Monday, August 5, 2013

Celebrating books at a family reunion

I'm out at a family reunion in California for Sam's family. We have a lot of traditions at this family reunion. Every year, every person in the family (even babies) pick their favorite song of the year and someone puts them on a CD and sends it out to the group. One night at the reunion, we listen to the CD together and everyone guesses who choose what song. It's so fun, and my kids look forward to it every year.

This year, I wanted to do something similar with books. In the past, we' d compiled a list of favorite books for the year, but with just a list, the books don't stick in the collective memory like the music always does.

So I had everyone send me their favorite book of the year in May, and I ordered them (some used...) off Amazon. When it was time to present the books at the reunion, I read the first sentence of each book out loud and everyone guessed whose book it might be. It was fun to see if the person who chose the book could recognize their book from the first sentence (some were harder than others).

After reading the first sentence, I handed the person their book and told them who it was for, so they were able to give their favorite book of the year to another member of the family. Before we were finished, everyone wrote down why they loved the book on the inside cover and signed it, so each person was left with a favorite book of a cousin or aunt or uncle or grandparent. A memento of the reunion and a reminder of that extended family member who loves them.

It was really fun! It worked, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a tradition to begin in their extended families.

Here was our list for the year. Look at the great books everyone chose!

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
Captain Awesome and the Ultimate Spelling Bee by Stan Kirk
Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
The Water Castle by Megan Blakemore
The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett
Return to Howliday Inn by James Howe
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
The Unfortunate Son by Constance Leeds
The Pout, Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
Judy Moody and the Bad Luck Charm by Megan O'donnell
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Fudge-a-mania by Judy Blume
Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Little People's Christmastime is Here
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein
Let's Count Goats by Mem Fox
Lowji Discovers America by Candace Fleming
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel
The Misadventures of Maude March by Audrey Coloumbis
Hotwheels the Ultimate Guidebook
Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate
Happy Hippo, Angry Duck by Sandra Boynton
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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