How to Get Your Kids to Read... and 3 Amazing Books I Read This Month.

I'm wrapping up this month of July with a full heart.

Our schedule was FULL.

As a family, we juggled between lots of activities, lots of late nights, and lots of tired faces in the morning.  However, I was pleased to see that in the midst of camp, soccer, 4-H, county fair, swimming lessons, and playdates, WE managed to take some time to read some awesome books.

My kids are now 4, 7 and 9.  And there isn't a week that we don't visit the local public library.  Sure, a habit I made sure to instill in my children, but now it's also something they look forward to.  They plan, make lists, and even re-read their checked out books before they return them.  Now that they're a little older, I'm also encouraging them to try different genres, different authors, different formats.  And lately, the library bag isn't as full and heavy... it's just filled with carefully selected books.  

On any given day, I could find Noah (4) going through dinosaur books.  Any dinosaur book.  Big, small, colorful, fact-filled.  Elsie (7) got into "comics" and graphic novels lately.  And Joshua (9)... well, this boy reads anything!  As I type, he is sitting on the couch reading a Geronimo Stilton book for the second time since yesterday.  It keeps him busy for hours!

But getting my kids to read hasn't always been easy.  So I want to encourage you, mama of younger readers, that reading doesn't have to come easy for our kids.  Reading can be frustrating and hard for a lot of children.  Mine included.  My advice?  Besides checking out Sarah Mackenzie's Read Aloud Revival's website and podcast, I would encourage you to CHILL OUT!  

Kids will read the books that speak to their each individual personality.  Some kids look for funny books, others look for pretty illustrations, some will read only what they're interested in.  Dinosaurs, princesses, super heroes, cheetahs, cars and tractors, or paper airplanes.  Know your child, and start with what they're most interested in.  Maybe when they're young, it's not the best time to introduce them to YOUR favorite classics.  There will be a time for that.  Just help them fall in love with holding a book and the discipline of reading.


I went on a HUGE tangent right there.  

This post was supposed to be about the last 3 books I read in the month of July.  So, here we go.  These 3 books were SO good, I almost want to own them all.  

"Girl, Wash Your Face" by Rachel Hollis (on audio, read by the author)
I had seen this book everywhere!  And I first resisted it because I thought it would be just another book about getting our acts together.  So I passed.  But one day, my friend Jennifer posted on her Instagram that she had gotten a good deal on this book and for some reason, I felt inspired to try it on audio.  I wanted to see what the hype was all about.  As Rachel Hollis, the author, started reading the introduction, then the first chapter, I couldn't stop listening!  She was so strong, so encouraging, and so truthful, I almost felt like she was speaking to ME, in my own living room or across the table from me at a coffee shop.  I needed some TRUTH IN LOVE this month.  And I am pretty sure I need to own this in print!  

This book came highly recommended by both Anne Bogel and Annie Jones, so I HAD to pick it up!  It was a beautifully crafted story of an Indian Muslin family about belonging, identify, humanity, faith and eternity.  I sat with this one for a while, and I'm glad I did.  The characters were so well developed that I wanted all of them to do well at the end.  There were cultural and religious language that I was not familiar with, told in multiple voices and timelines, but it didn't deter me from fully engrossing myself in the story.  It left me thinking about issues of family ties, the role of faith in decisions we make, the strong pull towards true love and family loyalty.  The writing was also so strong and felt like it was written by a veteran novelist... even though it was written by a novice 26 year-old!  So good!  

"Real Friends" by Shannon Hale (a graphic memoir)
Another middle grade graphic novel!  A story of what true friendship looks like, the pressures that older elementary school girls go through, how mental illness affect their emotions, broken family relationships, and the realities of growing up as a young girl in our schools today.  There were lots of themes being highlighted on here!  I reluctantly let my 7 and 9 year old read this one, and they both devoured it in one single sitting.  We had a lot to talk about, too.  Shannon Hale is a master story teller and knowing that this was HER own story, it fascinated me.  The illustrations by LeYuen Pham were some of the BEST!  Vivid, colorful, emotion-driven!  

I'm already working on a few titles for this coming month.  Can't wait to share them with you.  But now is YOUR TURN!

What did YOU read this month?  Anything I should pick up?  Thank you for your recommendations.  You can always get immediate quick reviews on what I'm reading on my Instagram (@helengentz).  

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