Joyful Thinking Packet
Autumn: The Blessings of Family
Reading aloud never gets old!
Enjoy some audio books while you eat lunch, paint the house, garden, or drive.
All of a Kind Family
Written by Sydney Taylor,
Narrated by Suzanne Toreny
All-of-a-Kind Family is based on Sydney Taylor's recollections of her childhood on Manhattan's Lower East Side, where her family settled along with many other Jewish families after migrating from Eastern Europe by way of Germany.
Half Moon Investigations
Written by Mary Mapes Dodge,
Narrated by John McDonough
The novel takes place in the Netherlands and is a colorful fictional portrait of early 19th-century Dutch life, as well as a tale of youthful honor. The book's title refers to the beautiful silver skates to be awarded to the winner of the ice-skating race Hans Brinker hopes to enter.
Man of the Family
Written by Ralph Moody,
Narrated by Cameron Beierle
A moving father-son story.
At ten, Istvan Csere is learning from his father all about running the family's chicken farm in South Jersey. The father, a flamboyant, proud character who fled Hungary with Istvan's mother on the brink of the First World War, has great plans for his family and their little farm. Then something terrible happens and Istvan must suddenly take over as man of the family, having to rely on the lessons learned from his father sooner than he ever expected.
Family Movie Night
Time to get out the popcorn and relax!
Watch these phenomenal movies that will make you laugh, cry, smile, and shout.
Movies for ages 7-10
The Blue Bird (1940)
A naughty little girl (Shirley Temple) dreams she and her brother are sent by a fairy to find the bluebird of happiness. A beautiful story!
Swiss Family Robinson (1960)
In this family film, the Robinson clan -- mother (Dorothy McGuire), father (John Mills) and their three sons, Fritz, Ernst and Francis -- flee the reign of Napoleon to start afresh in New Guinea. When their ship gets damaged en route, the family takes refuge on a deserted island. The Robinsons learn to live in the wild, have various adventures and build an impressive house in a tree. However, while island life is full excitement, the question of whether to return to civilization looms.
Little House on the Praire Series
American made-for-television film which served as the pilot to the Little House on the Prairie TV series on NBC. It is closely based on the Little House on the Prairie novel; second of the "Little House" series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Stories of a family struggling to grow and learn in the pioneer days of America.
Movies for ages 11-14
When the mother of young Evelyn Doyle (Sophie Vavasseur) abandons her family, her devastated father Desmond (Pierce Brosnan), is left to care for Evelyn and her brothers on his own. Because Irish laws forbid children to be raised in a home without two parents, Evelyn and her brothers are removed from Desmond's care and sent to separate orphanages. Desmond, who is out of work and abusing alcohol, will have to challenge the Irish courts to bring his children home.
Behind the Waterfall
A town storyteller uses faith and imagination to help two siblings come to terms with a parent's death.
Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
Oscar-winning adaptation of the Broadway musical about life among the Jewish community of a pre-revolutionary Russian village. A poor milkman, determined to find good husbands for his five daughters, consults the traditional matchmaker - and also has a word with God.
You Can't Take it With You (1938)
Sweet-natured Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur) falls for banker's son Tony Kirby (James Stewart). But when she invites her snooty prospective in-laws to dinner to give their blessing to the marriage, Alice's peculiar extended family -- including philosophical grandfather Martin Vanderhof (Lionel Barrymore), hapless fledgling ballerina sister Essie (Ann Miller) and fireworks enthusiast father, Paul (Samuel S. Hinds) -- might be too eccentric for the staid Kirbys.
Movies for ages 14+
The Secret of Roan Inish (1995)
Fiona (Jeni Courtney) is a young Irish girl with an unusual family history, including a long-missing baby brother. When she goes to live with her grandparents on the west coast of Ireland, Fiona hears stories about her ancestors, tales that involve mythical creatures called selkies who can shift from seal to human form. After Fiona ends up on the small island of Roan Inish, her family's ancestral home, she believes she may have found her little brother living by the sea.
Boys Town (1938)
The devout but iron-willed Father Flanagan (Spencer Tracy) leads a community called Boys Town, a different sort of juvenile detention facility where, instead of being treated as underage criminals, the boys are shepherded into making themselves better people. But hard-nosed petty thief and pool shark Whitey Marsh (Mickey Rooney), the impulsive and violent younger brother of an imprisoned murderer, might be too much for the good father's tough-love system.
No better way to spend free time than with a book! Take a look at all our book selections for grades 1-12.
A young girl tries to hide food in her green umbrella at a Christmas party for the rest of her hungry family. She is discovered, and an old squire sends home a basket of food for the whole family.
A young boy describes the favorite places that he shares with his family on his grandparents' farm and in the nearby countryside. A young boy describes the favorite places that he shares with his family on his grandparents' farm and in the nearby countryside.
By Carolyn Haywood: Chapter-book stories about the irrepressible character Betsy and all her adventures.
By Carolyn Haywood: Whether seven-year-old Eddie is finding homes for a crowd of stray cats, picketing the baseball team that says he's too young to play, or collecting "valuable properties", his happy adventures are sure to win lots of friends.
