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I’m so excited to read Just One Day and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is on my list too!
Wow I have to agree this year was especially tough narrowing it down to 10 favourite reads, I may have cheated a little and added a few at the bottom like you too ?? Shatter Me made it to my list too, it’s not usually the type of book I pick up, but I loved it!
I have a few of these, but I’ve only read Every Day, Sky is Everywhere (one of my favorites ever!), and Statistical.
All the books on your list are either books that I ADORED or books that I desperately want to read. I haven’t read *any* of these books yet, but at least 5 of them are on my to-buy list!
I have yet to read all of these except Looking for Alaska, which was my least favorite by JG. I really need to read For Darkness Shows the Stars, Under the Never Sky, Tiger Lily (and another one of your recs: The Lost Girl).
It is worth noting that Grace loves a particular series of fairy books, but I hate them. Hate them.
Just like I limit the junk food in Grace’s belly, I limit the junk books in her brain. If I am going to take the time to read to Gracie (and I do, every single day), I want to hear her a book that is stimulating. Meet Kirsten and other American Girl books – Grace and I read Meet Kirsten because Kirsten is very similar to the people who lived in Walnut Grove, Minnesota (where Mary and Laura lived for a few years). The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green – Stealing from the rich, giving to the poor, you know the story. Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates – This is a book for older kids, about Amos Fortune, the son of an Africa king, and his journey through slavery and out the other side. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell – Black Beauty is a horse in turn of the century England. The Borrowers by Mary Norton – My boss told me that this was one of her favorite books when she was a kid, and she read it to her kids. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson -“This was the first book to ever make me cry. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – This was the very first chapter book I read aloud to Gracie. The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop – A 10-year-old boy finds a magical castle in the attic.
Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth and Elizabeth Gilbreth Carey – I bet you know the Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt move based on this book. The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden – This is a really nice story about a little boy and a handful of animals (including a cricket, obviously). The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh by AA Milne – I read this to Grace when I was pregnant with Allie, so I guess I read it to both of them. Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald Sobol – This was my first mystery book experience.
Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel – This book is required reading for every single early reader ever. Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes – This is a book about a little boy and his very smart dog. Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry – Gooney Bird Greene is the new girl in school (as I was over and over and over again), and she loves to tell stories. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen – I thought I would hate this book, but I had to read it for a literacy festival when I was in the seventh grade. Heidi by Johanna Sypri – Heidi is a 5-year-old orphan sent to live with her grandpa in the mountains. Holes by Lois Sachar – A teenage boy gets sent to a detention camp (through no fault of his own, of course), and he discovers mystery and intrigue.
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell – As the title might suggest, this is about a boy who eats worms (on a bet). The Hundred Dresses by Elenor Estes – This story was written in the forties, but it is as true for today as ever.
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks – My grandpa died when I was 12, and this was one of the last stories I shared with him.
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones – This is a shorter version of the Bible.
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George – My mom loved this story, me not so much. King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Greene – You know this story already. The Littles by John Peterson – A family of tiny people lives in the walls of a regular family. Matilda by Roald Dahl – Matilda is a five and a half year old genius whose parents are idiots and whose school principal is a bully. The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary – Every single human being in America should have read this story as a kid. Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene – This is actually a series of books written over almost 100 years. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper – The main character of this story has cerebral palsy. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster – When I read this in the fifth grade, I really appreciated the main character who was bored, bored, bored with life. Poppy (Tales from Dimwood Forest) by Avi – The last time I looked for Poppy, it had gone out of print, but it’s back!
The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald – Princess, castle, pauper boy, evil goblins who try to take over everything. Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary – Ramona Quimby was my character of choice for almost all of second grade.
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlin – I remember devouring this book as a kid, maybe fourth or fifth grade?
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar – This is a strange book about a strange school full of strange kids who do strange things. Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski – I read this story about a little girl whose family moves to Florida to start a strawberry plantation as a kid. Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls – In Oklahoma at the turn of the century, a 14-year-old boy and his grandpa try again and again to trap a bunch of monkeys that have escaped from a carnival, to earn the reward money.

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss – Written in 1812 about a family who gets shipwrecked on an desert island, this is a must-read among must-reads. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume – This is the first of five classic books about a boy named Peter and his annoying little siblings.
