Friday, June 15, 2018

the end...hopefully with a new beginning on the horizon

Lucy and I finished The Last Battle this last week.

Which meant we finished off the whole Chronicles of Narnia series.  And I hope I will always remember sitting in her room with her, tears streaming down my cheeks, because that last book is emotional I tell you! 

Lucy and I had waded through sorrow in the description of "the end" a couple nights before, and that night we had tears because the new "beginning" was, to me, almost breathtakingly beautiful.  I don't want to give anything away so I won't say more than that, but I will say C.S. Lewis has such a beautiful grasp on what I think life is all about. 

Setting aside the emotion elicited by the book itself, I think I was even more weepy because it was not only the end of a grand series that made us "feel" so much, it was also the end of a beautiful venue that almost felt like it was uniquely suited for us to talk and discuss.  I have so loved reading that series snuggling up with that girl of mine.  It’s been such a bonding and spiritual thing for us. 

Oh, we’ll try to find another series of course, but I know we’ll never find one as good.  And with the end of that series I think part of the “magic” of innocent youth with Lucy is ending along with it.  It’s like I’m grasping at straws with all my kids trying to hold onto them, and an extra thick and beautiful one just slipped from my fingers.
Those smiles up there were after I had calmed down, and we had discussed all the parts and pieces that ended that book, how they related to life and the gospel we practice (Lucy brought up all those parts...she seems to understand all those analogies in such a beautiful way, with angles and details I don't think of).

If anyone has any suggestions as to a new series we can start on, please send ideas our way.  And if anyone has not read the Chronicles of Narnia, please do.  You won't regret it.

Thank you for leaving us so much to think about, C.S. Lewis. 
xoxo

55 comments:

  1. I would recommend J.R.R Tolkien next. I have always thought of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Ring Trilogy as the next step up in spiritual fiction. They are a grand and beautiful series of books. Plus J.R.R Tolkien and C.S Lewis were friends so it would be fitting ��

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    1. I read one time that these two authors playfully argued over which of their magical worlds was better. 😊

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    2. Good idea...we'll have to check that out, I've never read any Lord of the Rings books.

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  2. What lovely memories Lucy and you have created.

    Not on the spiritual level, but very good:

    Laura Ingalls Wilder series starting with Little House in the Big Woods

    All of a Kind Family by Sidney Taylor - Jewish immigrant family living in Lower East Side in turn of the century - might be a tad young but very interesting to learn about the religion and life back then.

    I loved the Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper when I was growing up.

    Anne of Green Gables series

    Harry Potter!

    Some really good stand alone books:
    Island of the Blue Dolphin
    Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry
    Number the Stars
    The Wheel on the School
    Sign of the Beaver
    A Single Shard
    Half Magic - I bet this would appeal to both Lucy's logical side and funny side

    Happy Reading!

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    1. I haven't been able to talk any of my girls into Anne of Green Gables but I need to try again...I think Lucy would love that. Thank you for the other recommendations too!

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  3. Not a series but I loved reading wonder with my kids. I know you already saw the movie, though. We are reading charlottes web now and summer of the monkeys next.

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    1. Wonder (the book) is so good though! Loved reading it with my kids too. And Charlotte's Web is awesome...maybe we should read that one again.

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  4. The Betsy, Tacy and Tib Books! By Maud Hart Lovelace. It's a series of books about the Ray Family and it starts when Betsy and Tacy are just 5 years old and the books go through all the way till Betsy gets married! Oh man. My mom had us read the books that matched each year we were in high school. They are so so good. I think there are 4 books before they start High School and then they continue.

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    1. I second the Betsy Tacy series! Set in Mankato, MN and there is a museum there to Maud and her characters.

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    2. I third this series! Was one of my very favorites growing up!

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    3. Never heard of these, we will look them up! Thank you!

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  5. That's so beautiful At what age did you start reading those together?

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    1. Oh man, we started years ago...I can't even remember when. Probably at least four or five years ago. We drew those puppies out and loved that we could just pick up where we left off when we let lots of time elapse between our reading.

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  6. Seconding Little House in the Big Woods series. They are the best.

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    1. My sister totally recommends those too...we read the beginning of one a while ago, I can't remember why we quit. We'll ahve to try again.

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  7. We have loved reading Little Women together. It also has deep spiritual undertones, and is ideal for prompting discussion. It's not in a series, but Little Men is a fun follow-up to it, and both would be great for Lucy's age. We've also loved Laura Ingalls Wilder and Anne of Green Gables, so I recommend those as well.

