Books of Integrity for Teen Girls


For the past six years, my daughter has participated in the Young Women organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This organization is for girls ages 12-18 and includes weekly Sunday classes, weekly activities and summer girls camps. There is also a value-based, goal setting program called, Personal Progress.


For each value, my daughter completed six value experiences, which helped her incorporate the value into her life. An example (see value #3) of a value experience for Integrity is to remember our Savior, Jesus Christ, as the highest example of Integrity and to ponder select scripture passages, including the book of Esther, to seek out other examples of Integrity.

“Integrity is the willingness and desire to live by our beliefs and standards.”

Along with the value experiences, the young woman goes on to complete a ten-hour project for each value. Integrity was the last value Marissa worked on, and as part of her ten-hour project, she created a Pinterest board featuring several books she has personally read and can recommend to other teen girls. These are books she considers to hold Integrity- they are morally clean, have strong characters, beautiful stories, and no bad language. I am only highlighting a sampling here, so be sure to check out her Pinterest board for more great choices:



Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery, which is a series as you know.

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Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott


The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, which is a series as you know, and is best read in order, starting with, The Magician’s Nephew.

Newer favorites-


Cinder and Ella, by Melissa Lemon. If you’ve never heard of Melissa Lemon before than you are in for a real treat, especially if you enjoy reinvented fairy tales. Check her out! Find her blog here.

Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem fullcover

Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem, by Melissa Lemon


Blackmoore, by Julianne Donaldson. Her books are considered to be “Jane Austen approved”. Find her blog here.


Edenbrooke, by Julianne Donaldson


Journey to the Fringe, by Kelli Swofford Nielsen. This is the first in a series.


Marissa received her Young Womanhood medallion last month, as recognition for completing all of her Personal Progress requirements, following in the footsteps of her mama and her big sister. ♥  If your teenage daughter has a favorite book of Integrity, be sure to leave a comment below. We are always on the lookout for worthwhile reads.


Our Current Reads


Our new year has started off with all of us catching colds (two with coughs) and one of my teeth becoming painfully sore and then requiring a root canal, which was done today. Sigh. We started our homeschooling back up last week, but all we did was a little math and the kids’ online classes. This week we’re still running half-steam. I’m so glad we homeschool so that we can go at our own pace and take it easy when we need to. I can’t imagine having the hassle of calling a school and begging them to excuse my children while they are home sick, then worrying about how many days of school they are missing and if we will be penalized for it, plus catching them up. Or forcing them to go to school with a bad cold and exposing other kids to their germs. It’s so nice to be on our own calendar. Just one more reason to cheer homeschooling.

The best part of taking it easy is that we have more time for reading. Here is what we’re all reading, separately and together-

451        Beast

Marissa is reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury for English and The Beast Within by Serena Valentino just for fun.

Sorceress          Benedict Society

Marcus is reading The Sorceress by Michael Scott. Together, we are reading, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Nightmares!            Emma

Also, the three of us are reading, Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. We’re really enjoying it. And I am currently reading, Emma, A Modern Retelling by Alexander McCall Smith.

Our Favorite Christmas Storybooks


December is our favorite read-aloud month because we read one Christmas story every night before we go to bed. It’s a soothing end to our busy December days. Here are some of our favorite Christmas story books:

The Christmas Train: A True Story

Good King Wenceslas

Last Christmas we enjoyed this book, which took us a few days to read together:

Fairy Tale Christmas

What books are you reading with your children this Christmas?




Our Favorite Read Aloud Books


We love books at our house and one of life’s sweet little pleasures is curling up beside your child and reading together. Today I want to share some of my family’s favorite read-aloud books with you.

Of course we are big Dr. Seuss fans. We have a library of hard cover Dr. Seuss books that I’m now saving for my future grandchildren.

Dr. Seuss


We really like Little Critter.

Little Critter


When we lived in Canada, we fell in love with all the zany stories by Robert Munsch. These are a lot of fun to read aloud to children of all ages.



Other story books we read together when my children were younger include:

The Rainbow Fish, Marcus Pfister

Rainbow Fish


Corduroy, Don Freeman


The Biggest Pumpkin Ever, Steven Kroll

Biggest Pumpkin Ever


Just to name a few!

