20 of the best picture books from 2015

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20 of the best picture books from 2015
Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

Can you believe we’re creeping slowly toward the end of another year?

One thing I love about the holiday season for us as homeschoolers, is that we quiet our “school” day a bit and make extra time for other pursuits: plenty of time in the kitchen and, of course, lots and lots of books!

I thought it might be helpful if I compiled a selection for all of us to choose from, which turned into this post!

Some of these books are silly; some are sweet. Some will make your kids snort with laughter; some will bring tears to eyes. Some have received official accolades and book awards; some are personal favorites. Some you may want to check out from the library; some you may want to put on your holiday wish lists!

One note: Because of the way book awards are handled by Caldecott and the American Library Association, some of these titles officially launched in 2014, though they are considered 2015 award winners.

Picture books are generally assumed to be for ages 4-8, but many of these could go younger or older, depending on the child! You’ll be able to tell what’s best for your little people.

20 of the best picture books from 2015

Here they are, alongside excerpts from reviews they’ve been given:
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10 inspiring book titles that model love of learning

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10 inspiring book titles that model love of learning
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

We all want our kids to fall in love with learning, don’t we?

And we can always use a little help as we press toward that goal. Instead of constantly telling our kids how important learning is, let’s show them–through our own example, of course, but also through the books we bring into our home.

After curling up with Abe Lincoln, Booker T. Washington, Ben Carson, and the other protagonists featured here, we just may find our kids appreciating their education–and eager to learn more–than they were before.

The following ten titles feature main characters who discover just how important learning is, and who grow to love the doors it opens for them.
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Our top 25 read-alouds (ages 5-12)

Our top 25 read-alouds (ages 5-12)
Written by contributor Sarah Small of SmallWorld at Home

We started reading to our firstborn the day we brought him home. We didn’t start with Pat the Bunny or Goodnight Moon, although those both played an important part in our story time with all our children. We started with a college textbook, Western Civilization. We just wanted him to hear the sound of our voices and to get a feel for language.

Over the years we have read hundreds of books to our three children, from board books to great classics. Reading aloud comes in two forms in our family: as part of school (we have used Sonlight’s literature-based program for the  majority of our years) and before bed.

Beginning at about age 5 with each of our kids, we moved from a diet of picture books and short easy readers to serious chapter books. Don’t worry about your child not “getting” a book that is “meant” for older kids. They will.

Around age 12 or 13 the evening reading aloud ended, followed shortly by the end of our school-time read-alouds. We are down to just one child who gets all of our reading attention now, and we are determined to have lots of reading time together until he, too, prefers his own voice in his head.

Below is a list of our Top 25 favorite family read-alouds. They are in no particular order, except that I listed a few series at the end. Why did these books make the list when dozens of others didn’t quite qualify? These are the books the kids remember with almost a tender fondness and sometimes almost awe. These were books we lived in, the ones that do, indeed, seem like part of our family.
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Best books of the month

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best books of the month2
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

It’s that time again – another edition of Best Books of the Month. The time when we help each other find new titles that the kids (or the mamas and the papas!) might love.

If you missed last month’s recommendations and would like to take a look, you can find that post here.

Here are the books we’ve been loving in our home recently:

* Moments that Matter: Real Life Photography Techniques for Capturing the Joy and Wonder of Childhood by Farrah Braniff

This book came across my path right when I had been wishing for a resource to teach me how to take better photos. I have a basic Canon Rebel DSLR and I know it can do more than I know how to do with it. I’ve been wanting to get it off auto mode more often, and this down to earth guide has been super helpful!

* A Million Little Ways: Uncovering the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily Freeman

A beautiful, inspiring read for Christians who believe they have more to offer and give the world. You’re right – life art is your medium each and every day.
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Q&A Friday: What’s your favorite book about homeschooling?

favorite homeschooling books ~SimpleHomeschool.net
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

If it weren’t for the books I discovered back when I was considering homeschooling, I don’t think I would have had the courage to start down this path.

Without many real life homeschooling friends at the time, the books I read kindled my interest, answered my questions, and fueled the dream I was mentally crafting about what learning could look like for our family.

I love this quote by American journalist Edward P. Morgan:

“A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.”

Most of us have been significantly impacted by at least one homeschooling book. Here are a few of my favorites:
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