Archive for the ‘Homeschool’ Category

Booklist: Native Americans

Dear Reader,

As we continue with booklists I have put together over the years today’s list is books on Native Americans. Because these are books we read a number of years ago, they are geared toward younger ages. I also have a post here with some choices for middle and high school. You can find all my lists of living books here.

Living Books on Native Americans

Averill, Esther. King Phillip: the Indian Chief. A wonderful older author but may be hard to find. Elementary?

Bruchac, Jospeh. Arrow over the Door. Elementary.

Colver, Anne. Bread and Butter Indian. Illustrated by Garth Williams. Chapter book. Elementary.

Garst, Shannon. Picture Story and Biography of Red Cloud. Older book. May be hard to find. Elementary?

Hays, Wilma Pitchford. Little Yellow Fur. Wonderful author. Elementary.

Holling,  Holling C. The Book of Indians. I don’t love all of Holling’s books but I do like this one. Elementary.

Lenski, Lois. Indian Captive and Little Sioux Girl. We love Lenski’s books. Elementary-middle.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Hiawatha’s Childhood. A famous poem about a Native American boy. There is a lot of idealization here but it is worth reading because a) it is famous and oft-quoted and b) you can discuss how Hiawatha is portrayed and if this is fair and/or accurate.

McGovern, Ann. Defenders. Another good author. Her books are usually chapter books. Elementary.

Monjo. Indian Summer. Love Monjo too. Elementary.

O’Dell, Scott. Zia and Thunder Rolling in the Mountains. O’Dell has lots of wonderful historical fiction. Middle years.

Speare, Elizabeth George. Calico Captive and Sign of the Beaver. Middle years.

Spradlin, Michael P. The Legend of Blue Jacket. Long picture book. Elementary.

Steele, William O. Flaming Arrows and Buffalo Knife, et. al. Steele has wonderful, adventurous books. Middle years.

Syme, Roald. Geronimo. Older author. Syme writes great elementary level biographies.

Turner, Ann. Dakota Dugout and Sitting Bull Remembers. Elementary.

Various. If You Lived with the . . . (series). Maybe a little less living but a good series for reading about how various tribes lived. Elementary.

Whelan, Gloria. Indian School. Middle years (?).

Nebby

 

 

 

Booklist: the Middle Ages

Dear Reader,

As we continue with booklists I have put together over the years today’s list is books on the Middle Ages. You can find all my lists of living books here.

The first time we studied the Middle Ages, I went to Heritage History for a lot of our resources. If you are willing to use older books (which are often better anyway) and don’t mind have them in a digital format, this is a wonderful site.  We went through the Middle Ages once in broader perspective in the first 12-week term and then once focusing in on specific countries in our second term.

Living Books about the Middle Ages

Ackroyd, Peter. The Canterbury Tales . There are of course other versions of these classic stories. I happened to find the version edited by Peter Ackroyd  so that is what we used. The original tales are bawdy and this version includes those bits so I was discriminating. We did not read every tale and I occasionally edited on the spot while reading aloud.

Armstrong, Karen. Islam: A Short History. This time period is as good as any other for covering Muslim history. I have liked many of the short books in this series. Middle-teens.

Avi. Crispin (series). We loved these books. Middle years.

Baldwin, James. The Story of Roland. Version of the medieval tale. Middle years-teens.

Bonner, John.  A Child’s History of Spain. Middle years (?).

Cushman, Karen. Catherine, Called Birdy and The Midwife’s Apprentice. Middle years.

D’Angeli, Marguerite. Door in the Wall. Upper elementary-middle.

Demi. Marco Polo. Demi mostly does picture books on China. Elementary.

Doyle, Arthur Conan. White Company. From the author of Sherlock Holmes. Middle years +.

Florian, M. The Moors in Spain. Available from Heritage History. Middle years.

Gray, Elizabeth Janet. Adam of the Road. Historical fiction. Middle years.

Harding, S.B.  Story of the Middle Ages. Another older book. Middle years.

Kelly, Eric. Trumpeter of Krakow. A wonderful, don’t-miss book on Poland. Middle years but you can read it aloud earlier.

