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.)
There are SO many history books on sale today! I’m sharing more titles than usual. Sunday deals tend to be “One Day Only,” so jump on these deals quickly if they strike your fancy.
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American Indian Places, by Frances H. Kennedy, $2.99. Every part of America was home to native peoples long Europeans arrived. Sadly, much of this heritage is unknown to many modern Americans. This comprehensive guide highlights 365 different places that have historical or spiritual significance to Native Americans. The places are grouped geographically, and each listing contains historical details or stories from members of a local tribe.
Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase to Catch Lincoln’s Killer, by James L. Swanson, $1.99. This book is something else. It is solid history that reads like a modern page-turner thriller. The story of John Wilkes Booth’s capture is fascinating, and Swanson writes with an immediacy that will keep you on the edge of your seat. You may be familiar with the general story of Lincoln’s assassination, but you are likely to discover many more of the unbelievable twists and turns that happened during the 12 days between Lincoln’s and Booth’s deaths.
America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines, by Gail Collins, $1.99. Gail Collins has mastered the art of keeping history conversational, relevant, and engaging. America’s Women is a sweeping review of women’s role in the development of America. She profiles individual women from different eras to show the evolving nature of women’s roles and society’s expectations. This book is fact-packed but never feels like a textbook.
City of Dreams, by Tyler Anbinder, $2.99. Possibly more than any other city in America, New York City has been a landing place and long-term home for immigrants. City of Dreams explores the many contributions made by famous and non-famous immigrants over New York’s 400-year history. From the publisher: “Tyler Anbinder’s story is one of innovators and artists, revolutionaries and rioters, staggering deprivation and soaring triumphs. In so many ways, today’s immigrants are just like those who came to America in centuries past—and their stories have never before been told with such breadth of scope, lavish research, and resounding spirit.”
Apollo 13, by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger, $2.99. This is a history deal for the science lover. Many people are familiar with the story of the disastrous Apollo 13 mission because of the Tom Hanks movie. This book, written by one of the astronauts who lived through the hazardous experience, fills in all the details that the movie couldn’t get to in a two-hour run time. Apollo 13 takes you inside the capsule, to mission control, and more in the desperate quest to get three astronauts home alive.
Fly Girls, by Keith O’Brien, $2.99. Aviation is still a male-dominated field, but women have been a vital part of aviation history. Keith O’Brien profiles five women who stepped up to break the barriers that kept women out of the skies in the early 20th century. This Kindle version includes audio and video features that will bring this history to life!
STILL ON SALE
Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World, by Linda R. Hirshman, $2.99. At first glance, Ginsburg and O’Connor would seem to have little in common. Their backgrounds are different in virtually every particular. It was their career path, and the inherent struggles in trailblazing a path for women in the law, that brought them together and helped them to develop a warm working relationship and friendship. Sisters in Law is a biography of these two remarkable women and their work to improve women’s lives in America.
Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells, by Helen Scales, $1.99. Some scientists say we know more about space than we do about our oceans. When I look at mollusks, I definitely feel like they could be creatures from another planet. Some are tasty, some are deadly, all are fascinating. Spirals in Time is a collection of facts and tales of mollusks through history, from medical uses to trading in ancient cultures to all the uses of seashells after their hosts have abandoned them. Beautifully rendered line drawings enhance the descriptions.
In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories, by Alvin Schwartz, $1.99. Some kids just LOVE to be creeped out, and it’s never too early to get a delightfully spooky book into their hands. This is a collection of scary stories for beginning readers. Turn down the lights and let your child give a haunted story hour. The vibrant and twisted illustrations add to the fun.
Dear Martin, by Nic Stone, $1.99. From our 2017 Fall Book Guide: Teenage Justyce starts a journal writing to Martin Luther King, Jr., after a false arrest has him questioning racism and resistance in his world. When his worst fears are realized in a police shooting, Justyce has to confront the darkest parts of himself and the world he lives in.
Illegal, by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, $2.99. This beautifully drawn graphic novel tells the story of a Ghanaian boy’s journey for a better life. Ebo’s quest takes him through the Sahara, to Libya, and finally to an overcrowded boat attempting to cross to Europe. This is an important story about immigration, based on Colfer’s time working as a teacher in North Africa.
