Today's Best Book Deals for Your Homeschool
(Prices are correct as of the time of writing, but y'all know sales move fast — check before you click the buy button! These are Amazon links — read more about how we use affiliate links to help support some of the costs of the HSL blog here.)
The One and Only Ivan is $1.99. This new classic shows up on pretty much every middle grades must-read list, and fair enough. From the publisher: “Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this novel is told from the point of view of Ivan himself. Having spent 27 years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.”
Still on sale
The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet is $2.99. This is a terrific text to ground your big history studies. From the publisher: “With an astrobiologist’s imagination, a historian’s perspective, and a naturalist’s eye, Hazen calls upon twenty-first-century discoveries that have revolutionized geology and enabled scientists to envision Earth’s many iterations in vivid detail—from the mile-high lava tides of its infancy to the early organisms responsible for more than two-thirds of the mineral varieties beneath our feet. Lucid, controversial, and on the cutting edge of its field, The Story of Earth is popular science of the highest order.”
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is $1.99. This is one of those big, satisfying books that makes for perfect holiday reading: In an alternate Austenian England, magic is still alive — but barely. Two magicians, with decidedly different abilities and opinions about magic, rise to power, and their friendship and eventual conflict will define the future of English magic. You know we love a good Jane-Austen-plus-magic mashup, and this one delivers, with fictional footnotes to boot. (The miniseries adaptation is also pretty good!)
Sunshine is $1.99. From Amy: “I’m reading this with my daughter as part of our vampires and feminism literature seminar. Rae’s world is full of Others — demons, weres, and monsters — but the vampires are the most dangerous. When she’s captured by a band of vampires, she thinks her ordinary days of baking at her stepdad’s coffee shop are over forever — and they are, but not the way she expected. Instead of making her dinner, the vampires turn her over to a vampire who is also their prisoner, and Rae and her fellow prisoner form an unexpected alliance that just may have the power to change the world. There’s tons of stuff going on in this YA novel — and while, yes, OK, it is a little Buffy-ish in all the right ways, it’s worth reading on its own merits. Our seminar is off to a great start!”
All the King’s Men is $2.99. This is one of my go-to books for AP Literature reading lists because 1) it’s an interesting story of political corruption and power that never stops being disturbing or relevant, 2) I love that it is written by the only person to have won the Pulitzer for both poetry and fiction, and 3) it’s chock-full of themes, characters, and ideas that work for many AP essay test questions.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is $2.99. From our essential high school reading list: “What does it mean to be human? Dick’s twisted, dark tale of an android-hunter on a mission to take down rogue robots dives fearlessly into the question of self.”
Binti is $3.99. I grabbed a copy of this YA sci-fi-with-magic fantasy from Akata Witch author Nnedi Okorafor, and I have high hopes! Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu said, “Binti is a supreme read about a sexy, edgy Afropolitan in space! It's a wondrous combination of extra-terrestrial adventure and age-old African diplomacy.” Yes, please!
Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories is just $2.99, and I don’t even know why you are still reading this when you could be reading that right now. I don’t like to play favorites with short stories, but if I had to pick a desert island collection, this might just be it.
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History is $3.99. In addition to being a “compelling and enlightening report [that] forthrightly addresses the most significant topic of our lives” (that’s what Booklist says!), it’s part of the spine of Build Your Library’s 9th grade reading list.
A Study in Charlotte is $1.99. In this YA mystery, Sherlock Holmes’s equally brainy, equally troubled great-great-great-granddaughter ends up attending the same New England boarding school as John Watson’s great-great-great-grandson, and murder inevitably ensues. Kirkus said, “Cavallaro’s crackling dialogue, well-drawn characters, and complicated relationships make this feel like a seamless and sharp renewal of Doyle’s series. An explosive mystery featuring a dynamic duo.”
Sounder is $1.99. This is a classic! Amazon’s reviewer says: “William H. Armstrong's Newbery Award-winning novel quickly became a classic as a moving portrayal of resilience and hope in the face of profound human tragedy. Decades later, the bittersweet story still rings true, as strong-spirited individuals continue to battle the evil of prejudice.”
Breadcrumbs is $1.99. This middle grades homage to Andersen’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen,” set in the modern-day real world, is peppered with references to other fairy tales but manages to stand as its own story: about a girl who risks everything to save her friend. I’d read this with an Andersen fairy tale collection.
Archer’s Goon is $2.99. This is classic Diana Wynne Jones: A band of sorcerer siblings will go to any lengths to beat each other to the 2,000 words Harold’s author father was supposed to deliver — words that they believe will be the key to breaking them out of the individual jails they rule. Harold, of course, finds himself caught up in the competition, and trying to tell the good guys from the bad guys isn’t always easy.