Konigsburg, E.L. Proud Taste of Scarlet and Miniver. Historical fiction re Eleanor of Aquitaine. Middle years +.

Marshall, H.E. The Story of Europe. An older spine book. She also has books on specific countries, eg. The Story of Germany and Scotland’s Story. Our Island Story covers English history. Heritage History uses Marshall’s books and I find them very engaging. Middle years but could be used with a wide range of ages.

McCaughrean, Geraldine. El Cid. Spanish hero. McCaughrean has lovely illustrated books. Elementary.

Meigs, Elizabeth. Crusade and the Cup. Older book. Middle years.

The Middle Ages: An Illustrated History of the Church from 900 to 1300. This is a book I stumbled across some years ago. It is not the best living book though it is somewhat engaging. I like that it gives church history. Middle years but can be used for a wide range of ages.

Mills, Dorothy. The Middle Ages. Middle years.

O’Dell, Scott. The Road to Damietta (about Francis of Assisi) and Hawk that Dare Not Hunt (about Tyndale). Middle years.

Paterson, Katherine. King’s Equal. Chapter book. Upper elementary-middle.

Pyle, Howard. Men of Iron and Otto of the Silver Hand. An older author. Middle years.

Riley-Smith, Jonathan. Crusades, Christianity and Islam. A good, scholarly consideration. Teens.

Scott, Sir Walter. Ivanhoe and Talisman. Classic. Teens.

Seraillier, Ian. Beowulf, the Warrior. A fairly short version of the story. Various ages.

Seredyk, Kate. White Stag. Re Attila the Hun and the Huns and Magyars in modern day Hungary. Elementary.

Skurzynski, Gloria. Minstrel in the Tower. Upper elementary-middle.

Stanley, Diane. Saladin and Lionhearts. Stanley had lots of biographies. Elementary.

Tappan, Eva Marie. When Knights were Bold. Middle years.

White, T.H. The Once and Future King. Classic version of the King Arthur tales. Middle-teens.

Withrow, Mindy and Brandon. Monks and Mystics. This volume of the Withrows’ church history series fits the period. Elementary-middle.

Nebby

Booklist: Living Books on Ancient Rome

Dear Reader,

We continue with booklists I have put together over the years. Today’s list is books on Ancient Rome. You can find all my lists of living books here.

Living Books about Ancient Rome

Angeletti, Roberta. Vulcan the Etruscan. The Etruscans preceded the Romans. Elementary.

Asimov, Isaac. The Roman Empire. From the famous scientist and science fiction writer. Teens.

Balit, Christina. Escape from Pompeii. Elementary.

Banks, Lynne Reid. Tiger, Tiger. From the author of The Indian in the Cupboard. Middle years.

Church, Alfred. Aeneid for Boys and Girls. A good retelling of the classic Roman story. I find it to be a poor man’s Odyssey but that’s for the Romans and Greeks to duke out, I suppose. Elementary+.

Connolly, Peter. Connolly has some books with lovely illustrations including Greece and Rome at War, The Roman Army, The Roman Fort and Pompeii.

DiPrimio, Pete. How’d They do That: Ancient Rome. Not the most living. Elementary-middle.

Douglas, Lloyd. The Robe, Really a negative recommendation — I assigned this one  to myself, and honestly couldn’t get through it all. The writing is okay, though not stellar. At times it was engaging. But it is set at the very end and just after Christ’s time and says a lot about Him and His disciples and I found that it plays with the biblical story too much. Teens.

Foster, Genevieve. Augustus Caesar’s World. Foster’s books make wonderful spines that can be used for a variety of ages. Elementary +.

Gerrard, Roy. The Roman Twins. Elementary.

Hamilton, Edith. The Roman Way. Good older book on the culture and influence of Rome. Teens.

Harris, Jacqueline. Science in Ancient Rome. Elementary.

Hillyer, V.M. Child’s History of Art . This book could be on most of my booklists. We read the sections on Rome from all three books within a book: painting, sculpture and architecture. This is elementary level but one can still get quite a bit out of it at later ages.

Lawrence, Caroline. Roman Mysteries (series). Middle years.

