Skip to content
Home » Posts » 2023 Keeping Track of Books Read: May

2023 Keeping Track of Books Read: May

classy looking books on shelf with words may book reviews

I’ve been keeping track of the books I’ve read since the beginning of the year. It’s part of the book tracker challenge I received from my son. I have been keeping a running total and the books “up next” on my shelf since the beginning of January 2023.

May book reviews have convinced me that I need to also keep track of why the book got on my request list or who recommended it. You see, I use our library request system where you request an item and it amazingly shows up waiting for you eventually. The problem is that I forget why I wanted to read any particular book. So things show up on my waiting shelf and I have no clue why I wanted to read it! Anyway, here are May’s books.

Each month I list my “Favorites”.

I am still reading a lot of children’s books. Many of them are recommended from Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook and were books we missed while my kids grew up. I’m always searching for “living books“. A good story is a good story! I’m also doing re-reads of our family favorites to see if they still hold up.

Genre and Dates Finished in italics. A rating of ★★★★★ indicates a really good read or a living book.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase after clicking through, SelfEducatingFamily will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Favorites this month

Books in May


Reviews of Books Read in May 2023

I’m putting all of the May Books together at the top of the post. After that are the books for earlier in the year, with images highlighting my favorites for each month.

  • A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens by Melissa Caughey. ★★★★★ I had to read this after I read Caughey’s How to Speak Chicken. It was another fun read. Very thorough overview for beginner chicken keepers. Non-Fiction How-To: 5/3/23
  • Your Body’s Many Cries for Water by F. Batmanghelidj, M.D. ★★★★★ Re-read. Really interesting take on health and disease, especially if you don’t drink enough water. **SPOILER**: Drink more water. The whole book seems to be summarized by its subtitle: “You’re not sick; You’re thirsty. Don’t treat thirst with medication.” If you want some practical tips for drinking more water, my friend April at Shapely Ways goes into more depth. I’m going to go refill my glass of water now. Non-Fiction Health: 5/7/23
  • Essential Oils (DK) by Susan Curtis and Fran Johnson. ★★★★ Nice essential oils reference book. Like most DK books, this has a beautiful layout and photos with easy-to-navigate sections. Fairly comprehensive book for introduction to essential oils covering 88 different oils and how to use them. I’m not ready to put this on my permanent bookshelf yet, because I feel like I wouldn’t use it. Instead I will try re-reading it in 6 months to see how it holds up. Non-Fiction Reference: 5/8/23
  • The Permanent Pain Cure by Ming Chew. ★★★★ I would give this 5 stars but I’m not sure if I can apply all the tips and exercises he suggests. Ming is a physical therapist noted for treating pain by targeting the fascia muscles. I’m still working on his first 3 suggestions: Drink more water (see above); Reduce sugar (and trans-fats, which I don’t eat anyway, but sugar… well, we won’t talk about that); Take fish oil and fascia supporting supplements. Then he focuses on stretching and finally on strengthening. As for pain, we are talking about things like joint pain or injuries. Here’s a tip from Ming: “Remember, no pain is normal.” Overall a good read for natural healing. Non-Fiction Health: 5/10/23