Letters of Note, Volume 1, by Shaun Usher, $3.99. Letters can be surprising, meaningful, and just plain odd. Shaun Usher has collected more than 100 interesting letters to share in this volume. You can read a letter from Elvis to President Nixon which Elvis offers to become a Federal Agent. The letters cover a wide time period and topics from politics to art to food. Each letter includes a big of background information, and many include a photo of the letter itself. This is a fun book to dip into over and over again.
Coraline: The Graphic Novel, by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell, $1.99. Coraline is a classic creepy tale about a girl who discovers an alternate version of her reality when she moves to a new house. At first the new house and new family seems like all Coraline has ever wanted, but things are not as they seem. I will never look at a Lalaloopsy doll in the same way having read this book. The realistic drawings increase the creep factor, making it more unsettling than the movie adaptation.
Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, by Marta McDowell, $1.99. Beatrix Potter’s stories of sentient animals getting up to mischief have charmed children and parents for generations. Her beautiful watercolor illustrations really bring her characters to life. In this book, McDowell describes the events that shaped Potter’s love of the outdoors, then takes readers on a guided tour of the outdoor settings that are so crucial to Potter’s work. Gorgeous watercolors and photos enhance the reading experience.
Life in a Medieval Castle, by Frances and Joseph Gies, $1.99. Interest in the medieval period had a resurgence in popularity with the rise of Game of Thrones. But you don’t need to be a die-hard dragon fan to appreciate this comprehensive guide to medieval life. The Gieses cover everything from food to heating to knights’ training. The comprehensive index makes it easy to dip in for just the information you need, or you can curl up and dive deep into a world long past.
The Sky Below, by Scott Parazynski and Susy Flory, $0.99. Scott Parazynski’s memoir of the adventures and training that led him to become an astronaut is fascinating. What makes this book thrilling, though, is the Kindle in Motion feature. When you read this book on a Kindle Fire or the Kindle app on another tablet, you will marvel at the embedded video. The pages come to live with views of rockets launching, the earth from space, and more. This is a must have for anyone interested in space flight.
How to Draw Cool Things, by Rachel Goldstein, $2.99. When I was in school, every class had at least one kid who knew how to make cool lettering or designs in the margins of the paper. I felt like it was some kind of magical power. Now your kids can be in on the secrets with this fun guide to drawing optical illusions, 3D doodles, and more. Twelve-year-old me is so jealous.
The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters: The Jolly Regina, by Kara LaReau, $4.52. The Bland sisters don’t like having too much excitement. Kale and Jaundice prefer to stick to their routine of staying at home and reading the dictionary. But when they are kidnapped by an all-female pirate gang, they are in for an adventure, whether they like it or not. This witty, charming series has a Series of Unfortunate Events vibe without quite the same degree of peril. A great choice for new chapter book readers.
The Royal Art of Poison, by Eleanor Herman, $1.99. This book sat in my house all summer, but I lost Library Chicken before I could read it. It’s back on my To Read list, and should be a perfect creepy read for October. Here’s what hooked me: “The story of poison is the story of power. For centuries, royal families have feared the gut-roiling, vomit-inducing agony of a little something added to their food or wine by an enemy. To avoid poison, they depended on tasters, unicorn horns, and antidotes tested on condemned prisoners. Servants licked the royal family’s spoons, tried on their underpants and tested their chamber pots. Ironically, royals terrified of poison were unknowingly poisoning themselves daily with their cosmetics, medications, and filthy living conditions.”
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, by Kiersten White, $1.99. Continuing our creepy theme for the day, we have this exciting and unsettling YA retelling of Frankenstein. Elizabeth is a neglected child who is brought into the Frankenstein family as a companion for the troubled Victor. She lives with the Frankensteins for years, her one task being to control Victor’s temper and dark impulses. But what must she do to keep him happy? Teens and adults with enjoy this “exquisitely disturbing” novel. The bonus copy of Mary Shelley’s original novel included in the ebook will make for an excellent comparative literature lesson.
