The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare is a wonderful book set near Galilee at the time of Jesus's ministry. It's not a "historical Jesus" book; instead, it follows the tale of young Daniel as he struggles with his anger at the Romans. Daniel encounters Jesus at key moments in the story. I love how the book brought to life many of the feelings of Jewish people at the time of Jesus.
The Children of Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren. From the author of Pippi Longstocking (which I have not read) comes this lovely gem describing a year of life on the farm with six children in Sweden, from three diffferent families. Lisa narrates. Her sweet nine-year-old voice is clear throughout the novel. This book is recommended in Level 1A at Mater Amabilis for People and Places. We'll be reading it together next year and I couldn't be more excited. Be aware: In the Christmas chapter, Lisa states she knows Santa Claus is not real. If your children believe, you'll want to skip a few sentences in that paragraph.
With the Best of Intentions: How Philanthropy Is Reshaping K-12 Education ed by Frederick M. Hess was an inter-library loan book I didn't have time to finish. That's the sort of thing that happens to mothers when their babies get the chicken pox. I already wrote one blurb for it that was lost in the Great Blogger Outage of 2011, so this is the condensed version. Even homeschoolers should be concerned with public education, if only because our tax dollars are funding it. I think how philanthropy may be shaping or changing public education is a fascinating topic. This scholarly (and rather dense) book tackles that very question. It's just a beginning and the challenges to answering it are addressed early in the book.
Good Words (a review for The Catholic Company)
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg is a book I remember greatly enjoying when I was a child, but I found it a little disturbing reading it now. The cavalier attitude toward the parents, when the children think of them at all, is disturbing to me now as a parent. I'd probably put it on the allowed but not encouraged list.
The Secret Life of Germs : Observations and Lessons from a Microbe Hunter by Philip M. Tierno Jr. PhD. I do not know why I finished this book. It started out all right, pretty clear explanations and some good strategies for staying healthy in a germ-filled world, but after a while I realized this author kept recommending more bureaucracy and more technology to cure the ills of the world. If you really want to know about microbe hunters, read Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif, which is a fabulous book. It's quality history of science. (I should probably read it again before recommending it so highly.)
The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli is a nice story of a young boy who overcomes adversity with courage and (mostly) grace to become a hero. It's set in medieval times so I think we'll listen to it when we reach that era in our history lessons, just for fun.