  • The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. ★★★★★ Fascinating read about the Dustbowl. Digs into the people who stayed. Really interesting history. Two reasons I liked this book: First, I picked up 2 books in this genre of history/documentary book, one on the dustbowl (this one) and one on the Donner expedition. So neither was a particularly upbeat story. I started reading the Donner book first and couldn’t get past the first 50 pages. You’d have thought that was a gripping story, and maybe the book got better, but I can’t tell you. I started reading this one and couldn’t put it down. Second, I had read The Empire of the Summer Moon last year, which is about the fall of the Comanche tribe interwoven with the story of Cynthia Ann Parker, a young pioneer, who is kidnapped by the Comanches and becomes the mother of Quanah Parker, the last Comanche chief. Great book. I was not sympathetic to the Comanches (because my hubby is part Cherokee) but this book really explains their culture. Here’s the connection between the two books – they both take place in the same area of the US – the Great Plains, where the buffalo once roamed. Both are living books that leave quite the picture of this area and the people in it. And of the wrongs done to the land, and thus the peoples. Not stories for younger children due to the nature of the hardships described, but you could pre-read for older students to see if they are suitable for your family. Non-fiction History: 5/15/23
  • A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter. ★★★★ On the Ambleside free reading list. Also free on kindle at the moment. Good living book. I would give it 5 stars but I felt that it did the opposite of today’s stories where they deliberately write a book knowing that it is a trilogy or more. This seemed like it had 3 books in one, following the same girl as she grows up, and toward the end, it dragged a bit. Lots of nature descriptions, especially of moths. Overall, a fun read. Fiction: 5/17/23
  • The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, illustrated by Vivian Mineker. ★★★★ I wanted to give this a full 5 stars, but something holds me back. I have actually loved this poem since I sang it in a choir as a teen, (despite my notorious hesitancy about poetry) but I just didn’t adore the book. I think the words were lost a bit among the illustrations. But if you don’t have any other version, go for it. Get it from your local library and read it aloud to your kids. Fiction, Poetry, Children’s Illustrated Picture Books: 5/18/23
  • The Life Giving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson (mother and daughter team). ★★★ or ★★★★ My ambivalence to this book is summed up in my friend Sarah’s response when she saw it on my desk, she said, “Oh. I tried to read that book but it made me feel terribly guilty so I stopped.” I stuck it out and read the whole thing, and I did get some ideas on how to make my home a little homier, but overall, it made me feel like it was an impossible task. And I wasn’t terribly fond of the two-authors approach because the daughter felt preachy even though she really doesn’t have the experience from a mom’s point of view. But try if you want. You may have a different experience. I might search for my hygge elsewhere. Non-Fiction: 5/21/23
  • The Healing Power of the Sun by Richard Hobday. ★★★★ Really interesting topic that I had never looked into previously. **SPOILER**: get out in the sun. I may follow up with more study. Non-Fiction: 5/23/23
  • NO B.S. Guide to Powerful Presentations by Dan Kennedy and Dustin Mathews. ★★★★ Solid info on how to improve your presentation techniques. Practical case studies and suggestions. Non-Fiction: 5/23/23
  • The Wheel on the Sun by Meindert DeJong, pictures by Maurice Sendak. ★★★★★ I loved this. Great living book. It’s on the free reading list for Ambleside Online Year 3. This is a children’s chapter book about a Dutch fishing village that doesn’t have storks, and the kids set about changing their world. It’s really about hope and possibilities. Sendak’s occasional illustrations of the squat people of the village are perfect, and the book had me laughing out loud in several places. Fiction: Children’s Illustrated Chapter Book: 5/26/23
  • The Village Blacksmith by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. ★★★★★ This is an illustrated version of the complete popular Longfellow poem. I loved this version. Karas puts a modern spin on the illustrations and it works! I requested this book from the library because of the Frost poem illustrated book that I read the week before. I felt like something was missing in the Frost book. Why shouldn’t great poems make great read-alouds for children? It’s actually a perfect way to introduce kids to some great living poetry! So I’m now searching for great poems that have been made into children’s picture books. This one does not disappoint. Fiction Children’s Illustrated Picture Books: 5/28/23