Macaulay, David. City and Rome Antics. All his books are lovely. Elementary+.

McCaughrean, Geraldine. Roman Myths. Her books are lovely. Elementary +.

Mills, Dorothy. The Book of the Ancient Romans. Another spine type book. Middle years, but could be used for a range of ages.

Moss, Marissa. Galen: My life in Imperial Rome. Elementary.

Sinkiwicz, Henryk. Quo Vadis. Historical fiction set in the time of Christ. Teens.

Snedden, Robert. Technology in the Time of Ancient Rome. Elementary.

Snedeker, Caroline. White Isle, Forgotten Daughter and Triumph for Flavius. White Isle is about Romans in Britain. Middle years.

Speare, Elizabeth George. Bronze Bow. Middle years.

Tappan, Eva Marie. Story of Rome. I much prefer Tappan’s volumes on Greece and Rome to Guerber’s for style and the treatment of myth and false gods. These are probably written at a middle school level but can be used as a spine for a wide variety of ages.

Usher, Kerry. Heroes Gods and Emperors from Roman Mythology. Rome largely borrowed the mythology of Greece so it is harder to find books on Roman religion (but see this post for some books on Greek mythology). This is one. Middle years.

Wallace, Lew. Ben Hur, You really should watch the movie too. Teens.

Winterfield, Henry. Detectives in Togas and Mystery of the Roman Ransom. Middle years.

Nebby

Booklist: Living Books on Ancient Greece

Dear Reader,

We continue with booklists I have put together over the years. Today’s list is books on Ancient Greece. You may also want to check out my post on myths and tales.  You can find all my lists of living books here.

Living Books about Ancient Greece

Asimov, Isaac. The Greeks: A Great Adventure. From the famous science and science fiction writer. Teens.

Church, Alfred.  The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer. There are so many versions of these classic sagas. While it is worth reading the full stories with older children, there are also many good versions for younger ones. Elementary-middle.

Colum, Padraic. Children’s Homer ,  The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tale of Troy, and The Golden Fleece. Wonderful retellings of these classic stories. Can be read aloud to elementary and used for a wide variety of ages.

Connolly, Peter. Ancient City and Greece and Rome at War and others. Lovely illustrations in these books.

Cottrell, Leonard. The Mystery of Minoan Civilization. Read about the Greeks’ predecessors. Middle years (?). 

Hamilton, Edith. The Greek Way and Echo of Greece. Good older books on the culture and influence of Greece. Teens.

Hillyer, V.M. Child’s History of Art . This book could be on most of my booklists. We read the sections on Greece from all three books within a book: painting, sculpture and architecture. This is elementary level but one can still get quite a bit out of it at later ages.

Homer’s the Odyssey, trans. by Robert Fagles. I really enjoyed reading this with my high schoolers and was surprised how accessible it was. If you want a study guide for it, try the one by Leland Ryken. Teens.

Macrone, Michael. By Jove! Brush Up Your Mythology. Maybe not the most living but I liked this book. It has short chapters which discuss words we sue in English which come from Greek myths. Middle-teens.

Mills, Dorothy. The Book of the Ancient Greeks. Another spine type book. Middle years, but could be used for a range of ages.

Osborne, Mary Pope. Tales from the Odyssey (series). From the author of The Magic Treehouse Series. Elementary-middle.

Robinson, Charles Alexander. First Book of Ancient Crete and Mycenae. An older book but good if you can find it. Middle years.

Strauss, Barry. The Battle of Salamis. For the battle loving boy. Middle-teens.

Sutcliffe, Rosemary. The Wandering of Odysseus and Black Ships Before Troy. Elementary-middle.

Tappan, Eva Marie. Story of the Greek People. I much prefer Tappan’s volumes on Greece and Rome to Guerber’s for style and the treatment of myth and false gods. These are probably written at a middle school level but can be used as a spine for a wide variety of ages. She also has a volume called Greece and Rome from her World’s Story series which has primary source documents.

Nebby

 

Booklist: Living Books on Egypt

Dear Reader,

We continue with booklists I have put together over the years. Today’s list is books on Ancient Egypt. You can find all my lists of living books here.

