Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith was on First Son's list for historical fiction in the time of the Civil War, recommended in Connecting with History. Jeff's experiences in Bloody Kansas and along the Kansas-Missouri were an excellent read for our Kansas son. Trapped behind enemy lines, Jeff learns to respect and admire the Confederate Cherokee forces. There's a little bit of romance and plenty of death, so probably best for the older students. First Daughter (4th grade) asked to read it and I allowed it once First Son had finished. (library copy)
Who Was Robert E. Lee? by Bonnie Bader was a substitute I made for Connecting with History's recommendation of Robert E. Lee: Gallant Christian Soldier, which our library did not own. It was a fairly easy read for First Daughter (age 10) and gave a respectful biography of this heroic man even though he fought against the Union in the Civil War. (library copy)
Augustus Caesar's World by Genevieve Foster - link to my post (purchased used)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a relatively new book set in Germany during the second World War. A young girl is left with a foster family after her father's disappearance and her brother's death. Her obsession with books and her kind and loving foster father anchor her in a tumultuous time. Her father also shows great courage in the midst of a fearful populace rather than in the horrors of a battlefield. It's mostly depressing, as you might expect of a wartime novel. Death as the narrator allows insertions on the greater events of the war and a lot of commentary on humanity and war. It seems like a decent enough young adult book, though the choppy flow and casual insertions early in the plot line of the eventual deaths of certain characters annoyed me. (library copy)
The Bat-Poet and The Animal Family by Randall Jarrell - link to my post (inter-library loan and PaperBackSwap.com)
The Ides of April by Mary Ray - I almost didn't buy this book recommended in Connecting with History's volume 2, but found it at a deep discount directly from the publisher (a great way to get Bethlehem Books) and I'm so very glad I did! I enjoyed this story of murder, intrigue, courage, and justice based in Rome at the time of Nero. Though Christianity is not a major part of the story, a Christian plays a pivotal role and explains that he does so because of his faith. (purchased from the publisher)
Lincoln, in His Own Words edited by Milton Meltzer is a compilation of much of Lincoln's own speeches and correspondence, gathered and presented as a coherent whole by the work of the editor. First Son will read this during independent reading as we study the Civil War. I myself have read little of his words and appreciated his wit and wisdom. I kept thinking more of us should read Lincoln on a regular basis. I think this was recommended in Connecting with History volume 4, but I couldn't find it on their website. (library copy)
The Long Road to Gettysburg by Jim Murphy is a riveting account of the Battle of Gettysburg with quotes from a Confederate soldier and a Union soldier. Interspersed with the text are clear maps and illustrative photographs showing the hardships of the soldiers and the immense casualties. I wish I had read this book before I visited Gettysburg as a high school student. First Son read this (7th grade) and, while I would not have encourage it, I would have allowed First Daughter to read it as well (4th grade). (library copy)
My Several Worlds by Pearl S. Buck - link to my post (purchased used at a library book sale)
Books in Progress (and date started)
- Norton Anthology of English Literature Vol. 2 (sixth edition) (August 2014)
- Transforming Your Life through the Eucharist by John A. Kane (June 2016)
- The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton with my book club (September 2016)
- Between the Forest and the Hills by Ann Lawrence (October 2016, with the children)
- Simon Brute and the Western Adventure by Elizabeth Bartelme (September 2016)
- The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis (October 2016)
- The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, with First Son (October 2016)
- The Wright Brothers by David McCullough (November 2016)
- Three Short Novels by Wendell Berry (November 2016)
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These reports are my honest opinions.