Past Reviews for Children’s Illustrated Picture Books

  • Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet. ★★★★★. Picture book Caldecott Winner. Another recommendation from Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook. I wondered why I never read this when my boys were little because I totally enjoy Macy’s Day Parade history. But it’s because the book is from 2011 — just as my kids were leaving the picture book section! This one really deserves a Caldecott! Great detail of the famous puppeteer and creator of the balloons, Tony Sarg. Fun read with rich illustrations. Non-fiction Children’s Picture Book: 1/3/23
  • Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans written & illustrated by Don Brown. ★★★ Excellent illustrations evoke a dismal feeling of a tragic story. The book describes a ton of facts that happened during this disaster, but I feel like the book itself lacked any connection to people because all of the vignettes which could have brought this tragedy to life were anonymous. While I’m not keen on the graphic novel style, I thought this one was pulled off well because of the stormy illustrations. Non-fiction Teen Graphic Novel: 1/5/23
  • Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas ★★★★ by Cheryl Bardoe & illustrated by Jos. A. Smith. I liked this. It’s a good story behind the man. Non-fiction Children’s Biography: 4/7/23

Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, illustrated by Susan Jeffers. Reread. ★★★★★ Selections from the classic poem with delightful illustrations of Hiawatha as he grows up. Note: for a listening game to play with a longer poem like this, try using our downloadable game board. Poetry, Children’s Illustrated Picture Book: 4/30/23

  • A Persian Princess by Barbara Diamond Goldin. ★★★★ Fun story about Purim with an Iranian grandmother and her grandaughter told from the Sephardic tradition. Fiction: Holiday Stories: 2/21/23
  • Queen Esther by Tomie De Paola. ★★★★ Purim story about Esther. I usually enjoy de Paulo’s illustrations, so this was fun when I was looking to screen a few Purim storybooks. Fiction: Holiday Stories: 2/21/23
  • Queen Esther the Morning Star by Mordecai Gerstein. ★★★★ Purim story with rich illustrations. Depictions of Haman are particularly vile in the style of the cartoonish villain! Fiction: Holiday Stories: 2/21/23

* Favorite *

Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf: With a Fully-Orchestrated and Narrated CD adapted by Janet Schulman and illustrated by Peter Malone. ★★★★★ Reread. Prokofiev’s timeless story and music together in a read-along book. When we studied Prokofiev in Composer Studies, this was a favorite. The music is wonderful to listen to by itself (especially the first time through to let the imagination soar), but once you are familiar with the music, the book is fun to read along with. Fiction: Children’s Illustrated Classics: 3/30/23

* Favorite *

  • We are the Ship: The Story of the Negro Baseball League, words & paintings by Kadir Nelson. ★★★★★ Superb book backed by in-depth research tells the compelling story of baseball when the leagues were segregated. Nelson’s realistic paintings combined with his story-telling make this book a winner. I found myself pulled into the story because it’s told in the first person plural: “Players today just don’t know how bad it could be. We look back and wonder, ‘How did we do all that?’ It’s simple. We loved the game so much, we just looked past everything else. We were ballplayers.” Highly recommended. Non-fiction Illustrated Chapter Book: 1/6/23
  • Will’s Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk by Jane Sutcliffe, Illustrated by John Shelley. ★★★★★ Rich non-fiction that details the coined words in Shakespeare’s writings. Illustrations are fun and super detailed reminiscent of “Where’s Waldo” artwork or anything by Jerry Pinkney. Brings Elizabethan England to life. Children’s Illustrated Picture Book: 1/1/23

* Favorite *

  • Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth. ★★★★★ Re-Read. We rearranged a bookcase and I had to re-read this old favorite from when my boys were little. It stands up to many re-reads, which is perfect for a children’s book. Stillwater is a zen panda who moves in next to 3 kids. Children’s Illustrated Picture Book: 2/28/23

