My Reading Year: A Recap of my 2022 Books

by | Dec 29, 2022 | Books, Reading | 7 comments

My reading goal this year was to read 120 books, and I ended up reading 126. I always try to read at least eight books a month, and usually my goal is ten or more, which roughly comes out to 120 a year. But my new goal for 2023 is to make it to 100 books, which is still amazing, but will hopefully allow for reading more books of significant length instead of generally shorter books. That will be difficult, though, because I love short books and they seem so easy to add my challenge … 😉 So without further ado, here are my top favorites of the year (mostly vintage middle grade), organized into fun categories! I hope you find a title or two on this list to enjoy. Happy Reading!

Favorite Books of 2022

1. What the Moon Said by Gayle Rosengren (2014)

I had heard of this book several years ago and knew I wanted to read it, but I hadn’t gotten to it yet. This fall I discovered that my library had an ebook copy, so I began to read it and … it was so good! It’s the story of a young girl, her sisters, and their immigrant parents, who decide to pull up stakes in Chicago and move to a farm in Wisconsin during the Great Depression. It had wonderful characters and writing, and I recently described it to a friend as a mash-up of Sweet Home Alaska (which I also enjoyed this year), The Friendship Doll, and All-of-a-Kind Family!

2. Honey Butter by Millie Florence (2017)

This charming middle grade novel featuring an unlikely friendship, a box of paint cards, and an unforgettable summer was one of my very favorite reads of the year. I adored it, and it’s one of those stories that has stayed with me throughout the year, so I know it’s one I will return to in the future. The author’s style reminded me of L.M. Montgomery and Beverly Cleary and Kate DiCamillo and Jeanne Birdsall all rolled into one, which is very high praise indeed!

3. Golden Sovereign by Dorothy Lyons (1946)

This one came highly recommended to me, and I enjoyed it so much! It’s a fascinating story of a girl who sets out on a quest to discover the true identity of a mysterious horse she buys at an auction, while also trying to build up her own champion horse farm.

4. Where the Heart Is by Janet Lambert (1948)

When a post-war housing shortage means that Christy’s family has to move into a barn, the whole family isn’t sure what to think! But Christy is resourceful and determined to make this new life work for them, and her adventures with new friends are delightful to read about.

5. The Water Horse by Dick King-Smith (1990)

I read this book on a whim, not knowing much about it, and it far exceeded my expectations! It’s a whimsical, clever origin story of the Loch Ness Monster that kept me captivated from page one. Bonus points for being set in a wondrous locale.

6. Mystery on Heron Shoals Island by Augusta Huiell Seaman (1940)

Secrets abound in this delicious mystery that follows a girl who lives on an isolated island with her grandmother and their talkative parrot. This one is wonderfully atmospheric and I found it hard to put down! I have really enjoyed other novels by this author, and I’m excited to read more.

7. Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson (1957)

Speaking of books that have marvelous atmosphere, this one definitely fits into that department. I loved this humorous story that explores what happens when one of the Moomins awakens from a long winter’s nap a bit too early, and is forced to deal with a foreign, icy world.

8. Follow My Leader by James B. Garfield (1957)

When Jimmy is blinded in an accident, he is thrust into a life of difficult new experiences and challenges–but getting his own guide dog changes his outlook. This one was a very moving story with a beautiful ending.

9. Maida’s Little Shop by Inez Haynes Irwin (1909)

The Maida books have been recommended to me for a long time now, and I’m so glad I finally read the first book in the series! It’s a sweet story about a girl who runs her own shop, and gradually makes friends in a new town as they come to buy all the delights she has on display.

10. One to Grow On by Jean Little (1969)

I have loved Jean Little’s books for a long time now, and this one is about friendship, truth, and family is now added to my top favorites of hers. (It doesn’t hurt that there is a subplot involving the buying of a lovely piece of property that reminds me of Jane of Lantern Hill).

I also greatly enjoyed: a nonfiction title, Unearthing the Secret Garden by Marta McDowell (2021), a fascinating exploration into the life and gardens of Frances Hodgson Burnett; Cinderella’s Dress by Shonna Slayton (2014), a (literally!) magical WWII story; and The Vanderbeekers on the Road by Karina Yan Glaser (2022), the latest installment in the awesome Vanderbeekers series. If you’re looking for a devotional, The Little Women Devotional by Rachel Dodge (2021) was also a fabulous read.

Favorite Cast of Characters

1. The Water Horse by Dick King-Smith (1990)
2. Maida’s Little Shop by Inez Haynes Irwin (1909)
3. What the Moon Said by Gayle Rosengren (2014)
4. Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor (2018)
5. The Vanderbeekers on the Road by Karina Yan Glaser (2022)
6. Miss Tippy by Janet Lambert (1948)

Short but Sweet - if you're looking for a very short but fun read!

