The books I’m reading right now because my husband and kids asked me to.

Category #6 for the 2016 MMD Reading Challenge is “a book recommended by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF.”

Fiction is a great empathy builder, because the process of entering into a different—albeit imaginary—world forces the reader to see things from another point of view.

This category also prods you to see things from another point of view, by picking up a book you might not have chosen otherwise. You get to experience the work yourself, of course, but you also get to step into the shoes of your loved one as you reflect on why they chose a particular title for you, and what they think about it themselves.

For this category, I let my husband and four kids pick my summer reading. This is what they came up with.

a book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child or BFF
Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

This title was chosen for me by Silas, age 6. All my kids have loved this book, but it's one of his current favorites (which basically means he's reading it over and over again). Mr. Popper is a mild-mannered house painter who spends all his spare time reading about Admiral Drake and his expeditions to the Antarctic, and dreams of being an explorer himself. Mr. Popper writes the Admiral a letter and the Admiral responds by sending him a special present—a penguin! This charmingly absurd Newbery Honor winner is about having the courage to be different and the conviction to follow your dreams. It's an easy, delightful read. I expect Silas and I will read it together (again!). More info →
Tuesdays at the Castle

Tuesdays at the Castle

My 11-year-old Sarah had a difficult time nailing down which of many potential titles (all from this list of terrific books for tweens) she wanted me to read this summer. She finally landed on this first installment in a current favorite series. This middle grade novel has a bit of Hogwarts magic to it: every Tuesday, Castle Glower rearranges itself, growing a new room or adding a new hallway. The royal family is accustomed to its eccentricities. When disaster strikes, Princess Celie and her siblings team up to save the day. This doesn't look like Sarah's usual picks, so I'm curious to see just what it is about this story that captured her. More info →
The Moor’s Account

The Moor’s Account

I got this several months ago from Book of the Month, but my husband beat me to this one. Now he keeps encouraging me to take my turn, which is always a good sign. This is the fictional "memoir" of one of the first Africans to set foot in the United States, an African slave native to Morocco. My husband assures me the strong story, solid plotting, and beautiful writing will make this worth my while—and then we can talk about it. More info →
Seaglass Summer

Seaglass Summer

This one was chosen for me by Lucy, my 8-year-old. It was assigned summer reading for rising 4th graders and she gobbled it up—I think she had it finished by the third day of summer! This novel is about an 11-year-old girl named Poppy whose dreams of becoming a veterinarian one day are temporarily thwarted because her mom's allergic to fur. But when her parents decide to spend the summer in India, she goes to stay with a relative, and gets to assist in his veterinary practice all summer. But of course when her dream becomes reality, it doesn't look quite the way she imagined. More info →
The Outsiders

The Outsiders

This is a summer reading pick for my 13-year-old, and he asked me to read it too. This American classic is about a group of kids from the wrong side of the tracks in Oklahoma, and I've heard it compared to West Side Story. Unbelievably, Hinton wrote this when she was just 16, and it was published when she was 18. You could also read this title for the category "a book that's been banned at some point." More info →

What are you reading for this category? What great books have YOU found because a loved one recommended (and/or begged) you to read them? 

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  1. My younger sister is great at begging me to read the books she’s read. This year at her recommendation I have read the Dorothy Must Die series by Danielle Paige.

    I have also read Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) and Playing for Pizza by John Grisham (not his typical type novel) at the suggestion of my dad. I recommend both of them.

  2. Sara K says:

    I have a copy of Tuesdays at the Castle. My 10 year old has yet to show interest in reading it, but I’m about ready to just pick it up myself. It sounds interesting!

    My dad loves Tom Clancy books and has hinted that he would love it if I read them too. I don’t think they are for me, but I may try to read ONE of them. If they weren’t so darn long…

    My 14 year old niece recommends books to me all the time, so I’ve got plenty to pick from there 🙂

  3. Olivia says:

    I LOVED Mr. Popper’s Penguins as a kid. Excellent choice by Silas. 🙂

    It just might be time to revisit it…

  4. Sarah says:

    I used to teach The Outsiders every year when I taught 8th grade English. It’s one of my favorites! To have only been a teenager when she wrote it, SE Hinton did a fantastic job of fleshing out her characters and conveying her themes in a poignant way. I could read it every year for the rest of my life and never get tired of it! (And you definitely need to check out the movie after you read the book…Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon…need I say more? ?)

  5. Dawn says:

    Unfortunately, we were in an extremely legalistic church when Harry Potter came out, so my 3 older children didn’t read then until they were adults. As soon as my oldest son, who was 23 at the time, finished them, he started trying to get me to read them.
    I did read them, 2 years ago at age 46!! Oh my goodness. My son and I would be up texting at midnight and beyond some nights while our families slept!!! We had the best discussions about those books!!!
    My 7 kids still at home read Harry when they turn 16. That way, they can read through them as fast as they like and I know they can handle the themes. I have another daughter starting them in September!!! She’ll be the third of the younger set to read them. I can’t wait to discuss them with her!!!