Living Books about Ancient Egypt

Asimov, Isaac. The Egyptians. From the famous scientist and science fiction writer. Teens.

Baum, L. Frank. The Boy Fortune Hunters in Egypt.. A geography choice from the author of the Wizard of Oz. Middle years.

Brier, Bob. Daily Life of the Ancient Egyptians. Not truly living but useful. Middle+.

Fisher, Leonard. Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. More of a reference than something to read straight through. Early-upper elementary.

Frank, John. Tomb of the Boy King. Story in verse. Elementary.

Gerard, Roy. Croco-Nile. Picture book. Elementary.

Giblin, James Cross. Secrets of the Sphinx. I believe this was upper elementary-middle.

Glubok, Shirley. The Art of Ancient Egypt. Elementary.

Green, Roger Lancelyn. Tales of Ancient Egypt.. Various ages.

Macaulay, David. Pyramid. Macaulay’s books are lovely ones on architectural elements. Elementary +. Elementary-middle.

McGraw, Eloise Jarvis. Mara, Daughter of the Nile. Historical fiction. These are popular. I don’t think they are very well written. Middle years.

Meyerson, Daniel. In the Valley of the Kings. Archaeology. A wonderful find. Teens.

Mike, Jan. Gift of the Nile: An Ancient Egyptian Legend. An older book.

Mills, Dorothy.  The Book of the Ancient World. Mills’ books are popular spines. I actually find this one a bit thin on information. Middle years.

Morley, Jacqueline. Egyptian Myths.

Noble, Iris. Egypt’s Queen Cleopatra. Middle years.

Payne, Elizabeth. Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. A wonderful spine book for this period that can be used with all ages. Reading level is probably middle school. The Greenleaf guide uses this book.

Rumford, James. Seeker of Knowledge: The Man who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphics. Elementary.

Ryan Donald. Beneath the Sands of Egypt. Teens.

Sabuda, Robert. Tutankhamun’s Gift. Elementary.

Scott, Geoffrey. Egyptian Boats. Elementary (?).

Silverberg, Robert.  The Mask of Akhnaten (Fiction about a boy looking for the mask) and Akhnaten the Rebel Pharaoh  (non-fiction). Middle-teens.

Walsh, Jill Paton. Pepi and the Secret Names. Elementary.

Warringtons. The Warringtons Abroad. An older geography book about a family’s travels. Middle years.

Woods, Geraldine. Science in Ancient Egypt. These books are not the most living but provide good information. Elementary-middle.

Nebby

 

 

 

Booklist: Living Books on China

Dear Reader,

We continue with booklists I have put together over the years. Today’s list is books on China, mostly but not entirely Ancient China. You can find all my lists of living books here.

Living Books about China

First off, if you (like I) am a bit lost on the history of China and want a guide to walk you through it, try Judy Wilcox’s  Ancient China to the Great Wall . . . and Beyond. What I liked about this guide is that it gave me a framework on which to hang any topics we might study. It goes through Chinese history dynasty by dynasty and along the way also deals with other topics like art and poetry. It suggests other resources and readings as well as providing summaries for each dynasty. It also suggests activities such as doing one’s own calligraphy, but we did not use these. I did find that it gave different dates for the dynasties than other sources I looked at so I would use those with caution. You can see how we divided up the readings when my kids were little in this post.

Bell, M.C. Little Yellow Wang Lo. The name probably tells you this is an older book. Upper elementary, I believe.

Beshore, George. Science in Ancient China. Not the most living but a good resource. Elementary; could be used in middle school as well.

Brother Yun. The Heavenly Man. The account of a modern Christian. See my blurb here. Teens.

Buck, Pearl S. The Good Earth. A classic. Teens.

Coerr, Eleanor. Chang’s Paper Pony. Easy reader level chapter book.

Compestine, Yin Chang. Revolution is not a Dinner Party. 20th century. We really enjoyed this one. Middle-teens.

DeJong, Marguerite. House of Sixty Fathers. Upper elementary-middle.

Demi. This one-named author has lots of lovely picture books on all things Chinese. Some are folk tales and others are biographies of famous people. Elementary.

