in the last ten months

When I was a kid, my mom made me and my brothers keep lists of the books we read. It was nice to know how we spent our hours and, when people asked for suggestions for good reading material, to have a list at hand. Also, she used the book lists to bulk up her homeschooling records.

To this day, I still keep a list of all the books I have read, and I make my children do the same. However, up until a year ago, only my older son was reading. Despite being well-beyond the normal age at which children learn to read, my twelve-year-old daughter was not.

I was, quite naturally, extremely worried (and had been for years—you can read the whole story here), but then, rather suddenly, she began reading. Now, one year later, the tables have turned so wildly that, when I have contemplated sharing her book list, I feel shy. Maybe people will think I’m bragging?

When I mentioned my hesitation to my friend, she said, “Oh, no, you need to share that list. Remember how you felt a year ago? What would you have wanted to hear back then?”

And so, for the pulling-her-hair-out worried Me of winter 2014, I share this book list. This, dear mama, is what your daughter-who-can-not-read has read … IN THE LAST TEN MONTHS.

The Coming of Dragons: the Darkest Age, by A.J. Lake*
Peter and the Starcatchers, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Peter and the Shadow Thieves, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Peter and the Secret of Rundoon, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan
Peter and the Sword of Mercy, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
The Sea of Monsters, by Rick Riordan
The Titan’s Curse, by Rick Riordan
The Battle of the Labyrinth, by Rick Riordan
Divergent, by Veronica Roth
The Last Olympian, by Rick Riordan
Insurgent, by Veronica Roth
Unwind, by Neal Shusterman
Unwholly, by Neal Shusterman
Unsouled, by Neal Shusterman
The Island Stallion, by Walter Farley
Allegiant, by Veronica Roth
The Book of the Sword, by A.J. Lake
The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley
Touching Spirit Bear, by Ben Mikaelsen
Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
The Enormous Egg, by Oliver Butterworth
Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare
The Circle of Stone, by A.J. Lake
Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, by Brandon Sanderson
City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare
Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
Are You There, God? It’s me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Prince, by Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Princess, by Cassandra Clare
The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan
Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli
The Son of Neptune, by Rick Riordan
Here’s To You, Rachel Robinson, by Judy Blume
The Mark of the Athena, by Rick Riordan
New Moon, by Stephenie Meyer
The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke
Mind’s Eye, by Douglas E. Richards
City of Fallen Angels, by Cassandra Clare
City of Lost Souls, by Cassandra Clare
The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
City of Heavenly Fire, by Cassandra Clare
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
The Fault in our Stars, by John Green
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
The Bane Chronicles, by Cassandra Clare
The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
I am Number Four, by Pittacus Lore
The Power of Six, by Pittacus Lore
The Rise of Nine, by Pittacus Lore
Fire, by Kristin Cashore
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

*In the case of a series, I only linked to the first book in the series.


If there is anything I have learned from this list, it’s this:

Learning readiness is a real thing.
Ignore arbitrary learning time schedules and trust the child.
Imposed learning doesn’t hold a candle to the passion that comes from within: watch out.

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (2.17.14), chicken pot pie, creamed chicken with cheese biscuits, and tortilla pie.


  • Anonymous

    Based on that list, I'd recommend the "Dealing with Dragons" series. To get out of an arranged marriage, a princess volunteers to be a dragon's princess.

  • Greta Bucher

    I second the "Homecoming" idea – I just found that series a few years ago and it's among the best I've read. Here's the pitch I give to say why it's so awesome: It starts when Dicey, who's thirteen, and her three younger siblings go to the mall with their mom. Mom says, "Wait in the car, I'll be right back,"…and does not come back. Dicey has a few dollars in her pocket. She needs to figure out how to take care of her younger brothers and sister, and how to travel across a couple of states in order to get to a relative's house, and she's not even sure if that relative will help them if/when they get there.

    Also, way to go, Jennifer!

  • Mama Pea

    Heaps of blessings upon homeschooling! Can you imagine the traumas she would have suffered in a public/private school setting until she was "ready?!"

  • Anonymous

    I bet she would LOVE "Homecoming" by Cynthia Voigt. It's the first in a series of seven books about a teenaged girl named Dicey and her siblings, and how they take care of each other. It's really good stuff.

    • Jennifer Jo

      I have that book! I've been trying to get her to read different genres, but she usually has two to four books going at a time and is so super driven that it's hard to get a book in edgewise. But this one would be a good one to push. I'll try to get it into her lineup.

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