Friday, June 3, 2022

May 2022

We started off in our Star Wars shirts on May the 4th! I have fun looking for these shirts throughout the year at our local used clothes store. It's like a game for me to find things for various holidays- St. Patrick's Day, May 4th, July 4th, and sometimes shirts from different countries for the Olympics.

Our electricity supply has continued to be worse and worse since the cyclone in January. We are so thankful for our solar backup, but it is just a backup system and doesn't run everything or run for the full time that the power is out (especially if we forget we're on solar and accidentally use a high-energy thing like the electric kettle or water pump). So we're going without power a good bit these days. Which isn't too awful, we're pretty used to it by now, but does get a bit annoying, especially with the girls' live classes and several of us doing counseling on zoom.

Josh and my health has continued to be up and down (but mostly down) since we all got covid in January. We are just so exhausted for no good reason. We've tried multiple times (as pictured above) to get back into running when we start to feel better, but every time we try our bodies crash for several days afterward and we can hardly function. It's super discouraging, because we were both just starting to really get into running before this, and now ALL I WANT TO DO IS RUN. Please pray for us that we would really truly feel better for good and get our energy back, because this exhaustion is 0% fun.

We celebrated American Mother's Day with our family and our friend Rachel by going to church and then out to lunch at our favorite place, Casa Rossa. I felt very loved. I'm so thankful for these five people who call me mama.

Josh held one last full-team meeting before our furlough, and took the team plus spouses out to eat at Casa Rossa. It was a great time for all of us! We are so thankful to have such a wonderful ministry team here.

We are just a couple of weeks from leaving for our 7 month visit to the US! We can't believe it! Our parents have been working hard to get the home we'll be staying in ready for us. Josh's uncle owns the house, and the tenants just HAPPENED to decide to move out at the perfect time for us to move in... of course it wasn't a coincidence at all, God is so perfectly sovereign and provides for us in all things! It's an adorable little house, and we're so thankful and excited to call it home for 7 months. 

Josh and I celebrated our 16th anniversary this month! Our marriage is now old enough to drive! Ha! Thanks to our friend, Rachel, we got to get away to Zomba Forest Lodge for 2 nights and enjoy some peace and quiet together. It was such a great time.

The girls wrapped up their Veritas Press live classes for the year! Haylee took 3 live classes this year: Latin transition, composition, and omnibus II (omnibus is actually 2 intense classes, which combined give 3 high school level credits in history, Bible, and literature). Taylah took her first live class this year: literature transition. I'm so proud of how hard they've both worked. Live classes with real assignments and tests are a big leap from our usual laid-back homeschool style, and it's been really good for them to have that external accountability and teaching. In the picture above, T is sitting beside the books she read for literature transition, and H is sitting besides the books she read for omnibus.

Josh spent 2 weeks teaching pastors this month, 1 week at our campus in the Lower Shire and 1 week here in Zomba. He taught from Romans 9-16, and our colleague Isaac taught on spiritual gifts.

Rey got to practice search and rescue a couple of times during Abe and JJ's soccer practices. They practice at a secondary school, so Jude and his afternoon helper, Taonga, will walk around the grounds and hide somewhere, and then Rey and I come to find them. Rey had a lot of potential distractions (lots of monkeys, chickens, and students), but she still did great! It's so cool to see her catch his scent and just TAKE OFF after him. I basically turn into a human kite behind her trying to keep up! We really need to practice more often than we do, but a little is better than nothing.

And finally, I've actually started packing for our visit to the US and our stop in Rome on the way there! We're so excited and overwhelmed and nervous, but as it gets closer the excitement is becoming the prevailing emotion. We can't wait to see our friends and family and experience some parts of America that we've missed, and we're really looking forward to seeing Rome, too!

Monday, May 2, 2022

April 2022

We kicked off the month celebrating Abe's 6th birthday! We celebrated a day early by going to swim at a small local pool, and on his actual birthday, which was a Sunday, he went with Josh to visit a church in the Lower Shire. He's growing up so much, and is finally pretty good riding in the car (he's always gotten bored and cried quickly). He's so funny, and we love him so much.

Our 8 month old boerboel (South African mastiff) guard puppy almost died this month from eating a toad. Did you know that toads are poisonous for dogs? We do now! Thankfully he's a big boy (71 lbs and counting), and I think that's what saved him. If he'd been smaller I think it would have gotten the best of him. He was really sick for a few days until I took him to the SPCA in Blantyre and they gave him a shot for nausea, then he turned around pretty quickly after that. I hope he's learned his lesson and will stay away from toads from now on! The picture above is from when he was not feeling great and had thrown up the charcoal we'd given him all over his front legs.

