Books We Are Using This Year
  • The Story of the World: Ancient Times (Vol. 1)
    The Story of the World: Ancient Times (Vol. 1)
    by Jeff West,S. Wise Bauer,Jeff (ILT) West, Susan Wise Bauer
  • Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2
    Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2
    by Bernard J Nebel PhD
  • Math-U-See Epsilon Student Kit (Complete Kit)
    Math-U-See Epsilon Student Kit (Complete Kit)
    by Steven P. Demme
  • First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 4 Instructor Guide (First Language Lessons) By Jessie Wise, Sara Buffington
    First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 4 Instructor Guide (First Language Lessons) By Jessie Wise, Sara Buffington
    by -Author-
  • Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too
    Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too
    by Mona Brookes
Powered by Squarespace
Live and Learn Categories
Live and Learn Tags

Entries in young adult fiction (2)


Weekly book shelf 9/7/12

I'm not sure how I'll run the resources section this year. There are plenty of resources we'll go through in a single week in science and history, and I plan to list those not only for my own edification in years to come, but also in case they can help someone else who goes or is going down the same road. In addition to those books, however, there is plenty of other reading going on in our house and I might try to list those books separately, because I know how much I love reading about books on other people's blogs. That's just the way I am.

So for the week of 9/1-9/7:

Monsters: The Grim Reeper (Rachel Lynette, 2010) and Monsters: Frankenstein (Adam Woog, 2006). Calvin is somewhat obsessed with monsters right now. It was dragons, and then goblins and ogres, and now (since we're reading Lord of the Rings) it's the Ring Wraiths. He picked these books up at the library and devoured them at home over last weekend. Whatever floats his boat, I guess.

Calvin is reading Through the Looking Glass (Lewis Carroll). He read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland last week, and found both books hilarious. I love the play on words in both books. I had not ever read them myself, but now having listened to Calvin read them, I think I can see where Norton Juster (Phantom Tollbooth) may have found some of his inspiration. Calvin read our 1960s boxed set of the two books with original illustrations.

He also read Dragon Country, written by Kevin Dangoor, a father in our homeschooling group. The book is not available to the public yet, but Calvin read the first book from the series, Chasing the Gnome, several weeks ago and loved it so much that the author brought him his proof copy from the publisher to read over the weekend. Calvin devoured it in one afternoon. These are light and enjoyable fantasy books for young readers who are reading chapter books on their own. They have a great story line, with two good friends going on a quest in magical lands, meeting challenges and magical beings. The books are full of richly imagined lands, but not with the pop-culture drivel or social apathy that usually mark books for this age group.

As a family we are reading Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring aloud right now. We read The Hobbit over the summer, and Calvin loved it so much he begged and begged to read The Lord of the Rings immediately after. It is kind of slow as a read aloud, but so far he's had absolutely no problem with understanding or attention span on this one, like I thought might be a problem.


His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman (review)

Setting all issues and agendas aside, this is a beautifully written young adult sci-fi story. I am inordinately critical when it comes to story writing, but I found myself falling in love with Lyra and her friends right from the beginning of this tale. Like most series I enjoyed the first book the most, but unlike others my interest had not seriously waned by the very last sentence, and now that I've finished I'm even looking into reading Pullman's additional works with these characters. They seemed so authentic, so believable, even in a universe acceptable only via suspension of disbelief, that I just fell in love with them each immediately.

The scenes, the suspense, the characters—all were rich and imagination grabbing throughout. The series is a calling together of many a myth and many a mystical culture, all given a physical meaning and existence. It is the story of an orphan who finds she has a purpose, and family, as she travels through an earth that is mostly foreign to us. Her journey is full of honor, magic, and love, and as she progresses we see her beginning to grow up. There is witchcraft, quantum mechanics, religion, death, sensuality. There is war, Armageddon style. There is love, there is a coming of age, but what could have become sappy or uncomfortable was written with sensitivity and authenticity so that it never crossed that line. The story is woven tightly and well, and it never let me drift away.

It has been said that Pullman's story is just shy of propaganda—the atheist's C. S. Lewis I think I've read—and with each successive book a message does become more obvious. It is with sharp literary skill that he doles out revelations of the symbolism and understory in carefully measured amounts. The final book is the most clear in terms of agenda, and not everyone will be comfortable with it, and The Golden Compass could conceivably be read as a stand alone, albeit with a rather plot hanging ending.

Books 28, 29, and 30 on my way to 52.