How to Lie with Statistics, by Darrell Huff, $5.69. This short guide to statistics has been in print for more than 50 years, and with good reason. This book explains, with style and good humor, how scientists and the media can manipulate or misunderstand data. All the numbers in the examples are charmingly low ($15,000 as a high annual salary), but the analysis is spot on. Cartoons pepper the text and keep the feel light.
Remarkable Creatures, by Sean B. Carroll, $2.99. We take for granted that dinosaurs roamed the planet and that evolution has shaped modern plants and animals, but these facts were confirmed relatively recently. Biologist Sean Carroll tells the surprising and complicated story of the dozens of discoveries that let to our modern understanding of evolution. I am fascinated at the persistence of scientists and amateurs who traveled the world gathering fossil evidence. Remarkable Creatures is full of scientific detail, but its fast-paced prose will hook readers.
Stopping for a Spell, by Diana Wynne Jones, $2.99. You may know Diana Wynne Jones from her excellent Howl’s Moving Castle and Chrestomanci series. She is a master of immersive fantasy for young readers. Stopping for a Spell is a collection of three shorter stories designed for slightly younger readers. Set in a mostly familiar 20th century England with only a few magical differences, these tales will delight middle grade readers. Furniture comes to life, mysterious grannies come to stay, and more. Charming and detailed illustrations round out an enjoyable reading experience that will be a great introduction to the author’s work for new readers.
Big History: From the Big Bang to the Present, by Cynthia Stokes Brown, $2.99. From the publisher: Big History interweaves different disciplines of knowledge, drawing on both the natural sciences and the human sciences, to offer an all-encompassing account of history on Earth. This new edition is more relevant than ever before, as we increasingly grapple with accelerating rates of change and, ultimately, the legacy we will bequeath to future generations. Here is a path-breaking portrait of our world, from the birth of the universe from a single point the size of an atom to life on a twenty-first-century planet inhabited by seven billion people.
The Best Advice I Ever Got, by Katie Couric, $1.99. Katie Couric has interviewed so many people who have done great things, and she has asked many of them a simple question: “What is the best advice you were ever given?” This collection of personal stories from celebrities like Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, and Jimmy Kimmel is balanced with Kouric’s reflections on advice that has helped her make her way. It will inspire and encourage readers who are making plans for the future.
Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise?, by David Feldman, $2.99. Do you have that kid who always wants to know the answers to weird questions? Are you the grown-up version of that kid? David Feldman’s Imponderables series is just the thing for you. He answers such questions as “why do dogs circle before lying down?” and “why is a telephone keypad arranged differently from a calculator?” Feldman tracks down experts to get to the bottom of many strange questions. The short sections make this book appealing to casual readers who might not pick up a novel.
The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo, $3.89. This thrilling tale of adventure tells the story of Despereaux, a brave young mouse who takes on an extraordinary quest This moving story will delight readers young and old, though it is somewhat darker than you might expect from the cover art. Beautiful illustrations set the tone.
The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders, $2.99. When Sophie takes the fall for a friend’s crime, she is banished to the forever dark side of the tidally locked planet. This is an interesting science fiction novel about irreversible and inevitable changes that humans have on wildlife and environments they inhabit, no matter how unchangeable the environment may seem. Teens will enjoy the alternating perspectives from young protagonists.
Rose Daughter, by Robin McKinley, $1.99. This is McKinley’s second retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story — a darker, twistier, thornier version of the story set in a decidedly magical fantasy world
How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm, by Mei-Ling Hopgood, $2.99. Parents and non-parents are full of deeply held beliefs about the right way to raise a child, but so many of these differ from culture to culture. Mei-Ling Hopgood discovered the extent of these differences when she moved from the U.S. to Argentina. This culture shock inspired her to visit parents around the world to discover the many different ways to be a good parent. Vivid descriptions and personal reflections on Hopgood’s own parenting decisions round out a delightful, thought-provoking volume.
Ultimate Book of Adventure, by Scott McNeely, $1.99. Have you ever looked at someone’s Instagram feed and wished you could be off having wild and memorable adventures? This book is the perfect guide to actually making those adventures happen. Activities are rated on money, brag factor, fitness, and danger. Whether you want to swim with humpback whales, surf a volcano, or join the French Foreign Legion, this book will walk you through all the needed steps. There are adventures recommended for gap year students, families with kids, and solo adults. Go live the adventure!