1. Lumber Camp Library by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock (2002)
2. Rosetown Summer by Cynthia Rylant (2021)
3. Farmhouse by Sophie Blackall (2022)
4. The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas by Madeleine L’Engle (1964)
5. Summer Pony & Winter Pony by Jean Slaughter-Doty (1973-5)

Best Description/Environment

1. Stormy, Misty’s Foal by Marguerite Henry (1963)
2. Where The Heart Is by Janet Lambert (1948)
3. Mystery on Heron Shoals Island by Augusta Huiell Seaman (1940)
4. Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson (1957)
5. Stand in the Wind by Jean Little (1975)
6. Ginnie and the Mystery Doll by Catherine Woolley (1960)

Best Feel-Good Stories

1. The Little Silver House by Jennie D. Lindquist (1959)
2. Different Dragons by Jean Little (1987)
3. Ramshackle Roost by Jane Flory (1972)
4. Jane & Henry: A World War II Adventure by Rebecca Borger (2022)
5. The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas by Madeleine L’Engle (1964)
6. Honey Butter by Millie Florence (2017)

Most Delightfully Funny Books

1. Moominsummer Madness by Tove Jansson (1954)
2. More Perfect than the Moon by Patricia MacLachlan (2005)
3. Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry (2002)
4. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald (1947)
5. The School Story by Andrew Clements (2001)
6. Five Children & It by E. Nesbit (1902)

Favorite Rereads

1. Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes (2019)
2. The Secret School by Avi (2001)
3. Pat of Silver Bush by L.M. Montgomery (1933)
4. Patty Fairfield by Carolyn Wells (1901)
5. The Luckiest Girl by Beverly Cleary (1958)
6. Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace (1950)
7. What Katy Did at School by Susan Coolidge (1873)
8. Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson (1934)
9. Spring Begins in March by Jean Little (1966)

Favorite Audiobooks

I enjoyed these stories SO much on audio. These are all “re-reads” for me! (Or is it re-listen?)

1. Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze by Elizabeth Enright (1951), narrated by Pamela Dillman
2. Friendly Gables by Hilda van Stockum (1960), narrated by Mary Sarah Agliatta
3. Emily’s Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary (1961), narrated by Christina Moore
4. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery (1909), narrated by Susan O’Malley
5. Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary (1977), narrated by Stockard Channing

And one last favorite ...

I really can’t not mention my own book, my debut middle grade novel The Star That Always Stays (Holiday House), which released in July 2022. I DID read it this year 😉 and I hope it’s one that others will enjoy as much as I have. It actually happens to be only $1.99 on Kindle right now!

What were some books you loved in 2022? Feel free to pass along some recommendations! I am always looking for new books, especially middle grade from the 1940s-60s!


  1. Marion

    Anna Rose i love your posts. They are always so interesting and full of suggestions to try new titles.
    Some of my favorite books I read in 2022 are.Cottage on Gooseberry Bay Series by Kathy Daley,Saint Bernadette Soubiros,Kelegen Book 1 by Eileen O’Flannnery Halfway Home My Life til now.Autobiography by Ronan Tynan,Country Matters by Jo Northrup,Tales From Ivy Hill series by Julie Klassen,Saint Joan Of Arc Quest For Peace,The Brontes,The Patriots Alexander Hamilton,John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.The only Sister ,Amish books,Victorian Mysteries,Antique Shop Mysteries,Chocolate Shop Mysteries,A Christmas In The Alps, The Victorian Christmas Brides,Celtic Christmas,Christmas Bells.
    My favorite ones are The Patriots,Ivy Hill Series,Victorian Christmas Brides,Saint Bernadette,Saint Joan Of Arc,Amish Twins For Christmas. Re read favorites all holiday books from Valentine to Christmas books,Kit An American Girl series and Marie-Grace and Cecile American Girls Series.

    • Anna Rose Johnson

      Thank you so much, Marion! Those sound like some good books. I’ve actually been wanting to read the Marie-Grace and Cecile books, I’ve only read the first of the official series plus the mysteries.

  2. Marilyn

    Thank you Anna Rose for this entertaining post. My favorites for 2022 are,The Everstone Chronicles by Dawn Crandall,The Valentine Box by Maud Hart Lovelace,The Authorized Biography of Loretta Young,A Wisteria Tearoom Mystery A Valentine For One by Patrice Greenwood,Several Mitford books from the series,History Of Ireland by Malachi Mc Court,Several Gooseberry Bay mysteries by Kathi Daley,The Ivy Hill series by Julie klassen,The Amish Cookie Club Series by Sarah Price,Amish Inn Mysteries by Elizabeth Penney,The Victorian Mansion Flower Shop Mysteries by Elizabeth Penney,The Chocolate Shop Mysteries by Jan Fields,The Victorian Christmas Brides by 9 different authors,Celtic Christmas by Kathi Daley.First Christmas On Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand. My favorite re-reads are the holidays from Valentine till Christmas including The Night Before My First Communion.

    • Anna Rose Johnson

      Thank you for commenting and sharing your favorites of the year! I really want a copy of The Valentine Box. 🙂

  3. Melissa Wiley

    Gosh, I love a booklist. This was immensely fun. Hooray for Moomins!

    • Anna Rose Johnson

      Thanks so much, Melissa! So glad you enjoyed it. I’m enjoying the Moomins so much, and I’m happy I still have two books left to read in the series. 🙂

  4. Constance

    There is a sequel to Where the Heart Is – unfortunately, I read Treasure Trouble first and felt it did not stand alone well. However, I am a big Lambert fan and own every book.


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