By Patricia MacLachlan: The story of a lonely family -- widower Jacob and his children, Anna and Caleb -- and Sarah, the east coast woman who answers Jacob's newspaper advertisement for a wife. Jacob informs his children that he's been corresponding with Sarah, who lives in a coastal town in Maine.
By Laura Lee Hope: The Bobbsey plots revolved around away-from-home adventures, the purchase of a miniature railroad or Shetland pony, the mysterious disappearance of a toy, or other mishaps or acquisitions. The twins of the title were the two sets of Bobbsey offspring: older twins Nan and Bert and their juniors Flossie and Freddie.
By Sydney Taylor: This is a story about a young Jewish family living in New York City at the beginning of the 20th century. Each chapter tells about a different adventure or even that happens in the lives of these five little girls, but there is also an overarching continuity that moves the story line through the book.
By Maud Hart Lovelace: Betsy-Tacy (1940) is the first volume in the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. The book is mostly about the adventures of five-year-old Betsy Ray and her new best friend, Tacy Kelly. It takes place in fictional Deep Valley, Minnesota, based on Mankato, Minnesota, the author's home town.
By Carol Ryrie Brink: Set in the 1860s, the novel is about a lively eleven-year-old tomboy named Caroline Augusta Woodlawn, nicknamed "Caddie", living in the area of Dunnville, Wisconsin. As a young girl she made the journey from Boston to Dunnville with her family, one which nearly cost her life.
By Frances Hodgson Burnett: In a shabby New York City side street in the mid-1880s, young Cedric Errol lives with his mother (known only as Mrs. Errol or "Dearest") in genteel poverty after the death of his father, Captain Cedric Errol.
By Jessamyn West: Cress Delahanty remains one of the most intrepid and beloved teenagers in all American literature. Amid the clotted oil fields and pungent orange groves of rural 1940s California, the young woman explores her family’s citrus ranch, worries about boys, attempts to negotiate the high school social ladder, and suffers embarrassments, big and small, in a tenacious search for her own identity.
By Madeleine L’Engle: When a family friend suddenly dies in a plane crash, the Austins open their home to an orphaned girl, Maggy Hamilton. The Austin children—Vicky, John, Suzy, and Rob—do their best to be generous and welcoming to Maggy. Vicky knows she should feel sorry for Maggy, but having sympathy for Maggy is no easy thing.
By Arthur Ransome: Four children (the Swallows) on holiday in the Lake District sail on their own to an island and start a war with rival children (the Amazons). In the meantime, a mysterious man on a houseboat accuses them of a crime they did not commit.
By Johann David Wyss: The novel opens with the family in the hold of a sailing ship, weathering a great storm. The ship's crew evacuate without them, and William and Elizabeth and their four children (Fritz, Ernest, Jack and Franz) are left to survive alone.
By Louisa May Alcott: Eight Cousins, or The Aunt-Hill was published in 1875 by American novelist Louisa May Alcott. It is the story of Rose Campbell, a lonely and sickly girl who has been recently orphaned and must now reside with her maiden great aunts (yet having a guardian), who are the matriarchs of her wealthy Boston family.
By Louisa May Alcott: The story follows the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—and details their passage from childhood to womanhood. It is loosely based on the lives of the author and her three sisters. Scholars classify it as an autobiographical or semi-autobiographical novel.
By Jennifer Holm: Our Only May Amelia is a Newberry Award winning novel by writer Jennifer L. Holm. The novel is about a Finnish family that has settled on the Nasel River in Washington State. May Amelia is the only daughter in a family of eight children and the only girl among the Finnish families on the Nasel.
By Wilson Rawls: Where the Red Fern Grows is a great book about the adventurous story a young boy and his dream for his own red-bone hound hunting dogs. Set in the Ozark Mountains during the Great Depression, Billy Coleman works hard and saves his earnings for 2 years to achieve his dream of buying two coonhound pups.
By Katerine Paterson: The novel follows the story of the Bradshaws, a family who depends on the father, Truitt Bradshaw, and his crabbing/fishing business on his boat, the Portia Sue. Truitt's two daughters, Sara Louise and Caroline, are twins, and Caroline has always been the favorite.
By Karen Hesse: A poem cycle that reads as a novel, Out of the Dust tells the story of a girl named Billie Jo, who struggles to help her family survive the dust-bowl years of the Depression. Fighting against the elements on her Oklahoma farm, Billie Jo takes on even more responsibilities when her mother dies in a tragic accident.
The novel relates the adventures of an eccentric family, the Mortmains, struggling to live in genteel poverty in a decaying castle during the 1930s. The first person narrator is Cassandra Mortmain, an intelligent teenager who tells the story through her journal.
By Leif Enger: Leif Enger's debut, Peace Like a River, is one such work. His richly evocative novel, narrated by an asthmatic 11-year-old named Reuben Land, is the story of Reuben's unusual family and their journey across the frozen Badlands of the Dakotas in search of his fugitive older bro.