Ana and Emma’s Summer Reading

Can you believe it’s already time to go back to school? The summer was way too short, but the Faulkettes managed to pack a lot into the brief weeks that we had. One of the big challenges we put before them was to finish their summer reading lists, and both girls managed to do it. Woo-hoo! And because we want to remember what they read when it comes time to pick out new books for next summer, I thought I’d let them blog here about their books and what they thought about each one.

Ana will be starting seventh grade this week. We ended up taking Jane Eyre off her list because it was too ambitious… and I don’t want her to hate the Bronte sisters when I think she may love them when she’s a little older. (I’m holding onto hope!) She ended up reading a contemporary young adult book in its place. Here’s what she read this summer and what she thought about each one. Her exact words are in quotes…

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

carve the mark

“This was the first book I read this summer. I liked it, but it was long and left me on a cliffhanger.”  (I’ve never read this one, but I figured it was like Divergent. Ana got pretty irritated that the author wasn’t sticking to “the rules” of fiction, switching perspectives and revealing secrets through characters instead of just telling readers outright what they needed to know. I told her that’s just good writing, as evidenced by the fact that she spent the last fifty pages gasping then getting all bent out of shape when the whole thing didn’t get tied up into a pretty bow.)

A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George

a young woman

“I liked it, and it was very helpful. I read this one while traveling to and from youth camp.” (Again, I haven’t read this one, but I’ve read the book like it that was written for adults. I think it was a good challenge for her as she went to youth camp.)

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

of mice and men

“Kinda boring, and George really needed to clean his mouth up. And it was depressing, what happened to Lenny.” (Ana really doesn’t like John Steinbeck. I thought she just didn’t get this book, but… nope. She got it. And she hated it. Steinbeck just gets more depressing from here on out, so I think we’ll keep him off the list next year.)

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

turtles all the way down

“It kept me hooked, but I didn’t like the ending.” (I haven’t read this one either.  I know! I need to read more of what the girls are reading, don’t I? Ana had trouble putting this one down, but she really disliked the ending. This one is really popular with most readers, though, so her “meh” attitude had me wondering what kind of book she’d actually enjoy…

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

brown girl dreaming

“It was very good and very inspiring.” (THIS is the kind of book Ana loves. She went on and on about this one, telling me how much she loved it. I need to read it now and find more books like it so that I can make her a better list next year!)

Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples


“It had its ups and downs but ended WAAAAYYYY down.” (I figured as much when reading the description for this one. “That was the worst ending EVER!” But it opened her eyes to a new culture and a different way of life, which was my intention when I put it on the list. Sometimes we just need to be stretched, right?)

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier


“Shocking!” (Listening to this on audiobook with her was one of the best parts of my summer, y’all. So much fun!)

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

to kill a mockingbird.jpg

“Surprising, funny, and a lot of times very sad. This was my favorite book that I read this summer.” (This one has never been one of my favorites, though I wonder if reading it as an adult would make me appreciate it more. Wes read it at the same time that Ana did, and they both raved on and on about it. Maybe I didn’t get it as a kid? Anyway, Ana got it, and she was making all kinds of modern day parallels to the story, working through the deeper issues. So proud of her for tackling tough books this summer!)

Corrie Ten Boom: Keeper of the Angel’s Den by Janet and Geoff Benge

corrie ten boom“Very good but horrible what they did to those poor women in the Nazi camps. Inspiring because she was able to live afterwards and tell people what had happened.” (Such a tough story, but what a great testimony of faith. I love these Christian Heroes Then and Now books!)

Way to go, Ana!

Emma will be starting sixth grade this week. She doesn’t enjoy reading as much as Ana does, but she was excited about doing this challenge. In the past, we’ve been lucky to have Emma start and finish just one book each summer. So, nine books this year? Wow! She’s done such a great job! Here’s what she read and what she thought about each one. Her exact words are in quotes…

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

the wild robot

“I liked it because the robot made friends with animals.” (She picked this one out at the store on the day that school let out in May. It was a great start to her summer reading list as it kept her entertained, laughing, and looking forward to reading more.)

Sled Dog School by Terry Lynn Johnson

sled dog school

“I got this book in Alaska after meeting real sled dogs. I liked this book because it showed me how sled dogs are trained.” (A book about dogs… this is a theme with Emma…)

A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George

a young woman

“I liked this because it taught me how to be closer to God.” (This helped start a lot of great conversations with Emma, and we saw her pick up some good self-initiated Bible study habits of her own after she read it. Thankful for books like this!)

Wonder by R.J. Palacio


“This one was my favorite because it really shows you how people think about kids like Auggie and how kids like Auggie think.” (She loved this one!)

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

are you there god

“I liked this book because it talks about growing up.” (I don’t think she enjoyed this one as much as I did at her age. I’m pretty sure she didn’t like it at all but felt like she needed to stay positive in her assessment of it, lol.)

Word of Mouse by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

word of mouse

“The mouse can communicate with a human by dancing on a keyboard!” (Yeah, it sounds like her kind of book.)

My Dog is Better than Your Dog: Crime Biters by Tommy Greenwald

crime biters

“The dog was so cute and sweet!” (She was super excited to discover that this is just the first book of a series.)

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

where the red

“I liked this one because it was about how dogs are man’s best friend.” (She finished this book while she was visiting my parents, and I’m not sure how they got her to stop crying. I asked her, once she was okay with it all again, if she wanted a pair of hunting dogs now. “It depends on what happens to them.” There you go.)

Amy Carmichael: Rescuer of Precious Gems by Janet and Geoff Benge


“I like reading about how good she is at sharing the Gospel and what a great missionary she is.” (We read this one together, and I loved all the conversations started by Amy’s adventures in India. If you have kids, get some of these Christian Heroes books!)

Way to go, Emma!

So proud of the girls and all the hard work they did this summer. Can’t wait to see how this makes them better students this year at school!

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