Josh and I have been on a mission to declutter the house before we leave for the US. Four years is the longest we've ever lived anywhere since we were married (tied with the 4 years we lived at the parsonage at Mt. Tabor Baptist), and the house is desperately in need of some spring cleaning! In the picture above, we had to eat lunch in the floor because we'd emptied out the pantry and stuff was all over the table and island. It feels so good to clean and organize everything, and it will be great to come home to a tidied home in January.

Josh and I have also spent most of April driving the clinic team all over southern Malawi for our mobile medical clinics. We don't have any medical expertise ourselves, but we have an incredible team of doctors, nurses, preachers, and organizers who make these clinics happen. I spent 4 days and 3 nights in the Lower Shire (the southernmost region of Malawi, south of Blantyre if you look at a map), and it was grueling to drive such long, difficult roads every day, but it was so worth it. Especially in the village of Million, there was a malaria outbreak and almost all the kids in the village were very sick. They're too far from any clinic or hospital to seek care, so our team showed up just in time. Malaria is almost always fatal if left untreated, but easy to treat with medicine. 


We celebrated Easter with Gospel Life Baptist Church here in Zomba, and our family wore our Gospel Life shirts from last year, since we haven't had a way to get our 2022 shirts here yet. Now that there are multiple years of shirt designs available on our bonfire site (shirts are available to buy year-round, we just do a big push in the spring because a lot of people like to wear them on Easter for Forget the Frock), it's fun to see people wearing all different Gospel Life shirts!

The 18th marked 60 days until we leave Malawi for our 7 month visit to the US, so the kids and I made a countdown for the pantry door! We are feeling ALL THE FEELS about this trip. Excitement to see our family and friends, obviously, but also overwhelm (for Josh and me especially with all of the planning, packing, and logistics), apprehension about how much everything/everyone has changed in 4 years (including ourselves) and how well we may or may not fit in now, sadness at saying goodbye to our friends and home here for more than half a year... so many feelings. As with all of the major transitions our family has faced, I'm doing my best to get the kids talking about our feelings and understanding that it's ok to be unsure of ourselves and to hold conflicting emotions at the same time. 

Finally, we celebrated Josh's 36th birthday. He's officially in the late 30's that he's been teasing me about for a while! He's the most selfless soul and only ever asks for Nestle Toll House recipe chocolate chip cookies (with real flour, butter, and sugar, not the healthier changes we usually make to recipes) for his birthday. We went on a short hike on the Zomba plateau, and the weather was perfect. We are the luckiest people ever to get to have him in our lives.

I can't believe we can now officially say that we will be in the US NEXT MONTH! (I'm finishing this post up on May 1st.) It's so crazy!! April was insane and exhausting and stressful, and May and June look like they're going to continue that trend. We have so much to wrap up here with the ministry and our life here before we can step away for 7 months, not to mention all of the planning and packing we have to do, so please pray for our family any time you think of us. 

Saturday, April 2, 2022

March 2022

March has been a mercifully slower month for us, with the exception of Josh having Shepherds Academy going on all month. April, May, and the first part of June before we leave for the US are NOT going to be anything close to what could be called slow, so we've enjoyed this time and used it to prepare some things for our visit to the US.                               

I took Abe with me to Blantyre for a shopping day. I try to alternate taking one kid with me about every other time that I go. It's really special time together. He was very excited about helping me pick out JJ's birthday presents, and he loved eating at Gelato Carnival, which has this great playground (plastic playgrounds like this are super rare here, and this is the biggest one I've seen).

JJ turned 10 this month. He is such a sweet, sensitive, funny boy. He was equally excited about his chess set and his skateboard, which I think is the perfect example of how varied his interests are. I can't believe he's in the double-digits now, and we've had the honor of being his parents for almost 8 years now.

The girls and I got invited to go on a hike on Mt. Mulanje for a friend's birthday. It was hands-down the HARDEST thing I've ever done in my life (it didn't at all help that I'm still struggling with fatigue since we had the big C in January). I mean, the picture above doesn't even do justice to how huge Mulanje is, and we walked up the whole thing on our own two legs (or maybe I should say six legs, since it was the three of us).