Hocus & Pocus: The Legend of Grimm’s Woods, by Manuro and Gorobei, $1.99. This book combines a fantasy comic book with a choose-your-own-adventure story to create a graphic novel quest. Each page has multiple panels, resulting in multiple outcomes. There are puzzles to solve, adorable characters to meet, and a fantastic adventure to explore.
Nick and Tesla’s Secret Agent Gadget Battle, by Bob Pfulgfelder and Steve Hockensmith, $1.99. Your junior scientist and engineers will love these high action tales that also contain instructions for making the same mechanical creations as Nick and Tesla.
Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science — and the World, by Rachel Swaby, $4.99. Why not treat your household to a Woman of the Week! This book collects short biographies of 52 women who have made significant contributions to science. Some, like Rachel Carson and Rosalind Franklin, you’ve probably heard of, but others are less well known. All major fields of science and engineering are represented, offering many jumping off points for deeper study of a scientist or their topics of interest.
Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale, $1.99. You may be starting to get the impression that I love Shannon Hale, and you would be right. Princess Academy is the first in a middle grade series about a land where a rich urban royal class benefits from the poorly paid labor of all the surrounding towns. When it is decided that the Prince’s wife should come from Miri’s village, all the teen girls are rounded up and sent to a school where they will be taught the ways of court. Booklist says, “Hale nicely interweaves feminist sensibilities in this quest-for-a-prince-charming, historical-fantasy tale. Strong suspense and plot drive the action as the girls outwit would-be kidnappers and explore the boundaries of leadership, competition, and friendship.” If you are looking for books with strong heroines who overcome difficulties to make a difference in their world, this is the book for you.
Enchantress of Numbers, by Jennifer Chiaverini, $4.99. Do you know about Ada Lovelace, pioneer of computing and daughter of Lord Byron? You should! This historical fiction novel follows Ada through the period when she is creating the difference engine, the world’s first computing device, with Charles Babbage. The prose is excellent, and the details really bring a fascinating piece of history to life.
Voyage of the Dogs, by Greg van Eekhout, $1.99. Does dogs in space sound like fun to you? This middle grade novel could be just the ticket. The Barkonauts are dogs specially trained to help human astronauts on missions. But when one trip goes disastrously wrong, it’s up to the dogs to find a way to survive. While the story is outlandish, the science is good — the author’s wife is an astronomy professor who checked out all of the space details.
The Setup, by Pete Crooks, $2.99. This book is wild. It’s the true crime story of a ring of private investigators who discover a corrupt police force operating a drug ring. What makes this such an interesting read is that the investigators are all suburban moms who can blend into their surroundings. The story is fascinating and truly stranger than fiction.
Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble, by Anna Meriano, $1.99. This charming middle grade series will delight kids interested in magic. Leonora’s family runs a bakery where there’s more than flour mixed into each cake. Says my 9 year old: “I liked that it was very well drawn and that it managed to be a kind of magic adventure and still very true to experiences that I and other kids have had.“
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker, $3.99. This is a good opportunity to pick up a classic found on many high school book lists. Amy says, “It’s intense and profound and hard to read, but oh my gosh, when you’re ready for it, it’s a glorious celebration of the human spirit.”
Founding Mothers, by Cokie Roberts, $4.99. Sadly, veteran reporter and historian Cokie Roberts died this week. Founding Mothers is a biography of the women who influenced Colonial and Revolutionary America. From names you likely know well (Abigail Adams and Martha Washington) to those less familiar (Mercy Otis Warren, Sarah Livingston Jay), this book is filled with details that provide depth to the stories typically taught in history texts. The charming illustrations bring the characters to life. Older readers will appreciate the adult version of Founding Mothers.
200 Women, by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Holiday, $1.99. This book’s concept is simple but powerful. The creators asked 200 women the same five questions, and the questions are really great: “What would you change in the world if you could?” “What brings you happiness?” The women come from many countries, ethnicities, and backgrounds. You’ll definitely recognize some famous faces (looking at you, RBG), but you’ll also meet some inspiring women you’ve never heard from before.
