If you’ve got a reader who’s gone exploring with James, explored a candy factory with Charlie, loaded up a library tote with Matilda, or otherwise lived vicariously through one of Dahl’s fabulously imagined characters, one of these gifts might be the golden ticket you’ve been looking for.
Whether you're looking for a book that will have you hiding under the cover with a flashlight or just something that gives a nod to favorite Halloween traditions, we've rounded up a fun list of spooky (and not-so-spooky) books to enjoy in October.
If you love the fantasy, fun, and humor of Roald Dahl, you’ll enjoy these books that capture some of that same playful spirit.
Look at that—we made it through another week. And Suzanne and I are finally getingt it together to get back on the podcast train.
around the web
Oooh, oooh, oooh! There’s a linguistics museum coming to Washington D.C.
Flannery O’Connor’s take on racism and refugees feels really relevant right now.
I’m not saying we should hide from the news all the time. I’m just saying that this Chrome extension will turn pictures of Donald Trump into pictures of kittens. (Alternatively: How to stay outraged without losing your mind)
on the blog: Nelson Mandela reminds us that leaders can be intelligent, compassionate, and fair-minded.
one year ago: We were getting all excited about the Great Backyard Bird Count. (It’s Feb. 17-20 this year.)
two years ago: Homeschooling isn’t always easier in hindsight.
three years ago: Aw, look, it’s Suzanne’s very first post for the website.
I’m always looking for feminist fantasy because I suspect that the reason I don’t read more fantasy books is because the role of women in them is often problematic, at least to me. (I know this probably shouldn’t get under my skin so much, but it totally does.) So I was pleased to pick up Maresi, about a girl who lives in at an abbey of tough, smart women dedicated to the goddess. Maresi—a girl after my own heart, who’s always looking for an excuse to sneak into the library—befriends a new refugee whose outside life follows her to the abbey and puts all its inhabitants in danger. This is the kind of fantasy I can get behind—which is nice, since this is apparently the first in a series.
Because apparently the real world has not shaken my faith in humanity enough (what is wrong with me?), I’ve also recently finished The Witches, a book about the history of the infamous Salem witch trials. I typically enjoy Stacy Schiff’s books—if you haven’t read her Ben Franklin book, you should put it on your library list—and this one was smart, thorough, and really well researched. I just think I wasn’t in the right headspace to appreciate it.
It’s getting harder and harder to find books that my 9-year-old and my 14-year-old are both interested in listening to as readalouds, so I’m thankful this week for The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, which has had both of them giggling and snuggling on the couch with me this week.
I can’t wait for the new season of Masterchef Junior! I even have a new knitting project all picked out for it.
This chicken recipe from the recent Bon Appetit was a hit with everyone. I was skeptical about the oranges, but they really made it sing. I did serve the olives on the side though because olives are controversial in our dining room.
around the web
Let’s take a moment to appreciate Roald Dahl’s contributions to the world of food.
Finally, a fashion “get the look” I can get behind.
I wouldn’t say that I’ve been running around gloating about passing The Strand’s new hire book test, but some of the people I live with might. (You should take it, too!)
Maybe it is all the Hamilton, but this article about the secret language of colonial handwriting was fascinating.
And speaking of history, this was kind of depressing.
This article about the Olympics Refugee Team made me want to cry, hug my children, and cheer these guys on. (I would love to see them earn a medal.)
at home | school | life
on the website: So I always want to share good book deals when I see them, but I also stress about cluttering up people’s feeds with stuff they don’t want to see. I finally bit the bullet and set up a page on the website where we can highlight notable books on sale. (Don’t worry — this isn’t one of those crazy every-book-that’s-cheap lists — we’re only listing books we genuinely recommend for your reading list. And if you’re not interested in book sales, you never have to see it!)
on the blog: Sometimes you just want to look at pretty school supplies and imagine how they could make your homeschool so shiny and organized.
in the classroom: Registration for fall classes is open!
on the podcast: I brag a little about getting my AP U.S. History syllabus approved this week, but it was all very exciting.
in the magazine: We’re starting the (months-long!) process of collecting data to update our Best Cities for Homeschool Families, and we’d love to hear from other homeschoolers about their favorite places to homeschool.
on my night table: All the Birds in the Sky (our next podcast read pick), The Memoirs of Aaron Burr (resistance was futile), Don’t Tell the Grown-Ups: The Subversive Power of Children’s Literature, The House of the Seven Gables
watching: Like everyone else in the world, we binged Stranger Things. #bringbackbarb
eating: I made a giant batch of blueberry jam to give as favors at my sis-in-law’s baby shower.
I’m still spending most of my time on the couch, but I feel like I’m starting to get my groove back a little. We started our official new school year this week, and I finally made it to the classroom for my creative writing students this week. (Last week I had to Skype in!)
around the web
OK, fair enough. Maybe I overdo the whole let-me-just-check-my-phone thing sometimes.
I’m finding the details of this recent fossil discovery so interesting.
in the magazine: There’s some great stuff coming up in the fall issue. I'm especially excited about our big life after high school article that Shawne's been working on.
on instagram: This may just be the best quote about homeschool life ever.
from the archives: If you loved Harriet the Spy, here's what you should read next.
I have hooked my daughter up with her first official copy of the AP Stylebook, and she is completely obsessed with all the rules and guidelines for writing for print.
My daughter and I also read The Hired Girl — about a farm girl who flees her abusive family and finds a new home with a family of Jews in 1911 Baltimore — and enjoyed it thoroughly. My son read The BFG for the first time, the second time, and is working his way through the third time. You can never go wrong with Roald Dahl.
I’ve been watching Pushing Daisies when I can’t sleep because it is one of the most delightful television shows ever made.
Maybe it’s the bed rest talking, but I’m really digging NPR’s Planet Money podcast.
Similarly, do you know how many games of Uno you can play when you’re trapped on the couch? A lot. A lot of Uno.
Welcome to your weekly dose of inspiration to help make this week of your homeschool life just a little bit better.
3 fun things to do this week
You probably won’t need much encouragement for this one, but Monday is Buy a Book Day. (Check out Book Sale Finder to find library book sales going on in your neck of the woods.)
Take advantage of the lingering warm weather to have a real-life Minecraft treasure huntin your backyard.
Have a Star Trek marathon this week to celebrate the series’ television premiere on September 8, 1966. (I think the Next Generation series is the most engaging, but you could go old-school with the original television episodes or screen the two newest installments in the franchise, too.)
3 ideas for this week’s dinners
Grilled green bean salad makes a yummy side for grilled chicken or steak.
There are a lot of steps in this grilled paella recipe, but since the end result is grilled paella, the payoff should be worth it.
This spiced Indian corn recipe will make you want to keep buying every ear of corn at the farmers market until they run out.
one great readaloud
Plot your vengeance against the horrible husband and wife in The Twits, in honor of Roald Dahl’s birthday on September 13.