Kindle Deals for September 22, 2019

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.)


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The Radium Girls, by Kate Moore, $2.99. History is a strange place. This is the true story of women who worked in factories handling radium, which was used to make watch faces glow. Women flocked to these cutting edge jobs, until workers started getting sick with mysterious illnesses. The Radium Girls charts their rise, declining health, and persistent battle to improve workers’ rights.

Voyage of the Dogs
By Greg van Eekhout

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.


Empire Antarctica, by Gavin Francis, $1.99. I love a memoir that can transport you to another place and time, and Gavin Francis’s description of life among the penguins of Antarctica certainly fits the bill. Francis spends a little more than a year in near solitude as the doctor at an Antarctic research base. His descriptions are vivid, his experiences alternately awe-inspiring and humorous. This book will transport you to the most remote location on earth and fill it with life, both human and penguin.



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.

The Sea Around Us, by Rachel Carson, $1.99. This classic of environmental writing is just as relevant today as when it won the National Book Award in 1952. Rachel Carson writes with beautiful language and a passion for conservation of the natural world. She carefully describes the rarely seen wonders of the ocean. Her prose will stick with you and inspire action to keep our oceans safe.

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.

Dumplin’, by Julie Murphy, $2.99. This feel-good story of a plus-sized teen entering a beauty pageant will win over girls and moms alike. The Netflix adaptation is also pretty entertaining.

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, $4.99. 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 History of the Medieval World, by Susan Wise Bauer, $2.99. You probably know Bauer’s name from her popular Story of the World history curricula. This book is part of her history series designed for adults. The text is more dense, and the topics are sometimes more brutal, but the writing still feels conversational. Best of all, Bauer maintains the truly global scope of Story of the World. Many medieval histories focus only on Europe and the Crusades, but this book includes chapters on India, China, and more.

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, $4.55. 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, $2.94. 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, $3.66. 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).

And Then You’re Dead, by Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty, $4.99. This book is fascinatingly morbid. There are so many things that can kill you, but HOW do they kill you? If you get swallowed by a whale, do you die from stomach acid, being crushed, asphyxiation? These nightmare scenarios are explained with lots of dark humor and solid scientific information. My daughter and several of her tween/teen friends can’t get enough of this book, and it’s easy to see why. Don’t you also need to know what would actually happen if you were sacrificed to a volcano?

The Cloudspotter’s Guide, by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, $4.99. Learn more about morning glory, cumulus, nimbostratus, and all those other clouds in this odd but awesome little book about the science, history, art, and pop culture significance of clouds.

The Game of Silence, by Louise Erdrich, $2.99. 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, $3.59. 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.”

One Summer: America, 1927, by Bill Bryson, $1.99. I’m still new to this recommendation gig, so you haven’t gotten sick of my praise of Bill Bryson yet. You’ll be hearing about him often; his conversational tone makes his densely packed nonfiction seem like a casual chat with your smartest friend. In One Summer, Bryson shows a snapshot of all the things happening in 1927, many of which still impact our lives today. You’ll visit with Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh, Al Capone, and many more.

Countdown, by Deborah Wiles, $4.99. Most history classes run out of time before they get to the last 50 years or so. This interesting novel tells the story of a tween living near D.C. during the Cuban Missile Crisis. She is navigating family and school issues while also worrying and wondering about the likelihood of a Russian attack. What really makes this book great is the “documentary” style: it is peppered with magazine clips, news quotes, and song lyrics that will bring the ‘60s to life for your upper elementary or middle school reader.

I Scream! Ice Cream!, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, $1.99. What’s a wordle, you ask? A wordle is a set of words that sound exactly the same but have different meanings. “Heroes” and “he rows,” “reindeer” and “rain, dear.” The puns only get more elaborate from there. The hilarious wordplay and adorable illustrations will entertain readers of all ages.

The Monster at the End of this Book, by Jon Stone, $3.03. Beware! Grover doesn’t want you to read this book! There’s a monster at the end! The delightful illustrations bring the Sesame Street characters to life. You’ll want to make sure you have a color display to get the most out of this charming read aloud.

The Princess Bride, by Williams Golding, $3.49. This book is in our Middle School Reading List and our Summer Reading list for fans of The Phantom Tollbooth. Golding’s novel might poke fun at some of the traditional fairy-tale elements in epic adventures, but the story of Buttercup and her Westley is an unabashed literary delight. (Golding was inserting wry narrator notes long before the trend took off in children’s literature.)