  6. Jill K. says:

    When I was about 13 my library had a copy of The Outsiders on a display of banned books. I read it, and felt so rebellious.
    I loved Mr. Popper as a kid, but when I re-read it to my kids last year I thought the ending was kind of weird.

  7. I absolutely love that you’re reading books your children have recommended. What a beautiful way to honor them. I’ve got to get my hands on the book about Esteban! His story is a part of NM history I’ve always loved. Coronado monument is about 10 miles north of my house.

  8. Victoria says:

    The Outsiders is amazing! I loved it as a teen andonly found out that SE Hinton was a teenager and a girl recently. SHOCKING! It’s so full of emotion and experience and lessons that most people require a lifetime to learn. I hope you love it!

  9. Melanie says:

    I loved Tuesdays at the Castle! I will probably start #2 this weekend. My nearly 12 year old has yet to show interest.

  10. Heather says:

    The book that I had my husband choose for me is actually a book in your picture! It is Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. Do you see how big that book is? I didn’t realize that when he picked it for me and now I like to give him a hard time about it :). So far, it’s pretty good, but I still have about 700 more pages to go!

  11. Amy says:

    My 10 year old begged ke to read The Penderwicks on Gardam Street. Next up: Penderwicks at Pointe Mouette followed by Penderwicks in Spring, which is her favorite. She told me it will change my life. ☺

  12. Hannah Beth Reid says:

    It is such a great idea to take book recommendations from your children and husband for the summer! Hopefully I can do this when my children are a little older.

  13. Naomi says:

    Love, love, love your reading list. Mine includes American Gods, not only because I’m a Neil Gaiman fan, but because my husband wanted an opinion before he reads it. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, is also on my list and was recommended by my 9 year-old daughter (it’s one of our favorite films).

  14. Oh my goodness! The Outsiders is my 14 year old daughter’s favorite book. She read it for school a couple of months ago and has fallen in love. She baked the chocolate cake from the book and she frequently dresses as a greaser for costuming.

  15. Liza says:

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Tuesdays at the Castle! It’s such a fun book to read.

    I asked my sister for recommendations and she gave me a few – one I had already read and two I wanted to read – all YA fantasy, which is the genre we usually read. My brother jumped in to the conversation with War and Peace. Hmm…my sister won that battle! And yes, this is the same brother that started Tuesdays at the Castle when he was visiting and took it home with him to finish. Totally odd for him, but shows what a great book it is.

  16. I would love to hear what you think of The Outsiders. I teach middle school and have taught it every year, and every year kids fall in love with it! My seven-year-old son is reading The Jedi Academy books right now and wants me to read them as well. I think I will! 🙂

  17. My fiance was practically begging me to delve into some of his favorites from the fantasy genre. I finally caved and read The Name of the Wind and the sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear. Turns out I enjoyed them almost as much as the HP series!!

  18. Gail says:

    My daughter is 41 and the three books she recommended that I read in the last few months are “The Yearling” by Marjorie Rawlings, “A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf” by John Muir and “Wonder” R. J. Palacio. The first two are books that most people my age read in high school or college, but somehow I missed them. “Wonder” is YA book about boy with a severely deformed face starting a new school. I expected it to be a real downer, but in the end, it was an uplifting account of love and acceptance.

  19. Krys says:

    Unfortunately, my partner doesn’t read 🙁
    Although he has on occasion heard of books on Talk shows or NPR and tells me I should read them because they sound interesting, yes, I should read them lol
    – Krys

  20. Barbara says:

    Many thanks to Silas for recommending “Mr Popper’s Penguins” . We just finished reading it to our 4 grandchildren for “Camp Grandblessing”. They loved it and so did my husband and I.

  21. Helena says:

    I love asking friends and family for book recommendations when I’m in a bit of a reading rut and can’t decide what book or genre to read next. One friend in particular has a habit of handing me a pile of books she has recently read and loved each time we meet up as she is desperate to discuss them with someone!
    My mom isn’t a big reader, so I was thrilled when she asked me to recommend a classic that I thought she might enjoy. Six months later and she has read and loved every Jane Austin as well as many Bronte’s I’ve suggested!

  22. My bf and I frequently share book recommendations. I have a Scribd account and he has audible. We each choose out our own books, but we share access to the accounts. Some books we’ve suggested to each other are The Confidence Game by Maria Konnikova, Disrupted by Dan Lyons, Catch 22, Bellwether by Connie Willis, and The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. I think I’ve also got my mom hooked on audiobooks, I’m looking forward to trading recommendations with her too!

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