Here's just one example of how steep the trail was, and it was like this pretty much the entire way. You can read all about that hike in more detail on my post about it on our adventure blog, Adventurologists.

We said goodbye to Haylee, Taylah, and JJ's tutor, Ms. Michelle. She was approved for a visa to move to the US and work in a nursing home with her aunt, and they were gone a few days later! We will miss her, but we're happy for her, and we hope she enjoys the US.

The rains have become fewer this month as rainy season slowly wraps up. One interesting thing, though, is that in two years of meeting at our new church property, where we have just a tin roof, dirt floor, and reed "walls," it had never rained during a worship service until one Sunday this month. I snapped this picture while we were waiting for the rain to slow down so we could walk home (it's about half a mile from our house), and Abe wanted to hold baby Jedidiah, our colleagues/friends' son.

We celebrated St. Patrick's Day in my favorite way: all wearing green and taking a family picture! We've been taking family pictures on SPD every year since Jude was born, and I love, love, love it. You can see all of our years of pictures on this post.

Our church had a baptism service down in the creek after church one Sunday, where our friend Khama and several others were baptized. Taylah enjoyed carrying baby Jedidiah to the baptism.

I took Haylee with me to Blantyre to get groceries, pick out birthday presents for Abe, and get her some new glasses (she broke hers on New Years Eve and I've been gluing them back together ever since, but that was finally not holding anymore). We had a great day together, and I loved hanging out with her. This picture cracks me up, because she thought I was taking a picture of my cappuccino, when I was actually sneaking a picture of her.

Our friends are moving to start a church in South Africa after 16 years in Malawi. Lesley hosted a goodbye tea that had all of us in tears. Lesley was my first friend here who invited our crew to her house, and she's become a very dear friend to me over these last 4 years. Her kids are all close in age to my kids, and we are all going to miss them very much. Now we have even more reason to take a trip to South Africa!

That wraps up our March! I'm dreading the craziness of the next 2.5 months, but also trying to enjoy it and not wish it away. Pray for us as we enter this crazy time, and that God will provide for all of our needs for our time back in the US!

Thursday, March 3, 2022

February 2022

February was a busy and honestly exhausting month. We had so much to do, and we are starting to feel the crush of everything we need to do in the next 4 months to be ready to leave for the US. Let's recap.

We set foot on American soil! No, we aren't back in America yet, but we did go the the American embassy in Lilongwe to renew a few passports. Did you know that embassies are legally considered territory of the countries they represent? So we can go to America right here in Malawi! Ok, it's not quite the same, but it was still an interesting experience. Also Jude's face in the picture above? Priceless.

This was our first time visiting Lilongwe as a family, so we spent two nights there and made a fun little trip out of it. We ate at a few yummy restaurants, explored the city a bit, and got to spend some time with two cool American missionary families (both of whom also have a ton of kids, so we felt really understood and at ease, which was wonderful).

Jude turned 13 this month, which doesn't even seem possible! How is my 10lb 3oz newborn now a teenager?? I love this picture, because you could tell he was thinking, "ok Mom, I'll humor you with this picture you want of me with these huge ballons, but I don't get the point." Haha. A few days before his birthday, I stumbled upon something I had written the day before his 10th birthday, and it made me weep all over again. I never shared it, because I didn't feel like I had a nice conclusion for it, but I want to share it here now to share a bit of the rollercoaster of special needs parenting:
10 years. I can’t believe it. Last night after I tucked him in, I wept. Hard.

Every parent feels that pang of sadness watching their babies grow up, wondering how it’s possible that the time has passed so quickly. But parenting special needs makes these milestones so much more complex. With each passing year, the chasm between him and his neurotypical peers widens. There is so much to grieve about what autism steals from him and us. On the eve of this big milestone, I was overwhelmed by all of the things he still can’t do, and how different this life is from the one I’d dreamed of for him.

But in the midst of my weeping a still, soft voice spoke to my heart and reminded me that he deserves to be celebrated on his birthday. Please help me celebrate him, I prayed. And I turned to the source of our only true comfort in this world, God’s Word. 

I flipped instinctively to Lamentations 3, and prayed along as I slowly read the words:
“My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, 'My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the LORD.' Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.”

And then in the very next verse came what I knew I needed to hear, and I continued to pray the prophet’s words as my own: “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”
Like I said, I don’t have a neat bow to tie it up with. Just the perpetual rawness of the grief and struggle to trust the Lord with his plans for Jude. He's such a sweet, affectionate kid. And sometimes he gives us peeks at how smart he is inside and his sense of humor, which is a delight. He loves hiking and riding in the car, and is basically up for pretty much any adventure we can come up with. We are so thankful for him, and we love him so big.