During the elementary years, we read some of these inspiring classics:

The Tale of Desperaux, Kate DiCamillo

Tale of Despereaux

The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

Secret Garden

The Story of Doctor Dolittle, Hugh Lofting

Doctor Dolittle

The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster

Phantom Tollbooth

Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White

Charlotte's Web


The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis

Chronicles of Narnia


Wonder, R.J. Palicio (This one I recommend for upper elementary age.)



On family road trips we read the first three Harry Potter books.

Harry Potter


This past homeschool year I enjoyed reading, The Hobbit, with my 12-year old son and, The Princess Bride, with my 17-year old daughter.

The Hobbit

Princess Bride


This list is just a snippet, really. 🙂 What have been some of your family’s favorite read aloud books?

Book Review- What Would the Founding Fathers Think?


untitledWhat Would the Founding Fathers Think?: “a young American’s guide to understanding what makes our nation great and how we’ve strayed,” is a little gem that I believe would add value to any homeschooler’s study on the government and our constitution.

The author and illustrator is David Bowman.

This book features founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and George Washington, traveling forward in time to see what America has done with the constitution they worked so hard to establish for our great nation.

I love this book for its delightful illustrations, simple analogies, and basic truths. Our country really has strayed from the principles that our constitution was built upon. I want my teenagers to understand how wise our founding fathers were to put a Republic form of government in place for us, and I want them to realize that our government was meant to have limited powers, given by the people.

One of my favorite analogies from the book-

As Ben Franklin is flying a kite, a young boy suggests,”Why don’t you cut the string and then your kite will fly even higher?” Ben Franklin answers, “An interesting suggestion. Actually, my boy, it is the string that keeps my kite up in the air. It might look like it is restricting it, but the wind pulling against the string is what gives the kite the freedom to fly.”

One of my favorite quotes from the book-

“My young Americans, let it be known that we believed in God. We were dependent on God. We turned to Him for help. Our belief in God was the main reason we settled this land. God and religion was and is the backbone of this nation. It has always been so, despite what critics in your time might say.”

I am so impressed with this book that this year I am giving copies to a few of my teenage nieces and nephews for their birthday presents.

Hobbit Riddles


I’ve been reading, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit to my son, with my daughter listening in occasionally. There’s a part where Bilbo meets Gollum and they engage in a riddle contest.


So we challenged ourselves to make up our own riddles. See if you can guess any of them!

Riddle #1:

What is more numerous than man.
Is all the same yet different.
We may see it everyday.
Some spend hours in its company.

Riddle #2:

What is perfect only once.
Makes a fresh impression.
Grows smaller every day,
Until it slips away to nothing.

Riddle #3:

What can blaze and flare and glow
Can be an inferno yet can grow cold
May be seen to consume
But also to restore
Not always welcome
Not always poor
Though not only used for good, nor bad
Always seems dangerous
Yet constantly true
Can be built from the last
Or start from anew
Considered old fashioned, too.

Book Review- Wonder


I love this book! Marcus and I read it together last year and it was a perfect read for his 5th grade year. It was heart-warming, insightful and an excellent story for a discussion on how people sometimes treat others based on their appearances.

11387515Wonder, is R.J Palacio’s debut novel. What a gifted writer! Wonder is the fictional story of a 10-year old boy named August (Auggie) who was born with a facial deformity that really stands out. Up until his 5th grade year, he has been homeschooled. For his 5th grade year, his parents decide to enroll him in a private school called Beecher Prep. This story follows Auggie through his first experience going to school, how his classmates treat him, who accepts him, who does not, and how Auggie sees himself.

My favorite part of this book is how Palacio wrote, not only from Auggie’s point of view, but also from several other character’s point of views, including his sister, his sister’s boyfriend, and two of Auggie’s classmates.

We read this book as an e-book on my Nook, but we recently purchased the hard cover which was a special edition that includes the follow up e-book entitled The Julian Chapter, which covers the point of view, for the first time, of Julian, who was a bully to Auggie in school. The Julian Chapter was excellent.

I highly recommend this book, especially as a read-aloud with children ages 8-12.