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – Originally published in 1883, this is the original pirate tale.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame – Written in 1908, these are the enchanting adventures of Mole, Mr.
When I read Cruel Beauty, I knew Rosamund Hodge would be an author whose work I would be following. Just One Day by Gayle Forman: Ok, so I know this is a 2013 release but it honestly was one of the best I read!
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson: This book was one of the most beautiful books I read this year!
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard: This was just such a fun contemporary that just both satiated AND stirred up the travel bug that is oh so present in my life.
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi: Holy page turner — I stayed up until 4am to read this one because WHAT IF I DIED IN MY SLEEP AND NEVER KNEW WHAT HAPPENED?? For Darkness Shows  The Stars by Diana  Peterfreund: This book was sooo unique and I just was easily transported to this world! When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is. I really liked The Sky is Everywhere and Shatter Me (can’t wait to read Unravel Me!!)…and a lot of the other books are on my TBR! You have a few on here that I haven’t read yet and you’re making me want to get to them before the end of the year!! And I’ve heard so many great things about Tiger Lily, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it!
And I love the fact that Wanderlove takes place in South America, so that will eventually get read as well. I want a story that draws me in and makes me want to read just one more chapter! I want it to expand what Gracie knows – either in experiences or feelings or understanding of the world.
She’s in the same time period and same general location, so Grace was instantly interested in the books. It’s a heartwarming but sad story about carving out your refuge both physically and emotionally away from bullies and the harsh realities of being a kid. Based on the author’s grandmother, Caddie Woodlawn is a story I loved as a little girl. I haven’t read this one, but it reminds me of the Indian in the Cupboard which appears below. The book, however, is the real life, laugh out loud funny story of the Gilbreth family who lived in the very early 1900’s. It’s about a 19-year-old girl who leaves home to become a teacher in a (comparatively) primitive town in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee.
Henshaw by Beverly Cleary – This is a collection of letters written by a little boy to his favorite author over a period of four years. I could never figure out the whodunnit, but I really liked reading the stories and being surprised at the end. Every Avi book I’ve ever read has gripped me from the first page to the very last, and the reviews of this on Amazon look really great.
It’s an elementary school classic about a little boy who wants to have freckles and thinks he can get them from freckle juice. It was one of the first books I ever read, and I bought it for Grace before she could even sit up. These can get a little gruesome by today’s standards, but most are still appropriate for the early elementary set. Harriet is an 11-year-old aspiring author who documents her brutally honest observations in her secret notebook. A bullied girl tells the class that she has a hundred dresses – even though she wears the same threadbare one to school every day.
It’s a classic, about a little girl whose rich father sends her to a fancy boarding school. Two little kids (in Frog Creek, Pennsylvania!) find a magic tree house and have adventures all through time and space. It’s about a doll made from sticks and a hickory nut, left all alone to survive the winter. She can’t walk or talk, but she is brilliant and wants to share her mind with the world.
She has crazy red pigtails, no parents to tell her what to do, a horse that lives on her porch, and a flair for the outrageous that seems to lead to one adventure after another! It’s about a very little mouse who has to go on a dangerous adventure to save her family. It’s a exciting story, though, of a shipwrecked kid who lives for 28 years on his own. This time traveling book had me on the edge of my seat and searching for non-fiction sources about history, too. It was before the Glenn Close movie came out (which is also excellent, similar in a lot of ways to Little House on the Prairie), because I remember watching the movie with my mom and comparing.
I loved it when I was little (partly because of all the things they did that you just can’t do.
White – This story is about a mute young swan who learns to communicate using a trumpet his father stole for him. I don’t remember why (was I sick or did I just want to read?), but I remember being absolutely and totally immersed in the story.
This story has her trademark sense of humor combined with a quirky family and some bigger issues. I don’t often wish I could jump in the world of a contemporary book, but this is the one book I would love to live in.
But of course, I told my friends and family about this incredible new paranormal fantasy that’s set in NYC and the New York Public Library! You can tell there is so much in store for the rest of the series, and I appreciate knowing Meadows is an author I can trust to surprise, frighten and delight me. What I got was a story that surprised me with its focus on great friendships and in recovering from loss.

