Just in time for Halloween, the kick-off to one of our favorite new spooky series is on sale. In an alternate Victorian London, ghosts terrorize the city—and the only people who can stop them are psychically gifted children, who battle ghosts by night.
One of my favorite book discoveries in recent years (thanks, Suzanne!), The Girl with All the Gifts is an intelligent, thought-provoking novel with a diverse cast of characters and a plot so good it would be a shame to spoil it.
This book—about a school for magic and a boy who's desperate to flunk out—isn't going to be the greatest book you've ever read, but it's a ton of fun and adventure for middle grades fantasy fans.
This is one of those books that's just made for people who love books and clever wordplay. Thursday Next is a literary detective who spends most of her days authenticating Shakespearean manuscripts and chasing down criminals who want to get their hands on an original Dickens, but as dangerous as Special Operations can be, she's totally unprepared for the challenges of actually jumping into the action of her beloved Jane Eyre to track down a master criminal.
This collection of stories includes some of my personal favorites, including "The Speckled Band" (or Dear Mr. Holmes, seriously, women can handle the truth, OK?) and "A Scandal in Bohemia."
Looking for a living book to go along with your early U.S. history studies? This survivalist tale of a 13-year-old boy who meets a friendly Native American when he's left on his own to take care of his family's Maine homestead opens up lots of conversations about life in colonial America.
I don't want to oversell it or anything, but Anastasia Krupnik is one of the greatest books ever written, and if you haven't read it, you should be reading it right now. (Seriously, go read it!)
We recommended this sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying, sometimes heartbreaking novel about two thieves in search of eggs for a Soviet wedding party during the Nazi siege of Leningrad as a good read when you’re studying Stalinist Russia. It’s that for sure, but it’s also a great standalone book for teens.
This hard science-fiction book, about an astronaut who must think creatively to survive on Mars when he's accidentally left there by his crew,
Here's a book about the American Revolution that tells a story we don't always hear: Slave Isabel agrees to spy on her Tory owners, in the hope that a new country based on the idea of liberty will mean freedom—finally—for Isabel and her little sister. This book should be on your U.S. history reading list.
Historian Mary Beard has expressed her love for the books in this mystery series set in ancient Rome, and we think they're essential reading for any ancient history buff. This installment has girl detective Flavia and her friends traveling to present-day Morocco. (This isn't the first book in the series, but you can read this as a standalone and enjoy it.)
Sometimes you read a book that's just the right mix of funny and fantastic, and it's hard to believe everyone else isn't reading it, too. That's how I feel about The Last Dragonslayer, about a foundling named Jenny working at a magical employment agency in a world where magic is dwindling. One of our family's surprise favorite readalouds.
Sometimes you just want a fun, frothy romp of a readaloud. This story — about four kids competing to create the next big candy crazy — is a great option.
We liked The Mysterious Benedict Society so much we came up with a whole list of books to read after you finish it, so you know we're not exaggerating when we say this tale of four intrepid kids who go undercover with the aid of a mysterious benefactor deserves a spot on your homeschool's must-read list.
Want to start a conversation about people's perceptions of homeschooling? This book, about a stereotypically life-ignorant homeschooler is a great place to start. When Suzanne reviewed it last summer (after her daughter read it as part of a summer lit class), she wrote: "Having read Schooled, I can understand a bit better what sort of prejudices that teacher may have inadvertently brought into the classroom, prejudices that my daughter was able to challenge simply by being herself."
It's so appropriate that a major theme in Pennypacker's final Clementine book is how hard it cam be to say goodbye to something we've loved. The Clementine series is definitely one of our favorite readalouds, and this book is a fitting send-off to one of our favorite characters.
When Suzanne and I started planning reading lists for the home | school | life book club, Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small was one of the books that kept coming up. This sequel really is almost as good.
Long-time readers will know that I need only the flimsiest excuse to start raving about Connie Willis's series about time-traveling Oxford historians. This book, about a group of graduate students who travel back to World War II, is so rich in details that it would make great supplemental reading for World War II studies.