you are searching to find books for a teenager of your own. Mya was willing to help out. Here is another one of her picks:

With this month being black history month, I thought I might talk about one of my all-time favorites, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Boxed Sets (aka Series) of Books your Kids Should Read (and own)

I love it when a book captures my kids’ imagination and they don’t want to put it down. I love it even more, when that book is part of a series. It makes the answer to the inevitable question “What should I read next?” so much easier to answer. A great series of books is a wonderful thing. And, since it's the holiday season and I have gift-giving on the brain, if there is a set of books your child already loves, or one you want to introduce them to, a boxed set might be the perfect gift. 

Books are my love language and I will freely admit I purchase them too freely. In my defense, favorite books are like old friends; I want to keep them around. If, however, you need a better reason for investing in a boxed set of good stories, here are a few: