Favorite Book Series for Your Upper-Elementary Readers!

My daughter is a girl after my own heart. She always has a book with her, and I’ve even had to keep her from running into things at the grocery store. What a cutie! Finding the right books for her, that she will not only enjoy but will keep pushing her in her reading can be hard. Knowing what kids will like or be able to read is just a hard thing in general. Today the graphic novel is king, and while they are fun, reading a traditional book is a skill that is so important. So, while your kids may love and beg you for those graphic novels make sure to get them some real books y’all! Here are some of our favorite books (I’ve included some silly, more graphic novel style books too because….balance!).

Baby Sitter’s Little Sister Series

Nancy Drew

A note for this! There is a graphic novel version that I have seen girls read. That’s a big nope for me! I don’t mind the graphic novels but they just shouldn’t replace the reading of real books. And even though these seem a little old fashioned for girls they are such great books and have been a hit for my daughter.

Bobbsey Twins

These probably fall in the same category as Nancy…kids look at the books and think “Oh those are old, they must be lame.” My best suggestion would be to read it with your child. Either get a second copy or actually read it together. It is such a fun experience and a great conversation starter.

Hollow Earth

We learned about Hollow Earth last year at AwesomeCon. It is written by one of my daughter’s favorite Doctor Who characters – Captain Jack Harkness – played by John Barrowman, and his sister. This is such a great book that encourages the imagination and challenges kids who read it. The characters in this book are 12, but both my 10-year-old daughter AND my 12-year-old son loved this book. I’m even considering reading it to my youngest. A book that can capture the attention of the different ages like that is a winner in my book! In this book twins, Matt and Emily, can bring art to life and enter worlds through paintings!

Ivy + Bean

Ivy + Bean is a super cute series about two girls who are so different but find a close bond! I love this series and these two zany girls! They go on adventures searching for ghosts in the school bathroom, digging up bones in the bathroom and helping each other out of one pickle after another.

Choose Your Own Adventure

There are so many “Would You Survive” or “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. My daughter started bringing some home from the school library. So if you’ve never seen any go to your local public library and ask, or have your child talk to their school librarian. I was super excited to go to our regular used book store and find that they had some of the original ORIGINAL Choose Your Own Adventure books! One example of a newer one my daughter got at her school’s library is called Survivor Diaries. I have three of the original series in the main picture. Those are a little tougher to find, but a little digging online or in a used book store and you might just hit the jackpot like I did.

Ramona Series

A classic series that I read as a kid and I’m happy my daughter has started up with these as well. Hopefully one day her daughter will as well. Some books remain timeless, and books by Beverly Cleary are exactly that.

Chi Book Series

This is one of those fun, silly books that aren’t a complicated chapter book BUT are super loved by my daughter and her friends. My youngest also loves these books as well. They are a graphic novel/comic book style and are super cute.

What Was… {Book Series}

If your kids were fans of the Who Was… series of books, and are now a little bit older, they might really like these. Currently my daughter is reading about the Underground Railroad. I really believe it is important that kids have the opportunity to read non-fiction books at a young age. Books about Anne Frank, sports heroes and other people from history, broken down into kid-sized abilities will lead to a love for those kinds of books as they get older. I know that it did for me and I hope it does for her. My favorite one as a kid was Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. I remember the author coming to my school in elementary school and I still have that signed copy.

I’d love to hear your favorite upper-elementary reader books! Share with me here on the blog or find me over on Facebook or Instagram and let me know what your kids love!

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Rhe’s Bookshelf: The Global War on Christians

Summary: One of the most respected journalists in the United States and the bestselling author of The Future Church uses his unparalleled knowledge of world affairs and religious insight to investigate the troubling worldwide persecution of Christians.

From Iraq and Egypt to Sudan and Nigeria, from Indonesia to the Indian subcontinent, Christians in the early 21st century are the world’s most persecuted religious group. According to the secular International Society for Human Rights, 80 percent of violations of religious freedom in the world today are directed against Christians. In effect, our era is witnessing the rise of a new generation of martyrs. Underlying the global war on Christians is the demographic reality that more than two-thirds of the world’s 2.3 billion Christians now live outside the West, often as a beleaguered minority up against a hostile majority– whether it’s Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, Hindu radicalism in India, or state-imposed atheism in China and North Korea. In Europe and North America, Christians face political and legal challenges to religious freedom. Allen exposes the deadly threats and offers investigative insight into what is and can be done to stop these atrocities.

Review:  Make no mistake, this is a rather intense book on a rather intense subject. It is not one that I would normally pick up, but the title intrigued me.  John L. Allen Jr is an associate editor with the Boston Globe.  He specializes in the Catholic Church and stories along those lines.  He has also written several other books.  I’ve always been intrigued in issues of Christian persecution.  Its’ something that happens frequently all over our country (and world), but not something I feel gets discussed in the open or by the media.  While I realize this is not only a heavy topic, but a slightly controversial one to be discussed on my blog, it is none the less a very good book.  It is well researched, well written and thoughtfully presented.  Whether you agree with the topic at hand or not, it is still a very good book and one that, if added to your knowledge base, could further your education on religious issues in the world – and not just the persecution of Christians.

