226 episodes

Sarah Mackenzie will help your kids fall in love with books, and will help *you* fall in love with homeschooling.

Read-Aloud Revival ‪®‬ Sarah Mackenzie

    • Kids & Family
    • 4.9 • 2.8K Ratings

Sarah Mackenzie will help your kids fall in love with books, and will help *you* fall in love with homeschooling.

    RAR #213: Sweep: A Story You Don’t Want to Miss

    RAR #213: Sweep: A Story You Don’t Want to Miss

    It’s Victorian London in the late 1800’s… and it’s been five years since the Sweep disappeared.

    Orphaned and alone, Nan Sparrow has no other choice but to work for a ruthless chimney sweep named Wilkie Crudd. She spends her days doing dangerous work–sweeping out chimneys.

    The job is thankless, but with her wits and will, Nan has managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again.

    This time, though, she gets stuck in a chimney fire.

    She wakes to find herself unharmed in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature—a golem—made from soot and ash.

    The golem we’ll come to know as Charlie. He’s large and lovable, and Nan, our heroine, will raise him almost like her own child. He is, after all, her protector. 

    Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster

    This book, written by Jonathan Auxier, won the 2019 Sydney Taylor Book Award. And it has won a place in my all-time tippy top favorite books. It’s a Charles-Dickens-like adventure about the everlasting gifts of friendship and wonder.

    In this episode, I want to introduce you to the book… and to the man who wrote it.

    In this episode, you’ll hear more about Sweep: 

    * The long journey and many drafts from the first visit to Prague to the final manuscript* The real-life children of London who were the inspiration for Nan* The special details of the endpaper map and deckled edges

    🎧 Click here to listen to this episode on your favorite podcast player.

    📄 Click here to read the transcript.

    Meet Jonathan Auxier, the author of Sweep

    You may know Jonathan Auxier from some of the other books he’s written: Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard, The Night Gardener,  and The Fabled Stables.

    Today, Jonathan will tell us about the long journey from his initial inspiration for the story on a visit to Prague, to the extra care and attention paid to the look and feel of the book itself.

    In RAR Premium, join us as we read the book, use the RAR Family Book Club Guide to use the book across the curriculum with all ages, and then meet Jonathan Auxier himself in a live Zoom:

    Looking Closely at Sweep

    I record a “Looking Closely” video for every book we read together in RAR Premium’s Family Book Club, to help our kids read better and dive deeper into the ideas they encounter.

    Here’s the Looking Closely video for Sweep, all about the power and purpose of epigraphs in novels:

    Books and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

    • 31 min
    RAR #212: The 10 Best Questions We Ever Got (Andrew Pudewa & Sarah Mackenzie)

    RAR #212: The 10 Best Questions We Ever Got (Andrew Pudewa & Sarah Mackenzie)

    Have you ever REALLY worried about one of your kids?

    What should you do if you don’t feel like you read aloud well?

    What’s the point of poetry memorization?

    What would you tell a mom who is confused about all the different homeschooling philosophies and methods?

    How do I know that I’m doing enough?

    What about homeschooling high school?

    These are all questions you might have…

    I’ve had them too.

    Andrew Pudewa and I answered questions just like these at all five Great Homeschool Conventions in 2022. Today on the podcast, we’re sharing a recording of that session with you.

    In this episode, you’ll hear: 

    * Why the right homeschool philosophy is the one that works for you and your kids* How poetry memorization expands active vocabulary* Why showing up with what you have is enough* But what about homeschooling high school???

    🎧 Click here to listen to this episode on your favorite podcast player.

    📄 Click here to read the transcript.

    You’re not alone.

    That’s what I most want you to know after listening to this podcast episode.

    This past year I had the privilege of speaking alongside Andrew Pudewa from the Institute for Excellence in Writing at all 5 Great Homeschool Conventions throughout the US.

    We decided to pitch each other some of the best questions we’ve ever gotten about books, reading aloud, homeschooling, homeschooling high school– it’s all in here.

