Books, books, books…

A book is like a garden carried in a pocket. 
(Chinese Proverb)

We love books! I love my local used book store!  It’s called The Book Exchange.  If you don’t have an account, anything that you find to buy is simply half-price, half off whatever the cover price is.  If you have an account, then you can bring in marketable, gently used books, CD’s, and DVD’s and receive 1/4 of the cover price as credit on your account.   If this seems low to you, think about yard sales where the going rate is $1 for hard backs, $.50 for paper backs, at least in my area.

I set up an account several years ago, with the veritable mountain of mystery series and romance novels (I know, true confessions!) that I burned through the last few months of my keep-your-feet-up-pregnancy and the following year of sitting-still-while-nursing.  With a sizable credit to my name, we could easily stop in for something new to read for #1 Son or a picture book or board book for The Daughter.

Over the years I’ve saved a lot of money, and found wonderful additions to our family library.  When Purpose Driven Life first came out, I wanted to read it, but couldn’t spring for the hard cover price –  within a week or so, there it was at The Book Exchange.  I found a gorgeous copy of Arabian Nights, all of my South Beach cookbooks, several Beth Moore, Philip Yancey and C.S. Lewis titles, a stiff, barely opened collection of  E. M. Bounds, cleaner copies of our dog-eared classics, and a recent, but not the most recent Strong’s Concordance.

Almost always our “new books” from the Book Exchange are free, because the ones we don’t keep, we return for credit.  We still buy newly published books, but it takes the sting out of buying a book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble now that we know that if it doesn’t merit the keeper shelf, we can take it in to the Book Exchange for credit!

Our homeschool curriculum, Sonlight, is literature based.  This year The Daughter read, or I read-aloud to her (with #1 Son and Mr. Garner listening in sometimes!), forty living history books covering the span of American History, not counting her American History spine. I’m still amazed at how much we covered!  This does not include her “non-school” reading choices like American Girl, Lily, Beverly Cleary books, and some of the classics that line our shelves, many received as gifts from beloved relatives.  We have noticed clear improvement in her verbal and written expression as a result of this infusion of quality literature!

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Inspired by another homeschool blogger, Heather at Blog She Wrote, who scored major finds at her library book sale, I decided to look ahead to next year’s curriculum covering the Eastern Hemisphere.  I was hoping to snag a few of the scheduled titles, or any fun enrichment books at my favorite book seller!  Usually, I just browse around, but a dedicated search yielded some wonderful treasures.  I found a few of the curriculum titles:  Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Kite Fighters, Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze and the Rat Catcher’s Son.  I also picked up some additional Caldecott, Newbery and Scott O’Dell Award winners, two of which I will match up with Total Language Plus Lit Guides for summer:  “The Twenty-One Balloons”  and “The Wheel on the School.”   I was excited to find the student editions of Lee Strobel’s The Case for a Creator, and The Case for Christ, Peter Marshall’s history series for children, and a recent edition of  Jim Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook.  If at any point you have wondered whether or not reading aloud to your children (and not just when they’re young) has value, Trelease’s book will both convince you, and motivate you to head out to the book store for a good family read-aloud!

I got so involved that I shopped for 20 minutes past closing, but Kevin (the manager) didn’t say a word! Isn’t that nice!?  Pictured below are the books I found from this one shopping trip, and all FREE!  (because of my credit;)
I LOVE The Book Exchange!

If you love books, love to read, but have a budget, do some checking around and see if you have a similar resource in your neck of the woods!

The man who does not read good books
has no advantage over the man who cannot read them. 

Mark Twain

2 thoughts on “Books, books, books…

  1. I’m with you, sister! I get almost all my books at yard sales, flea markets and our local Good Will (wonderful seleciton there). I read 3 books while on vaca last week–my son finished one and started on a second. Give me a “can’t put down” thriller and I’m in heaven!

  2. The Read Aloud Handbook is fabulous! I’ve given that as gifts before. 🙂 I wish we could score at our library book sale, but it is mostly those romance novels. There is a huge used book store here in town that I love to go to. Rat Catcher’s Son, I’ll have to look for it since I have never heard of it.

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