Today's Best Book Deals for Your Homeschool
(Prices are correct as of the time of writing, but y'all know sales move fast — check before you click the buy button! These are Amazon links — read more about how we use affiliate links to help support some of the costs of the HSL blog here.)
The four-book Mary Poppins collection — including Mary Poppins: Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Comes Back, Mary Poppins Opens the Door, and Mary Poppins in the Park — is $2.99. Travers’ Mary Poppins is darker and more subversive than the Disney film version, but whichever take you prefer, this collection is the perfect readaloud preparation for the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns.
The Things They Carried is $2.99. From our Vietnam war studies reading list in the fall 2017 issue: “‘If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie,’ says O’Brien’s narrator, the connecting link in a series of stories about the war. It’s interesting to consider why O’Brien — who actually served as an infantryman in Vietnam — chose to make his memoir fiction, especially in the context of his essential premise that war stories must necessarily be immoral.”
Still on sale
Conrad’s Fate is $3.99. Conrad’s creepy uncle has warned him that the key to overturning his bad luck lies in finding the wizard who did him wrong in a past life — so Conrad’s gone undercover at the estate on the hill to do just that. But he’s not the only one with an ulterior motive for working as a servant, he discovers, when he meets his new roommate, and things are definitely not normal at the mansion, where reality is prone to making abrupt changes at any time. You don’t have to read Diana Wynne Jones’s Chrestomanci series in any particular order, but I do think this one has a lot of inside jokes for people who’ve already met reluctant Chrestomanci Christopher and Millie in The Lives of Christopher Chant.
A Skinful of Shadows is $2.99. Hardinge’s books have an eerie otherness that sneaks up on you as you read, and this tale of a girl during the English Civil War with the ability to be possessed by ghosts is no exception. The Observer said: “Hardinge's tale of ghosts, Puritans, and shaping your own destiny is an unmissable, hypnotic treat.”
The one-volume edition of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is $2.99. When it comes to fantasy, there’s clearly Tolkien-fantasy and non-Tolkien-fantasy — his Middle Earth epic has been that important in the development of the genre. You may already have it on your bookshelf, but this is a great deal if you want to have the whole series handy in case of emergency airport layovers or vacations where you don’t want to pay the extra baggage fee for your books! (You may also enjoy: Gift ideas for people who love The Hobbit.)
The Glass Universe is $1.99. I love this book about the oft-forgotten women of the Harvard College Observatory, whose work would shape huge chunks of modern astronomy knowledge. I like doing this as a unit study with Hidden Figures.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is $2.99 — and one of my all-time favorite Agatha Christie mysteries. From our Agatha Christie book/movie list: “The premise is simple enough — a newly retired Hercule Poirot agrees to investigate the murder of wealthy Roger Ackroyd. But this book turns the detective novel on its head in the best possible way. No wonder the Crime Writers’ Association voted it the best crime novel ever written.”
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions is $2.99. From our fall 2014 review: “XKCD creator Munroe tackles questions from “What if there were no moon?” to “How many elements in the periodic table can kill you?”
Code Name Verity is $1.99. Speaking of World War II fiction, this YA novel, according to Kirkus Reviews, is “a carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching.”
The Lie Tree is $2.45. Even when I don’t especially like Hardinge’s work, I find it so interesting, and this book — about a 19th century English girl who gets caught up in the era’s intellectual battle between evolutionary theory and traditional faith when she sets out to solve the murder of her priest/amateur archaeologist father — is no exception. I had some nits to pick, particularly with the resolution, but this one’s totally worth reading.
Horton Halfpott : Or, The Fiendish Mystery of Smugwick Manor; or, The Loosening of M'Lady Luggertuck's Corset is $2.99 — and if that title doesn’t make you smile, steer clear, because this middle grades tongue-in-cheek take on Dickens, Upstairs Downstairs, and Gothic lit totally lives up to its slightly ridiculous, utterly delightful name.
Gregor the Overlander is $3.99. This fantasy epic takes place in a world deep beneath the city streets, where cockroaches, rats, and spiders have an uneasy truce with the Underlander humans. When Gregor accidentally plunges into the world, following his little sister, the Underlanders think he may be the hero of their ancient prophesy.
George is $3.99. “While George has no doubt she's a girl, her family relates to her as they always have: as a boy. George hopes that if she can secure the role of Charlotte in her class's upcoming production of Charlotte's Web, her mom will finally see her as a girl and be able to come to terms with the fact that George is transgender. With the help of her closest ally, Kelly, George attempts to get the rest of the world to accept her as she is,” says School Library Journal.
The Farwalker’s Quest is $3.99. Why isn’t this middle grades fantasy more popular? Set in a futuristic, post-technology world, the story sends friends Ariel and Zeke on a quest to find the source of an ancient telling-dart, which, of course, also becomes a quest to discover who they really are.
Strange Practice is $2.99. My daughter recommends this twist on traditional monster literature: Dr. Greta Helsing treats all kinds of undead ailments, from entropy in mummies to vocal strain in banshees. It’s an abnormally normal life — until a group of murderous monks start killing London’s living and dead inhabitants, and Greta may be the only one who can stop them.
The Game of Silence is $1.99. Shelli loves this series about an Ojibwe girl navigating changes during U.S. westward migration: “The book opens with Omakayas standing on the shore of her home, an island in Lake Superior. In the far distance, she sees strange people approaching. Once they arrive, her family finds that these people are Anishinabeg people too. (We call them the Ojibwe or Chippewa people now.) They are haggard, hungry, and some of them have lost members of their family. Among them is a baby boy who has lost his parents, and now he becomes Omakayas’s new baby brother. These people are refugees who have been pushed out of their homes by the chimookomanag, or white people, and as the story unfolds, Omakayas’s family realizes that they, too, must leave their homes.”
Howl’s Moving Castle is $3.99. Sometimes a curse can be just what you needed, as Sophie discovers in this delightful fantasy about a hat maker's daughter who's cursed to premature old age by the Witch of the Waste. To break the curse, Sophie will need to team up with the mysterious wizard Howl, who happens to be stuck under a curse of his own — but first, she'll have to get to his castle, which has a habit of wandering around. I love this as a readaloud, on its own, or (of course) a companion piece to the equally wonderful (though often quite different) movie adaptation.