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    1. I LOVED listening to a lot of Little Women on a road trip a while ago, and Lucy did too, but my older girls didn't so we let it slip. We need to try that one again, it's SO good!

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    2. Little Women is actually part of a series...its followed by Good Wives, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys. All such great books and personal childhood favorites of mine!

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  8. I recommend the tennis shoes among the nephites books. And as she gets older the work and the glory, along with the kingdom and the crown.

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  9. The Inquisitors Tale is my current favorite book for this age range. Not a classic, or a series since it was just published a couple of years ago but it's great. Unique storytelling, friendship, faith...it has it all!

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  10. These are the books that I loved reading with/to my daughter:
    A Dog's Life: Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M. Martin
    (sequel: Everything for a Dog)
    The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
    The Trumpet of the Swan by EB White

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  11. The Giver is great for her age group. It leads to great discussions about Satan’s plan of no choices vs heavenly fathers plan and is just a really good book.

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    1. We'll, I guess that's one interpretation...

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    2. @Jill, my sneaking suspicion is that is not the interpretation Lois Lowry wanted or intended.

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  12. My son and I were just discussing JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis last night. I was suggesting that we start The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe out loud at night. Then we were talking about our favorite books. One of my very favorite books when I was growing up was "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler." There was something about living in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, taking a bath in the fountain and getting all the coins from the the fountain that made me love that book. How fun would it be to live in a museum like that!

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  13. My favorites include:
    Anne of Green Gables
    Laura Ingalls Wilder--Little House books.
    As a young person, I loved the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery books.
    My children loved when we read together the Pirates of the Caribbean series written by Rob Kidd (I would do the voice changes for different characters- the kids loved it)
    HARRY POTTER!
    I was a concerned parent with that series because of parents who said they would never let their kids read it because of the wizardry. But I found that it is actually a brilliantly written work-- It contains a lot of great messages (about not judging others too quickly without knowing the real story, the power of friendship, and how LOVE is more powerful than anything).


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    1. I feel the same about Harry Potter. One of our favorite/funny memories from traveling in Japan was when Lucy had her nose so into that first book, so mesmerized by reading that she walked right into a signpost :) She lost interest in the second one though. Maybe if we read together we can keep going.

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  14. Run to the closest bookstore for Anne of Green Gables! That plucky, spirited orphan will win both of your hearts ��.

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    1. I second this, I re-read the full series every year! Still love it even as an adult.

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  15. A Wrinkle in Time is a series, and the heroine is a girl with thick glasses, who has passion that reminds me of Lucy.

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  16. I have such fond memories of my Father reading to me as a child, right up to my pre-teen years. It was something I found so binding, we both had such a love for that time we spent together and to this day it is what I look forward to most with my own children we we are blessed with the family we are patiently waiting for and praying will be ours. When we lost our daughter last year to stillbirth, we spent 24 hours reading her book after book after book. Seeing her daddy read to her as mine did to me was precious time and I often watch back the videos my family took of us reading locked in a world of our own with our daughter, unaware they were even watching us at all.

    Some great books I loved were ‘Swallows and Amazons’, and the ‘Famous five’ series. Both my grandfather read to my father, then my father read to me. So blessed.

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  17. Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My Mom read those out loud to me when I was a kid and now I read them to my kids.

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  18. I'd like to reconmend a podcast called Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. It's podcast about reading the HP series (and any other book for that matter) as a sacred text. I'm not religious and infact (at least) one of the hosts is an antheist but was bought up in judism and went to divinity school. They bring up such great remarks from the text through an universal theme, like necessity, fear, happiness,lonelyness etc. At times the content is a bit heavy for young children, but mostly it is for everyone.

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  19. Peter and the Starcatchers. It is written by Dave Barry ( humor) and Ridely Pierson ( suspense and action). It’s the story on how Peter Pan came to be who he is. Doesn’t have the thought provoking themes as Narnia series but it’s a lot of fun.

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  20. Betsy Tacy is so wonderful!

    Anne of Green Gables is also delightful!

    The Amazons and Swallows series is one of my all time favorites, but I actually suggest you buy them on audible and listen together. They are long, each book about eleven hours...and you have to be really patient because half of each book is construction...but if you make it patiently through...how it all comes together is pretty great stuff!

    There is another series I just discovered that is so much fun! It’s the Mitchells series: Five for Victory, Canadian Summer and Friendly Gables. They have them on audible, but they are also fun read-aloud books. Really a fun story of a big family that delights me as a mother over and over.

    We also just finished the Melendey Series: The Saturday’s, Four Story Mistake, Then There was Five, Spiderweb for Two. I didn’t love the first book as much so I was worried about the rest but the series gets better and better. Really fun!