Mrs. Millie Goes to Philly, by Judy Cox, $0.99. Mrs. Millie could be Amelia Bedelia’s cousin. She is forever getting confused by words. What makes her very different, though, is how she gets confused — she always has animals on the brain and swaps animal words for real life items. When she takes her kindergarten class on a field trip to Philadelphia, chaos ensues! They encounter “The Liberty Bull” a “picnic basset” and more. The adorable and imaginative illustrations will delight young readers.
The International Cookbook for Kids, by Matthew Locricchio, $0.99. What’s better than getting your kids to make dinner? Getting your kids to learn something while making the dinner, of course! This cookbook is full of simple and authentic recipes from four different countries, Mexico, France, Italy, and China. Let your tween serve you some French Onion Soup or Ginger Beef with Green Beans!
Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team, by Steve Sheinkin, $2.99. This middle grade/YA history book has won so many awards! From the publisher: Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team is an astonishing underdog sports story—and more. It’s an unflinching look at the U.S. government’s violent persecution of Native Americans and the school that was designed to erase Indian cultures. Expertly told by three-time National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin, it’s the story of a group of young men who came together at that school, the overwhelming obstacles they faced both on and off the field, and their absolute refusal to accept defeat.
She Has Her Mother’s Laugh, by Carl Zimmer, $4.99. Go ahead and buy this book, because it is a long one that I kept having to return to the library before I was finished with it. It’s also so jammed packed with information that you’ll want the ability to use the digital search function. Science writer Carl Zimmer explains heredity, not just as passed down from parent to child, but within the cells of our own bodies, and in our culture as a whole. This fantastically informative book was on at least half a dozen “best books of 2018” lists. Add it to your digital shelf ASAP!
The Wordy Shipmates, by Sarah Vowell, $4.99. You may have heard Sarah Vowell’s essays on This American Life; she was a frequent contributor for years. She brings her trademark wit and amusing asides to all of her work, which means you are in for a treat with this book about the Puritan settlement of America. She goes into great historical detail while also taking readers on related modern day diversions, such as her trip to Mohegan Sun Casino.
Last Chance to See, by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine, $1.99. The world is full of amazing creatures, but many of them are in danger of going extinct. Before he died, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams went on a trip around the world to visit endangered animals in their natural habitats. He brings his hilarious writing style to the serious topics of environmentalism and ecology.
Joan of Arc, by Demi, $0.99. I’ve praised Demi’s historical biographies before, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Demi has created a beautiful biography of Joan of Arc in the style of a medieval illuminated manuscript. Readers of any age will return to the pictures over and over to check out the tiny details.
The Color of Lies, by CJ Lyons, $1.99. This YA suspense novel has an interesting twist: the main character has synesthesia, which makes her detect other people’s emotions as waves of color. When the one boy Ella can’t read tells her that her parents’ deaths were not accidental, she has to decide who she can trust to solve this mystery.
Stick Cat: Cats in the City, Tom Watson, $1.99. Tom Watson makes funny books for readers new to chapter books. Stick Cat and his friend Edith go on a mission to rescue a bagel shop owner from danger, and hijinks ensue. The wild story line and funny drawings will encourage even reluctant readers.
Rumi: Whirling Dervish, by Demi, $0.99. This beautifully illustrated picture book is a biography of Rumi, founder of the Whirling Dervishes. It’s an excellent addition to a study of the late medieval period or of Islamic history.
Birding for the Curious, by Nate Swick, $2.99. I’m interested in nature, but I wouldn’t call myself a birder. Luckily, you don’t have to be really into birding to enjoy this book. Nate Swick has create a simple introduction to getting outdoors and observing birds in their natural habitats. If birding catches your fancy, the book also provides extensive resources for digging deeper, including a guide to selecting a bird guide. The watercolor illustrations are charming and helpful.
Professor Whiskerton Presents Steampunk ABC, by Lisa Falkenstern, $0.99. If you have young kids in your life, you’ve probably read a lot of boring alphabet books. This is not one of them. in Steampunk ABC, L is for level, A is for anvil, and G is for gear. Lots of interesting vocabulary is combined with detailed and, frankly, adorable illustrations of mice building a mysterious contraption.
