We have what I'd consider to be a relatively standard bedtime routine around here: bath, PJs, brush teeth, story time, lights out, song, sleep.
Lately Matt has downvoted our customary shared read-aloud and requested that we have "independent reading time." So the three of us pile up in our big bed, each with our respective reading materials and get lost in a story for a little while. Then we chat a bit about what we're reading before lights out.
I'm pretty sure this is my version of Heaven.
And while I love digital books and pretty much always have something worth reading in my Kindle library, I want the image of me with my nose in a book (not in my phone) seared into Matt's memory. So my new happy place in town is Ernest & Hadley Booksellers, a local independent book shop, and my collection of physical media is growing again.
Here's what we've been reading and what we can't wait to get our hands on next.
This Is How We Do It - Matt Lamothe
This book about the everyday lives of children all over the world prompts valuable discussions about celebrating our differences and seeking out our common ground. SO important right now and always.
She Persisted - Chelsea Clinton & Alexandra Bolger
I am so thankful to be raising a little boy in the time of Wonder Woman, Elizabeth Warren, RBG, and the Thirteenth Doctor. I want him to be gutsy and kind, and he benefits from exposure to role models of all sorts.
Captain Awesome - Stan Kirby & George O'Connor
These books are so fun, and the large type, well-spaced lines, and frequent illustrations are excellent supports for a developing reader diving into chapter books.
The BFG - Roald Dahl
We read this one last summer before seeing the movie, and Matt requests read-alouds from it more frequently than any other book. The dream parts are the best, and some of the most quotable lines have become part of our family's language.
One Mixed-Up Night - Catherine Newman
This one's out in about a month, and I can't wait! As a fan of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, my kid self so badly wanted to spend the night in a museum (my top choice was the Field Museum in Chicago). The kids in Newman's novel want to hole up over night in IKEA. It's gonna be good!
Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
There are a handful of books we can't believe we haven't read yet, and Erik is working on this one right now. With the movie set to be released next spring, and with 80s nostalgia in full effect, it feels like a good time to get it done.
Orleans - Sherri L. Smith
After a series of storms and plague devastate the southeastern states, survivors divide into tribes by common blood type. Protagonist Fen fights for survival in a landscape that is both familiar and heartbreakingly altered.
The Casquette Girls - Alys Arden
I know I've been away from my favorite southern city for far too long when I gravitate toward books set in New Orleans. And this is book #2 on this month's list, so I think I need to head southwest with a quickness. The first in a series, this one sees main character Adele heading back to her French Quarter home with her father after a once-in-a-lifetime storm has ripped the city apart. As they try to find their new normal and rebuild, Adele must unravel mysteries connecting her family, friends, and powerful forces stretching back through the centuries.
The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
We need books that are mirrors, and we need books that are windows, and I want to put this book into the hands of everyone I know. Starr's journey as she navigates her own identity and the decisions she must make after witnessing her unarmed childhood friend killed by a police officer is timely, empathy-building, and heartbreakingly necessary.
The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South - John T. Edge
As a lifelong citizen of the south, I struggle in reconciling the things I love about my birthplace with its ugly history and its often ugly present. This book by the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance helps me to better understand the place I've made my home and the food that has shaped and been shaped by its history.
And if you're looking for more to read, here are a couple of my favorite ideas for finding new stuff:
I love this Tumblr post from Powell's Books, which recommends a book based on a video game you know and love.
We Need Diverse Books works to promote the importance of literature that reflects the lives of all people. Their site is always a go-to resource for finding writers whose voices and stories we need to hear, and now they have a book discovery app!