Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Ten Books We Will Be Reading For School This Year


The school year is starting back up for us in the next few weeks.  Because we homeschool we have a lot of flexibility in terms of start days and break days.  My state requires a certain amount of school days and given that we never know how Will is going to be feeling we are starting as early as possible to enable us to take as many breaks as we need to take.  I'm hoping some of those breaks will be for fun stuff too!  Last year with all his treatment he essentially "unschooled" and followed his interests which was interesting.   He ended up doing a deep dive on the Great Emu War which took place in Australia in 1932 and figuring out exponents and square roots in math.  He also quizzed his anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist every time he had to have a procedure and did lots of research on that.  While that is all well and good I'm hoping to add in a bit more structure for this school year.  One thing we've discovered in homeschooling is that we both really love read alouds so we found a lit curriculum that works with that and here are 10 books we are planning to read aloud this school year.  Many of these tie in with our history curriculum where he is learning about the Middle Ages.  

1.  The Silver Balloon by Susan Bonner - I don't know much about this book but it involves pen-pals and discovery at a natural history museum so it looks interesting.

2.  Odd and the Frost Giant by Neil Gaiman - Will is fascinated by mythology so I'm hoping this story involving Norse mythology written by Gaiman hooks him.

3.  Castle Diary: The Journal of Tobias Burgess by Richard Platt - We've read several of these diaries and always enjoy them.  They're not the most riveting stories but they do a good job of telling the story of an everyday kid in different circumstances.  This one ties into the history curriculum.

4.   The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo - We read The Tale of Desperaux last year and really enjoyed it so I was excited to see another DiCamillo book on the reading list.

5.  The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood - I'm hoping this fiction account of a kid whose job is to steal Hamlet will get him curious about Shakespeare.  Plus, how can I pass up any book that takes place in The Globe?

6.  Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin - I'm really excited abut this one as it ties into history AND into mythology as it takes place in the middle ages in China and explores folk tales and mythology through the eyes of a young girl growing up on her family's farm.

7.  The Apprentice by Pilar Molina Llorente - Another book that ties into history and hopefully I can pull in some art study as well.  This is the story of a thirteen year old in Renaissance Florence who dreams of being a painter.

8.  Knight's Castle by Edward Eager - I had never heard of this author but when I started looking I discovered he published a number of children's books that all look like fantastic tales and credits E. Nesbit as his inspiration so I'm seriously curious.

9.  The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech - This looks kind of like a fairy tale - a spoiled over indulged king who is never happy and two plucky peasants on a quest.  I know nothing about it but am really curious.

10. The Four Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright - So the last book on the official list involved the child's family member being diagnosed with cancer and since cancer kind of rules our life as it is we decided to skip this one and I'm throwing in an old favorite of mine.

Have you read any of these?  Opinions?  Any favorite middle grade books?


  1. Great idea - I know none of these but they all sound really promising. I really admire you keeping up with schooling and dealing with all the medical procedures.

  2. I actually don't know any of these and I'm a primary school librarian. I think our kids read way differently in different countries. And availability of course.
    But I will take a look at a few of these and keep an eye out for them.
    I love reading lists.

  3. The pen pal one sounds really good. I had my first penpal around age 11. I'd skip book #10 as well - life is hard enough.

  4. These are all great books! I have heard good things about all of them. We loved The Four Story Mistake and all the others in that series. My kids' (both boys) favorite series were Redwall by Brian Jacques and Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.

  5. Looks like a great selection of books.

  6. I haven't read any of these but I see a few that I wouldn't mind reading, especially Neil Gaiman and Kate DiCamillo. I hope that you and Will enjoy these!

  7. Great picks, they all sound pretty cool! Hope he enjoys these!

  8. I'm familiar with Sharon Creech - probably because my kids read her back in the 90s. I hope Will enjoys the reading!

  9. How exciting to have such a curriculum to use.

  10. These all sound great! I have The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, but I haven't read it yet. The Tale of Desperaux was a big favorite of Sebastian's. I had no idea it was the same author. 📚