Fiction Book Reviews

  • The Best of Simple by Langston Hughes. ★★★★ While researching how to use poetry in homeschooling, I came across several poet/authors who I wanted to look into further and Langston Hughes was one of them. Hughes wrote a popular newspaper column in the 50s and created a character called Jesse B. Semple who appeared daily in various vignettes of life. The stories were gathered into three collections and then later all gathered together in this book. The genius of the stories is that “Simple” (aka Semple) is a guy everyone knows, even though he is fictional. I usually find dialect a bit hard to read, but because Simple lives in Harlem, NY, I can read it easily because I grew up in NY. I deducted one star because the collection is not that great in book format, but it would be fantastic as a daily newspaper column because each chapter really stands alone well. It would make a great daily blog in today’s world without newspapers. This is a good read for older students studying race issues of the 50s or 60s because it expresses how the world was then. Warning: Semple drinks and womanizes. Fiction: 1/24/23
  • The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson. ★★★★ While this is definitely a living book because the characters and story really came to life, I felt like it isn’t equal to Treasure Island or Dr. Jekyll or even Kidnapped. But it was a fun read anyway since he is a great writer and I typically enjoy historical fiction. This one is set in the War of the Roses just before Richard III’s time. Lancasters vs. Yorks. This has romance and adventure, and several wartime violence scenes in which the hero kills a few people. Overall, the story has a bit of a “Robin Hood” feel to it. Fiction: Historical: 1/12/23
  • Here’s Hank: A Short Tale about a Long Dog by Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver. ★★. Recommendation from Jim Trelease. I really wanted to love this book. I had to read it because I love the Fonz and because the book is written with a font that is designed to help dyslexic readers read easier. While I found the story compelling, I was disappointed in the characters, whom I found shallow and caricaturesque. The story has a dyslexic boy (our hero) trapped in an all-too-common situation where the school system labels him as a slacker. I think I am just biased against a school system that says “get a dog and try harder” instead of “change the school system”. Anyway, I will test this book with my dyslexic reader and give it an extra star if he loves it. Fiction Children’s Easy Reader/Short Chapter Book: 1/4/23
  • Dawnshard by Brandon Sanderson ★★★★ Book 3-1/2 of the Stormlight Archives. I liked this one a lot. See other books in this series. Science Fiction Fantasy Novella: 2/4/23
  • Delete That by John Crist. ★★★★ Christian comedian John Crist’s memoir about his coming to terms with hiding his sins from his public. Scandal, repentance, addiction, and rehab. A number of laugh-out-loud stories, you know, because he’s a comedian. Not exactly for youth. The story centers around the need to put out the “perfect” life for social media, and “deleting” the parts of your life that aren’t perfect. Non-fiction biography: 4/11/23
  • Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson. ★★★★ Book 2-1/2 of the Stormlight Archives. I’m reading this series because my son asked me to. This one was a refreshingly small book that was inserted into the series to explain some things that apparently exist at the beginning of Book 3, and to follow one of the interesting side characters from Book 2. You can’t read it unless you read the whole series, so you have to commit, because the typical books in the series are really long. Overall, I am enjoying the series. The books are hard to put down. But the stories do have a feeling of being so complex that they are never going to resolve. For a series, it works, but I get a little nostalgic for the days when a book told one story. Science Fiction Fantasy Novella: 1/5/23
  • Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnin. ★★★★ Very well-written story from1922 about 4 British women of that time who go to Italy for a month, so in a way, it is historical fiction being over 100 years old. Von Arnin is a good writer, but she writes many descriptions of Italy’s beauty in April, and while it certainly paints the picture, it’s a bit much for me! I linked to the free Kindle classic version, but I can’t vouch for that since I read the ordinary paperback. Fiction Historical Romance: 2/17/23
  • * Favorite *

    A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. ★★★★★ Classic favorite! I couldn’t remember if I had read this before or not. It’s listed in the free reading of Year 3 on Ambleside Online. I adore the Secret Garden, also by Burnett, and I’ve read that numerous times since my mom gave me a copy for my birthday one year. This one is a sweet story but I feel like our heroine is a bit too on the perfect side. Yet, she makes me want to be kinder to others! That’s a good lesson! Fiction: Classic Literature for Youth: 3/ 7/23

