The One Thing That Has Brought Our Family Together: {Review & Giveaway}

UPDATE: The winners of this giveaway are Mrs. R., Colleen B and Erin K.

I have two kids in junior high now, three in school.

And I feel like I owe all parents of kids age 10+up, a big fat apology.

Because. Y’all. We have spent years trying to parent intentionally, slowing down our lives, limiting extracurricular stuff. Then this season started and I’m looking at the calendar in shock. With just one after-school activity each and church stuff, it looks like it’s going to explode.

And I’m so thankful the ignorant, naive Kristen from years past, started one very important habit.

If there has been one thing that has strengthened our family and kept us together, around the table, around a chair, around each other, it’s reading together.

Not only have our kids fallen in love with reading (yes, they are the ones with flashlights under the sheets because they just need to finish the chapter, Mom), they have fallen in love with reading together.

We’ve gone on wild adventures and learned about different cultures together. Books have led us into deeper community with each other. They have urged us to ask hard questions, press into our struggles. They have been a catalyst to richer family life.

We read around the table after dinner regularly. We also read individually with each of our kids. We pat the space next to us and say, “Let’s read, together.”

And as my kids have grown, the books have grown with us. But no matter how old they are, they want to read.

I have to tell you about the latest one that has captured my family, all of us.

My husband reads to our first grader every. night. She loves it and looks disappointed when I step in to substitute. I love that they love this time together. She is reading on her own (you know the sweet first grade KIND OF READING THAT MAKES YOU WANT TO STICK A FORK IN YOUR EYEBALL), but there’s just something about reading a chapter book together that is special.

Plus, it’s a lot quicker.

photo copy 3

Begin, the first book in the Growly Series by Phil and Erin Ulrich started out as their book. It’s an epic adventure about a little bear named Growly and my daughter begs for another chapter every time they finish one. Last night they finished chapter 17. What’s funny is I can tell you every single thing that’s happened in the adventure so far and so can my son. We just couldn’t not listen! It’s wholesome family reading at it’s best and it’s also illustrated beautifully.

photo copy 2

The vivid descriptions make it easy to imagine exactly what’s happening in the story. It’s a great book to read to your 4-7 year old and children 8-11 would enjoy reading it on their own. We can’t wait to read what happens next to Growly! It’s sure to be adventurous.

The other night it was getting late and my hubby was busy with work, so I picked up where they left off. A few paragraphs in, my husband found us cuddled up reading and asked us what had happened so far. I handed over the book and smiled.

I’m not sure who loves Growly more! You can get your own copy here for $8.99

Growly Sig 2

The author Erin, who is also my blog designer and a sweet friend, sent us a copy to read together and today she’s giving away three copies. Hop over and check out the book and the amazing pictures and leave a comment here to be entered.

And please, make time in  your crazy busy lives to read together. You won’t ever regret the adventures it takes you on!


  1. 152

    Kari Compton says

    Oh! My husband and I both LOVE to read, and we’re already working on stocking up quite the library so we’re ready when our first baby comes in March :)

  2. 155

    Mandy S says

    My kids love our reading time at the end of our homeschool day. This would be great to add in to the rotation.

  3. 156

    Charlotte Brewer says

    I happen to have a sweet (boy) first grader as well who loves all things books (when they are read to him anyway!) and a turning 4 year old on Saturday :) who would love these books too! Thanks for the recommendation I am always looking for new series to pick up for my kids! If I don’t win it… it just might have to be a Christmas present!


  4. 157

    Lisa says

    So glad you have led us to this book. We love to sit under the clouds &make up adventure stories together. This book will fit right in. I think my daughter (10) & son (7) will love reading this & hopefully some shared reading time. Thanks

  5. 158

    Crystal Pearson says

    My 2 nieces love being read to…I will have to add this book to their Christmas gift! Thank you for the recommendation!

  6. 161

    Stephanie S says

    These books look perfect to introduce our four year old to chapter books! Great illustrations, and the story preview looks great.

  7. 166

    Laura says

    This would be the perfect gift for my niece who LOVE, LOVE, LOVES to read and just started reading chapter books. When she’s done with it, it would come back to my own children who are very young and are also readers. Thanks for sharing!! :)

  8. 171

    Jessica Reck says

    not sure if this giveaway is over, but would love to read these books! Our boys LOVE reading and being read to and my 7yo reads to his younger brothers as an excuse to re-read books!!! 😉

  9. 172

    Amy says

    5 year old is connecting the dots with letters making words- it is an exciting time in the house. I would love to add it to the library. (Little brother age 4 isn’t far behind he wants to read too1)

  10. 176

    Liz G says

    I also have a 1st grader (it’s fun to hear you talk about your daughter!!) and a 5 and 2 year old. It’s always great when you can find a really good book!!!

  11. 177


    I also have a 1st grader whose reading makes me want to poke my eyes out, and I’d love to interest him more with such a cute bear book!

  12. 179

    Angela says

    I was looking for a book with fun adventures in it to read with my five year old son. This book looks perfect!

  13. 186

    Katherine Lang says

    The Growly series would be a wonderful gift for my nephews and nieces! I thoroughly enjoyed what I read on the authors’ website.

  14. 187


    What a fun book. My husband currently reads the Bible to our tiny ones at night, but I’d love to check out this book for daytime reading.

  15. 191


    We love reading together as a family. We’ve been pretty busy getting ready for the new baby, so that is something that we’ve neglected lately. Currently parks and cooking have been a bounding time for us.

  16. 194

    Nancy L S says

    I dread the day when my kids won’t ask me to crawl in bed with them and read out loud to them. Maybe I’ll just lay beside them and we’ll each read silently, side by side. Right now they are 6 &3. Sweet times but it’s a physically exhausting stage!

  17. 195

    Anna says

    Is it too late to enter? These books look amazing and I was looking for something to start reading my son at night (besides his Bible Story and go to bed book).

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