Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

Roald Dahl, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Chains

My almost six-year-old and I have continued our Roald Dahl streak with George’s Marvelous Medicine, about a boy whose grandma is the meanest lady ever. Every day she drinks a horrible concoction so George decides to take everything in the house and mix up something truly dreadful for her–with unexpected results. It’s not as dark as The Witches but has that same trickster spirit. We both really enjoyed it. And we finally convinced big sister to join the Roald Dahl fun so now she’s listening…

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Opening Belle, Hidden Bodies, Ann Patchett, Norse Myths, and Ellen Raskin!

When I started listing the titles for this post I thought, “wow, I’ve been on a hot streak!” But then I remembered that I’ve had to give up on a bunch of books recently, too. The life of a reader! I grabbed Opening Belle at the library based on the cover and title, and the description sounded too good to pass up. Set (like Everybody Rise) on the eve of the financial crisis, the story follows Belle, a mom of three with a high pressure…

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Everybody Rise, Burn Baby Burn, Rereading Roald Dahl

Sometimes as a parent you get those moments when you feel like you must be doing something right, and having my 5-year-old ask me to reread her The BFG and The Witches was definitely one of those moments. We enjoyed them just as much the 2nd time through, and now she’s eager to have me read The BFG a third time so that her big sister can get why we think snozzcumbers are so funny. Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina hooked me right away…

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Tolliver’s Secret + The Bronze Bow

Two classics in our homeschool that were a big hit. Tolliver’s Secret by Esther Wood Brady was assigned as a read aloud in our Sonlight core, and all of us loved the story of the girl who dresses like a boy to deliver a secret message to George Washington during the Revolutionary War. There was a lot of action and suspense wondering if Ellen was going to make it, and my 8 year old loved the adventure of it all. It wasn’t the tearjerker that…

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BFG, Flora and Ulysses, Ben & Me, and Ender’s Game

Oh, I am hard-pressed to say which of the characters in these books for kids/young adults I love the most! The Big Friendly Giant, Ulysses the flying squirrel, Amos the mouse who lives in Ben Frankin’s fur hat, or Ender, the 6-year-old military mastermind. Okay, my feelings for Ender aren’t exactly affection or delight like I have for the others, but this is my most recent batch of books read for homeschool. The BFG was yet another Roald Dahl I’d never read before, and I’m…

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Homeschool 3rd Grade Weeks 1&2–Madeleine L’Engle & US History

We’ve hit the ground running with my 3rd grader. We read aloud A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, which remains basically one of the greatest books of all time, and it was so fun to experience again it through my daughter. I’ll be reading it later this fall with the 4th/5th graders and I think we’ll have some great discussions about sacrifice, fear, and flaws. The first two books we finished for Sonlight Core D were A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert…

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Uglies Trilogy and Detectives in Togas

I had mad love for Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies trilogy back when I first read it. Imagine a dystopia where until age 16, you are “ugly.” Then you get a whole bunch of surgery to become beautiful, and then live in paradise until you die. All parties, no war. Everything is beautiful, and Tally Youngblood can’t wait until her birthday–until she meets Shay, who tells her about the world outside, and asks Tally to escape with her. Tally is a great character–I think she’s more awesome…

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YA and True Crime Together At Last

More like I am indulging in a pet genre while researching books to use in homeschool coop next year. I’ll start with YA, and two by Karen Hesse. Letters from Rifka is about a teenage girl emigrating from Russia to NYC in 1919. Great character, wonderful historical detail, and lots of emotion made it a great read. I’d love to read it with the 4th/5th graders but it’ll have to wait because last year we read When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, and there’s too much…

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Shirley: A Novel by Susan Scarf Merrell

Synopsis: A young couple spends a year at Bennington College living with gothic writer Shirley Jackson and her philandering husband. Review: George and Martha from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? have nothing on Shirley and Stanley, in real life (as chronicled in the wonderful biography Private Demons), and Shirley: A Novel delivers every ounce of juice you would hope for. Even better–the plot and characters are nothing short of excellent. Author Susan Scarf Merrell uses a thriller structure, and the plot is filled with allusions,…

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The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Synopsis: Time travel makes a vicious serial killer unstoppable, but when one of his “shining girls” survives, the paradoxes in her case send her looking in the right direction, even as the killer grows more disorganized and deadly. Review: The Shining Girls is, quite simply, a great crime story with time travel element that probably has Stephen King kicking himself for not thinking of it first. In 1932, Harper has found a house filled with shining objects, and when he steps outside he can will…

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