You know who else we also love? Our homeschool community here in Zomba. They are just the absolute best, and we are so stinkin' thankful for them! We took this group picture at our meet-up this month, and it makes me smile so big.

Freddy is proving to be fairly patient with all of the kids' love (and it is A LOT of love).  

We had a guest, Zack Thurman, here for a week preaching at a few churches and teaching preaching to the pastors in the modular pastors school. He and Josh started at Boyce College together, so they've known each other a long time. He was an encouragement to have here.

Sunrise behind Ntonya mountain. Not our house.

While Zack was here, we did something we've wanted to do for a long time: hiked to the top of Ntonya mountain, which is right behind our house! It's only 1.75 miles to the top, but with an elevation gain of 1,700 feet! All the kids did great, and we were so pleasantly surprised by Abe and how happily he hiked! Up until last year he would still get tired and insist on being carried on Josh's shoulders for most of the way, but he was in the front of the pack all the way up the mountain with a great attitude. He started to have a bit of a fuss on the way down, but honestly most of us did at that point, because we were tired, wet, and hungry.

 As soon as we got to the top, it started raining (it is rainy season, after all), and it rained on us the entire way down. It was crazy, and we were SO wet and muddy by the time we got to the bottom! It was one of the most difficult hikes we've ever done, especially with the slippery mud on the way down, but we are so glad we did it! If you want to read more about that hike, you can check out the post I wrote about it on my adventure blog.

And that wraps up a crazy month, with no sign of things slowing down between now and... I was going to say when we leave in June, but honestly things are going to be pretty crazy while we're in the US, so probably between now and... a year from now?

Saturday, February 5, 2022

January 2022

 Why does January always feel so long? When we lived in America, I used to think it was because the weather was dreary and cold and we were stuck in the house most of the time. But even here, January feels long.

We started the year off the same way we always do, waking up in our beds in the living room floor from our family New Years Eve slumber party. We love watching the ball drop in NYC live online at 7am our time! We were awakened at midnight by the sound of fireworks going off all over the city. This year, instead of just lying in bed annoyed, I got up and looked out the window to watch the fireworks show. It was pretty cool seeing fireworks everywhere! The hotel on the top of the plateau had a particularly good fireworks show, which we could see from our house.

I've kept up running as often as I can, and Josh has been inspired by me to start running, too. I particularly enjoy running with Rey around the soccer field during the boys' twice a week soccer practices. This month Rey and I ran 5k without stopping for the first time, and it felt amazing!

The kids got back to school after the Christmas break, and are doing well with their school work. We usually end up doing school through the summer to finish out their books, but we don't want to have to worry about homeschool during furlough, so we're starting to feel the crunch of trying to get them finished on time this year! Only 4.5 more months until we leave for America!

We celebrated my 38th and Haylee's 14th birthday by going out to eat at our favorite restaurant in Zomba- Casa Rossa. It was really nice, but that evening Haylee and Abe started coming down with the first symptoms of...

Yep. Covid. We all got it except for Taylah, which is crazy considering how contagious it is. We drug our sick selves out to the hospital to be tested, which was super fun. The kids were all very brave about having their brains tickled, though, so although we'd really love it if testing requirements for travel were dropped before June, we've practiced for it now if they aren't.

The kids were all sick for about a day with fever and body aches, while Josh and I spent 3 days in bed barely able to function. We're so thankful that Haylee was feeling better before we got sick, so the girls were able to run things for about a week and feed us all while Josh and I convalesced. Thankfully, although the fever was not fun and the body aches were INTENSE, it stayed relatively mild in that it didn't go to our lungs at all and never became serious enough to need more than bedrest and ibuprofen. The kids had some lingering tiredness after their other symptoms had resolved, but Josh and I were BEAT for about another week and a half after we'd technically recovered. It was rough. Thankfully we're all feeling better now.

The next week, we had a kitten just SHOW UP in our yard! That's a cat-loving family's dream right there! Of course we immediately fed him, gave him a flea bath, and named him: Fred! We mostly call him Freddy, or Freddo, or Frodo, except for Josh, who calls him Freddie Prince Jr, Fresh Prince, The Halfblood Prince, and The Cat Formerly Known as Prince. We weren't sure if he'd stick around or not, but it's been a few weeks now, and he seems to like the food, love, and soft places to sleep.

