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 Terror is $2.99, and apparently Suzanne will accost you on the street about how great it is: “I LOVE THIS BOOK. Simmons takes the historical story of Sir John Franklin’s lost 1847 expedition to find the Northwest Passage—which already involves polar bears, scurvy, and cannibalism—and adds SNOW MONSTERS. It is completely and utterly awesome. I first read it about 10 years ago, and immediately went around grabbing both friends and strangers on the street to tell them YOU MUST READ THIS.”
Still on sale
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?”
Math with Bad Drawings: Illuminating the Ideas That Shape Our Reality is $3.99. I love the Math with Bad Drawings blog, so it’s not surprising that this book is one of my favorite math books ever. From the publisher: “A hilarious reeducation in mathematics-full of joy, jokes, and stick figures-that sheds light on the countless practical and wonderful ways that math structures and shapes our world.”
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.”
Number the Stars is $2.99. This Newbery award winner chronicles a little known piece of World War II history, in which the Danish resistance rescued 7,000 Jews by sending them to Sweden when word got out about the German plan to round up Jews and relocate them to concentration camps. Reading about the atrocities of World War II can be hard, and this book reminds me of Mr. Rogers saying that when something terrible happens, we should look for the helpers. This book does that, and I always put it on my WW2 reading lists because of that.
Interpreter of Maladies is $2.99. Suzanne said: “This slim but celebrated collection from Indian-American author Lahiri lived up to its reputation for me: I thoroughly enjoyed her melancholy but fascinating stories of culture clash,” and I’m always going to include at least one of Lahiri’s books on any immigration stories reading list.
Truly Devious is $1.99. From our summer 2018 reading list: “Ellingham Academy is one of the most competitive private schools in the country—and also the scene of one of the country’s most notorious unsolved mysteries. New student Stevie Bell is determined to put her true crime obsession to work on Elligham’s famous cold case, but the murderer may not be ancient history after all.” My caveat: This is the first in a series, so if you can’t stand cliffhangers, buy it cheap but wait to read it until the series wraps — this first book has a particularly frustrating cliffhanger ending.
The Lie Tree is $2.81. 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.
Dread Nation is $1.99. Suzanne loved this alternate history novel: “What’s that you say? Ireland has written an alternate history zombie novel, where the dead rise during the Civil War, after the battle of Gettysburg? Where black people, ostensibly freed from slavery, are sent to zombie-fighting schools to protect the white folks from danger? WHY YES I WOULD LIKE TO READ THAT VERY MUCH PLEASE. And I’m happy to report that it does not disappoint. I found this book simultaneously upsetting and hopeful, both in its content and the way it resonates with the current political climate. Another great YA choice (I think this one is officially YA? I don’t understand how these decisions are made) and I’m very excited that it appears to be the start of a series — I WOULD LIKE THE NEXT ONE NOW PLEASE AND THANK YOU.”
The Giver is $2.99. From our middle school reading list: “What cost does utopia have? How important is freedom? Tweens are ready to tackle those ambiguous questions right along with young Jonah in this deceptively simple novel.”
Travels with Charley in Search of America is $1.99. Steinbeck’s travelogue was one of road trip must-reads in the summer 2017 issue of HSL: “Steinbeck spent most of his career writing about the United States as both a setting and a metaphor for his characters’ experiences, so it seems fitting that in his late life, he set off on a three-month trip to revisit his United States and discover it again with his pet poodle Charley as co-pilot.”
Between the World and Me is $2.99. I don’t like to be evangelical about books and shout “everybody should read this!” but I make an exception for this slim tome, which I do think is a must-read in our modern world. And Suzanne agrees: “You’ve read this, right? If not, please do. I was surprised to find that it was such a slim, undersized book—I almost didn’t see it on the shelf. I am not a newcomer to the idea of white privilege (though I don’t claim to be very far down the path as the process of understanding and changing perspective and learning from others is always ongoing) but I was surprised (and embarrassed) by how challenging I found it at times. It was a wonderful, powerful read—go pick it up. I know I’ll be reading it again.”
Ungifted is $1.99. To be honest, I don’t love the trope that smart kids aren’t good at all the stuff outside the classroom — smart people I’ve known are as diverse as any other group — but if that doesn’t bother you, this is a fun and funny book about a middle school troublemaker who accidentally gets sent to a school for the gifted and talented, where he shakes up — well, pretty much everything.
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.
Seveneves is $2.99. This hard sci-fi story is a great follow-up for fans of The Martian. What would happen if the surface of the Earth suddenly became uninhabitable? In Stephenson’s world, scientists band together to create a tiny space colony of chosen survivors, a task that comes with constant technical challenges that need to be scienced if humanity is going to stand a chance of survival. (The first part is stronger than the second, but I always feel that way about Stephenson’s books.)
Atonement is $2.99 — and while the sadness at its heart makes it a hard read if you’re in a dark headspace yourself, I think, it’s a gorgeous novel about the perils and pleasures of writing and the lingering shadow of guilt that can’t be absolved. I’d put it on a World War II reading list since you already know that’s going to be sad but rewarding.
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.