Honoring the Prophet on his Birthday

Today is President Monson’s 90th birthday. Tonight we will be holding our Family Home Evening in his honor. We will talk a little bit about his life, and review his teachings from General Conference in recent years. Here are some of the highlights:

Recent Teachings of President Thomas S. Monson

April 2017

“If you are not reading the Book of Mormon each day, please do so.”

“I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will in a position hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives.”

October 2016

“We are blessed to have the truth. We have a mandate to share the truth. Let us live the truth.”

“This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).

“I testify of the great gift which is our Father’s plan for us. It is the one perfect path to peace and happiness both here and in the world to come.”

April 2016

“If we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice.”

“May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”

Oct 2015

“We become examples of the believers by living the gospel of Jesus Christ in word, in conversation, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. As we do so, our lights will shine for others to see.” (see 1 Timothy 4:12)

“As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced by the courage of our convictions.”

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt 5:16)

April 2015

“As we attend the temple, there can come to us a dimension of spirituality and a feeling of peace.”

“The blessings of the temple are priceless”

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

October 2014

“Ponder the path of thy feet” (Proverbs 14:26).

“The Savior’s example provides a framework for everything that we do, and His words provide an unfailing guide. His path will take us safely home.”

April 2014 GC

“Love is the very essence of the gospel, and Jesus Christ is our Exemplar.”

“Love should be the very heart of family life.”

“As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way.”

An Index to my Book Lists (there is something for all ages here!)

I love to read good books, and I love to find good books for my family and friends to read. My project this month has been to compile my favorite book lists for all ages. You can view any booklist that you are interested in by clicking the links below. Happy reading!

The 10 Best Baby Board Books

50 Favorite Picture Books Part 1 (From A to I)

50 Favorite Picture Books Part 2 (from J to Z)

Awesome Authors of Picture Books

Engaging Books for Early Readers (age 4-7)

Beginning Chapter Books (grades 1-2)

Chapter Books for Elementary Age Readers (grades 3-6)

My Favorite Books (fiction)

My Non-Fiction Reading List

You can also check out my Book List Page here, which has links to all of the book lists I have compiled over the years (for seasons and preschool themes and more).

So…what books have I missed? What are your favorites?

My Favorite Books

I have been posting a lot of book lists recently, and now it is finally time to share my favorites! These are the books that I have enjoyed reading in the last few years. Be sure to check out my non-fiction reading list here. The books at the top of the list would be classed as juvenile or young adult fiction and would be appropriate for some younger readers as well as adults.

The Penderwicks (series) by Jeanne Birdsall

Wonder by RJ Polacio

Pamela Munoz Ryan (author): Esperanza Rising, Echo.

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mulally Hunt

Beyonders series by Brandon Mull

Shannon Hale: The Books of Bayern series, The Princess Academy series, Austenland, and others.

Jessica Day George (author): Silver in the Blood, Sun and Moon and Ice and Snow, The Princesses of Westfalin Trilogy.

Ally Condie (author): Matched trilogy, Summer Lost

Jonathan Stroud: Bartimaeus Trilogy, Lockwood & Co. (series)

The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins (and The Hunger Games!)

The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer

Brandon Sanderson (author): Elantris, Mistborn (series)

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer

Proper romances by Julianne Donaldson (Edenbrooke and Blackmoore) and Josi S. Kilpack (The Lady of the Lakes and A Heart Revealed).

Chapter Books for Elementary Age Readers (and beyond!)

This is list of the chapter books that we have read and enjoyed at our house. These books have been read by at least one or both of my two daughters (age 12 and age 9). I have tried to group them by grade level, but the levels are flexible. I have read and enjoyed many of these books (my favorites are marked with a *). Many of these books would make great family read alouds. 

Chapter books (3-5 grade)

*Harry Potter (7 book series) by J.K. Rowling

*The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (7 book series)

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater

Beverly Cleary (author): The Ramona books, The Mouse and Motorcyle, Henry Huggins, etc.

Ranger in Time by Kate Messner (6 book series)

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (13 book series)

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (9 book series)

Wayside Stories by Louis Sachar (3 book series)

Penelope Crumb by Shawn Stout (5 book series)

Roald Dahl (author): Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, and many others

Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace (4 book series)

*All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor (5 book series)

Marguerite Henry (author): Misty of Chincoteague and many other horse books

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brain Selznick

Leven Thumps by Obert Skye (5 book series)

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks (5 book series)

*Tuesday’s at the Castle by Jessica Day George (5 book series)

The Imaginary Veterinarian by Suzanne Selfors (6 book series)

The 39 Clues by various authors with multiple companion series

Spirit Animals by various authors with a few companion series

Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland (10 book series)

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

*The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye

Janitors by Tyler Whitesides (5 book series)

The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein (4 book series)

Half Upon a Time by James Riley (3 book series)

I Survived… by Lauren Tarshis (10 plus book series)

Fablehaven series, Five Kingdoms series, The Candy Shop War series, and *The Beyonders series by Brandon Mull

*The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (4 book series)

The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer (6 books series)

Redwall by Brian Jacques (20 plus book series)

*A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (and others)

Story Thieves by James Riley (3 book series)

Liesl Shurtliff (author): The True Story of Rump, Red, and Jack (3 book series)


More advanced chapter books (4-6 grade)

*Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George (3 book series)

The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley (9 book series)

*Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

*Wonder by RJ Polacio

*The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander (5 book series)

*Rick Riordan (author): Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, Kane Chronicles, and others

*The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (5 book series)

John Bellairs (author): The House with a Clock in Its Walls and other gothic mystery novels

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (8 book series)

Holes by Louis Sachar

*The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins (5 book series)

*A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

***Be sure to check Newberry Award Winners and Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award lists for more great recommendations.

