Eat, Live, Run Winter Reading List (and the toddler taming secret I have to share!)

Since you guys seem to enjoy these book posts so much, I am excited to bring another one your way! These days, I seem to have way less personal time with both boys at home with me full time, but even with that, I seem to be reading a lot more. I think it’s because in our search to fill up our days, we have discovered the gigantic Berkeley public library downtown and spend a few mornings there a week! I feel so blessed to live in a place with such an AMAZING public library. They have an entire floor just dedicated to kids and Grayson is in heaven whenever we go. Luke, on the other hand, is a very typical 18 month old whose favorite pastime is removing books from the shelves and throwing them on the floor….but…we’re slowly getting there. 😉 

I’m also really trying to make an honest effort at putting my phone down more in the evenings and pick up a book before bed instead. I used to be SUCH a reader, you guys. Then I had kids! Now I’m just a tired mama who wants to read all the novels, but usually falls asleep a few pages in.

Anyway, here are some of my favorites from the past couple months! 

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. I absolutely loved this book. I have read every one of hers and while it’s hard to say what my favorite is, this was up there. She always tackles these huge hot button topics, and in this book it was racism. I told Adam when I was reading it (I kept giving him the book play by play because it was SO good and I needed to talk about it while reading!) that “Man, Jodi has some serious guts writing this book as a white woman talking so blatantly about a person of color’s experience”. The book left me thinking, as her books usually do. I highly, highly recommend this book.

Goodnight June by Sarah Jio. What an easy, entertaining read! I adored this sweet little book. It’s a work of fiction based on the real life of the author of the beloved Goodnight Moon. I read this in two days and then gave it to my mom, loved it equally as much. 

The German Girl by Armando Correa. This is the book I am currently reading and I am enjoying it! You guys know me and my love for World War Two novels…this one is especially fascinating because it weaves in present day and the story of a young girl who lost her father on September 11th. I’m about halfway through right now and looking forward to finishing it. If you like historical fiction, give it a try!

Morning Glory by Sarah Jio. After reading (and loving!) Goodnight June so much, I ran to the library to get another book by Sarah Jio. Morning Glory did not disappoint! Another rather quick read – but so entertaining and perfect for before bed. I had trouble putting this down and loved the setting (a houseboat in the 1950s and present day!). I think you guys will really love both this and Goodnight June. Must reads!

Caroline by Sarah Miller. And all the Little House on the Prairie fans say PRAISE THE LORD! Oh my goodness, how I relished this book! It’s written in the point of view of “Ma” (Caroline) and was basically just like one of the little house books…but for grownups. This was so, so, so good. 

Also, speaking of books,  I wanted to share something that has really been working for us lately. As I wrote on my last post, I am currently at home with both boys right now all day, every day. We pulled Grayson out of his current preschool and it is turning out to be one of the best decisions we’ve ever made as parents. Yes, my days are super long right now but there’s also just something so sweet about us being together all the time. Not to mention he is thriving being home more and I like to think he’s “learning” (he now knows how to brown meatballs so at least that’s something, right?).

Anyway, I digress.

What I want to tell you is that every day at 1pm when Luke is napping, Grayson and I rest on the couch and listen to audio books together! I wanted to figure out a quiet activity for him that would also allow him to rest since he dropped his afternoon nap. We’ve cut out the kids screen time completely, so “books on tape” has come in especially handy. 😉 I just download the books on my phone! So far, his favorites are Where the Wild Things Are, all of Beatrix Potter, Doctor DeSoto, Billy Goat Gruff and Paddington. Last weekend when we drove to the farm (3 hours away), we literally listened to audio books the whole time. It’s fun for Adam and I, too, because it’s almost like we get to relive our childhood favorites! 

Anyway, I just wanted to share that because it’s something I was talking about in my stories and you guys were all asking. With kids, it seems like things go in waves and seasons and I am just very glad this is working for us right now! I really look forward every day to that time resting on the couch listening to books with Grayson. We snuggle under a blanket and both have a cup of tea handy (black tea for me, chamomile aka “Peter Rabbit’s favorite” for him). 

You Might Also Like

  • Eat, Live, Run Winter Reading List (and the toddler taming secret I have to share!) – Gym Buddies
    January 18, 2018 at 1:47 am

    […] post Eat, Live, Run Winter Reading List (and the toddler taming secret I have to share!) appeared first on Eat, Live, […]

  • Amy
    January 18, 2018 at 3:16 am

    I highly recommend The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult if you haven’t read it yet. It’s about the Holocaust and I couldn’t put it down when I read it recently.

    • Kelly J. R.
      January 18, 2018 at 6:04 am

      I loved the Storyteller! The Violets of March by Sarah Jio was also very good.

      • Julie
        January 18, 2018 at 2:02 pm

        I loved both of those books too!

  • Angie
    January 18, 2018 at 3:57 am

    I also stumbled upon this “trick” 🙂 My 4.5 year old loves books on CD, and my mom found an old school discman at a thrift store. During my daughter’s quiet time (also while her younger sister naps), she listens in her room. We check them out from the library. She’s been loving chapter books, so Boxcar Children and Magic Tree House are her favorites. Thanks for sharing this with your readers!

    • Amy
      January 18, 2018 at 6:43 am

      What a great idea! I’m going to go on search of a discman- I think my 4.5 year old would love this too :). Jenna- when you say you download to your phone, is there an app you’re using or what? Thanks ladies!

