Great Books
We believe in the power of story
With books we can…

  • expand our children’s world to places they might never be able to go
  • learn about new things, experience other cultures, and travel through time
  • encounter ideas and thoughts—some that we agree with and some that we do not
  • initiate discussions and conversations with our kids, or we can simply enjoy a story together
  • teach language arts skills naturally and appreciate the craft of amazing authors
Our Great Books column celebrates all of these things
that we can do with books.
“When you read a book, you are in a mind-to-mind encounter with its author, whether he lived 1000 years ago or lives today. This is the wonder of real books—all kinds of books, not only the serious and factual. Your mind grows through these encounters.”
—Dr. Ruth Beechick
Coming This Year
As always, you’ll find recommendations for great books in this column. Sometimes we may choose one that’s out-of-print but can be found at libraries and used bookstores.

We’re excited to bring you a variety of different types of books including picture books for your youngest learners, both fiction and nonfiction throughout the year, and suggestions for family read-alouds.

Print subscribers receive a printable activity pack each month featuring each pick as a part of The Monthly Toolkit. Discussion questions, activity suggestions, ways to use the books to teach language skills and other subjects, and more make this a great resource for the whole family!

Spring is in the Air!
The Honeybee
written by Kirsten Hall Illlustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
The Honey Bee Book Cover

adore this picture book! With whimsical illustrations and rhyming text, your family will be enchanted as they learn all about honeybees. The story, filled with facts, has a musical quality that truly engages children of all ages. Much like concrete poetry, words are placed and written in ways that help tell the story. You’ll find yourself reading loudly and more softly according to the size of the font. At times you’ll slow down and other times will speed up. This book is a great introduction to literary language for older students, too. The use of onomatopoeia flows through the book and buzzes off the page!

Mistakes That Worked Book Cover
Marvelous Mishaps
Mistakes That Worked
written by Charlotte Foltz Jones
Illlustrated by John O’Brien

his book was one of my children’s favorites. Although the reading level is eight to eleven years, the fascinating stories will grab the attention of the whole family. Mistakes That Worked could be used in a variety of ways—as an individual reader, a family read-aloud, and as a starting point to dig deeper!

Filled with stories of how different things were invented through mistakes, this book will remind your kids that failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They’ll also love the cartoon illustrations and fascinating facts throughout the book. Be ready to hear the phrase, “Did you know that…” whenever you’re around friends and family!

Perseverance Pays Off

hat does it take to keep going after failure? Perseverance. You and your family will learn about this important character trait through the lives of scientists and inventors. Reading biographies about the people who failed over and over and yet made incredible contributions to the world will inspire your children to not give up either.

Here are two of my top picks!
They Gave Us Wings: The Wright Brothers by Charles Ludwig
(The Sowers series)
Thomas Edison and The Wright Brothers book covers
You don’t decide to find a way for people to fly without having to go through a lot of prototypes! The Wright brothers experienced incredible hardship and setbacks as they tried to figure out how to give people “wings.”
Thomas Edison: Inspiration and Hard Work
by Janet and Geoff Benge
(Heroes of History series)

These quotes by Thomas Edison tell you what you need to know about his story!

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

“I have not failed. I’ve just found
10,000 ways that won’t work.”

“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

—Thomas Edison
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