October has come and gone. While we most assuredly made time for great literature, this month had us occupied with reading of a different sort. Political material! It made for many a fun conversation, and we all learned a great deal about what is going on in our state and country. In between discussions, events, and family gatherings you could find us in our respective corners digging into this month’s incredible reads.
We’ve broken down our list into categories and included our personal rating from zero to five stars. To read more about a particular book, simply click the title!
Walden (Henry David Thoreau) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- A vivid account of the time that Henry D. Thoreau lived alone in a secluded cabin at Walden Pond. For the student and for the general reader, this is the ideal presentation of Thoreau’s great document of social criticism and dissent.
Narrative on the Life of Frederick Douglass (Frederick Douglass) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Frederick Douglass’s Narrative, first published in 1845, is an enlightening and incendiary text. Born into slavery, Douglass became the preeminent spokesman for his people during his life; his narrative is an unparalleled account of the dehumanizing effects of slavery and Douglass’s own triumph over it.
Historium (Richard Wilkinson and Jo Nelson)⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- There are more than 160 historical artifacts to be discovered in Welcome to the Museum: Historium. Wander the galleries of this museum whenever you wish—it’s open 365 days a year!—and discover a collection of curated objects on every page, accompanied by informative text. Each chapter features a different ancient civilization, from the Silla dynasty of Korea to ancient Rome.
The Night Gardener (The Fan Brothers) ⭐️⭐️⭐️- One day, William discovers that the tree outside his window has been sculpted into a wise owl. In the following days, more topiaries appear, and each one is more beautiful than the last. Soon, William’s gray little town is full of color and life. And though the mysterious night gardener disappears as suddenly as he appeared, William—and his town—are changed forever.
The Little Gardener (Emily Hughes) ⭐️⭐️- There was once a little gardener and his garden meant everything to him. He worked hard, very hard, but he was just too little (or at least he felt he was). A story that teaches us just how important it is to persist and try, no matter what the odds.
How are we rating these reads? Good question! If the book has a five, whether learning or for fun, it’s clean and we want it on our bookshelf permanently. Four stars are sorely tempting us, but as our local library carries them we’re in luck. Three stars are worth a look, but we don’t see ourselves reading them too often. Two stars were entertaining, but once was enough. One star was acceptable. And zero. Well, it’s zero.
What to be on the lookout for…
Historium, part of the Welcome to the Museum Series, is fabulous. We’re in love with each of the books. The artwork is beautifully done, and the pages within offer hours of learning fun.
Our family likes to collect picture books. This month’s selections were a great deal of fun. The Night Gardener was incredibly sweet. The Alphabet Primers from BabyLit had us wishing we still had little ones. But we not going to let that stop us. A great many books from this series will more than likely find their way onto this mama’s bookshelf in the very near future.
Walden was a lovely surprise. We weren’t sure what to expect, and I didn’t know how much the kids would appreciate the essays within. Surprisingly my children loved it! They found the language beautiful and Thoreau’s descriptions and thoughts meaningful.
The weather is finally cooling down, and we’ve stocked up on ingredients for hot cocoa. This is the perfect weather for curling up with a good book and immersing ourselves in a story. Join us again during the month of November as we explore a world of books and the adventure of reading. What will we read next?
We’re curious… Do your literature selections tend to correspond to other areas of learning?
“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.”
~ Psalm 101:3
October isn’t quite over, but we can’t wait to share this month’s short list of incredible reads with you. It never ceases to amaze us how many books we finish in a month. The lists we share here are merely books we’ve used in a homeschooling/parenting capacity; there are many more which we read on our own! October’s list has a few reads which are making a major impact on our learning routine, and others which are helping us glean the most from our nature studies. Everything on this month’s list was absolutely fantastic!
The Fallacy Detective (Nathaniel Bluedorn) – Thirty-eight lessons on how to recognize bad reasoning. Learn to spot errors in others’ logic, and your own. Learn to identify red herrings, circular reasoning, statistical fallacies, and propaganda. Each lesson presents several examples of poor reasoning often illustrated by cartoons and then provides an exercise set in which you identify the fallacies. This book features a Christian view of logic and was written by homeschoolers for homeschoolers. Several homeschool families suggested this book. Going on faith we purchased a copy and started it near the end of this month. The book is very simple, but it is a good starting off point for young learners or those new to logic.We should also note this book deals with informal fallacies, not formal logic. That said, we cannot begin to express how much we are enjoying the lessons and how much we’re learning. It’s fantastic!
The Thinking Toolbox (Nathaniel Bluedorn) – Just as you use the wrench in a regular tool box to fix the sink, so you can use the tools we give you in this book to solve thinking problems. The Thinking Toolbox follows the same style as The Fallacy Detective with lessons, exercises and an answer key in the back. We purchased this book as well, hoping it would be a good companion to The Fallacy Detective and were not disappointed. The lessons are short, of benefit, and offer great discussion points. I’m so glad we invested in both of these.
