Final Kid’s Chapter Book List 2023

Recently I posted my 2023 book list, but these books were specifically the books I read by myself. Here’s a list of chapter books I read to my kids in 2023. For reference, my kids are 6 years old, 4 years old, and 1 year old. Obviously, the listening levels of the three different ages were not all the same. But learning a love for reading is more important than actually knowing the storyline at this age!

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

This was our first chapter book read together and of course, I bawled my eyes out at the end. I always do.

Stuart Little by E. B. White

We decided to keep up with the classics, you cannot go wrong with two E. B. White books in a row! This book was a fun read and we enjoyed comparing the book and the movie!

Matilda by Roald Dahl

I won’t lie, this book mostly went over my kid’s heads. It was a little too advanced for their ages and the British English took a lot of explaining. But we’ve been very into Matilda the Musical at our house, so it was fun to read the book and the background context of knowing the movie well made it a little easier for them to understand. It’s on our list to read together again a few years from now when they can understand it better!

Luna’s Rescue by Erica Richardson

I cannot sing this book enough praise! It was the perfect academic level for a read-aloud given my kid’s ages, and the storyline had us all hooked! There is a second book in the series and it’s on our list to read in 2024 because we are dying to know what happens to Luna’s friend, Hoover.

Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows

Starting the Ivy and Bean series was a great choice for us. There are a lot of books in this series and Ivy and Bean are fun kids to read about. Again, another book that led to more books added to our “To Be Read” list.

The True Gift by Patricia MacLachlan

I was on a mission to find a Christmas/winter-themed book for the Christmas season that was age and developmentally appropriate for the ages of my kids. There are SO many good kid’s Christmas chapter books out there, but I needed something simple. This book was the ticket, it checked all of the boxes perfectly and was a cute story. I can see us reading this book together again next Christmas season.

Final Book List for 2023

My final number for books read in 2023 came in at 58 books. I always set a goal to read 50 books in a year, so accomplishing 58 felt great! Here is my list of books read. Please note that not all of these books will be appropriate for everyone. Please do your research on whether a book is right for you or not. Please also feel free to comment to ask about any particular book, I’d love to chat about it and give insight.


πŸ‘‚πŸΌ Audiobook
πŸ“• Physical book
πŸ“˜ eReader

1The Summer I Turned PrettyJenny HanπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
2Crying in H MartMichelle ZaunerπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
3The Case of the Missing MarquessNancy SpringerπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
4The Hotel NantucketElin HilderbrandπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
5The Last Chance LibraryFreya SampsonπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
6House of GoldNatasha SolomonsπŸ“•
7A Court of Thorns and RosesSarah J. MaasπŸ“•πŸ‘‚πŸΌ
8Hiroshima DiaryMichihiko HachiyaπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
9It Ends With UsColleen HooverπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
10Thank You For ListeningJulia WhelanπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
11Mad HoneyJodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney BoylanπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
12HitchhikersBernard PoduskaπŸ“•
13Beach ReadEmily HenryπŸ“•
14A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and MayhemManda CollinsπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
15EdenbrookeJulianne DonaldsonπŸ“•
16The Beach ClubElin HilderbrandπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
17Maybe SomedayColleen HooverπŸ“•
18Maybe NotColleen HooverπŸ“•
19A Corner of the UniverseAnn M. MartinπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
20Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s StoneJ. K. RowlingπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
21The Tattooist of AuschwitzHeather MorrisπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
22It Starts With UsColleen HooverπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
23Maybe NowColleen HooverπŸ“•
24Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsJ.K. RowlingπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
25We Were DreamersSimu LiuπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
26Tomorrow and Tomorrow and TomorrowGabrielle ZevinπŸ“•
27Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanJ. K. RowlingπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
28Enders ShadowOrson Scott CardπŸ“•πŸ‘‚πŸΌ
29We Were LiarsE. LockhartπŸ“•
30The Bookish Life of Nina HillAbbi WaxmanπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
31The Revised Fundamentals of CaregivingJohnathan EvisonπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
32Turtles All The Way DownJohn GreenπŸ“˜
33Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireJ. K. RowlingπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
34The UnhoneymoonersChristina LaurenπŸ“•
35Britt Marie Was HereFredrick BackmanπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
36Hello BeautifulAnn NapolitanoπŸ“•πŸ‘‚πŸΌ
37Beneath a Scarlet SkyMark SullivanπŸ“•
38A Place to Hang the MoonKate AlbusπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
39The Rent CollectorCameron WrightπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
40This is Your Life, Harriet Chance!Johnathan EvisonπŸ“•
41The Last Thing He Told MeLaura DaveπŸ“•
42The Ballad of Songbirds and SnakesSuzanne CollinsπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
43Good Man, DaltonKaren McQuestionπŸ“•
44The MeasureNikki ErlickπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
45The Pumpkin Spice CafeLaurie GilmoreπŸ“•
46Demon CopperheadBarbara KingsolverπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
47One For the Murphy’sLynda Mullaly HuntπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
48Tokyo Ever AfterEmiko JeanπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
49Forever, InterruptedTaylor Jenkins ReidπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
50Tokyo DreamingEmiko JeanπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
51The Mostly Invisible BoyA. J. VanderhorstπŸ“•
52Counting the CostJill DuggarπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
53The Cheat SheetSarah AdamsπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
54The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightJennifer E. SmithπŸ‘‚πŸΌ
55Resting Scrooge FaceMeghan QuinnπŸ“˜
56Little Fires EverywhereCeleste NgπŸ“˜
57A Return to ChristmasChris HeimerringerπŸ“˜
58Found in a BookshopStephanie ButlandπŸ“˜

