The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids by Sarah Mackenzie
Date: March 27, 2018
Format: Paperback + Audible audiobook
How did I get this book? Purchased
As you can probably already tell, I absolutely loved The Read-Aloud Family. I found it to be inspiring and encouraging as well as giving me a boost of confidence that all the time I spend reading with my toddler son really is time well spent. As with the podcast, it makes a solid case for the value of continuing to read aloud even beyond the time he will someday be able to read on his own. I really loved having the RAR "philosophy" in one coherent place. This book pretty much ties together all the ideas and concepts and approaches from the podcast -- with some new material as well. I think it's important to note that there IS a lot of overlap with the podcast. There were parts I had heard before -- sometimes verbatim -- from previous episodes, but I personally don't feel this diminished the book. First of all, I'm probably in the minority of podcast listeners when I say I've listened to my favorite episodes multiple times. So, 1. I clearly don't mind hearing some of the same stuff on repeat and 2. I probably have a better memory for those repeated bits simply because I have already heard them several times before.
So, yes, I really enjoyed the audiobook, but I'm also glad to have the paper copy as reference -- particularly for the Ask Compelling Questions chapter and the book lists. (However, the Audible edition does include instructions for accessing a printable booklist divided by age if that's the only thing holding you back from going the audio route.) The booklist chapters were done in a really interesting way I haven't personally seen before. Each age grouping has 20 (or so) favorite read-aloud titles, but embedded in the descriptions of those 20 main titles are additional ones to try. So, I'm loving how I can go to the entry for a title I already know I love and find a few others that are similar in some way or that might complement it.
As an avid RAR podcast fan, I was curious how the recommendations would break down in terms of what's already in our home "library," so I did a little tallying:
TOTAL titles: 389
Titles I've Already Read: 96
TBR titles (own, but haven't read): 97
One final thing to note is that this book is published by Zondervan, a Christian publisher. The author is Catholic and the book is most certainly written from a Christian perspective, including recommendations for favorite Bibles to read aloud. I think there is a whole lot that any family can get out of this book, but if you are of a different faith, this may not be quite what you are looking for. I personally appreciate how Sarah has woven her faith into this particular topic and enjoyed reading her perspective. If you're on the fence, maybe try borrowing it from your library first :)