When You Grow Up to Vote, by Eleanor Roosevelt, $2.99. Beloved First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote this thorough and engaging civics guide for children in the 1930s. It has been updated for the 21st century with text additions by Michelle Markel and some lovely illustrations by Grace Lin.
Olivia Twist, by Lorie Langdon, $1.99. Amy wrote a great review of this last year: “OK, so just go with it: Oliver Twist is actually a girl, who’s pretended to be a boy because her old nurse warned her the world was no safe place for a pretty girl. When she’s picked up for stealing and serendipitously reunited with her upper class family, Olivia happily adjusts to having enough to eat and a safe place to sleep, but she still pulls on her old cap to help street urchins who, like she once was, are struggling to make it on the London streets. She also does a little thieving to keep the family budget going strong. Then, one night at a party, she runs into the Artful Dodger, all grown up and posing as an Irish lord. He knows there’s something familiar about Olivia, but he doesn’t connect the elegant young lady with the little boy who used to run with his gang. Sparks fly, but there’s plenty of danger lurking in the shadows for Olivia and Dodger both. I mean, either this is your kind of book and you have already stopped reading this and gone to put it on your library hold list, or this is not your kind of book and you are rolling your eyes at the premise.”
Nature Play at Home, by Nancy Striniste, $1.99. This colorful guide will help families find ways to enjoy nature. This book is filled with great ideas for setting up natural play areas that make use of the outdoor resources around your home. There are loads of beautiful color photos for inspiration and helpful instructions to get you started.
Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere, by Elise Gravel, $1.99. This is one of my daughter’s absolute favorites. She has been trying to get me to knit her a Meh for at least a year. Here’s what she has to say: This funny and easy to read book about a introverted girl finding an alien in her back yard will appeal to anyone who likes animals. This is a book that makes you want to read more and is full of twists you will not expect. The funny illustrations and fast pace make this book accessible to readers new to long chapter books, but the humor will attract kids of all ages.
Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Won’t-Walk-the-Dog-Cure, by Ann. M. Martin and Annie Parnell, $2.99. Today’s parents grew up with the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle stories about a magical woman who helped parents solve their kids’ behavioral problems with some very funny and unusual methods. Missy Piggle-Wiggle, the great-niece of the original Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, reinvigorates the franchise for a modern reader. Here’s what my favorite 9-year-old girl has to say about Missy: This book includes fresh illustrations and modern technologies with the same type of cures that people who read the old books will remember and love.
The Familiars, by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson, $3.99. If you’ve ever wondered what Harry Potter books would look like if told from Hedwig’s perspective, this is the series for you. When their young wizard companions are captured, three animal “familiars” must find a way to save them. This is the first in a middle-grade series, so be prepared to track down the sequels.
Visit Sunny Chernobyl, by Andrew Blackwell, $5.49. My husband and I found this on vacation (don’t worry, we weren’t actually in Chernobyl) and we were fascinated by this grim travelogue of places you probably wouldn’t want to go. Blackwell travels the globe in search of the most disgusting and disheartening locations, from the great Pacific garbage patch to India’s most polluted river. The gritty facts are balanced with a satisfying dark humor. This is a really interesting, disturbing, and fun read.
The Confidence Code for Girls, by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, $2.99. This is another book that had me hopping up and down. My daughter LOVES this book. She has highlighted portions, rereads certain chapters when she is having a rough time, and recommends it to all the kids in her age bracket. This book aims to stop the cycle of self-doubt in tweens and teens by encouraging them to embrace their whole selves and try things even when success is not guaranteed. The text is broken up with fun illustrations, quizzes, and more. My favorite 9 year old says, “Basically this book has become my bible. It has helped me through emotional and physical problems with friends, screentime, puberty, overthinking, not taking risks, and more. I strongly recommend this book for girls who need a source to help them with these struggles.”