Flack, Margorie. Story about Ping. Classic picture book.

Fritz, Jean. China’s Long March. 1930s. Middle-teens.

Goldstein, Peggy. Long is a Dragon. On Chinese writing.

Greenberger, Robert. The Technology of Ancient China. Not the best living bok. Elementary.

Hong, Lily Toy. Empress and the Silk Worm. Picture book on silk.

Lattimore, Eleanor. Little Pear. Wonderful older story. I believe there is a sequel as well. I think it is chapter book level.

Lewis, Elizabeth. Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze. Chapter book level. Upper elementary-middle school.

Mahy, Margaret. Seven Chinese Brothers. Picture book.

Major, John S. The Silk Route: 7,000 miles of History.

Marx, Tricia. Elephants and Golden Thrones. Shorter stories. Elementary.

Morley, Jacqueline. You wouldn’t want to be in the Forbidden City! Not the best living book but fun. Elementary.

Nagda, Ann Whitehead. Bamboo Valley. About the bamboo forest.

Ng, Teresa. Strange Stories from Ancient China. Elementary +.

Paterson, Katherine. Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom. Re Christians in the 1850s. Middle years.

Paterson, Katherine. Tale of the Mandarin Ducks. Picture book. Elementary.

Phillips, Eliza Caroline. Peeps into China. Elementary.

Preston, Diana. The Boxer Rebellion. Events of the early 1900s. Teens.

Raper, Eleanor. The Little Girl Lost. Elementary.

Seeger, Elizabeth.  The Pageant of Chinese History. Middle-teens.

Shepard, Aaron. The Monkey King. We loved this one. Elementary.

Silbey, David. The Great Game in China. 20th century/the Boxer rebellion. Teens.

Silverberg, Robert. The Long Rampart. Re the Wall. Middle-teens.

Tappan, Eva Marie. The World’s Story, Volume I: China, Japan, and the Islands of the Pacific. Part of her  The World’s Story series which covers different regions of the world, telling their stories and culture through their own myths, legends, songs, and historical accounts. Various ages.

Treffinger, Caroline. Li Lun, Lad of Courage. Elementary-middle.

Whelan, Gloria. Chu Ju’s House. Upper elementary-middle.

Williams, Susan.  Made in China. Not the best living book. Elementary-middle.

Yep, Laurence. Yep has a number of books set in China. Middle years.

Nebby

 

 

 

Booklist: Our Favorite Silly Books

Dear Reader,

As a quarantine project, I went through old lists of books we read as a family and I have been slowly writing them up for you. We have had adventure stories and animals stories, girls’ books and boys’ books (you can find all my lists of living books here). But there is one important category we are missing: Silly books! We love silly books so these are some of our favorites. Being silly does not mean a book is not living. It just means it is a lot more fun.

To keep things as simple as possible, I divide the books into four ages ranges: preschool to early elementary; elementary; middle years (roughly 5th-8th grades); and teens. Keep in mind that many harder books can be read aloud to younger children and that older ones can still enjoy and get a lot out of easier books.

Favorite Silly Books

Adams, Douglas. Hitchhiker’s Guide (series) and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (series). We love these books. They are a bit atheistic. Dirk Gently is probably less so. Teens.

Anderson, M.T. Pals in Peril (series). With titles like Whales on Stilts and The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen, you know they are silly. Middle years +. (Anderson has some other good books but some also have more mature content.)

Angleberger, Tom. Horton Halfpott. Some of Angleberger’s books are fairly twaddle but we liked this one. Middle years.

Clark, Henry. What We Found in the Sofa and How it Changed the World. We still remember that rare zucchini-colored crayon. Maybe a little twaddle but we liked it. Middle years.

Dahl, Roald. The king of silly living books. I can’t pick just one. Some of our favorites are: The BFGJames and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but he has lots of wonderful lesser-known books as well. Elementary-middle.

Jinks, Catherine. How to Catch a Bogle (series). We loved these. Middle years.

King-Smith, Dick. Twin Giants. King-Smith has lots of animal stories (which also have a fair amount of silly) but this one is just silly. Elementary.

Mayne, William. Hob Stories (series). We loved Hob and his pockets. Elementary.

