There were some dark days when Harley was a newborn. I was rarely able to read books. Lately, I’ve been prioritizing reading time for myself, getting into bed every night at 10 so that I can give myself half an hour to an hour of reading. Sometimes I’m exhausted and fall asleep within 5 minutes, and sometimes I have to force myself to go to sleep before it gets too late. But I’m loving my extra reading time for myself, and I’m also making an added effort to read to Harley every single day. So here are both of our favorite books, January 2018 edition.
Just a bit of fair warning, Harley gets to pick which books we read, which means we often read the same ones, over and over again. And I only have a short time to read each month, so I might not have the most expansive list of titles to recommend to you each month. I’m also on an Afro-SF kick, so my Science Fiction genre is influenced by a very specific leaning. But still, here’s what we both enjoyed, and I’m just SO pleased my little one is turning into a bookworm already.
My Favorite Books January 2018
Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor:
I really enjoyed Binti, reading it at the end of last year. This is the sequel to that book and, as the name implies, follows Binti when she returns home. No spoilers, but I think this book is incredible for dealing with so many things that I think many of us can connect with – feeling alone or isolated, wanting to find our tribe but also never really feeling at home, and also learning to embrace the things that make us unique. Also, there are some cool elements about water scarcity and the role of women and men that I quite like. I didn’t realize when I started that a third book in the series is coming soon, so I’m super amped for that, now.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy #1) by N.K. Jemisin:
Towards the end of 2017, I ‘discovered’ N.K. Jemisin and she has quickly become one of my favorite authors. She brings such a unique approach to her speculative fiction, I think because she doesn’t believe in the status quo. She explained in an interview I read from a few years back that part of it was because traditional SF is based on the idea that the world was in balance and then something evil came along and a great hero had to come and restore the balance. As a black woman, she never identified with it, finding the very idea of starting from balance as incorrect or offputting. Instead, all of her fiction is more nuanced and works in shades of gray, mostly about an underlying system that was flawed from the start. She also writes incredibly compelling female protagonists and includes different races in her stories.
Harley’s Favorite Books January 2018
The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper:
This was the first book that Harley got from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and for a long time, we never got past the first couple pages. We still don’t really sit and read this one cover to cover, but she adores different parts of the story. She knows certain sections by heart, but also comes up with new games to play each time we read it. Most recently, she realized that one of the toys was Humpty Dumpty (I didn’t point this out, mind you, she figured it out herself) and now we have to turn from page to page looking for Humpty and a wall.
Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin:
This is a new addition to our library and one that Harley loves. She just cracks up every time I read it, howling with laughter. Maybe it’s the noises, or just how silly it all is, but she seriously laughs every single time. Even when she’s made me read it to her for the fourth time in a row.
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
I actually put this on my wishlist for Harley’s birthday/Christmas presents and Dean’s parents bought it for her. I adore this book more than Harley does, I think. It’s all about a girl who can invent things, but gets frustrated when what she sees in her head doesn’t work out in the implementation. I think we can all relate, right? Anyway, it’s an adorable and gorgeous book, with cool characters and an important series of messages about creativity and persistence, plus it has an awesome inventor girl as the main character. Harley mostly like looking for the girl’s dog on each page, and waiting for the point when the girl gets frustrated and EXPLODES.
Dinner Time by Jan Pienkowski
This is also a recent addition to our library, and one I didn’t expect Harley to like so much. It’s a pop-up book, but more than that, Harley loves all the animals in it. The food chain built in the story is mighty suspect, but she is just happy to shout out “Frog!” and “Vulture” and “Gorilla” and “Tiger” and “Shark!”. Over and over again, because we end up reading this one a few times in a row at least.
Chu’s First Day of School by Neil Gaiman
I’m a huge Neil Gaiman fan, and it seems Harley is going that way, too. This is the second book about Chu, and as charming as the first one. This time, Chu goes to school and Harley loves to see his classmates and what they all say. And of course, Chu’s signature sneeze. This is such a fun book, one in which I find more and more to enjoy each and every time I read it. Which is a good thing, because Harley tends to make me read it at least two or three times in a row.
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