Raymie Nightingale, by Kate DiCamillo, $4.11. Kate DiCamillo is back with a middle grades novel about a Little Miss pageant that forges a bond between three lonely girls. The New York Times Book Review said it better than I can: “With its short, vibrant chapters and clear, gentle prose, this triumphant and necessary book conjures the enchantments of childhood without shying away from the fraught realities of abandonment, abuse and neglect.”
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert, $2.99. In addition to being a “compelling and enlightening report [that] forthrightly addresses the most significant topic of our lives” (that’s what Booklist says!), it’s part of the spine of Build Your Library’s 9th grade reading list.
Hemingway Didn’t Say That, by Garson O’Toole, $0.99. Are you a person who likes to know stuff and be right? Garson O’Toole is such a person (as am I). O’Toole discovered that many quotations are attributed to the wrong people or are remembered incorrectly. With the help of extensive internet searches and lots of patience, he has tracked down the origins of phrases you have likely heard. Each section includes a portion about his process and about how the errors came to be. This book will thrill word nerds and anyone who enjoys a little literary detective work.
Stuff Matters, by Mark Miodownik, $2.99. This is one of my favorite types of books — the ones that provide explanations for all the elements of everyday life. Why is glass see-through? Why is metal reflective? Miodownik is a materials scientist who can discuss each of the 11 topics with scientific detail and a good deal of humor. Occasional illustrations help make the science more accessible.
Moxie, by Jennifer Mathieu, $2.99. Amy adored this book about a girl whose underground zine accidentally starts a feminist revolution at her Texas high school. (It was one of our favorite books of 2017!)
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo, $3.32. This book is heartbreakingly beautiful, both in story and in the illustrations. Edward Tulane is an emotionally distant china rabbit who falls overboard on an ocean journey. This begins his tremendous adventure, from the bottom of the ocean to a hobo’s pack to a sick child’s bedside. I’m not going to lie, this book is really sad in parts (there are parallels to The Velveteen Rabbit), but the story is worth it.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill, $4.27. We studied this book as part of Brave Writer’s Arrow program last year, and it’s the kind of lyrical, moving book that lingers in your mind. From Amy’s review: “I thought this little middle grades fantasy was just lovely—a worthy precursor to authors like Gaiman and LeGuin. Barnhill has a knack for telling a complex story in deceptively simple, lyrical fairy tale language, and the way she teases the individual threads of this story together—the brave boy, the magical girl, the witch’s forgotten history, the mad mother—is brilliant. The characters—minor and major—live and breathe; the world of the story feels sturdy enough to stand on its own.”
The Complete Poetry, by Maya Angelou, $4.99. Maya Angelou is one of the greatest writers in American history. This comprehensive collection of her poetry includes Still I Rise, On the Pulse of Morning (recited at the Clinton inauguration), and Amazement Awaits (commissioned for the 2008 Olympics).
The Game of Silence, by Louise Erdrich, $3.49. My daughter has listened to the audiobook of The Birchbark House (oddly, not available on Kindle) more times than I can count. We’ve loved hearing about Omakayas’s adventures in her Anishinabeg, or Ojibwe tribe. The Game of Silence picks up shortly after that book. Omakayas’s family meets a group of fellow tribespeople who have been displaced by white settlers. Over the course of the book, she discovers that she, too, will have to move away from her home. Erdrich’s deft touch makes this an enjoyable read, even through some tough subject matter.
Jackaby, by William Ritter, $4.17. I was so taken by Amy’s review last year that I immediately bought the whole series. Here’s what she had to say: This first in the series (of which I am a fan) introduces the supernatural Sherlock Holmes and his new assistant, runaway young lady (who’d rather be a paleontologist) Abigail Rook. Amy says, “Abigail, who’s very much a Watson in the Martin Freeman vein — smart, stout-hearted, and adventurous — needs a job, and R.F. Jackaby, supernatural consulting detective, needs an assistant. Abigail is not put off by the fact that Jackaby’s former assistant is now a duck living on the mysterious third floor of his haunted mansion, and she determinedly follows her new boss on his investigation of a mysterious serial killer, matching her keen observation and logic skills to Jackaby’s otherworldly knowledge. The serial killer plot is fine, but the real charm in this book — and trust me, there’s lots of charm — is the world Ritter has created.”