I cannot wait to see what 2024 has in store for my reading journey! What books would you recommend I add to my reading list for the year?

A Free Valentine’s Day Printable

Valentine’s Day is coming up, which means class parties for all ages are coming up, too!

Does anyone else dread trying to plan an activity to do with your class on a sugar-high day? Or is it just me? Whether you’re a teacher, para, or class parent, here’s a fun, cute, FREE printable that you can use in your classroom or send home with students! It’s also a great addition to libraries and school offices for handouts.

The word search is on the easier side, so ideal for those younger to mid-grades. There is also a color version and black & white version for ease of printing.

Feel free to print out what you need and share this free resource with friends as well. Tell us below in the comments how it went with your students!

Photo by Pragyan Bezbaruah:

All-Day vs. Half-Day Kindergarten: The Pros and Cons

In the states of Utah and Idaho, many schools are making the shift from half-day kindergarten to all-day kindergarten. Why is this? Does this have to do with the push to get kids academically advanced at a young age? Is it because studies are showing it’s better? Some families currently have the option to choose if they want their child in half-day or all-day kindergarten. Here are some of the pros and cons of both. Some are pulled from research, some are my own opinion, and some are the opinions of close friends who have recently put their children through either full or half-day kindergarten. 

Half day kindergarten: 

More time at home with family (if applicable).
Less time at a desk and more time playing at home or daycare.
A transition year to full-day school.
Typically smaller classes.
A better schedule for kids who are not emotionally ready to be away from home all day.

It Can be hard to manage childcare because of the pick-up/drop-off times in the middle of the day.
Academics can be pushed harder and faster because of the shorter amount of time in school.
Not enough time for social interaction for some kids.

Full day kindergarten: 

A consistent schedule can be helpful for some students.
Childcare arrangements are easier for working parents.
More time in the day for academics, so recess and free time are more likely to happen.

Can be a long day for students to be at school all day.
Can be a hard transition to do full-day school at a young age. Β 
Typically larger class sizes.
Can be hard for kids that are not emotionally ready to be away from home all day.

In my opinion, I’m team all-day kindergarten. Which surprised me, I didn’t think I would be! But the consistency of the schedule, the extra time for recess and free time in their day, and how well my daughter seemed to transition to all-day school made it an easy win for us. And in my opinion, they have to make the transition to all-day school at some point and the transition is hard, no matter the age. However, each situation isn’t and won’t be the same for each family and child.

It was also interesting to me to see insights from families that live in a culture where both parents work versus having a stay-at-home parent. When both parents are working full time, they comment that the year their kindergartener had half-day school was harder on the child and the family because the child was used to being in daycare full time and the half-day kindergarten threw off their schedule for a year.