The week after we were all sick, Madagascar, Mozambique, and southern Malawi were hit by cyclone Ana. A cyclone is the same thing as a hurricane, they just have different names depending on where they occur. It hit Malawi from about Zomba on south, and the greatest impact was in the Lower Shire, where we have a property and about 75 partner churches. 

Our house is well-built and not in a flood area, and the only damage we got was some tree branches fell down and one section of a wall collapsed. Thankfully, it was an interior wall between an older and newer part of our property, so our security isn't compromised while we wait until after rainy season to repair it. But many others were not so fortunate. The government has said that over 49,000 households were affected, with 39,000 households being displaced due to their homes being damaged. At least 11 people died, and many peoples' crops are completely gone. It's going to be a long, hard year or more of recovery for many, many people.

The flooding affected the entire country, however, in the sense that several of our hydroelectric dams were severely damaged. Power was out nationwide for a few days, and has been unreliable since it started to come back on. Even when power is available, the whole country is now on load shedding to reduce the amount of power that's consumed. That means that for 6.5 hours each day we are without power, either in the morning, middle of the day, or evening. 

Load shedding is not uncommon here, which is why we have solar backup. It's been better than nothing, but when it's cloudy, the solar isn't very helpful. Thankfully we've gotten very accustomed to functioning without power, and we actually enjoy our quiet, lamp-lit evenings. The thing most affected has been the girls' live online classes, but their teachers have been very understanding and flexible.

That sums up our January! With the calendar rolling over to 2022, Josh and I have really started to focus on all the things that need to be done before we leave for America in mid-June. It feels really overwhelming, so we appreciate your prayers any time you think of us! Also please pray for Madagascar, Mozambique, and Malawi as hundreds of thousands of people pick up the pieces of their lives after cyclone Ana.

Friday, December 31, 2021

My Kids' Favorite Books of 2021

We got busy last year and forgot to write about our favorite books of the year, but with an unexpected extra week of Christmas break because their teacher is home sick, I actually remembered to get the kids to write about their favorite books of 2021. 

Haylee has had a kindle for several years now, which she bought herself with chores and birthday money. Taylah and JJ's reading lives were changed earlier this year when we made a plan with them to do a certain amount of chores to earn kindles for themselves as well. They completed all of the required chores, and got new kindles when some guests came to visit. We have kindle unlimited, and I also subscribe to Bookbub, which sends emails every day with kindle deals for books in the genres you choose. Those two things help us to do a lot of reading around here without spending a lot of money.

Below are each kid's favorite books they read this year, typed up themselves in their own words.

Haylee, will be 14 years old in 2 weeks:

Summary: In their (Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger) sixth year at their school, Hogwarts, they learn about the enemy (who is an evil, power-wanting, murderous wizard...and has no nose) and his past and the only way to conquer him, which they then attempt to do. (It is all much more interesting than what I have meekly described here, so just read it).

What I like (very important): The themes of friendship, love, pain, betrayal, and death combined in a 542-page book is a large part of it. 
In a more minor sense, I particularly enjoy the humor (#fredandgeorge), Ron and Hermione’s fights, and the super twisty, sometimes heartbreaking, thoroughly planned out, UNPREDICTABLE plot.

Summary: Everything. Norse. Explained. Bliss.
From the major and minor gods and the major and minor foes to the gods’ backstories and the creation of their earth. AND STILL MORE! (And it may include a couple detailed punishments inflicted on the lesser gods BUT don’t let that teeny detail deter you, dear nerd.) Read it and grieve with me over the unfairness of Loki’s punishment. 

What I like (still important): Mr. Russo explains everything nerdily Norsey with neat nerdiness organization, thoroughness, AND SO MUCH FUNNESS! You won’t regret reading this book, I promise! Especially if you’re a Thor and Loki Marvel fan like myself. :)

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

Nota Bene: Oxford School Shakespeare is by far the best. On the side of EVERY page, there are definitions and clarification for every word and phrase that is said in Shakespeare’s beautiful yet difficult language. There is even a synopsis about the play, a list of the leading characters, an about the play, a short biography of Shakespeare, and pictures from the actual play performed in the 90’s! Don’t be intimidated. 

Summary: Unhappy lovers, some magic flowers, revived love! Sounds thrilling! Actual outcome: Read to find out! 

