Sit down and look through a pile of books, preferably with hot coffee or tea by your side. Maybe they’re books you’ve heard of, or books that others have recommended. Perhaps the covers or titles look interesting, or perhaps you’re familar with the author. Some should be random, plucked off the shelves while you know next to nothing about them. Step outside of your comfort zone and grab a few from genres you don’t normally read. Peruse them slowly. Examine each volume. Read synopses and perhaps the opening lines or chapters of some of them. Get a feel for what types of books they are, the stories they tell, and eventually decide which ones interest you. You’ve just had a book tasting. Now go and read.

At the start of the year, we had a family book tasting. The past couple of years we’ve read a lot of fantastic books, but we’ve also passed over a lot that the kids weren’t quite ready for. This year we decided to look through our library together and explore some intriguing books to decide what to read. We read back covers and book flaps, examined cover art and titles, talked about authors and genres, and generally got excited about books. In the process we worked up a list of what we want to read this year. Granted, this list is probably too ambitious, and still other books will probably be added to it, but anything that we don’t get to this year can be moved along to 2018.

At any rate, here’s our list so far:

  • *The Rainbow Serpent, by Trevor Pryce
  • *Amphibian’s End, by Trevor Pryce
  • *A Wrinkle In Time, by Madeline L’Engle
  • *The Last Kids on Earth, by Max Brailler
  • *The Chronicles of Prydain: Taran Wanderer, by Lloyd Alexander
  • The Chronicles of Prydain: The High King, by Lloyd Alexander
  • The Chronicles of Prydain: The Foundling and Other Tales, by Lloyd Alexander
  • The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Roverandom, by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Bomb, by Steve Sheinkin
  • The Last Kids on Earth: Zombie Parade, by Max Brailler
  • Knights Academy: The Forbidden Power, by Max Brailler
  • A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill
  • Where The Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snicket
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room, by Lemony Snicket
  • Redwall, by Brian Jacques
  • Mattimeo, by Brian Jacques
  • Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenso
  • Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry
  • Dinotopia, by James Gurney
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O’Dell
  • Thor, by Alex Irvine
  • The Avengers, by Alex Irvine
  • Dangerous Water: An Adventure on the Titanic, by Gregory Mone
  • The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin
  • Crispin: The Cross of Lead, by Avi
  • Zita the Spacegirl, by Ben Hatke
  • Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J. K. Rowling
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard, by J. K. Rowling
  • How to Speak Dragonese, by Cressida Crowell
  • How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse, by Cressida Crowell
  • Star Wars: Tales From A Galaxay Far, Far Away, by Landry D. Walker
  • A Walk In Wolf Wood, by Mary Stewart

We’ve already finished the first five books on the list, but of course this is only the beginning. In the coming days and we plan to finish the Chronicles of Prydain with The High King and The Foundling and Other Tales, return to the zombie/monster apocalypse with The Last Kids On Earth: Zombie Parade, and find out about the race to build the atomic bomb with Bomb. After that we’ve got plenty of options.

Along with actually reading through as many books as we can manage this year, we’re planning to start recording video reviews as we finish books so the kids can share their literary opinions with the world. We’ll probably post them on a YouTube channel, but they’ll show up here as well. The kids have developed a considerable interest in making movies and this seems like a fun way for them to experiment with that, as well as share their love of books. Stay tuned for more!

Posted by:The Dad Hatter

A full-time Dad, I spend my days Unschooling my six awesome children. I write about Unschooling, books, photography, and whatever else I feel like on my blog, The Dad Hatter.

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