4 out of 5 Stars

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Adventures in Odyssey – The Redcoats are Coming *Rhe’s Bookshelf*

The first of a three-book story arc about the American Revolution, The Redcoats Are Coming follows Patrick and Beth as they assist the revolutionaries by waking up the sleeping citizens of 1775 Concord before the Redcoats come. In this adventure, the cousins meet Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock. They help smuggle musket balls, sound the alarm that the Redcoats are coming, and deliver a secret message to Paul Revere. Along the way they learn that most of the revolutionaries leaned on God’s direction and even pastors helped in the cause.

Christian parents and teachers will appreciate the historical facts as well as the biblical worldview training their kids and students will absorb. The kids will appreciate the excitement and tension of an America at war with England, and in some ways, with itself. A curriculum for Christian schools and homeschool families will be available for download at $3.99.

What I Thought:  You don’t even know how excited I was at the opportunity to review an Adventures in Odyssey book.  This is the stuff of my youth, sitting around the radio with my sister listening to Whit and the kid’s have adventures at Whit’s End.  It’s so cool.  This is my children’s first introduction to AIO, and having just purchased some of the CDs for them to listen to, and was excited to see how they responded to the book.  While it is probably a little bit old for my five year old, she still sat and listened and actively engaged when something caught her ear.  My seven year old was definitely engaged and asked when we could read the next chapter.  I love the idea of introducing real, historical adventures to kids, in a way they can plainly understand.  In fact, I even learned a few things that even I hadn’t known. This is a really exciting prospect – introducing history to my kids since both the hubby and I are huge fans.

What is even more awesome is that you can access curriculum that pairs well with the series.  And with a three book series that sounds like it could be something awesome.  I would love to explore the curriculum with my children and go further into the content with them, on a level they can understand.  Having some experience with Focus on the Family and the Adventures in Odyssey radio series and movies, there is no doubt in my mind that these books and accompanying curriculum would be awesome.

You and your children can access all the fun with Whit and the Gang on their website.

Five out of Five Stars

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Book Blogger w/Parajunkee – TBR Shelf…How Many?

I wish I had seen this blogging challenge in the beginning.  Don’t you hate when that happens?  You see something super cool and its half-way over or over before you get to it.  If you’ve never visited the Parajunkee, and you happen to be a book lover, then you’re missing out.  I love her reviews and book choices; and she’s definitely gotten me to step out of my book comfort zone.  If you are a book blogger, there’ s three more days posts and you can see the past posts with linky’s to other blogs participating.

Today’s prompt is “TBR Shelf…How Many?”

I was doing dishes ... one thing led to another ... and somehow I ended up reading. ;) http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/29/91/01/2991017b995c7fbc25f586f0e01a680d.jpg

I couldn’t pass up this topic, because for reals yo…I have a serious book hording problem.  And not just in the physical sense.  Goodreads was both good and bad for me.  Good because it helped me organize myself.  It’s mostly been good when I want to read a whole series of books and what to keep track of the order.  It is best invention ever when I’m in a store and see a book sitting on a shelf…and now I’m resisting the urge to buy it.  Now all I have to do is load up my Goodreads app and enter it in and crisis adverted.  I have stacks of books everywhere in my house that I haven’t even loaded up to Goodreads.  It’s a sickness I tell you!

So what’s my number?  It’s 257 on-line.  Yup, 257 on the To-Read Shelf.  That is not including the probably 50ish books at my house, stacked all over the place.  Oh my heavens I had no idea that it was that high until I looked for this post.  It seems like every day I find new ones.  It’s pretty much ridiculous considering I only read 53 books last year for my challenge.  Clearly I have to step it up.

 Confucius - "No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance." #reading #read #quote

I’m not sure what the best way to go about it, as I usually tend to flit about from book to book.  Sometimes I’ll just bang out 3 or 4 books in a series, but most of the time there’s no rhyme or reason.  I do have an entirely separate shelf that is called “Books to Read Before I Die.”  I’ve found several lists under that title, and every time I see it I’ll make sure I’m not missing a book and add it.

you're doing it wrong

I hope I’m not alone in this craziness!  What are your top To-Read books on your radar right now?  I want to hear them!  Are you on Goodreads?  If you are we should definitely be friends!
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Book Challenges 2014!

It’s a new year, so that means a new book challenge!  This year I’m also doing a couple separate challenges within the main one.  I’ve found a ton of book bloggers out there and am just loving reading them, getting book suggestions and finding out about all these different book challenges.  Right now I’m waiting for Semi-Charmed Kinda Life to start up her new challenge.  Hers is super cool and very in-depth, with all these need specific challenges.  So very excited about that one.  This year for the Goodreads challenge I stepped it up fifteen books for a total of sixty-five books to read in a year.  I need to get it in high gear if I want to make it.  For the 2013 challenge I went past what I guesstimated I would do; and I’m hoping to repeat that this year.

A new blog I stumbled upon, The Book Vixen, has several different challenges that she is hosting.  A couple of them caught my eye, but if you go check her out you can see there are tons more.  For this year I’ll be doing three.

2014 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

For the Out-do yourself challenge I hope to read 15 more than last year…I’ll be in the “Breaking a Sweat” category!

2014 Men in Uniform Reading Challenge
Since this is my favorite book category of late (check out Rhe’s Bookshelf up top – its an obsession), I’m hoping to reach the top category of Chief, which is 16+ Men in Uniform books!  Challenge accepted!
2014 Read Your Freebies! Reading Challenge
For this challenge I’m hoping to do definitely the first category “Coupon Clipper”, but would be super excited to complete the second category, which is 24 books (Penny Pincher).

I’m excited for these book challenges.  Are you participating in any this year? 

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