Either that or she just loves to torture her readers with clever plots and twisty maneuvers.
Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby. I read that at the beginning of the year and then this Fall I got the chance to read Through The Ever Night and OHIOHWOGPIHW it is so good. A definite surprise for me because I didn’t expect to love this one so much because I really didn’t know much about it! Your solo novels I’ve read so far have just blown me away (totes love your collabs as well). It does start off a little slow but I had this slow burn love for this story and by the end I was just wrecked!
I just can’t get enough of him and his writing and how I always THINK THINK THINK after I read his books. Smith:  This was one of my most recent reads and well that’s what I get for already making my End of Year Book survey post because this needs to get added!!
Tell me a few of your faves from this year that you think I would love and should read SOOOON!! The only one we share is Tiger Lily (LOVELOVELOVE), but I’ve read a lot of the other ones and they were AH-MAZING.
I want a story with layers  – something she may come back to again as an older kid or even an adult. I noted where that was the case, and I included them only at the recommendation of someone I respect (most often our favorite public librarian). Even preschool kids will understand the kindnesses and cruelties portrayed through the situations in this book. She loved that there was a movie adaptation (the old Gene Wilder one, not the new one, which I’ve heard is not appropriate for little kids), and she loved that we found Willy Wanka candy at the grocery store.
Even little kids will be able to see his foibles and find comfort in his friendship with Christopher Robin.
His parents divorce, he moves to a new school, he gets picked on all the time, and he learns to deal with his confusing life through writing. Her family eventually moves away (because of the torment), and the rest of the kids are left to deal with their own behavior. James lives with his crazy aunts who don’t understand him and gets mixed up with magic, mystery, and adventure.
I read them on my own when I was in fourth grade (not sure why, but I remember reading it on the playground), but I’ve been reading them to Grace since she was three. We’ve finished the original 9-book series and moved on to On the Way Home, a memoir Laura wrote about moving from South Dakota to Missouri with Almanzo. Mowatt brings the Owls to life as characters in their own right and his masterful storytelling is both exciting and timeless. This book, written in 1872, inspired JRR Tolkien, Madeline L’Engle, and Lewis Carroll. Set on the prairie in 1910, the story is about Sarah (who describes herself as plain and tall), a woman who answers a newspaper ad to become a widower’s new wife and mother to his two kids.
When his friend, a bird, goes missing, he goes out looking for her and finds a great adventure.
Charlotte Doyle is a teenage girl, unexpectedly the only passenger on a transatlantic voyage in 1832. A little girl runs away from home to live with them, and she contemplates drinking from the spring.
The idea of parallel Londons was an exciting idea that was executed in a way that was clear and so intriguing. Han has this perfect way of adding sweetness to heartbreak and knows how to temper sad moments with hope.
You’ll see some parallels with Disney movies and stories, but the original is (as you might have known) much richer.
The book is actually five short stories, and it’s the first in a series of four books. Travers – Is there a book in all the world that’s not better than its movie adaptation? Mouse through a Scholastic book on DVD thing that she got for Christmas, and she loved him.
An innocent family of field mice (one sickly) are saved by highly intelligent rats who’ve broken out of the National Institute of Mental Health. The story of how they learn to be a family is tender and emotional (but in a really good way). A crippled and sickly little girl’s family dies, leaving her all alone, to be shipped off to an uncle in another country. Partly because this book is so good and partly because I really slow down during this time. I suddenly feel like I need to spend the next two weeks doing nothing but reading all of these fantastic books! I still have the boxed set of these books in my basement, waiting for Grace to be big enough to listen to them.
I think the movie adaptation of Mary Poppins is positively splendid, but the book is even better.
She lives in an upside down house, her backyard is full of buried treasure, and everything she does is fantastic! AND there are several sequels, which I know you will read because you won’t want your time with Poppy to come to an end. Even little kids will appreciate the story, and it is an awesome history lesson about turn of the century life in the midwest.
She finds a secret garden within the walls of his home, and she is determined to explore it. You can also check out my top ten favorite new-to-me authors of 2012 or my answers to my 2012 End of Year Book Survey wherein you’ll get a bigger picture of my year in books! I might have to go get this from the library because writing about it makes me want to read it all over again.

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best books to read about life

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