Stuff We Like :: 2.9.19

Let me just state for the record that the weekend got here *just in time* this week.

what’s happening at home/school/life

Suzanne and I rounded up our favorite reads of the month. Now I have to go snag a copy of her Virginia Woof fan fiction or I am going to have to live with more readerly regret.

I am a little obsessed with not getting the flu right now, so that’s probably why I felt the need to update our science of infection reading list.

Last week’s readaloud of the week feels like a good way to start a conversation with our kids about how to deal with racism when we see it.

I made a little list of the shows and movies we’re looking forward to streaming in our homeschool this month. Maybe you have some suggestions to add?

One year ago, we published a reading list to get you started on a Nelson Mandela unit study. (Also: Shelli’s review of The Birchbark House and ideas for breaking the February cabin fever rut.)

Two years ago, we were digging into some of the great works of the Harlem Renaissance. (Also: It must have been the lead-up to the Great Backyard Bird Count weekend then, too, because we put together a birds unit study.)

Three years ago: Every day is Star Wars Day, and Shelli had some fun ideas for your Star Wars celebration.

Four years ago: Everything you ever wanted to know about Suzanne.


the links i liked

This is so exciting: Kwame Alexander has his own book imprint!

The Challenger explosion is one of my first “current events” memories — my teacher at the time had applied to be the teacher-astronaut, so we followed Christa McAuliffe’s story closely. Her death was so shocking to me. I love that these teachers are taking some of her lesson plans into space — it’s the most fitting tribute I can imagine.

I mean, this essay is interesting whether you are obsessing over the Wrinkle in Time movie or not, but especially if you are obsessing over the Wrinkle in Time movie you should read this: What do we mean by “dimensions,” and how do they affect reality?

This is probably one of the most upsetting pieces about health insurance you’ll read this year. Read it anyway.

I may or may not actually make it to the theater to see Black Panther, but I would go stand out in the rain to watch its fabulous cast walk down the red carpet. 

Not sure if it’s great news that there’s a new prize that honors detective fiction that’s not based around women’s rapes and murders or depressing that the pool of potential honorees is so small. Either way, I’m glad to have a new place to look for my next mystery fix.

If loving RuPaul is wrong, I don’t want to be right.


what i’m reading and watching

I have discovered Hilary McKay’s books, and they are carrying me gently through the murky emotional landscape of this week, which has felt like a month. (Do you have weeks like that?) They are all about the Casson family, which includes an artist mother, a lovable but disreputable father, and four children (all named for paint colors): Cadmium (Caddy), Saffron (Saffy), Indigo, and Rose. They are warm and messy and British and affectionate, and I love them the way I love Noel Streatfeild or Elizabeth Enright books. If that sounds up your alley, maybe start with Saffy’s Angel, in which Saffy finds out she’s actually adopted and makes a lovely friend. (The other books are Indigo’s Star, Permanent Rose, Caddy Ever After, and Forever Rose — and if (like me) you find yourself totally hooked and not ready to quit hanging out with the Cassons just yet, you can also read Rose’s Blog, which is a too-short collection of blog entries written by the youngest Casson after her brothers and sisters are off to college, etc.

I am continuing my Madeline L’Engle readathon, too. (I seem to be in readathon mode.) I finished A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and technically, I suppose, I should have read An Acceptable Time next to finish out the official Time Quintet, but I feel like I have to start with the first Polly story instead, so I read through The Arm of the Starfish and Dragons in the Water, and I’ve got A House Like a Lotus lined up for my weekend reading. (When I finish with Polly, I have to go read all the Austin family books so that I can catch up on Zachary, and then, finally, I can get back to An Acceptable Time. I have a method.)


what’s happening in our homeschool

One thing we were interested in exploring this Black History Month is what life was like for people living in Africa during the Middle Ages. (I may have talked A LOT at dinner about Black Tudors, but it was so interesting and anyway, my poor kids are used to it by now!). I found a book by Patricia McKissick called The Royal Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay: Life in Medieval Africa that seemed like just the kind of thing we were looking for, and we’ve really been enjoying reading it. It focuses on the years 500-ish to 1700-ish C.E., and it’s clear that there’s not a lot of primary source material available to work with — the line between history and myth gets blurry in places, but as long as you know that going in, I think it’s a great place to start learning a little about a time and place that doesn’t get a lot of historical coverage.