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Books That Take Your Breath


One of my favorite things in the whole world is finding a new author to fall in love with.  I told you last month that I had stopped trying to convince the Littles to read Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright because they kept putting me off for what they thought were more adventurous stories.  And I have to admit, I was pushing it on them based on the back-cover synopsis alone.  It looked like the kind of book I Would Have Loved as kid, and I wanted them to know that kind of story.

Enright-Gone Away

What kind of story?  The kind where the kid goes to stay with relatives in the country for the summer.  The kind that makes summer seem like a revelation and country living more fascinating and exciting than any old suburb or city.  The kind that has at least one frog, one forest, one barn or other mysterious building.  Mostly though, the kind of story that gets by with no violence, very little mystery, and as Middle pointed out, “Hey, there wasn’t any real conflict in that story.”

(Before I go on, may I just say my kids Freaking Rock?)

“Well,” said I, “there were points of conflict.”

“I know,” he said (and I was So Proud!), “but most books have a major conflict in the plot and this one didn’t.”

Boom.  I have taught them something, after all.

The cool thing about it all is that I have also now introduced them to a memorable story and an author who can write books without major conflict in them and still make a point that resounds in their little hearts.

Every time I suggested they read Gone-Away Lake on their own, I thought to myself, “Why don’t I just read it?  Then I can Really Convince them.”  So one night I took it to bed with me.  I read about 5 pages.  I put it down.  Because I knew I was going to be making it a class as soon as we finished the book we were reading aloud together.  Within 5 pages I knew I had always been right about that book.

Want to know the best part?

We finished Gone-Away Lake last week.  Just so happens in my (far too) extensive library, I had the sequel, Return to Gone-Away.  Guess what we’re reading this week?

return to gone away

They insisted.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Listen, if you don’t already read aloud together in your homeschool every day, Get On It.  I’ve talked about the benefits before, but this one is new even to me.  If you pick the books for your homeschool reading class, you have the opportunity to introduce your littles to books they might not normally read–and I don’t just mean the Classics, though you know I think that is important, too.  I’m talking about the kinds of books that are written just for kids, the kinds that stay with us all our lives.  The kind that made me wistfully dream of living in the country when I was small and led me to my own beautiful farm and wondrous life.  The kind that can change everything for them and they don’t even know it till they turn the first page.

I truly hope you check out these books.  I like them so much I’m honing the novel studies I wrote for my shop’s grand opening.  You’ll love the study, too.

More shameless plugging.

P.S.  You still have through tomorrow to enter my giveaway for the Dr. Seuss canvases.  If you haven’t already, head over and give yourself a chance to win!  I’ll be announcing the winners on Friday.

Love wins,




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KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys.Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
KT Brison
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About KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys. Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
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  1. Love Elizabeth Enright, and so many wonderful authors during that era who sought to write edifying books for children. It’s sad that so many treasures are out of print, though that is changing. I’ve made it my mission to rescue as many of these gems as I possibly can and make them available to homeschoolers in my community. Thank you for sharing your passion for these books.

    • ktbrison@gmail.com

      Robin, you just made my heart sing. I am also always on the lookout for books from that era to introduce to my kids. They had such a different feeling than many of today’s examples of children’s fiction. They remind me what childhood Should Be and I want my Littles to benefit from that. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  2. This sounds like a book we’d love. I’ll have to check it out! Thanks so much for linking up at Booknificent Thursday this week on Mommynificent.com!

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever read any of her books, but these sound like winners! My kids are all grown and mostly out of the house, but we used to read aloud together a lot, esp. while homeschooling. We even continued the read aloud tradition when they became adults. I’m visiting from #LMMLInkup.
    Gayl Wright recently posted…From Darkness to LightMy Profile

    • ktbrison@gmail.com

      I’ve been trying to figure out how I’ve made it through life without ever reading her. When that kind of thing happens, I am always flummoxed. Apparently I don’t read enough. lol

  4. Reading together is my kiddos and my favorite part of the day! I also don’t care for much conflict…it gets me all worked up. This looks like a lovely book and I’ll be sure to check it out and add it to our list! #ALittleBirdToldMe

    • ktbrison@gmail.com

      I hope you enjoy it as much as we have, Erin. It was a Newbery Honor book, so your library should have it. I, of course, found it at a rummage sale. Because owning books is my favorite. 🙂

  5. I love Elizabeth Enright! Thimble Summer is my favorite, but both of these were excellent as well.

    • ktbrison@gmail.com

      I had never read her before! Thimble Summer has been on my wish list, though–now it’s moved higher up. 🙂

  6. Yes, you are right. Apart from letting kids to choose their books, it’s good to introduce some books from our tastes too. I have done this before and they have perfectly enjoyed the books, I choose.
    Ambika S recently posted…The Umbrella – Jan Brett (2004)My Profile

    • ktbrison@gmail.com

      I let them pick their own recreational books. When I say recreational, I mean the books they read on their own to do book reports on for school and whatever they want to read for fun. But though they get a vote, I often pick our read-alouds myself, just to make sure they are exposed to all different genres. Like you said, they always enjoy it. Come on, a story is a story. 🙂

  7. I am just like you… I love the books with little conflict and the farm life as well. I get all worked up if there is too much action. Kiddos and I are reading the Chronicles of Narnia together. I’m going to get Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright for my kids. Reading together is my kiddos favorite time of the day. I have such fond memories of my mother reading to me and my sister. When we go on road trips we usually get a book on cd or I read a book out loud to the whole family. Makes time fly so much faster and we are able to stop and have discussions. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • ktbrison@gmail.com

      We do that, too. In fact, I never get in a car without having a book to listen to! lol I’ve almost forgotten what music sounds like.

  8. Stopping by form the blog hop to say hello and that I love your post. I was drawn to this book just by the cover you posted, but continued to be drawn in by your description. My daughter is now of the age where she reads aloud to me me during our home school day instead of me reading to her. We might just have to check this book out. Thanks for sharing!

    • ktbrison@gmail.com

      Do so–my boys are 10 and 13 and they love it, but it’s definitely one of those that is superb for all ages. 🙂

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