Audubon Guides (National Audubon Society) – The full-color identification photographs show creatures as they appear in natural habitats. While we’re sure most of you have come across these books before, we noted we’ve never mentioned them being used in our learning and wished to add them to our list. Lately they’ve been making a strong appearance in our nature studies. We love the multitude of photos and information to be found within. If we had the room and finances, I’d love to own more.
This Beautiful Day (Richard Jackson) – Why spend a rainy day inside? As three children embrace a grey day, they seems to beckon the bright as they jump, splash, and dance outside, chasing the rain away. The day’s palette shifts from greys to a hint of blue, then more blue. Then green! Then yellow! Until the day is a Technicolor extravaganza that would make Mary Poppins proud. A joyous homage to the power of a positive attitude. An online recommendation we found at our local library! We loved the artistic appeal of this picture book, and the gentle reminder to be creative with our free time. A great library find.
The Shape of the World: A Portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright (KL Going) – A little boy who loves to find shapes in nature grows up to be one of America’s greatest architects in this inspiring biography of Frank Lloyd Wright. I’m a fan of Frank Lloyd Wright. I have been for years. So when an online book forum suggested this read, I quickly found it at our local library. We loved learning of Wright’s childhood, and how his love of nature influenced his future work. The artwork in the book is a little wanting, but the concept is lovely; as is the short story itself.
The Beetle Book (Steve Jenkins) – Beetles squeak and beetles glow.
Beetles stink, beetles sprint, beetles walk on water. With legs, antennae, horns, beautiful shells, knobs, and other oddities—what’s not to like about beetles? Nature books are a weakness for us. We found this gem while scouring the local library for nature study and couldn’t be happier. The illustrations are lovely, and the pages are overflowing with facts to amaze learners.
We generally gather our reading materials from the library, but most of these were suggestions from other homeschooling friends and online acquaintances. Who knew Instagram would be a source of book inspiration?
Join us again next month as we explore a world of literature and the adventure of reading!
October was a relaxing month. Nothing too crazy. Just plain and simple fun. Along with those incredible memories, came outstanding reads.
All of October’s books were included in Our Morning Basket. One was a suggestion from a fellow homeschooling family and blogger. Here’s a rundown of the books we enjoyed during the month of October:
Silas Marner (George Eliot) – A moral allegory of the redemptive power of love, it is also a finely drawn picture of early nineteenth-century England in the days when spinning wheels hummed busily in the farmhouses, and of a simple way of life that was soon to disappear. A rather slow read, but charming non-the-less. Our children found themselves quite attached to the main character, Silas Marner, and cheered him on throughout the story. It was a lovely book we finished via audio.
All of a Kind Family (Sydney Taylor) – It’s the turn of the century in New York’s Lower East Side and a sense of adventure and excitement abounds for five young sisters – Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte and Gertie. Follow along as they search for hidden buttons while dusting Mama’s front parlor, or explore the basement warehouse of Papa’s peddler’s shop on rainy days. Another leisurely story, the characters were sweet and believable.
Peter Nimble & The Fantastic Eyes ( Jonathan Auxier) – Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes is the utterly beguiling tale of a ten-year-old blind orphan who has been schooled in a life of thievery. One fateful afternoon, he steals a box from a mysterious traveling haberdasher—a box that contains three pairs of magical eyes… Along with his loyal sidekick—a knight who has been turned into an unfortunate combination of horse and cat—and the magic eyes, he embarks on an unforgettable, swashbuckling adventure to discover his true destiny. An exciting tale of adventure and mystery, our oldest girl really enjoyed this book. Now, for the sequel.
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Bks. I &II (Maryrose Wood) – Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children… Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. One of the best book series we’ve read in a while. It started off a bit slow, then took off running. Our girls have finished the first two in the series and can’t wait for our library to bring in the remaining three.
Castle (David Macaulay) – With typical zest and wry sense of humor punctuating his drawings, David Macaulay traces the step-by-step planning and construction of both castle and town. Tying in with our history lessons, this was a great addition to our studies this month. The illustrations are fantastic and Mr. Macaulay’s humor terrific.
Cathedral (David Macaulay) – Journey back to centuries long ago and visit the fictional people of twelfth-, thirteenth-, and fourteenth-century Europe whose dreams, like Cathedral, stand the test of time. Another great read by Mr. Macaulay, we’d recommend any of his books in this genre. There are so many to choose from, and each one a gem.
Inventions That Could Have Changed the World, But Didn’t (Joe Rhatigan) – The fascinating stories of inventions that could have changed the world, should have made a difference, or would have astounded us all, but for one reason or another, didn’t. Some inventions were too wacky, weird, or unwieldy. Other simply didn’t work. And still others may be the next big thing . . . some day. This book was an assigned read for my son. Each invention is quite remarkable, and many caused us to wonder why they haven’t yet become popular. If you’ve a little inventor in your home, this might be just the book for them.
November hasn’t even begun and we’re already looking forward to the next read. As usual, Mom is just as excited as the kids. No surprise there! Prayerfully we’ll all enjoy the selections coming, and the memories will keep on building.
📢 Chime In!: Have you ever picked up a ‘sleeper’ book; one that started off slow and then left you wanting more?