Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Read-at-Home Mom Report: March 2023 Wrap-Up

In both reading and writing, March started out strong and fizzled out as the month went on. It was Middle Grade March, and I did get to listen to a lot of middle grade books, but the other books I picked up were largely poor choices, either because the books weren't well-written, or because I wasn't in the right mood for them. Reading books I didn't love made it impossible for me to get inspired to write, and the month ended on a sour note all around. But there were some great books in the beginning and middle part of the month, and I have seven favorites.

March Favorites

All of these books received a five-star rating from me on Goodreads. 

Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson
I listened to this because it was short and there were no holds. My senses were on high alert for heretical content the whole time, as this is a book in which a new student's classmates believe he might be Jesus, but it honestly remained very respectful, not to mention beautifully written, throughout. This was only my first or second time reading Woodson, and I understand why her writing is so beloved. 

Stick with Me by Jennifer Blecher 
I discovered this audiobook on Scribd, and it was everything I want a middle school friendship story to be. The writing was excellent, and the characters' thoughts and experiences felt very true to life. Jennifer Blecher is an author we should hear more about! 

What Hearts by Bruce Brooks
We have this on our shelves, but the audiobook is read by John McDonough, so naturally I decided to listen to it. This is basically a work of literary fiction for kids. The writing is excellent, and the subject matter is very introspective. It's a coming of age story involving a boy's relationship with his stepfather. The stepdad character is kind of an uncomfortable presence, but the way the author writes about him is impeccable. I really enjoyed this and I think I would also have liked it as a kid. 

Seven Percent of Ro Devereux by Ellen O'Clover 
This YA novel involves an app based on the childhood game of MASH and a slow-burn romance between main character Ro and an old friend. I thought this was a great look at the perils of fame and notoriety, especially for a young person, and it also explores the process for deciding what to do after high school. I need this author to write more books! This was also really good on audio. 

Welcome Back, Maple Mehta-Cohen by Kate McGovern
I picked up this audiobook based on the positive comments made by my friend Kris on Instagram.  It's the story of a girl who is told she will repeat fifth grade after it is discovered that a learning disability has prevented her from learning to read. Maple is a very well-developed and believable character and I could not tear myself away from her story. I would love more contemporary middle grade books like this one. 

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 
We listened to this in the car driving to and from Mass for several weeks. My kids didn't understand why I was laughing so hard. I did read this as a kid, but I definitely appreciated it much more as an adult. It is very clever.  

A Novel Proposal by Denise Hunter 
This is the only book on my favorites list that I read with my eyes. I had an ARC from Edelweiss+. It was such a sweet, feel-good romance. It was sometimes a little bit predictable, but in a very comforting and cozy way, and I loved the way it incorporated a little bit of a mystery as well as a Little Free Library. This is my favorite of the books I've read by Denise Hunter.

Middle Grade March

These are the rest of the titles I read for Middle Grade March: 

  • The Wretched Waterpark by Kiersten White (3 stars)
  • M.C. Higgins the Great by Virginia Hamilton (3 stars)
  • Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko (4 stars)
  • Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher (re-read/read-aloud) (5 stars)
  • Odder by Katherine Applegate (4 stars)
  • The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera (4 stars)
  • What Happened to Rachel Riley? by Claire Swinarski (4 stars) 
  • Camp Famous by Jennifer Blecher (4 stars) 
  • Keep It Together, Keiko Carter by Debbi Michiko Florence (4 stars) 
  • Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai by Debbi Michiko Florence (4 stars)
  • The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes (re-read/read-aloud) (5 stars)

Stand-Alone Books

  • Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw (4 stars)
  • The Silence of Mary by Ignacio LarraƱaga (4 stars)
  • I Love You S'more by Wendy Dalrymple (4 stars)
  • A Thousand Mornings: Poems by Mary Oliver (3 stars)
  • My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth (4 stars)
  • The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis (2 stars)
  • Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing by Allison Winn Scotch (3 stars) 
  • Flipped by Wendy Dalrymple (3 stars)

Series Books

  • Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell (Scarpetta Series Book 23) (2 stars)
  • How to Kiss Your Best Friend by Jenny Proctor (Hawthorne Brothers Series Book 1) (3 stars)
  • The Real Macaw by Donna Andrews (Meg Langslow Mystery Book 13) (3 stars)

Did Not Finish 

I think I'm at 19 DNFs for the year... 

  • Secrecy by Belva Plain
  • The Plus One by Mazey Eddings
  • Anatomy of a Meet Cute by Addie Woolridge
  • House Mate by Leah Brunner 

Family Reading Lists 

M. (girl, 9 years, 4 months)

  • World War II for Kids: A History with 21 Activities by Richard Panchyk
  • The Story of D-Day by Bruce Bliven Jr.
  • From Pearl Harbor to Okinawa by Bruce Bliven Jr.
  • The Flying Tigers by John Toland 
  • The Battle of the Bulge by John Toland
  • Across The Puddingstone Dam by Melissa Wiley 

C. (girl, 7 years, 6 months)

  • Myths of the World: Ancient India by Virginia Schomp 
  • Seasons of Splendor by Madhur Jaffrey
  • Columbus by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire
  • The Columbus Story by Alice Dalgliesh
  • The Log of Christopher Columbus
  • Lost Worlds by Anne Terry White (first half only)

E. (girl, 5 years, 5 months)

  • Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary 
  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder 
  • Eric Loves Animals (Just Like You) by Eric Carle 

R. (boy, 3 years)

  • Stanley series by William Bee
  • Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson
  • Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
  • Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein
  • Oceanarium by Loveday Trinick, illustrated by Teagan White
  • In the Forest by Marie Hall Ets
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • There's a Nightmare in my Closet by Mercer Mayer 

A. (girl, 3 years)

  • Stanley series by William Bee
  • Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson  
  • I Want That! by Hannah Eliot 
  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mr. Rogers by Luke Flowers
  • Picture My World by Severine Cordie and Cynthia LaCroix
  • Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle 

My husband 

  • Red Falcons of Tremoine by Hendry Peart
  • Shadows in Flight by Orson Scott Card
  • Dido and Pa by Joan Aiken
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Up Next For Me

For Holy Week, I'm reading the Catholic Teen Books anthology, Ashes: Visible and Invisible and The Cross and the Beatitudes by Archbishop Fulton Sheen. After that, I'm hoping to knock out a few more series books on audio, and a few of my digital ARCs. 

I'm adding this post to the link-up for An Open Book at 

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