    Since it’s the start of a new school year for many of us, we thought it would be a great time to share our session here on the podcast to give you a little boost of encouragement. 

    You’re not alone. There are a lot of us starting a new school year alongside you, and we’re all pretty much jumping in unprepared because…well, that’s how homeschooling works.

    Books and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

    * Institute for Excellence in Writing* Nurturing Competent Communicators [Andrew Pudewa]* Common Sense Media: Age-Based Media Reviews for Families* Redeemed Reader* Great Homeschool Conventions

    Ask Sarah a question

    Listen to more RAR episodes

    • 1 hr
    RAR #211: How We Made A Little More Beautiful: The Story of a Garden

    RAR #211: How We Made A Little More Beautiful: The Story of a Garden

    Last time on the Read-Aloud Revival, I told you about the inspiration for the creation of Waxwing Books and our first book,  A Little More Beautiful: The Story of a Garden. 

    In this episode, I’ll take you on the rest of the adventure, from connecting with illustrator Breezy Brookshire to bringing on editor Michael Green, and finding art director Cara Llewellyn.

    I’ll tell you all about the process of getting the book illustrated, edited, and finally, almost on its way to you.

    In this episode, you’ll hear: 

    * How Breezy honed her craft and found her voice as a self-taught illustrator* Why Michael’s experience and approach to editing made him my dream editor* How Cara’s work as the art director shaped the book you’ll have in your hands* The elements we added to make the book feel even more special

    🎧 Click here to listen to this episode on your favorite podcast player.

    📄 Click here to read the transcript.

    Pre-orders Available Now!

    Pre-orders have officially launched 🥳 and you can guarantee your copy in the first print run of A Little More Beautiful: The Story of a Garden on Kickstarter.

    Do it by September 1st, and you’ll get some Kickstarter exclusive bonuses, including a beautiful new book bag, prints by the illustrator, and more.

    Get your copy of A Little More Beautiful

    Books and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

    * Breezy Brookshire* GreenHouse Editorial* Cara Llewellyn* Miss Rumphius: Story and Pictures, Barbara Cooney

    Ask Sarah a question

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    • 32 min
    Big News! Pre-orders are OPEN!

    Big News! Pre-orders are OPEN!

    It’s time! It’s time! It’s time! 🥳

    We are SO excited to open pre-orders for our first release at Waxwing Books. 

    It’s a story about seeing and being seen for readers who love Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney or The Library by Sarah Stewart and David Small.

    Every book comes with an audiobook, narrated by me and including those page turn cues that we used to love in our books on tape. (Remember those?)

    Oh! And book bags. And such. 😍

    ​Head here to check out the Kickstarter and to guarantee your own copy of A Little More Beautiful: The Story of a Garden in the first print run.

    By the way, Kickstarter will give us a lot more publicity love if we have a surge of backers in the first few hours of the campaign.

    Can you help us spread the word by sharing the Kickstarter with someone you love, or to your Facebook/Instagram? (Please and thank you!! 🥰)


    • 1 min
    RAR #210: Introducing Waxwing Books (Our Brand New Publishing House)

    RAR #210: Introducing Waxwing Books (Our Brand New Publishing House)

    Way back in August 2018, I was fortunate to spend a morning with the author of The Penderwicks, Jeanne Birdsall. It was a glorious morning, truly, and something surprising came of it. A little idea popped into my head, and it just sort of… rooted itself.

    Actually… the idea that popped into my head didn’t just stay an idea. 

    It became something much bigger resulting in our biggest, newest project here at Read-aloud Revival: we’re launching a boutique publishing house.

    Today, I’m telling you all about it.

    In this episode, you’ll hear: 

    * How Jeanne Birdsall’s gardening and life philosophy inspired A Little More Beautiful* What Kate DiCamillo said to me casually that really stuck with me* Why we’ve started Waxwing Books, our own boutique children’s publishing house

    🎧 Click here to listen to this episode on your favorite podcast player.