Lindgren, Astrid. You know her from Pippi Longstocking (classic silly) but she has lots of other great books. One favorite is The Children of Noisy Village. Elementary-middle.

Lowry, Lois. The Willoughbys. Lowry is prolific and has some series books (The Giver) and some good chapter books (Goonie Bord Greene, also a bit silly) but this one is just silly. Middle years.

MacDonald, Betty. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (series). Classic silly chapter books about kids who do wrong and get just punishments. Elementary.

Slobodkin, Louis. Round Trip Spaceship, Spaceship in the Park, and Spaceship under the Apple Tree. Wonderful older author. Elementary-middle.

Steig, William. Steig has so many great (long) picture books it is hard to pick just one. You probably know Shrek (not much like the movie) but what about Solomon the Rusty Nail and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble? Elementary.

Wodehouse, P.D. Jeeves (series). Silly isn’t just for little kids! Middle years-adults.

Wood, Mary Rose. The Incorrigibles (series). Because it is our favorite series ever, I have to include the Incorrigbles again here. Middle-teens.

What are your favorite silly books?

Nebby

Booklist: Myths, Fables, and Tales

Dear Reader,

We continue with booklists I have put together over the years. Today’s list is about tales: famous stories retold including ancient myths, fables, and legendary tales. You can find all my lists of living books here.

To keep things as simple as possible, I divide the books into four ages ranges: preschool to early elementary; elementary; middle years (roughly 5th-8th grades); and teens. Keep in mind that many harder books can be read aloud to younger children and that older ones can still enjoy and get a lot out of easier books.

Myths, Fables, and Tales

Bulla, Clyde Robert. The Sword in the Tree. A Viking story. Bulla’s books are wonderful. Elementary-middle.

Caudill, Rebecca. Contrary Jenkins. Old West tall tales. Elementary.

Climo, Shirley. Atalanta’s Race. Picture book of the classic Greek story. Elementary.

Colum, Padraic. The Golden Fleece. I love how Colum weaves together a bunch of myths within this one narrative. He also has The Children of Odin (Norse myths) and versions of Homer. Middle years +.

d’Aulaire, Ingri and Edgar. Book of Greek Myths and Book of Norse Myths. The d’Aulaires’ volumes are wonderful, illustrated ones. Elementary-middle years.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Wonder BookTanglewood Tales, and The Great Stone Face. Ancient stories and modern ones. All ages.

Homer. The Odyssey, trans. by Robert Fagles. We read this edition together when my kids were in high school. Teens.

Hutton, Warwick. Theseus and the Minotaur. Picture book. Elementary.

Irving, Washington. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. Classic American tales. We used the Rabbit Ears version fo the first and an edition edited by Moses for the second. There is a lot of depth to these stories so they can be read again by teens (see this post on high school literature). Elementary +.

Kellogg, Steven. Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill. Picture book. Elementary.

Marshall, H.E. Stories of Beowulf Told to Children. Elementary +.

McCaughrean, Geraldine. This wonderful author has lots of beautifully illustrated versions of classic stories: The Odyssey, 1001 Arabian Nights, Gilgamesh, and the Canterbury Tales. Elementary +.

Morris, Gerald. Knights’ Tales (series). Decent chapter book versions of King Arthur stories. Elementary.

Osborne, Mary Pope. American Tall Tales. From the author of the Magic Treehouse series. Elementary. She also has chapter book versions of tales from the Odyssey.

Pyle, Howard. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood and The Story of King Arthur. Pyle’s books are older and wonderful. Middle years +.

Pyle, Howard. Books of Wonder (series). Shorter folklore like tales. Elementary.

Rabbit Ears Treasury (series). This publisher has a lot of books of tales. Elementary.

Reynard the Fox. A French story in poetic form. Middle-teens.

Spenser, Edmund. The Faerie Queen. An old British story in poetry. We read selections. Middle-teens.

White, T.H. The Once and Future King. King Arthur. Middle-teens.

Zeman, Ludmila. Gilgamesh Trilogy (series). The Mesopotamian myths in picture book form. Elementary-middle.

