Friday, September 30, 2011

September Book Report

Toliver's Secret by Esther Wood Brady is a wonderful book. Ellen Tolliver feels like she's scared of everything, but she agrees to help her grandfather with an important mission to get information to General Washington about the British as he prepares for the fateful events of December 25, 1776. The book provides a great amount of information about life for average people in the New York and New Jersey area during the Revolutionary War. It also shows some amazing problem-solving skills by the courageous Ellen. It's a great book for young ones and we'll be reading it aloud this year. (library copy)

Did You Carry The Flag Today, Charley? by Rebecca Caudill is a sweet story of Charley, just turned five, who attends The Little School in the Appalachian Mountains. He's an imaginative young boy, innocently finding himself in trouble time after time. In the end, we all learn a little about the magic of learning. This one is going on our list of read alouds, especially for the girls. (library copy)

Pocahontas by Joseph Bruchac is a much deeper and more informative book on Pocahontas than the Clyde Robert Bulla one I read last month. It is also written for much older students. I would guess at least middle school and into high school aged students would benefit the most from this book. It's still historical fiction, imagined from what little is known of Pocahontas and her people, but unlike many other authors, Mr. Bruchac seems to have a real talent for sharing Native American history, tales and lives. Recommended. (library copy)

Kateri Tekakwitha: Mohawk Maiden (Vision Books) by Evelyn M. Brown is one I decided to read with the children. We're studying Native Americans for the first couple of months of school this year and they've recently become fascinated with Tekakwitha. This particular book had one scene early on that I thought was too violent for the little ones, mainly the girls, so I edited it a little while I was reading it. Other than that, it's a solid and enjoyable piece of historical fiction. I haven't read any of the other Vision Books, but would definitely consider them. I am a little annoyed at some of the editorial problems - mainly commas and quotation marks not being properly used (or even consistently used), but those don't matter so much when a book is being read aloud. Kateri is a sweet example of loving Christ even when scared of when family members and close friends do not agree or understand. (purchased used on Amazon)

The Buffalo Knife by William O. Steele was a fun little book describing an exciting trip down the Tennessee River. First Son could read this book but I'm not sure he's quite old enough to understand the difference between Andy's language and behavior and what's currently acceptable. It will be on our list as a possible book in future years.  (library copy)

Protecting the Gift by Gavin De Becker (purchased copy)

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin is a fantastic book, far superior to her Earthsea novels (which I also enjoyed). The Envoy is attempting to interest the people of Winter in joining the Ekumen of Worlds. In doing so, he must bridge the gap between himself and a world in which gender does not exist except for brief times, and a bit longer if a pregnancy ensues. It is a book best saved for older students (and adults), allowing us to discuss gender, relationships, friendships, family and whether Le Guin has imagined an accurate or appealing world. My copy also included a very interesting discussion of gendered-pronouns in the afterword. (library copy)

Well, my list for September is significantly shorter than some previous months. I think it has something to do with starting school. I had no idea second grade, homeschool choir, Catechesis, story hour and soccer would keep me so busy. Though when I write it that way, it doesn't seem like I should have been surprised. I'm reading an excellent book now that I'll share in October and, if all goes as planned, I'll be sitting in on an awesome science fiction - theology class Kansas Dad is team teaching next semester. Hooray for reading!


  1. Left Hand is a book I didn't like much when reading, and then grew on me in the following weeks. It might just have been that I was reading it in February, and was cranky to read a book that was so much about the cold...

  2. David, I didn't know anything about Left Hand when I started to read it so it took me a while to figure out where she was going with it. Maybe I'm still figuring it out. But I think it would have been fun to read it with a group of people and discuss it.

  3. I actually would recommend it now. I honestly believe that a lot of my issues with it came from being really cold myself while reading a book about people trying not to freeze. :-)


Comments make me happy; thanks for speaking up!