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.)
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.
Still on sale
Paper Girls (Vol. 1) is $3.99. Suzanne is such a fan of this graphic novel that it made her best of 2017 list: “For older YA readers (and fans of Stranger Things), Paper Girls is a fantastic time-traveling alien-invasion adventure set in the 80s.”
The Girl With All the Gifts is $2.99. Suzanne says this is one of her favorite apocalyptic novels: “This zombie-apocalypse novel takes on deeply human themes while still being scary and action-packed and gory (as one expects when you’ve got zombies around)… And I can’t really tell you much more than that, because part of the fun going in is not knowing exactly what’s happening.”
The Night Gardener is $2.99 and a great Halloween readaloud. From our review: “This is a terrific middle grades take on classic Gothic literature, complete with a spooky old house, a deliciously creepy ghost, and a slow nightmarish unfolding. Auxier has a deft lyrical voice that echoes classic scary tales like Rebecca and The Woman in White, but the story has a steady action pacing that will appeal to tween readers. Kids will identify with Kip, who really wishes he could just be like everybody else, and Molly, who’s taken on adult responsibilities that are really too big for her to face alone. There’s plenty of suspense and drama, but it winds up with a satisfyingly safe and happy ending for pretty much everyone the reader has gotten fond of over the course of the book.”
Akata Witch is $2.99. Suzanne says: “Are you looking for something to fill the Harry-Potter-sized hole in your reading heart? Do you want to provide your middle school/YA readers with a more diverse bookshelf so that they don’t end up exclusively reading books by white guys about white guys for their entire educational career? (Not that I’m BITTER over here or anything.) I’ve got the book for you! This fantasy novel is about 12-year-old Sunny, born in America to Nigerian parents who have since moved Sunny and family back to Nigeria, where she discovers that she’s a Leopard Person, heir to certain magical abilities. Like Rowling, but in a completely different setting, Okorafor creates a magical world existing next to and within our own, and we get to see Sunny explore this world, making friends, finding teachers, and shopping for magical items. (Is it weird that I LOVE the magical-shopping parts in fantasy novels?)”
Ella Minnow Pea is $2.99. From our favorite epistolary novels list: “This one’s an epistolary novel and a lipogram, you guys! If you are a fellow word nerd, you will adore this, so I am recommending it in this list even though it actually gets kind of hard to read aloud in places — mostly because the fictional South Carolina town in which it is set starts banning letters of the alphabet as they fall of the aging statue of their town’s namesake, (also fictional) pangram coiner Nevin Nollop. In fact, the town’s language totalitarianism pushes the limits of reason, and it’s up to young Ella to fight for freedom of speech.”
Cosmos is $2.99. If you love the series (and who doesn’t?), you’ll love Sagan’s book, which explores astronomy and history through the lens of the human experience. Even in the places where it’s aged a bit, it’s lovely, lyrical, and insightful.
The Clockwork Scarab is $0.99. Bram Stoker’s sis teams up with Sherlock Holmes’s niece to solve mysteries in a steampunky Victorian London. In this first book in the series, the duo suspects a secret society based on Egyptology may be behind the disappearance of two society girls. I think this is one of the most fun middle grades mystery series I’ve discovered in recent years.
El Deafo is $3.99. Being different isn't always easy. When Cece Bell loses her hearing, she has to learn how to navigate the world in all new ways, including wearing a cutting-edge 1970s hearing aid and figuring out how to make friends when she can't always hear what people are saying—or when she hears too much. Cece is a likable, friendly character, and her story—part memoir, part graphic novel—is one that almost every middle schooler can relate to. This is one of the graphic novels designed specifically for the Kindle, so you don't have to worry about weird formatting issues.
The Great Gilly Hopkins is $1.99. This middle grades classic takes a difficult, depressing story — of a girl in foster care who years to be reunited with her mom — and resists the urge to wrap it up with a traditional happy ending. That doesn’t make it any less warm or funny, though.
Bone Gap is $1.99. Booklist says, “'In Ruby's refined and delicately crafty hand, reality and fantasy don't fall neatly into place. She compellingly muddles the two together right through to the end. Even then, after she reveals many secrets, magic still seems to linger in the real parts of Bone Gap, and the magical elements retain their frightening reality. Wonder, beauty, imperfection, cruelty, love, and pain are all inextricably linked but bewitchingly so.'' For high school.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is $2.99. There’s so much to love about Douglas Adams’ galaxy-hopping novel that it’s hard to know where to start: Arthur Dent accidentally hitches a ride on a passing spaceship just before the Earth is destroyed to make room for an intergalactic superhighway — and as the last Earthling, sets off with his alien buddy, a trouble-making galactic leader, a girl he once tried to date, and a depressed robot to explore the universe.
The Game of Silence is $2.74. 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.”
The Iron King is $1.99. Lately I’ve been recommending Julie Kagawa to people who want something fantastic to follow up the Percy Jackson series. Like Percy, Meghan has her world upended when she discovers — on the 16th birthday — that she’s the daughter of a mortal mother and a faery king father. In this first book, Meghan discovers the truth about herself when she ventures in the dangerous world of faery to find her little brother, who’s been swapped for a changeling.
Strange the Dreamer is $2.99. School Library Journal said it better than I can: “There is a mythological resonance to her tale of gods and mortals in conflict, as well as in Lazlo's character arc from unassuming, obsessed librarian to something much more. VERDICT This outstanding fantasy is a must-purchase for all YA collections.”
Coraline The Graphic Novel is $1.99. If you are in the market for a spooky Halloween graphic novel, Gaiman’s now-classic about a girl who discovers another — darker — world behind a secret door in her new apartment is hard to beat.
Nightmares! is $2.99. Just in time for Halloween, this just-scary-enough middle grades story pits a group of kids against their biggest fears as nightmares start to invade the everyday world.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay is $2.99. Harry Potter completists won’t want to miss this script that kicks of the Newt Scamander movies, even though it takes place many years before The Boy Who Lived was born.
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.
The Glass Town Game is just $0.99. I snagged this one as soon as I saw it since it made Suzanne’s Best of 2017 list — she says “Similar in style to Valente’s Fairyland series with a dash of The Phantom Tollbooth, this would be a great read-aloud and introduction to the Brontes (although you may have to prepare your listeners for some post-book heartbreak when they learn about the eventual fates of the siblings). I especially loved the Jane Austen cameo, presented (as Valente apologetically notes) from Charlotte’s point of view (she’s not a fan).”