Families with at least one stay-at-home parent commented that the transition to all-day kindergarten was harder for both the parent and the child. However, they also said that the transition to first grade was seamless and fairly easy after a year of full-day kindergarten.

Remember that if you are currently trying to choose between full-day and half-day kindergarten, you’re making a decision for your child and your whole family. It needs to be a mutual benefit for everyone involved. And whatever decision you make- it’s the right one. There’s no “one size fits all” in the academic world and whether you choose full-day or half-day kindergarten, you will find situations that you don’t love and you will find situations where your child is thriving.

What are your thoughts on all-day vs half-day kinder?

If you want to read deeper research on the topic, this research paper is an interesting read.

From Scholarship Winner to Beloved Community Award Winner

When choosing a scholarship winner, we are always looking for projects that have ways in place to impact communities for years to come, not just once. So it excites us when we see our scholarship winners continue to do amazing things with what they are working on, long after the scholarship money has been awarded.Β 

A 2023 scholarship winner, Gitanjali Rao, has recently let us know that she is being awarded today with a Beloved Community Award for Technological Innovation for the same work that she submitted for her scholarship application.Β 

β€œThe Beloved Community Awards is one of the marquee events of The King Center’s week-long annual King holiday experience. The awards recognize national and international individuals and organizations that exemplify excellence in leadership, pursuit of social justice, and commitment to creating the Beloved Community in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King.” –

Gitanjali is an amazing student who is always working hard and finding more ways to serve, learn, and research. We are so proud of her and all of her amazing achievements!Β A big congratulations to you today, Gitanjali!

Is The Student Uncomfortable, Or Are We?

My daughter has spent a lot of time at the dentist this year. Most recently, she was in there to have a tooth pulled because she had what the dentist calls a β€œshark tooth.” This means she has a baby tooth that hasn’t fallen out, but her adult tooth is growing in behind the still intact baby tooth.Β 

We were back in the office about a month later with another shark tooth. Before even considering pulling it, the dentist talked with me about it first. 

β€œIs she more uncomfortable with it, or are you?” 

I did some deep thinking over the past month and tried to remember how often she had complained about it hurting or being uncomfortable. Never… the answer was never. She never told me it was hurting her or that she didn’t like it, she couldn’t have cared less if her baby tooth was still in there, despite her adult tooth almost fully grown in. 

But it was making me uncomfortable, thus the reason why I had scheduled the appointment in the first place.Β 

In the end, we decided to leave the tooth, a good old β€œwait and watch.” To this day, we’re still waiting and watching and I’m doing my best not to show her my discomfort with her current state. It’s okay for me to be uncomfortable, but it’s not okay for me to push those emotions on her. 

Are there times in a classroom when we as parents and teachers push our discomfort on our kids in certain situations? 

Maybe with seating assignments. 

Maybe with how hard a test or assignment is. 

Are we pushing our uncomfortable feelings on them with their choice of clothes or food for the day? 

When their desk is messy and unorganized, is the student uncomfortable with it, or are we as teachers uncomfortable with it? 

What about how they treat their backpacks, water bottles, lunchboxes, etc?Β 

It really can be intriguing to think about and is a topic that makes your mind race a bit. 

What situations have you been more uncomfortable with the circumstances than your students have been? What coping mechanisms can we adopt to help us work through those emotions and feelings without affecting them?Β 

My #OneWord2024

Mary wrote about her experience with #OneWord each year, you can see all of her previous posts here: 

I’ve always felt that the #oneword movement was intriguing and worth pursuing, but never pushed myself beyond the observation aspect of the idea and into the action. This year, I’ve decided is my year. I’ve been pondering for a few weeks now what my #OneWord2024 should be, with Mary’s past posts guiding my way. 


It felt right for me for this year. 

Connect with my kids. With my spouse.

Connect with friends, old and new. 

Connect with community members. 

Connect with myself. 

Connect with my wants and needs.

Connect with the wants and needs of others. 

This year, I’ll be focusing my time and energy on connection instead of writing out my New Year’s resolutions. I can already tell it will be more productive and useful by using this method. 

What is your #OneWord2024? Still brainstorming? Here are a handful of ideas: