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3:30 – Everyone comes rushing in the door. Snacks, homework, sports, chores, dinner… let the craziness begin.

Do you know what’s missing from that? Our downtime. Our connecting time. I didn’t want to lose that – it’s too important.

About two years ago, we finally found a solution. It started when our son was in third grade and his teacher read the book Wonder to the class. That night, he was talking about it… and it continued for several nights. I didn’t want to miss out on this conversation (hey- it was a mini book club in our house, but I hadn’t read the book!)

So- what did I do? I went to Audible, grabbed the 30 day free trail (which I ended up extending because I loved it) and downloaded the book, Wonder.

That wasn’t all…

That night, I gathered our whole family into our bedroom and we all snuggled up in my bed (in their pajamas) and I put the book on a speaker. We listened to it… chapter one, chapter two, chapter three…

We caught up with our son’s class and the wonderful thing was that it started something I hadn’t expected. It started DEEP conversations with our kids. It started more conversations that weren’t just “Did you read the book?”

A divided screen with a variety of book titles and text.

It started conversations.

Books have the power to change us. They have the power to change those around us, by what we’ve learned. They have the power to let us think differently, to think in a different way, to think critically. Books have the power to evoke emotions. A good book will do all of these things.

So- hop over to Audible, download one of the books below & gather your kids. Soon- you’ll have your own family bookclub & you’ll be amazed by the conversations that are started… and the stories that your kids share about how it relates to their lives.

  • Wonder, written by R. J. Palacio
    August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school – until now. He’s about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be.
    The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances? R. J. Palacio has crafted an uplifting novel full of wonderfully realistic family interactions, lively school scenes, and writing that shines with spare emotional power.” ~
  • Auggie & Me
    (This is the second book from Wonder… we started this one the night after Wonder ended).
  • The One & Only Ivan, written by Katherine Applegate , Patricia Castelao“Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all. Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

    Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home – and his own art – through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

    Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.” ~

  • Out of My Mind, Baker & Taylor
    “Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.Possessing a photographic memory in spite of an inability to walk or speak, Melody is mistaken as mentally challenged by those who cannot see beyond her cerebral palsy, impelling her to discover a way to communicate.”
  • Because of Mr. Terupt, written by Rob Buyea
    “It’s the start of fifth grade for seven kids at Snow Hill School. There’s Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey, who hates school.
    Only Mr. Terupt, their new and energetic teacher, seems to know how to deal with them all. He makes the classroom a fun place, even if he doesn’t let them get away with much…until the snowy winter day when an accident changes everything – and everyone.”

The most important part of listening to these books with your kids is going to be the conversations that happen after… and in the days that follow. You are about to start a great tradition that will help your children, make you closer and really bond you as a family.

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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