Reading in Quarantine

Day 73.

Oddly enough, my last post about daily poetry practice was the first day of our family’s quarantine. On March 12, I went to the library and the grocery store–essential services in these parts. Since then, we haven’t ventured far from home.

But we’ve been fine. We have a yard and a small garden, a basketball hoop and a swing, a grill, a hammock, a freezer in the basement, vibrant faith, fine friends, remote work, internet, good health, and deep bookshelves.

Because we homeschool there wasn’t much disruption to our daily routine. We kept on with our school work finishing out our year of Greek Myths and Homer. And of course there were plenty of read-alouds! Here’s what we’ve read during quarantine.

Last Archer and First Fowler by S.D. Smith

The last Green Ember book came out during quarantine. Nicolas and Mabel read and listened to the whole series again and then read the final book, Ember’s End. We read Last Archer and First Fowler aloud together. Last Archer might be my favorite Smith book yet! Now Joseph is listening to Green Ember on audiobook. The entire series is available via Hoopla if your local library subscribes to that service.

Prairie Thief by Melissa Wiley

We listened live to Melissa Wiley read this aloud. What a treat!! Her voices are just out of this world. We first read this in the late Summer that Joseph was born. So it was high time we returned to this gem.

Call of the Wild by Jack London

We went to see Little Women in the theater this Winter. One of the previews was for the new movie version of Call of the Wild starring Harrison Ford. The preview starts with narration by Ford. Joseph leaned over and whispered, That sounds like Old Han! Of course he was right. We liked the book and the movie though they are different creatures.

Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K LeGuin

Andy read this aloud to the kids at bedtime. This is not their first LeGuin. They are big fans of Catwings and the her picture book called Cat Dreams. I’m excited for the kids to read more of the Earthsea books–the later ones are my favorites.

The Pope’s Cat and Margaret’s First Holy Week by Jon M. Sweeney

We read Pope’s Cat on Kindle. That’s been a new addition to our reading scheme. Our library has access to many, many books via Kindle. So we have taken advantage of that resource during quarantine.

Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers

This was another read-aloud by the author. I don’t know how much longer these will be available, but it’s so worthwhile. I don’t know if I would have fallen so thoroughly in love with Grady if I didn’t have Jonathan Rogers to read to me.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Another nighttime read aloud by Andy. So much good discussion came out of this book. I’m glad we have it’s characters and metaphors as a part of our shared vocabulary.

Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien

We haven’t read much Tolkien. I much prefer these short, funny novellas to his longer work. I’m working through his introduction to Beowulf on Kindle right now in preparation for our Medieval Studies next year.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

I remember finishing this book while on a school trip to a reservoir where we camped and water skied. Our kids may be a little young for this one, but I got it out from the library before quarantine to read myself. And new read-aloud choices are getting thin!

Swallows + Amazons: Secret Water by Arthur Ransome

For many years we have read a Swallows book during the Summer. When we finished Tolkien, we started Ransome though our Summer proper won’t begin until the end of the week. The books are long, but there’s nothing beats these stories of adventure and friendship between siblings. Bridget, the baby called Vicki in the first novels, is old enough to come along this year!

Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling

We read this in our co-op. Hearing it on audio, I was struck by how absolutely funny the story is. This would be a great story to read outside in the overgrown garden if you happen to have one nearby!

The Children’s Homer by Padraic Colum

This was a part of our ancients study this year. We have one final chapter to read on Tuesday. I love Colum’s work and want to read more. I am a fan of Willy Pogany’s illustrations, but the kids prefer reading along with the graphic novel by Gareth Hinds.


  1. I loved reading this, Kortney! I haven’t read Ursula Le Guin for years and didn’t even think of them for my children. That has got to change! I do monthly bits about reading on my blog, but you’ve inspired me to include a favorite read aloud that I’m doing with my children. I’m STILL working on my post that will include the inspiration from your MFA series, someday it will be ready. 😛 Happy Monday!

  2. Oh my goodness we love Swallows and Amazons. Our friends had a baby we called Fat Vicky for her baby years, and then when she turned 5, my children started calling her Bridget. Someday we may have to tell her why.

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