    * Favorite *

    • Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. ★★★★★ Re-read. Classic. I love this series. I wanted to refresh my mind on the story of how Laura becomes a teacher at age 16. She’s actually two months shy of 16. and only gets certified for up to grade 3. She passes her exams by reciting all of American History at a School Expo from Columbus to Rutherford B. Hayes. I don’t think many 9th graders today can do this. What I noticed this time reading it, the series makes you want to read other books in the series. But I think it stands alone a bit better than some of the modern book series. Fiction: Historical Fiction: 2/23/23
    • Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. ★★★★ Book 1 of the Mistborn Trilogy. I’m reading along with my son who likes this author. Support your kids! I liked this story. I liked that it was small enough to read easily, unlike his 1200 page books in the Stormlight Archives. Science Fiction Fantasy: 3/4/23
    • Mistborn Secret History by Brandon Sanderson. ★★★★ This one explained some things that happen in the background of Book 3 of the Mistborn series. It has many spoilers, so don’t read it before it’s time. Science Fiction Fantasy: 4/12/23
    • Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson. ★★★★ Book 3 of The Stormlight Archives. See Edgedancer. Huge book. I made the mistake of reading the paperback version. At 1200+ pages, it’s way too fat to read in paperback. Science Fiction Fantasy: 1/20/23
    • The Red House by A.A. Milne (author of Winnie the Pooh). ★★★★ Did you know Milne wrote a mystery? He actually started as a humorist, then wrote this mystery and then the Pooh books for his son Christopher. He had very particular ideas about what made a good mystery which he discusses in the preface. He does a good job following his rules and comes up with a thoroughly enjoyable mystery. It feels like a light story, though, so I didn’t give it 5 stars. But it’s a fun read. Fiction Mystery: 1/26/23
    • Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson. ★★★★ Book 4 of the Stormlight Archives. See Edgedancer. Remember, I’m reading this series because my son (the one who is NOT that excited about books) likes them and listens to the audiobooks. I’m trying to support him and we do have good conversations about these books. This one, in particular, I liked slightly more than the others, maybe deserving of a 5-star review. The story is, once again, compelling. My only criticism is that these books are really 3 separate books that never end. They are huge. And even after 4 of them (plus 2 novellas) — probably more than 5500 pages — the story STILL isn’t over. But, then again, the story is compelling.
    • Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner with illustrations by Marcia Sewall. ★★★★ WARNING: Spoilers!! This fictional tale of a legendary dogsled race where a boy has to race to win the tax money for the farm. If your child doesn’t like stories like Old Yeller, chose a different book. The story is touching. Fiction Easy Reader Illustrated Chapter Book: 1/6/23
    • The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson, Book 2 of the Mistborn Series. ★★★★ I’m liking the Mistborn series. So far, they’ve been good reads. Interesting stories & characters with some good plot twists. This second one has deeper character development. But it’s a war story (as well as a romance and a coming-of-age story.) I won’t give any spoilers. I would prefer if the ending didn’t beg for another book – I prefer endings that actually end. But I went into it knowing it was a trilogy, so that’s okay. Fiction Fantasy Sci-Fi: 3/29/31

