As usual, we have been reading quite a variety of books! Since we finished Who Am I? from Apologia’s Worldview series, we only have three stories every morning. We start out with a story from Uncle Arthur’s Bible Stories; we’re currently in Volume 10, so I’ll soon have to find another Bible Story book to read from. We also read a couple of pages from David Macaulay’s Cathedral—what a fun way to learn a little of medieval history! For American History this week, we have been reading First Heroes for Freedom. It’s quite an interesting story about the Battle of Rhode Island, from the perspective of a teenage slave boy. We’re about 75% of the way through now, and it’s been good so far.
After lunch, we read four books each day. Right now, we’re reading Laura, a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Donald Zochert. We just finished the Little House Series, and decided we wanted to know what her life was really like. It’s been very interesting to compare the biography with what she chose to tell young readers about her life! Our next book is The Heart Changer, by Jarm Del Boccio. It’s a retelling of the story of Naaman’s servant girl, from the time of the kings of Israel. It is very well done—watch for my full review in a few weeks! After that, we read for about 10 minutes from Kayaks Down the Nile. I borrowed this book from my mother when we were in Michigan in January; she recommended it also when I asked if I could borrow The Ra Expeditions. It’s a fascinating account of three men kayaking down the Nile River in the 1950s. We’re really enjoying it—but I don’t think I’d enjoy a trip like that! Too many crocodile and hippos, not to mention the tipsy kayaks. Our last book each afternoon is Encounters With Animals. This is the only book by Gerald Durrell that I can recommend, unfortunately. All the others I’ve read by him feature immorality and a lot of evolutionary thinking.
So, that’s what we are reading aloud at the moment! We’ve read quite a few other books over the course of the past month, too. The two afternoon books we read were Treasure in an Oatmeal Box and A Flame Forever Bright. The first of these was one I found at a secondhand shop when we were in Ohio in February. I had seen the book advertised about 25 years ago, but never read it. What a gem! This story is about a girl coming to terms with having a mentally handicapped brother, and learning to love him. The ending caught us by surprise, though. The second is about Dirk Willems, probably the most famous Anabaptist martyr from the 16th century. It is told from the viewpoint of his (fictitious) younger sister, and is very good. I did learn one thing from reading these two books—Little Miss, though she is only four, is listening to and comprehending a lot of what I read!
We have read quite a few books for history in the mornings, as well. Obviously, we are still working through the American Revolution. Danbury’s Burning and Sybil Ludington’s Midnight Ride both tell the story of a teenage girl who rode much farther than Paul Revere, through bad weather, and yet is hardly known! Buttons for General Washington was a very interesting story of a family who spied for the Revolutionary cause. In Aaron and the Green Mountain Boys, a little boy learned that he could be of help even if he didn’t go out with the militia! Joseph Brant was an interesting biography of an Indian who worked for the British during the Revolution. We loved Saving the Liberty Bell—what fun pictures! John Paul Jones, Fighting Sailor was quite an interesting story, but we didn’t appreciate the battle scenes. One of them was fun; in his first sea battle, he outwitted the British Navy and saved an American ship, with no one getting hurt in the slightest. We also got to read The Winter At Valley Forge again.
So, that’s what I’ve been reading to the children. I’ve also read several books for myself. The ones that really stood out were The Pink Bonnet and Blessing Bentley. The Pink Bonnet is historical fiction about a woman who made a career, from the 1920s-1950s, of stealing children from the Memphis, Tennessee area and then selling them to the highest bidder. It was heartbreaking, and very hard to put down, as a mother and a lawyer tried to solve the mystery of what was happening. Bentley is an amazing new book by Chautona Havig. I found it very refreshing to read a romance that didn’t follow a formula! There are so many good things to think about in this book—I can’t say enough good about it! At the moment, I’m reading The Second Yes, a collection of five interlinked books which includes Something Borrowed, Someone Blue, which I mentioned in the last post about what we’re reading. I’m on the fourth book right now. I enjoyed Something Borrowed, and am enjoying this one; the first and third weren’t quite my cup of tea; but I’m looking forward to the last one, which will tie them all together. It’s by an author I always enjoy. Another book I read recently was The Deepest Waters. Even though I pretty well knew what the ending would be like, there were a lot of surprises along the way, and unexpected twists in this book based on a true story from the 1850s.