25 December 2013

Our Favorite Read-Aloud Books of 2013

This Year of Our Lord 2013 has been another marvelous literary adventure for me and my five middle children listeners: Monica, Ariksander, Oly'anna, Justinian, and Frederick.  In January, we voted on what I should read aloud over the course of the year, and we’ve managed to make it through most of that list: 47 books in all.  Soon we’ll be voting on books to read aloud and listen to in the New Year, although we’ll begin with the books remaining on our current list, including one of my long-time favorites, the Great Brain series, by John D. Fitzgerald.  Meanwhile, we’ve voted on our favorites of the year now drawing to a close.

Although there weren’t quite the standout series such as we enjoyed from Suzanne Collins and Brandon Mull in 2012, there were some unique gems and fun discoveries among this year’s crop.  It is interesting to me, to see which books rise to the top of the pile across the range of ages and personalities among my listeners.  I’m often surprised, and therefore instructed, by the choices that my children make: It helps me to know and understand them better, both individually and collectively, and it gives me a new perspective on the books, as well.  Anyway, there’s a lot of variety in the literature we share together, and reading aloud to my children remains one of my greatest joys in life.  I’m happy to say that I’ve also had opportunity to read to my grandchildren in 2013, but I haven’t asked them to vote on their favorites at this stage.  All in due season!

Well, then, on behalf of my listeners, I happily publish the following list of our Top Eighteen Read-Aloud Favorites of 2013.  We've grouped sequels and series into single entries, rather than trying to segregate the individual titles.  In at least a few cases, we are eagerly awaiting further installments yet to come.  Meanwhile, there are plenty of books in the world to occupy us.  It should be noted that most of the following books were not published in 2013, but were among those that I was privileged to read aloud in these past twelve months.  Each of the following entries received at least two votes (out of six possible); the top choice received five votes.

Top Eighteen Read-Aloud Favorites of 2013

1 - What the Dickens, by Gregory Maguire

2 - the My Side of the Mountain trilogy, by Jean Craighead George

3 - Chasing the Prophecy (final book in the Beyonders trilogy), by Brandon Mull

4 - Candymakers, by Wendy Mass

5 - The Chronicles of Prydain (five books), by Lloyd Alexander

6 - Reckless; and its sequel, Fearless, by Cornelia Funke

7 - The Secret Life of Ms. Finkelman; and its sequel,
     The Mystery of the Missing Everything, by Ben H. Winters

8 - the Missing series (five books so far), by Margaret Peterson Haddix

9 - the Jack Blank trilogy, by Matt Myklusch

10 - Cosmic, by Frank Cottrell Boyce

11 - Icefall, by Matthew J. Kirby

12 - The Mostly True Story of Jack, by Kelly Barnhill

13. Liesl & Po, by Lauren Oliver

14. Michael Vey 3: Battle of the Ampere, by Richard Paul Evans

15. Summer and Bird, by Katherine Catmull

16. Escape from Zobadak, by Brad Gallagher

17. Dragon Rider, by Cornelia Funke

18. Jimmy Coates: Blackout (book 7), by Joe Craig

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