    Reviews for Non-Fiction books

    • The Aromatherapy Companion by Jade Shutes and Amy Galper. ★★★★ Good little reference book with very lovely illustrations. Strong intro to oils and how to use them along with safety info. I really liked the end section with tables and descriptions. Non-Fiction How-To: 2/21/23
    • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. ★★★ or ★★★★★ depending on if you are actually a writer. I liked it, but I clearly do not have enough empathy to be a writer. She tells a good story, that’s for sure. I feel like she may be using hyperbole really well when she talks about a writer’s insecurities! Non-Fiction: 4/24/23
    • Common Sense by Thomas Paine. ★★★★★ This is on the Ambleside Online reading list for 9th grade to go along with early American history. It should be required by every U.S. citizen. “Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil;” Paine is a very persuasive writer as you might expect. This small treatise went viral in its day. It was first published after Lexington & Concord and after the Battle of Breed’s Hill (aka Bunker Hill). He believed the time for reconciliation was over. His treatise is also remarkable for the arguments against a kingship in general. It’s a good read. Non-Fiction History -Primary Document: 2/2/23
    • DIY Beauty by Ina De Clerq ★★★★ Excellent recipes and solid explanations of natural alternatives to common on-the-shelf beauty products (like Burt’s Bees lip balm). If you or your teen enjoyed the series above, then this is a much better book to continue with. Or skip the above series and head straight to this. I’ve already tried 2 recipes and want to make notes about several others. I wouldn’t consider this a living book, but for a “how-to” packed with recipes, it’s pretty good. Non-fiction How-To Book: 1/9/2023
    • Dopamine Nation by Dr. Anna Lembke. ★★★★ I gave this book an extra star because it is at least talking about the problem of addiction in our technological society AND because it gives some practical solutions. Warning though, it’s very explicit, so only appropriate for mature readers. It’s an important topic to bring up. Non-Fiction: 1/30/23
    • Duct Tape Purim by Jill Bloomfield. ★★★★ Fun kids crafting book. If you like doing duct tape crafts, these are fun. Non-Fiction How-To: 3/3/23
    • The Essential Oils Apothecary (skimmed), The Essential Oils Diet, and The Healing Power of Essential Oils by Eric Zeilinski and Sabrina Ann Zeilinski. ★★★★ I read them in reverse chronological order, accidentally. I did not expect to like the Diet book (it’s really a lifestyle book) but I actually did, though I skimmed the recipes section. The recipes sound good, but I’m usually drawn into recipes by photos and this had none. I liked how they broke down topical vs aromatherapy usage. And all the safety warnings were thorough. I guess the biggest new takeaway for me was that these oils are extremely potent and can do many different therapeutic things. My favorite of these three books was the one that was written first: The Healing Power of Essential Oils. Perhaps because it was the most general and comprehensive. It makes it easy to start making blends for specific purposes. All the books come from a Christian perspective. Non-fiction How-To 1/23
    • Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine by Josh Axe, Jordin Rubin, and Ty Bollinger. ★★★★ Beautifully arranged book and unabashedly Christian. The attractive, easy-to-use format makes it simple to find what you are looking for. If I decide to put this on my shelf for a reference book, I would use it for the clear descriptions of the oils and their uses rather than for the applications shown in the recipes. Non-Fiction How-To: 1/25/23

    * Favorite *

    Essential Oils to Boost the Brain and Heal the Body by Jodi Cohen. ★★★★★ Fantastic resource. I need this for my home library. Cohen addresses the body as a system and uses essential oils to heal via brain chemistry mechanisms. So much helpful information as well as practical action steps. Non-Fiction: 3/17/23

    • Everyday Essential Oils by Daniele Festy. ★★★★ Lovely book that concentrates on 6 specific basic oils and the stuff you can do with them. Great beginner book which would be a good way to start if you were starting from scratch. Non-Fiction How-To: 2/18/23
    • Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten Shockey and Christopher Shockey. ★★★★★ This book is on my permanent reference shelf and I finally finished it cover-to-cover. Kirsten has a website at Fantastic book that explains principles and practices, and has recipes for various fermenting methods, as well as how to use your ferments and how to troubleshoot. I’m going to schedule making ferments in my planner to get more of a variety of ferments. Non-Fiction How-To: 2/1/23
    • Fermenting: Pickles, Kimchi, Kefir, Kombucha, Sourdough, Yogurt, Cheese and More! by Wardeh Harmon. ★★★★★ Takes fermenting up a level. I love this book and all of Wardeh’s recipes. You can find her at This was a partial re-read. I wanted to finish the book, so I re-skimmed the part I read last year. Now I have to make the recipes more regularly. A great resource for learning and doing ferments. Non-Fiction How-To: 1/15/23

    * Favorite *

    • The Guide to Woodworking with Kids by Doug Stowe. ★★★★★ Excellent how-to by the premier Sloydist teacher in the U.S. (that I know of!) The book reads well and could easily be used as a guide for handicraft in wood sloyd. It teaches methodology, recommends tools and requirements, and gives details on a number of projects along with real-life examples by kids. See also the article called Wood Craft Ideas from the Guide to Woodworking. Non-Fiction How-To: 2/19/23
    • Home Apothecary by Ashley English. ★★★★★ Excellent how-to on using essential oils. I loved the layout and tried a few recipes. Non-Fiction How-To: 1/31/23
    • How to Speak Chicken by Melissa Caughey. ★★★★★ So much fun if you like reading chicken-keeping books! I l loved it. I’m trying to hear what my own chickens are telling me. Non-Fiction How-To?: 4/25/23

    * Favorite *

    • Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook edited and revised by Cyndi Giorgis. ★★★★★. Excellent reference book. Read once to be committed to reading aloud now for your kid’s sake. Then refer to it when you want some excellent read-aloud books. Or go to his website which lists his recommendations. I’m going to check out some titles that we missed when my guys were smaller. Trelease asks, “At what age do you stop reading aloud picture books? In a word — never.” Non-fiction Education: 1/1/23 –started in December!
    • A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens by Melissa Caughey. ★★★★★ I had to read this after I read Caughey’s How to Speak Chicken. It was another fun read. Very thorough overview for beginner chicken keepers. Non-Fiction How-To?: 5/3/23
    • Lotions, Potions & Polish: DIY Crafts and Recipes by Aubre Andrus. ★★ Slick book with a small bit of substance. This book is listed for teens, and it has the feel of a slick magazine with beautiful layouts and photography. I think it would make a fun book for crafting with small children, but they probably couldn’t do that because it has some recipes that melt and use a stove. I guess if your young teen expresses an interest in learning some basics, this book could be fun. Extra star for the benefit of the doubt. Also in the same series are Gloss, Floss & Wash and Spray, Smooth & Shampoo. I put these on my reserve list from a search for essential oils crafts. There are not that many recipes with essential oils in them. Non-fiction Teen How-To Book: 1/5/23
    • A New Handwriting for Teachers by M.M. Bridges. ★ ★ ★ ★ Public Domain (free) book from 1923 used in the Charlotte Mason Schools. Instructions for a calligraphy font. This would have been just a normal handwriting font, but today we would need the special calligraphy pens that were common then. It is pretty handwriting and looks easy enough to learn. Non-Fiction How-To: 3/20/23
    • Poems by a Little Girl by Hilda Conkling. ★★★ I’m sorry. I tried to like this. But I had to force myself to read it. She was a child poet featured in my ebook The Poetry Hater’s Guide to Loving Poetry which I wrote to add poetry to my day since it really is vital to an education. I really was very excited to get her book of poetry after I read about her background. Unfortunately, I resonated most with her poem called Poems which had a line in it about not understanding poems. I will keep trying to use my own advice about reading poems. Non-fiction Poetry: 3/2/23
    • Prepper’s Natural Medicine by Cat Ellis. ★★★★★ This is a great resource for learning medicinal herbs! Rosemary Gladstar’s iconic book Medicinal Herbs is, of course, the one book you should have on your shelf if you like this field, but Ellis’s guide is really good. Despite its lack of photos, the content is broad and straightforward. I’m not sure if it’s good for the beginner since I own & use Gladstar’s book, but I found it a great resource. It also covers essential oils to an extent, which is how I found it. Non-fiction Reference: 3/30/23
    • The School Revolution by Ron Paul. ★★★★★ Great read on the need for school reform. He proposes that the free market of homeschoolers using technology with many different options will ultimately cause the public state-funded schooling to become obsolete, similar to the post office in the wake of competition from FedEx. The book was written in 2013, just as he was developing the Ron Paul Curriculum. I wish I read the book before my sons used some of the RPC for high school! Non-fiction: 3/2/23
