A Pup and a Book: The Gift of Reading as a Family


This summer, we decided to read some books as a family. We’ve read as a family before this, but not very intentionally. Our girls are 9, 6, and 5, and I’m 33… finding something we could all enjoy felt like a challenge. Honestly, they would love it if I read fairy stories to them all day, but meh, mama’s not doing that.


Our family also added a new pup to the mix back in February, who is now a gigantic reddish-brown standard goldendoodle. Literally, y’all, he is massive, weighing in at just under 70 pounds at only seven months. His name is Chase. The kids mostly adore him, but we have definitely gotten a solid taste of puppyhood, which I had apparently forgotten about after not having a young pup in over 10 years.

It is, messy. And hilarious. And, my gosh he drools like crazy. He runs around, tail wagging so hard that he hits people and things. He is still learning not to counter surf and has been found drinking out of a toilet more than once. He has had some amusing, though, unfortunate encounters, like getting his collar stuck on a vent grate this week. Chase certainly adds a lot of personality to our house, that’s for sure.

Perhaps that is why we finally came up with our first novel, Marley and Me by John Grogan.

It is a wonderful, easy read, about a young couple adding a yellow lab who is… less than well-behaved to their family. I would venture to say he was borderline deranged at times. The book details all the craziness that John and his wife, Jenny, experienced at the hands, er paws, of their pup over the years. (It is probably worth noting that I did skim over a few sections because the content was a bit much for the girls).

Needless to say, our kids absolutely loved that their obnoxious Chase was not quite to the level of Marley’s antics. They squealed with delight during parts of the book and listened on the edge of their seats at others. They really got into the story and came to see Marley and his family as “real.” Which, they are. The girls loved the added touch of photos of Marley on the inside cover.

We finished up the book last month after weeks of cuddling up before bed together or sneaking in a few chapters during snack time. It was a beautiful gift to my heart to slow down with them, to be intentional and engaged as a family as we learned about Marley, and each other, with our silly Chase and our more senior dog, Annie, often at our feet. What an absolute joy to watch the kids light up as the words on a page come to life for them. This is a family past time we will be continuing without a doubt.

Do you read novels with your kids? What books would you recommend for our list?