    Someone mentioned this, but if you haven’t read Little Men, after Little Women, it should be on your list. Loved it as a child, and more as a mother!!


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  21. Random second thought, I think that the Read-a-loud Revival podcaster just published a book, and I haven’t read it yet but I heard from someone they loved the lists because they aren’t based on great books, but more on books that are good to read out loud. Still great books, but does that make sense?

    So I have to admit we listened to all my suggestions on audible...but together, all snuggled up as a family...but I’m sure some of them are great read out loud as well!

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  22. Just remembered another series from my childhood: The "Shoe" series. The Ballet Shoes, Skating Shoes, Circus Shoes, etc. The books were written in the 30's and 40's and are very entertaining and about "kid power."

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    1. Great recommendation ♥️ Adored these books as a child and just got a copy of Ballet Shoes for my daughter. Hoping she will love the books as much as I did growing up!

      Author is Noel Streatfeild, born in England in 1895!

      Funnily enough some of titles in the USA are different from England (and in New Zealand where I live).

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  23. I vs think of anything that compares to the chronicles of Narnia, but I do recommend The Penderwicks! :)

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  24. There's 2 or 3 books in Indian in the Cupboard series -- it was MUCH better than the movie.
    I agree with the previous poster about the Little House series. We read them 30+ years ago and I gave each of my girls the set for their children.
    A good single book is Tales A Long Way From Chicago. It's really funny story about 2 children from Chicago who get sent to their Grandmother's home for several summers. She lives in a SMALL rural are and quite the character. It's a good road trip book and the older kids will get a kick out of it too.

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    1. I looked up Tales A Long Way from Chicago on Amazon and couldn't find it. Who is the author? It sounds fun!

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    2. Richard Peck. The title is actually A Long Way from Chicago (not Tales at the beginning). It won a Newbery, so it should be available :)

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  25. I have been a teacher for over ten years, and my favorite book for any age is hands-down “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.” Amazing book about love and kindness! Also, the book “Petey” follows the life of a boy/man with Cerebal Palsy and is really touching!

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    1. Love Edward Tulane as well. We'll look into Petey.

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  26. I absolutely second every one of the suggestions above. As a mother of 6 who literally (almost) read aloud every night for 18 years or more I can’t even say how important, special, cozy, exhausting those rituals were for our family. We read so many different ones. Most everyone on the lists above and many many more. My older boys still listened almost every night through their teen years. Those gone years make me so sad but satisfied! It’s one of the only things I accomplished consistently as a mother! Haha. Wonderful heart warming memories.

    Also, check out The Read-Aloud Handbook for the benefits of reading aloud and many many suggestions. Already getting these traditions established with our grand babies too.

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  27. I wonder if it would easier to do the reading with an iPad, where you can change the font size? Mrs Frisby and the rats of NIHM. I think Narnia is a series like no other.

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    1. We need to look into the iPad/Kindle option. The smaller font may be what's turning her off to some of these books that she started and loved and then stopped...good suggestion.

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  28. These book suggestions are fabulous!! I must pin this to read again later. We just finished the "Emily" books by Lucy Maud Montgomery and am hoping to go to Prince Edward Island as a family probably next summer. If you want to laugh a lot there is the "League of Princes" series that just cracked us up the whole time we read it. It is about the princes in the Princess stories who are only known as "Charming" and how they want to set out to make names for themselves too--only those dratted bards keep changing the stories. It would also be a great one for road trips with the app or on CD because that reader is pretty amazing and is hilarious too!

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  29. I agree with so many of the comments.
    Anne of Green gables is one on our families favorites.
    We loved The Goose Girl series and The Princess Academy series by Shannon Hale as well.
    So many of the Newberry Award winners are great books to read aloud. I personally like the many of the older ones.

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  30. Oh boy, so many great suggestions here! Maybe life doesn't have to end after all :) I feel buoyed up and ready to head to the library with all these good ideas, THANK YOU all for sharing!

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  31. You’re right, it’s probably not the interpretation she wanted or intended :), it has just brought up those discussions when I’ve read it. It has led to conversations about choices, fear, faith, trials, and why Heavenly Father would allow those things in our lives. It’s not comparable to the chronicles of narnia with the embedded gospel analogies but it provides good teaching opportunities. I think the ending is open to interpretation but I’m left with the idea that the hard things in life make the good more beautiful and that diversity also makes the world more beautiful. I think “The Giver” provides a fun context for some good topics of discussion but it may not be for everyone.

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  32. ...this comment should have posted up above with the related comments but I couldn’t get it to for some reason

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