  • Ada
    January 18, 2018 at 6:10 am

    I always love all your book recommendations!! Have you read The Nightingale – it’s set during WWII and it is incredible!

    • Lori
      January 18, 2018 at 7:13 am

      I second The Nightingale! It is easily one of the best books I have ever read. Kristin Hannah is an amazing author.

      • Kath
        January 20, 2018 at 4:58 am

        Third The Nightingale! Best book I read last year.

    • Amanda
      January 19, 2018 at 1:28 pm

      Amazon’s Echo will do this too. Connects with Audible.

  • Grandma Honey
    January 18, 2018 at 7:43 am

    You are such a great Mom! I love thinking of you and Grayson snuggled on the couch every afternoon, drinking your tea, and listening to audio books. I can’t think of a better description of a most wonderful childhood.

  • Jess
    January 18, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Thank you for sharing your love of books (and your public library!) I’m a children’s librarian and I want to jump for joy when I hear parents reading to their kids. Audio books are wonderful and my 3 year old loves them too. Our son is at home with a nanny and I am asked all the time why he’s not in school. My answer: this works for us. He is getting loving care while mama is at work, and enjoys the comforts of being at home. They don’t have to be in school to learn, they are learning every moment of the day from the world around them. Let them be little ? High five for listening to your gut and doing what is best for your family. ??

  • Katherine
    January 18, 2018 at 9:08 am

    We don’t do screen time either and I highly recommend Sparkle Stories. The storyteller was a Waldorf teacher and the stories are lovely.

  • Meghan
    January 18, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Jenna, you should read the Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, if you havent already! Its a WWII book about women in France during the war. Soo good and inspiring!

  • Jill
    January 18, 2018 at 9:29 am

    It’s so important for our children to see us reading! My kids think it’s normal to lay on the couch and read their books every day because they often see me doing just that!

  • KK
    January 18, 2018 at 10:41 am

    If you listen to podcasts (so good when you are folding laundry!) you must listen to What Should I Read Next by Anne Bogel! She describes what she is reading in such a loving way, has great guests and I always have a book I want to read at the end of the show

  • Maureen
    January 18, 2018 at 10:50 am

    I would love to know what app you use. I use audible for me, but it would be rather expensive if I added all my kids’ books to it. Thanks!

  • Stephanie
    January 18, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    I love this idea and am also wondering where you finding your stories!

  • Mary
    January 18, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Overdrive! Download books for free from your public library! It’s the best.

    • Ruthie
      January 19, 2018 at 6:36 pm

      The new Libby app is THE BEST! Easily download and play audiobooks from your public library right on your phone! ?

  • Ashley L
    January 18, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    I’m so so thankful that my 3.5 year old will read and play quietly in her room for almost two hours while her sister naps. But I’ll keep this in my pocket such a great idea!
    I absolutely loved that Jodi Picoult book too! Her one about the school shooting is amazing! Can’t think of the name.

  • Sophie Piper
    January 18, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Audio books have been game changers for us! Does your library have over drive you can grab books for me!

    My son gets a special drink like a healthy hot cocoa or hot tea and listens to a book while he does legos of draws. His love for books has gone through the roof!! So many favorites.

  • kirsten
    January 18, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    Love Sarah Jio! I think I discovered her when you recommended “The Violets of March” years ago!

  • Mary
    January 19, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    We love audiobooks via the overdrive app. It was such a game changer when i figured out my 2.5 (now 3.5) loved them. Current favorites are Nate the Great, Jesus Storybook Bible, Mercy Watson and Frog and Toad. I’ll put Small Great Things on my list. I’m currently reading and loving The Devil in the White City.

  • Nina
    January 20, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    That is a really good idea for transitioning to a schedule with no naps. I have to try it and hopefully my 4yo will agree. I think he still needs some rest midday.

  • Jamie
    January 22, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Absolutely love your book posts! Thanks for publishing another one.

  • Amanda
    January 23, 2018 at 5:26 am

    Does Grayson also have the physical book in front of him or is he just listening? I have been wanting to check out books on tape for my 3yo. Sounds like such a nice cozy afternoon 🙂

    • jenna
      January 25, 2018 at 9:50 am

      Usually he is just listening!

  • Sarah C
    January 23, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    If you love WWII fiction, you must read The Baker’s Secret and The Lilac Girls!

  • Allison
    January 28, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Hi Jenna,
    You should read Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran. It’s a moving story about two different women with very different stories, both young mothers, and set in Berkeley, CA! It was one of the best books I’ve read in a long while. Deals with illegal immigration in a very compassionate way, but it’s not overly political. It’s just a human story. Highly recommend!

  • Taryn
    February 7, 2018 at 11:09 am

    LOVE audio books! We started doing this during a long road trip last year (when our kids were ages 3 and 5). Was SO NICE to not rely on DVDs. We listened to The Magic Tree House, and it was a huge hit for both kids!

  • Rachel
    February 9, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    Just wondering – not judging – why did you completely cut out screen time? Was it having negative effects?

  • Tina
    February 14, 2018 at 10:30 am

    LOVED Small Great Things!! I know what a challenge it is to find time for yourself to read, but thrilled to see this post. Was missing your reading recommendations! Thank you!

  • Julie
    February 20, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    Would you consider updating your account? I love following your reading on that platform 🙂

  • Caroline Judy
    February 24, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Great idea about the afternoon /books on tape/snuggle session! Sounds so cozy and relaxing and great one-on-one time, to boot!