    • Seed Saving: A Beginner’s Guide to Heirloom Gardening by Caleb Warnock. ★★★★★ Reread. I got so much more from this on a second reading. I was looking for specifics for seed saving for this current season. Here are the easiest seeds according to Warnock: Peas, lettuce, peppers, and sometimes tomatoes and beans. Don’t even think about carrot or corn seeds unless you are a professional! A superb resource for your gardening shelf. Non-fiction How-To: 3/13/23
    • Shallow Pit Garden Composting: The Easy, No-Smell, No-Turning Way to Create Organic Compost For Your Garden by Caleb Warnock. ★★★★★ Reread. Useful, practical advice just before spring. I’m going to try this method of composting. Warnock is also from a very dry climate, so it seems like it could help me in my semi-arid climate to keep the compost moist. Non-fiction How-To: 3/16/23
    • Simple Qigong Exercises for Health by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming. ★★★★ Explains the 8 pieces of brocade both sitting and standing with pictures and descriptions of the poems. I wanted to read this before testing the movements with the companion video. Non-Fiction How-To: 1/8/23
    • A Touch of the Infinite (my book club read this year about Charlotte Mason music studies.) by Megan Elizabeth Hoyt. ★★★★ A very good read, but a bit overwhelming because Hoyt is so very knowledgeable about music. We had wonderful discussions about the material in our book club, and the book is jam-packed with great ideas, even for the less musically inclined. Hoyt gives so many practical actionable items. I think the biggest regret about the book is that we didn’t read it at the beginning of our homeschool journey. Most of the moms in our club are wrapping up their homeschooling years. But for those starting out, this would be a great resource to visit a few times. Non-Fiction Educational Guidebook on Music: 4/16/23
    • Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior In Company And Conversation. ★★★★★ This is an arrangement of 110 sayings that young George Washington copied when he was 14 or 15 years old. The sayings are all about manners. It’s fun because I recognize weaknesses in my kids’ manners as well as my own. A great resource for copywork. Also has a fantastic vocabulary of plenty of words no longer in common usage. Best quote: “Being set at meat, Scratch not, neither Spit, Cough, or blow your Nose except there’s a Necessity for it.” or “Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you Esteem your own Reputation; For ’tis better to be alone than in bad Company.” Non-fiction Historical Book of Quotations: 1/3/23
    • Why the Universe is the Way it Is by Hugh Ross. ★★★★★ This was one of my hubby’s books he had on his desk when I needed a book to read and was too lazy to get up to get my own book. I enjoyed it! I thought I would just skim it a bit for the 20 minutes I had to kill, but I finished it because it was really interesting. It’s by an astronomer and can get a little geeky. He makes the hard astronomy part easy to understand for the layperson. Non-Fiction: 3/31/23
    • Wild Beauty by Jane Blankenship. ★★★ Sorry for the harsh criticism, but I was disappointed in this book. It gets great reviews and has gorgeous pictures, but it just didn’t resonate with me. I wanted labels on the pictures if they corresponded to a recipe. Or maybe I’m simply not looking for recipes like “Mermaid Hair Mask.” It’s probably just me. Non-Fiction How-To: 1/10/23
    • The Wisdom of our Hands: Crafting a Life by Doug Stowe. ★★★★★ Superb guide that talks about the importance of handcraft, in particular woodworking. Stowe is really talking about using woodworking to craft a better life and a better world. Great quote: “Deep engagement with the hands as they are crafting has an effect on your sense of well-being that should not be ignored.” Non-Fiction Education: 1/2/23 –started in December!
    • Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening: How to Grow Nutrient-Dense, Soil-Sprouted Greens in Less Than 10 days by Peter Burke. ★★★★★ Superb guide on how to get your indoor system going so that you can grow a salad every day of the year. Extremely practical, great photographs, and clear instruction. I’m going to have to modify my setup based on some of his practices. And I’m going to update my microgreens article once I make the improvements. Highly recommended. Non-fiction How-To: 2/20/23


    Reviews of Books Read in January 2023


    Reviews of Books Read in February 2023


    Reviews of Books Read in March 2023


    Reviews of Books Read in April 2023


    Reviews of Books Read in 2023

    Related Articles