Remember those words from when you were a kid?
“I dare you.”
Oh, man. That was when things got serious.
Honestly, I haven’t been up for a dare the last few years. Maybe I was tired, had a giant project list, or was just being a chicken. But last year, a dear friend of mine Gretchen Louise mentioned a Goodreads Reading Challenge, and I took the challenge with great hesitation.
I set my reading goal for 40 books, which I thought was low, but I wanted to succeed. The result? I blew the goal out of the water! 64 books total!
So, I, in turn, challenge you!
I challenge you to read great books, even if they’re not targeted for your age or your preferred genre.
I read mostly my children’s school books and books that I’m pre-reading for them. Sometimes I felt a little funny walking around with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Uncle Wiggily, but it was worth the random strange looks I got.
My girls and I poured into books like Red Sails to Capri and Owls in the Family. Instead of being bored, I was just as captivated as them. They made me promise to not read ahead with them as finding out the mystery together was too much fun.
I loved the middle school and YA books. I often couldn’t put the books down. Canyon Winter set close to us in the canyons of the Snake River kept me wondering what would happen, and true stories like the Island of the Blue Dolphin gave me a greater appreciation about how people can survive. I raided my parents’ bookshelves and found a treasure from my childhood – Hold the Reins Free. I was pleasantly surprised to find a book exciting with a message relevant even for today.
I challenge you to discover that small books hold as much joy as big books.
I enjoyed Mary on Horseback as much as The Land Beyond the Sea. It doesn’t matter how many words are in a book. It matters what those words say.
I challenge you to see that young children are filled with deep compassion.
Love from Anna Hibiscus quickly became our favorites. Written for 6 to 7 year olds, it tells of Anna Hibiscus, who lives in Africa. When she visits her family in a village outside the city, a small boy steals a banana from her. I watched my girls (ages 5 and 8) become indignant that someone would steal. But when they found out why the boy had stolen, their hearts broke with compassion.
“We must help, Mom. We could send whatever they needed.”
However, reading did fail me when we read Out of Darkness: The Story of Louis Braille. I blindfolded them to show them how it feels to be blind. Their response?
“That was fun! I wish I was blind!”
Dolphin Adventure (with its sequels Dolphin Treasure and Dolphin Freedom) gave the girls a beautiful picture of how animals need compassion as well.
I challenge you to travel the world (with books).
Everyone in our house now wants to go to Capri, thanks to Red Sails to Capri. Visiting a Viking graveyard is on their bucket list, especially if that graveyard happens to be in Denmark. We wandered the streets of ancient Rome, solving mysteries, in Detectives in Togas. We braved an Alaskan winter in A Year with Miss Agnes, and the girls plan to go to Scotland to see if the Loch Ness Monster is real or not after reading The Water Horse.
Finally, I challenge you to never judge a book by its cover.
You would think someone who has been around books so long would know this lesson, but A Year of the Baby brought this truth home to me. As I set up the books for the year for the girls, I saw this book with the title of the baby. My first thought? We’ll probably skip this one.
I was wrong.
This book became our favorite.
Told from Anna’s perspective, Anna’s family has adopted a baby girl from China. But the baby fails to thrive. Can Anna and her friends somehow solve one of their problems and save her sister at the same time?
If you’re not into girly books, ignore the cover and give it a try.
What else should you try?
If you want a challenge and don’t know where to start, here is my Top 10 of 2020.
- Dolphin Adventure (with its following two books)
- Sir Lancelot the Great (we haven’t read the rest of the series yet, but we plan to!)
- Detectives in Togas
- Owls in the Family
- Red Sails to Capri
- Love from Anna Hibiscus
- A True Home (Heartwood Hotel, #1)
- The Year of the Baby (Anna Wange, #2)
- Jotham’s Journey
- Sticks across the Chimney
You can check out what else I read here – Vicki’s 2020 in Books
And if you’re interested in the Goodreads challenge, there is still time to join. If you don’t know much about Goodreads, check out this excellent article – 10 features that will help you get the most out of your Goodreads account.
Join the reading challenge, pick up a book…
I dare you!