In My Library Tote: October Reads for Mom and Toddler

As you know (and are probably tired of hearing by now!), the countdown is on for baby Violet's arrival. Obviously I'm beyond excited, but I also know that with a new baby comes less reading time. I think I knew that and subconsciously decided to read ALL THE BOOKS over the last several months. I always prioritize reading time, but I feel like I've been in book-overdrive since the summer, and I'm not sad about that. Here are my (fairly) recent reads.

{recent reads for mom}

{The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe} The premise of this book alone had me hooked--Anita Hemmings is a student at the elite Vassar college during the late 1800s, and she has a secret that could easily get her expelled. She is black. Because of her light skin, she passes as white and is accepted, and furthermore, beloved, at the exclusive women's college. However, during her senior year, her tightly-held secret threatens to unravel, with irreversible consequences. 
     Worth the read? Yes! Like I said, I was hooked from the get-go and continued to be deeply drawn in to the story. While it's fiction, it is based on a true story, which made it all the more compelling. One of the reasons I read is to see things from others' perspectives, and I could not stop thinking about what life must have been like for Anita and other black men and women during that time when even getting an education was an uphill battle. This was my favorite of the month. (4/5 stars)

{The One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood} A boy scout badge brings Ona Vitkus, a 104 year-old woman, and a young Guinness record-obsessed boy together in an unlikely friendship. When the boy dies unexpectedly, his father Quinn, an often-absent musician, volunteers his time with Ona in his son's place. Quinn sets out to simply fulfill a fatherly duty to his son, but slowly builds a friendship with Ona, and through her, come to understand his son. 
     Worth the read? Yes. Despite the fact that the death of a young boy was at the forefront of this story, I found this book to be surprisingly sweet. I grew to love the spunky Ona and the quirky boy through her memories of him, and even Quinn, far from being dad-of-the-year, grew on me by the book's end. (4/5 stars)

{All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda} Told in reverse, this thriller chronicles the disappearance of two young women, a decade apart. Nicolette Farrell leaves her hometown shortly after her best friend Corinne disappears, yet when she returns for a family matter, the town is plagued by another disappearance. 
     Worth the read? Perhaps. Maybe I'm just not a thriller lover. There were things about this story I did enjoy, like the unique reverse storytelling that truly did keep me guessing. However, overall I thought it was just okay, but nothing spectacular. This is just a genre I have a hard time with. (3/5 stars)

{Before the Fall by Noah Hawley} Eleven people are on board a small private jet heading to New York from Martha's Vineyard when it crashes into the ocean. The only survivors are a painter whose career hasn't brought him much success and the four year-old son of a very wealthy family. Scott, the painter, soon gains the fame his paintings never brought him, as he is both admired for saving the young boy's life and questioned about his survival and reasons for even being on the plane. 
     Worth the read? Yes, although I heard a lot about this book and thought I would enjoy it more. (3/5 stars) 

{The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney} Before he died, Leonard Plumb left his four children a small sum of money to be given to them all when his youngest daughter turned 40. Thanks to good investing, that small sum turned into a significant amount that they each began to count on for various needs. However, thanks to their older brother Leo's reckless choices, the siblings' inheritances are no longer guaranteed. 
     Worth the read? Yes. This is another one I heard a lot about. I was actually surprised to enjoy it as much as I did. I tend to have a hard time when characters aren't very likable, yet despite finding all four Plumb siblings irritating in their own ways, I found myself fully invested in their story.  

{recent reads for the 3-year-old}

{Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer} The penguin in this story is grumpy and he doesn't know why, nor does he care. He removes his clothes one item at a time, but his grumpiness stays behind. It's not until he jumps into the nice cold bath that he is finally able to wash the grumpy away.
     Toddler approved? Yes, we loved this one. Jona found it especially funny when the penguin took off his "grumpy underpants"... that part got lots of laughs.

{Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev} A little boy is looking forward to taking his tiny pet elephant to Pet Club Day, but he is crushed when he gets to the door and a sign reads "Strictly No Elephants". When he meets a girl with her pet skunk and finds out they were also rejected from Pet Club, they decide to start their own club where all are welcome.
     Toddler approved? Yes, this one was a frequently requested pick.

{The Moon's Almost Here by Patricia MacLachlan} This one is illustrated by Tomie dePaola, and I remember him being a favorite of mine from childhood. Perfect for bedtime, a father and son observe all the animals preparing to settle in for the night.
     Toddler approved? Yes. Maybe it was the soothing rhythm of the story or reading about each animal going to bed, but despite it being a lot different from what Jona usually enjoys he really liked this one.

{The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah OHora} Every Saturday Theodore and Oskar head to the library with their dad, but on this trip their quiet library day is interrupted by a many-headed monster. The monster is angry because the books taste terrible. Theodore and Oskar are looking like they may be the monster's next meal, but luckily the librarian saves the day with story time--and the monster learns that books are much better when read than when eaten.
     Toddler approved? Oh yes. Jona loved this book and it was by far the most-read of the month. Ohora also illustrated a couple of other recent favorites, Wolfie the Bunny and Horrible Bear!

{Little Tree by Loren Long} In this perfect-for-fall story, a little tree grows in a forest but is afraid to let go of her leaves during autumn. Eventually, all the other trees around her grow bigger, but she stays small because she refuses to be a part of nature's cycle.
     Toddler approved? While it wasn't a favorite, Jona did like this one.

Have you read anything good lately?

Linking with Modern Mrs. Darcy.  


  1. I need the grumpy pants. Haha. Great book list. I am currently reading the throne of glass series. So good so far. :)

  2. Grumpy underpants? I have a nephew who will love that! (Not that he needs any more encouragement to strip naked at will!!).
    Interesting that you will have less time to read. I find I read more when C was a baby because I needed something to keep me awake during the middle of the night feeds so I got more reading done. One thing on my "to do" list in the next 6 weeks is to load up my eReader with lots of short stories collections. I may have the time to read but I don't always have the focus so short stories are wonderful!


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