For tales that are adapted from Shakespeare’s plays, see this post on literature.

Nebby

Scientific Evidence for the Power of Fiction

Dear Reader,

Just a few random thoughts today from books I have been reading.

First from Virginia Woolf, a feminist writer of the 1920s:

“Fiction is likely to contain more truth than fact.” A Room of One’s Own (Leonard Woolf, 1957) p. 4

And Abigail Marsh, from a secular professor of psychology and neuroscience:

” . . . books are windows into the minds of the people who wrote them and the people who are written about. Fiction, in particular, represents what the psychologist Keith Oatley calls ‘the mind’s flight-simulator’ — a vehicle for exploring the rich mental and emotional landscapes of people, we have never met.

” . . . fiction enables us to become emotionally invested in the characters we encounter, to care about their plights and their fates.” The Fear Factor (Basic Books, 2017) pp. 243-44

Marsh goes on to argue that written fiction does this better than other media because it requires the use of the imagination in a way visual media do not. She cites studies which show that reading fiction increases people’s compassion and empathy and further says that:

“People who read fiction (but not nonfiction) are better at identifying complex and subtle emotions in others’ faces. And when subjects in one study were experimentally assigned to read a work of literary fiction, they reported increased empathetic concern for others even long after they had closed the book.” p. 245

If you are uncomfortable with these non-Christian sources — and even if you are not — I also highly recommend “Christians and Lit,” a recent episode of the Mortification of Spin podcast in which the hosts discuss the value of fiction, and give lots of good book recommendations.

Off to do some reading!

Nebby

Booklist: Books about Literature and Authors

Dear Reader,

We continue with booklists I have put together over the years. Today’s list is one of the shorter one: books about literature and authors. You can find all my lists of living books here.

To keep things as simple as possible, I divide the books into four ages ranges: preschool to early elementary; elementary; middle years (roughly 5th-8th grades); and teens. Keep in mind that many harder books can be read aloud to younger children and that older ones can still enjoy and get a lot out of easier books.

Books about Literature and Authors

Berne, Jennifer. On Wings of Words. Re Emily Dickinson. Elementary.

Coville, Bruce. William Shakespeare’s … (series). Picture book versions of the bard’s plays. Elementary-middle.

Johnson, D.B. Henry Builds a Cabin, et.al. Picture books on Henry David Thoreau. Elementary-middle.

Lamb, Charles and Mary. Tales from Shakespeare. Narrative versions of select plays. Elementary-teens.

Lorbiecki, Marybeth. Louisa May and Mr. Thoreau’s Flute. Re Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau. Picture book. Elementary.

Ludwig, Ken. How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. This book is for the adults but I highly recommend it, especially if your own understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare is limited.

Maltbie, P.I. Bambino and Mr. Twain. Re Mark Twain. Elementary.

McCaughrean, Geraldine. Stories from Shakespeare. She also has a version of The Canterbury Tales. Lovely illustrated books. Elementary.

Nesbit, E. Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare. Narrative versions of select plays. Elementary-teens.

Stanley, Diane, The Bard of Avon and Charles Dickens. Stanley has lots of biographies. Elementary-middle.

Whelan, Gloria. Pathless Woods. Re Hemingway. Middle years.

Winter, Jeanette. Emily Dickinson’s Letters to the World.  Elementary.

Yolen, Jane. My Uncle Emily. Re Emily Dickinson. Elementary.

Lastly, this list is supposed to be books about literature but I wanted to add the Poetry for Young People series (various authors) for wonderful, illustrated introductions to many great poets.

Nebby

 

 

 

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Blogging about education, theology, and more

Afterthoughts

Blogging about education, theology, and more

Homeschooling Middle East

A Homeschooling/Unschooling Adventure from Bahrain to Dubai that's a story for anyone, anywhere who's interested in offering their kids an educational alternative. Please have fun visiting and have even more fun commenting! We have now moved to Granada, Spain and I will write again once we've settled down!!

Exclusive Psalmody

For the Encouragement and Preservation of Biblical Worship

Charlotte Mason Institute

Supporting an international conversation toward an authentic Charlotte Mason education - awakening to delightful living