    📄 Read the transcript

    Reading Aloud: A Parenting Power Move

    If you’ve been around here long, you already know that reading aloud is a parenting power move. There’s no single better way to set our kids up for academic success while also forming warm, rich relationships with them, and helping them grow in both empathy and fortitude. 

    When we read a story, we’re rooting for the same heroes, fearing the same villains, crying, laughing, and seeing the world with fresh eyes together.

    Here at Read-Aloud Revival, I’ve spent the past 8 years diving into the best picture books I could find. I’ve interviewed some of today’s finest authors and illustrators, and have traveled all over the country meeting thousands of families with the singular aim of helping them have the best read-aloud experience possible. 

    I’ve maxed out my library card again and again in my effort to find the most beautiful, best-made read-alouds for you. It follows, then, doesn’t it, that we’d start making those kinds of books ourselves?

    Introducing: Waxwing Books

    It is my enormous pleasure to introduce you to Waxwing Books, our brand new boutique children’s publishing house. I wrote our first picture book, A Little More Beautiful: The Story of a Garden, and today I’m going to tell you all about it.

    Books and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

    * Pre-order A Little More Beautiful on Kickstarter* Tomie dePaola* Kate DiCamillo* Caroline Starr Rose* Breezy Brookshire* a href="https://www.greenhouseedit.

    • 29 min
    RAR #00: Welcome to the Read-Aloud Revival!

    RAR #00: Welcome to the Read-Aloud Revival!

    When I ask experienced homeschool parents what they wish they had done more often or focused more on, they never–not ever–say anything academic.

    Nope. Reminiscing homeschool parents tell me something else entirely. And do you know what they say? Relationships. They always, always talk about something related to the relationships nurtured during their homeschooling years.

    Relationships & Reading Aloud

    In fact, their favorite memories very often revolve around the memories they made and the books they shared.

    Reading aloud is not only the best tool for helping our kids academically succeed across the curriculum, it also helps them:

    * Grow in empathy and compassion* Bear witness to people overcoming obstacles, facing struggles, and pressing onward* Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes* Connect ideas and think more clearly about the world around them and their role in it

    We know reading does all of this. That’s why we all want our kids to fall in love with books, right?

    We want them to be readers.

    Here’s some good news:

    You are the best person to help your kids learn and grow. And home is the best place to fall in love with books.

    I’m Sarah Mackenzie, a homeschooling mama of 6, author of Teaching from Rest:  A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace and The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids through Books. 

    I’m also the Publisher at Waxwing Books, a new boutique publishing imprint that makes books your kids will love to read, and that you’ll love to read aloud. 

    In our upcoming episodes, you’ll hear our best tips and practical ideas to help you

    * Read aloud* Discuss books with your kids* Share experiences that will draw you closer as a family

    We’ll also give behind-the-scenes peeks at the books we’re making for you at Waxwing. 

    It’s time to make meaningful and lasting connections with our kids. Let’s do it. Together.

    Click here to listen to this episode on your favorite podcast player!

    Learn more about Sarah Mackenzie:

    * Read-Aloud Revival* Waxwing Books* Subscribe to the Newsletter

    Ask Sarah a question

    Listen to more RAR episodes

    • 4 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
2.8K Ratings

2.8K Ratings

Jmemyself ,


This is a great addition to my life as a homeschool mom. I love that they give great book suggestions so I do not have to comb the internet or Pinterest for ideas. The majority of the work is done for me by these ladies. I just add the books to my list as I listen. Keep up the good work!

lapatita5 ,

Not what I expected

I really like Sarah McKenzie and her book Teaching from Rest, so I decided to binge this podcast. I really like the first couple seasons, but over time there were more and more suggestions that focus a lot on “justice” and other left-ish buzz words. Not really what I’m looking for. I was hoping for more tips and philosophy about why and how to read aloud. I really love hearing the episodes with her daughter about how homeschooling was successful.
Not a bad podcast, but not what I expected.

Great Storytelling! ,

So Encouraging!

I am a homeschool Momma, and this podcast is such a joyful, bright place of wisdom and inspiration for me. I highly recommend this podcast!

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