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09/15/2014 09:00PM ● Published by Nancy Babin

Here it is – another school year has started and already the school year is falling into a routine.  Today’s families are crazy busy with school and all the various after school things to do and places to go.   If you are a mom like me, you feel like you are living in the car playing chauffeur to your kids.  

As such, I encourage you to get creative with your reading schedule and selections in order to keep an emphasis on the importance of reading in your home.  Reading doesn’t have to be AT HOME.  A family can easily enjoy a good book during all that time you are sitting in the car.  Audiobooks are a terrific way to enjoy a good story together.

Selecting audiobooks for your family can be tricky as you have to consider the different ages of your children and the length of the book.  You want it to be engaging for everyone (including the driver!)  An excellent series to consider for audio listening is the “39 Clues” series.  The original series is known as “The Clue Hunt” and contains 11 books.  The second series which spun off of the original series is “Cahills vs. Vespers” and consists of 6 books.  The third series spinning out of the original is “Unstoppable” and currently has 3 books with more to come.
The stories in all of the books are fast paced and engaging for boys and girls (and adults).  With so many books already written, your family can listen through many many hours in the car.

Another book I would suggest for this month is “The Cay” by Theodore Taylor.   It is available in an audiobook as well.   This classic was originally published in 1969 and has been recently released again.  The story begins in 1942 in Curacao, an island in the Caribbean.  Young Phillip is excited about German U-boats being spotted near his island until his father decides to send him and his mother home to Virginia for safety.  Their boat is torpedoed and Phillip finds himself in a lifeboat with an old West Indian man names Timothy and a cat.  The story is a terrific adventure and it has much to teach the reader.  I recommend it highly for both boys and girls, ages 10 and up.

For the slightly younger set, an excellent choice this month is “The Water Castle” by Megan Frazer Blakemore.  In this story,  three children (Ephraim, Will and Wylie) are on the hunt for the legendary Fountain of Youth with powerful secrets that each of them believe can fix the problems with their families.  It is believed to be contained in The Water Castle, the ancestral family home of Ephraim’s family.  The hunt intertwines magic, science and discovery into one pageturning adventure.  I recommend this book for boys and girls ages 8 and up.

Finally, for the slightly older set there is one book that is of particular interest given the prevalence of Russia in the news.  “The Family Romanov:  Murder, Rebellion and the Fall of Imperial Russia” by Candace Fleming is a well written historical account of the last tsar of Russia – Tsar Nicholas.  Many times history is more exciting than fiction, and this is one of those times.  The wild excesses of Russia’s elite class paved the way for a revolution – which unfortunately turned out even worse for the Russian people.  Politics and intrigue make for a highly readable book that teens and adults will enjoy – especially those with an interest in history.

I wish everyone a wonderful school year.  As always, I truly welcome any book suggestions you may have so if you have read something great let me know!  Email a short paragraph with the title, the author and what you liked about the book to Alex Brown care of  Be sure and let me know who you are and how to get in touch with you – if we decide to include your suggestion, I would love give you a “shout out” in the article (with permission of a parent). 
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Today, Today Books, 39 CLues, The Cay, The Water Castle, The Family Romanov, school


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