What I like (yes, very much so): It’s utterly amazing and I love it. The language is beautiful, the plot is...something out of this world, and the characters are well thought out and beautifully displayed. Well done, Shakes! 

Summary: Sophie Foster, already a telepath at 12 years old. Let’s add being an elf from a whole other dimension onto that, shall we? 

What I like (incredibly important): It is pretty humorous, full of adventure, and a confusing plot, which I also admire. There are also some tears, which tops if off nicely. Read it!

Nota Bene: This book is FUN, not just chapters of lecture-y words telling you to step your teen game up. 

Summary: The title may sound cringy to you, but the book truly is not. Seven better-than-tips to lift your spirit, help you with family and friend bonds, have school sufficiency, and to live life to its fullest, with you at your fullest. I suggest you take a look!

What I like (hehe): All Mr. Covey writes is relatable, actually helpful, uplifting, and fun to read. There are small sections from other teens telling their stories which is very encouraging. Again, there is humor. I honestly could not read a book with no humor. 
Thanks, Mr. Covey. :)

Taylah, just turned 12 years old 2 weeks ago:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter thinks that he is completely normal. That is, until his eleventh birthday, when he discovers that he is a wizard. For the whole year, Harry works to save both his friends and himself, find and keep safe a weapon, while trying to defeat the greatest, most evil Dark Wizard of all time. I've read the first 5 Harry Potter books this year, and I loved them all. They are funny and have a lot of action in them.

When two teenagers, Grace and Boone (otherwise known as “Jack”) meet and become best friends, they discover something that they didn’t know to be humanly possible. I love all of the Miller's Island Mysteries books because they're mysteries and they're adventurous.

13-year-old Penelope Gilbert was a legit normal girl, until she wasn’t, with the fact that she turned into a stapler one day during class, which resulted in the rest of the year being full of adventure, death, love, and discovery. I like that they're traveling a lot of places and there's a lot of action.

Firegirl by Tony Abbott

A story about a girl named Jessica who has been badly burned. She is bullied and made fun of by everyone, except one special person. It made me feel sad for her, but then happy for her that he wanted to be her friend. This book teaches people not to judge others by their outward appearances.

Just Believe by Tarina Marcinkowski

Just Believe is a heartbreaking story about a little boy with cancer, and his brave parents who fought for his life. This book made me cry several times as I read about this family's struggles. I don't agree with all of the things this family believes, for example: they think people become angels when they die, and the mom talks about praying to Mary. But even so, it's a great story that I really enjoyed reading.

JJ, 9 years old, will be 10 in March:

Summary: Nicholas Herriman was a normal boy until he found a trunk that contains magical objects. 

I like the book because:
1. I love books about super heroes.
2. Because I like powers that come from objects, not powers that come from people.

The Boy Who Painted the World by Melody J. Bremen

Summary: A boy was abandoned on the street when a girl named Jade comes and takes him in.  Choosing the name Indigo, he leads on to be a famous artist.

I like the book because: 
I like art and THIS boy named Indigo is ten but becomes a famous artist.
And I am kind of thinking about becoming an artist myself.
And it’s a really good book!

 The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna Cuevas

Summary: A boy named Nestor Lopez who can understand and communicate with animals moves to New Haven. With an animal army he has to defeat a tule veija.

I like the book because: 
I like animals.
And Nestor Lopez can understand them.
And there’s lots of animals in this book

Dr Snow Has Got To GO! by Dan Gutman

Summary: A new science teacher starts teaching the school. With A.J. at the lead, the kids get him to show his true colors.

I like the book because:
I also like science. 
I also like surprising stuff.
And this book is very surprising.

Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennett

Summary: A small girl named Minikin is a witch. But she wishes she wasn’t because no one likes her.  

I like the book because: 
I like little witch because it’s such a magical book.
And I love magic. It’s as if you’re in another world.

And Abraham, 5 years old, will be 6 in April, wanted to share a couple of his favorites as well. I have typed what he told me about each book:

Yeti Spaghetti by Samantha Hay

(We've read this one to him a million times.) I like it because there are yetis and they're trying to steal food, and then the yeti makes spaghetti for the food contest.

Cock-a-Doodle Moo

(This is a lift-the-flap educational book featuring lots of things from a farm, which he's had for a few years now.) I like that there's a lot of food in it that I want you to buy me. 

Looking back, we apparently also forgot to do this in 2019. But if you're interested in seeing their favorite books at younger ages, you can see their lists for 2018, 20172016, and 2015.