Beginner Chapter Books

These books are great for children who are getting comfortable with reading and are ready to stretch to longer novels, generally in first and second grade (but the ages are not set in stone!). These also make great family read-aloud books. My favorites are marked with a *.

*Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne (50 plus book series)

A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy (26 book series). Also try Calendar Mysteries and Capital Mysteries.

*My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannet (3 book series).

The Dragon Sitter by Josh Lacey (8 book series).

The Yeti Files by Kevin Sherry (3 book series).

Ivy + Bean by Annie Barrows (10 book series)

Rainbow Fairies by Daisy Meadows (100 plus book series)

*The Sisters 8 by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (9 book series)

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (150 plus book series)

Nancy Clancy by Jane O’Connor (8 book series)

Just Grace by Charise Mericle Harper (12 book series)

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi (5 book series)

Recipe for Adventure by Giada De Laurentiis (5 book series)

Which books would you add to this list?

Engaging Books for Early Readers

These books are perfect for the child who is ready to listen to longer stories, or is just learning to read (ages 4-7). My very favorites are marked with a *.

*Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems

*Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel

Penny series by Kevin Henkes

*Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo

Little Bear series by Elsa Holmelund Minarik

Bunjitsu Bunny series by John Himmelman

The Princess in Black series by Shannon Hale

Mrs. Noodlekugel series by Daniel Pinkwater

Cynthia Rylant (author): Mr. Putter and Tabby series, Henry and Mudge series, Annie and Snowball series

The 10 Best Baby Board Books

These books are perfect stories to share with your little ones from day one!

Moo, Baa, La, La, La, and anything else by Sandra Boynton (Pajama Time, Barnyard Dance, But Not the Hippopotamus…)

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle and Bill Martin Jr.

AB See by Elizabeth Doyle

Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tafuri

Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathman

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood

Awesome Authors of Picture Books

These authors have written a number of picture books for children that are fantastic. I could fill up a favorites list with just the books from these authors!

Mo Willems: His books are laugh-out-loud funny and just fun to read!

All of his Pigeon books (The Pigeon Wants a Hot Dog);  Elephant and Piggie series; Knuffle Bunny trilogy; The Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed; Leonardo the Terrible Monster; and others.

David Ezra Stein: True to life stories with great illustrations!

Interrupting Chicken; Pouch; Leaves; Dinosaur Kisses; and others.

Kevin Henkes: Sweet, timeless stories full of life lessons.

Kitten’s First Full Moon; Waiting; Penny series; and any of the mouse books (Chrysanthemum, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Wemberly Worried, Sheila Rae the Brave, and others).

Eric Carle: Artwork that appeals to readers of all ages.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? (and other books co-written with Bill Martin); 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo; The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me; Little Cloud; From Head to Toe; and others.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal: Clever and funny stories.

Duck! Rabbit!; Little Pea; Little Oink; Little Hoot; Bedtime for Mommy; Spoon; and others.

Steve Jenkins: A wonderful combo of science and art to create fascinating non-fiction books! 

Actual Size; Just a Second; What Do you Do with a Tail like This?

David Shannon: Entertaining stories, with illustrations that match the intended audience.

No, David!; Duck on a Bike; A Bad Case of Stripes; Alice the Fairy; and others.

Honorable Mention goes to…

Virginia Lee Burton: The Little House; Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel; Katy and the Big Snow.

Mac Barnett: Count the Monkeys; Telephone; and he has written a few others I need to try.

Be sure to check out my 50 Favorite Picture Books list! Part 1 (A to I) and Part 2 (J-Z)

50 Favorite Picture Books: Part 2 from J to Z

Reading with my children is one of my favorite things to do. For this list I choose 50 of our very favorite picture books. Many of these books are laugh-out-loud-funny, many share important messages, and all are beautifully and creatively illustrated. This is Part 2 of my list, covering titles from J to Z. You can find Part 1 (A-I) here. Many of the authors listed here have also written other fantastic books, so this list can launch you into more great literature!

King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood

Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems

Leaves by David Ezra Stein

Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

LMNO Peas by Keith Baker

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

The Monster at the End of this Book

Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds by Marianne Dubuc

My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall

My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss

My Teacher is a Monster by Peter Brown

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

Press Here by Harve Tullet

Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas

Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead

Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler

Snowmen at Night by Carolyn Buehner

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

Tuesday by David Wiesner

Where the Wile Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham

Which titles would you add to this list?

50 Favorite Picture Books: Part 1 from A to I

Reading with my children is one of my favorite things to do. For this list I choose 50 of our very favorite picture books. Many of these books are laugh-out-loud-funny, many share important messages, and all are beautifully and creatively illustrated. This is part one of my list, covering titles from A to I. You can find Part 2 (J-Z) here. Many of the authors listed here have also written other fantastic books, so this list can launch you into more great literature!

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

AlphaOops! The Day Z Went First by Alethea Kontis

Bark George by Jules Feiffer

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

The Book that Eats People by John Perry

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld

Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

Duck on a Bike by David Shannon

Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Conner

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

Froodle by Antoinette Portis

George and Martha by James Marshall

Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae

Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett JohnsonInterrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino

It’s an Orange Aardvark! by Michael Hall

I Yam a Donkey! by Cece Bell

 What favorite picture books would you add to this list?