If you’re craving a reading list full of magic and fantastic creatures, these books deliver.
You may have noticed that we updated a few things on the website a little this last week. I’m especially happy to have added a poem of the week and a running reading list in the right sidebar.
around the web
Relevant to my life: How to avoid being psychologically destroyed by your newsfeed
Also relevant to my life: The strange history of compulsive book buying
Because I pretty much always like Ursula Le Guin being awesome, apparently.
I totally agree with this. Academic jargon forever! (I am still going to roll my eyes at people who say “problematize,” though. Sorry! It doesn't mean your point isn't interesting!)
I love random laws that somehow never get repealed.
on the blog: I loved Shelli’s post on how her homeschool life gave her space to explore a project of her own.
on the podcast: You guys, episode 10 fell into the existential despair crack (I think it’s next to the crack where all our pencils end up—I like to picture them wearing eraser berets and muttering about the burdens of the camel phase to each other), but episode 11 is up!
one year ago: Lisa meditates on the sound we all pause for: silence
two years ago: A child with a half-empty glass
three years ago: Flashback to our first cover
I’ve had American Youth on my list for several years now and finally got around to actually reading it. For me, it was a difficult book—good, but difficult. It’s about a lot of things: identity, truth, being a teenager, the gun debate. Next up (also from the finally-getting-around-to-it list): Jean Rhys’s Voyage in the Dark. And, of course, I’m rereading the delightful 84 Charing Cross Road for the podcast.
I picked up a copy of Razia and the Pesky Presents (I found it on this list of kids’ books to help fight Islamophobia ), and we loved it. I didn’t even know there was a woman sultan, and I loved the feminist storyline (even though some of the specifics were inventions and not historical facts).
Up next in the readaloud queue: Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom
in the kitchen
I always end up making some kind of egg dish when people insist on eating even though I am not interested in cooking, so I am happy to report that all those hungry people dug these skillet-baked eggs with spinach and yogurt.
Cookie of the week: Almond Cloud Cookies
I’m trying to convince Jason that we need to take a road trip to the Biltmore so that I can see this exhibition. Doesn’t it look awesome?
We started watching Legion, and I have no idea what’s going on but I cannot look away.
Everyone here is busy planning Purim costumes. (I think only once in all my years of parenting have my children opted to wear their Halloween costumes again for Purim. But I do love that we have an excuse to dress up twice a year!)
Are you going to the SEA homeschool conference this spring? Suzanne and I will be there from June 1-4 giving away copies of HSL and feeling socially awkward, so please stop by and say hi if you’re there!
around the web
Just when the weight of the world feels like too much to bear, someone makes a list of book-ice cream pairings, and you know you’ll make it through.
I really love these alternative approaches to high school math.
I have so many feelings about the new James Baldwin documentary, but the main one is that everyone should go and see it.
Ursula Le Guin on "alternative facts" versus science fiction
one year ago: Rebecca reviews a curriculum for young philosophers
two years ago: Why boredom is an important part of learning
three years ago: Simple strategies to turn around a bad homeschool day
I love when you think you’ve read everything by an author and then discover that nope, in fact, you are wrong, and there is another book. So I was delighted to discover Mischievous Meg by Astrid Lindgren, and we’ve been enjoying it as a readaloud.
in the kitchen
Now that we’ve actually gotten back to some semblance of routine after the Tragic Ankle Breaks of 2015, I’m finding my way back to the kitchen on a regular basis. My kids mock me relentlessly, though, because I always fail Taco Tuesday—I plan tacos for Tuesday every week but something always goes sideways and we end up having them a different night. We did not have them on Tuesday, but these beef picadillo puffy tacos were much enjoyed anyway.
It’s definitely still comfort food season, and this wild rice-mushroom soup hits the spot.
Cookie of the week: Salty oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies
I’m having trouble finding balance between staying informed and active politically (which feels important to do right now) and staying sane and available to my everyday cooking-dinner, reading-books-together, doing-the-laundry (who am I kidding? I would take any excuse to skip the laundry) life. Political happenings are like chicken pox—I’m just constantly aware of them in an uncomfortable kind of way, so much so that the rest of my life suffers, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. And yet, how can I not pay attention every minute? How are you guys handling this? Is this just the new normal?
It’s hard to finish an utterly engrossing series like the Chronicles of Narnia, but we’ve rounded up some equally magical fantasy books that will keep you reading happy at every reading level.
Your next picture book
It may seem like a stretch to recommend a wordless book to Narnia fans, but Free Fall (by Caldecott winner David Wiesner) lets imagination narrate with its gloriously illustrated story of a boy who falls asleep reading an atlas and dreams his way through a series of fantastic adventures.
Your next chapter book
Just like Narnia, The Dark Is Rising sequence is a thrilling, complex mythology of children pulled into the great battle between good and evil—pulling from Celtic, Norse, and Arthurian traditions. Start with Over Sea, Under Stone.
Your next readaloud
More people should read The Hounds of the Morrigan, a thrilling fantasy set in Ireland. Pidge and his little sister set off on a quest to find a lost stone that may prove pivotal in the battle between the forces of good and evil, but the deadly hounds of the Morrigan are fast on their heels.
Your next teen read
A Wizard of Earthsea is the first book in Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea trilogy. With its Taoist ethics, feminist sensibility, and nuanced world building, Earthsea is a worthy follow-up to the Narnia books for older readers.
Your next grown-up book
Lots of people miss C.S. Lewis’s sci-fi take on the ideas in Narnia, written for adults, which starts with Out of the Silent Planet. If you loved Narnia, you’ll definitely want to check out Lewis’s grown-up version.