c.s. lewis

Summer Reading: If You Liked the Narnia Books

It’s hard to finish an utterly engrossing series like the Chronicles of Narnia, but we’ve rounded up some equally magical fantasy books that will keep you reading happy at every reading level.

 

Your next picture book

Free Fall
By David Wiesner
 

It may seem like a stretch to recommend a wordless book to Narnia fans, but Free Fall (by Caldecott winner David Wiesner) lets imagination narrate with its gloriously illustrated story of a boy who falls asleep reading an atlas and dreams his way through a series of fantastic adventures.

 

Your next chapter book

Just like Narnia, The Dark Is Rising sequence is a thrilling, complex mythology of children pulled into the great battle between good and evil—pulling from Celtic, Norse, and Arthurian traditions. Start with Over Sea, Under Stone.

 

Your next readaloud

More people should read The Hounds of the Morrigan, a thrilling fantasy set in Ireland. Pidge and his little sister set off on a quest to find a lost stone that may prove pivotal in the battle between the forces of good and evil, but the deadly hounds of the Morrigan are fast on their heels.

 

Your next teen read

A Wizard of Earthsea is the first book in Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea trilogy. With its Taoist ethics, feminist sensibility, and nuanced world building, Earthsea is a worthy follow-up to the Narnia books for older readers.

 

Your next grown-up book

Lots of people miss C.S. Lewis’s sci-fi take on the ideas in Narnia, written for adults, which starts with Out of the Silent Planet. If you loved Narnia, you’ll definitely want to check out Lewis’s grown-up version.


Suzanne’s Favorite Books of 2015

Fun list of best books of 2015 created by home|school|life magazine's awesome book columnist. #homeschool

I love this time of year! New beginnings and new resolutions­­—plus all the Best-­Of booklists come out, so I can restock my to­-read list. In the spirit of celebrating last year and looking forward to some seriously good reading in 2016, I thought I’d share some of my favorites of 2015.

Favorite Young Adult

Pure
By Julianna Baggott
The Raven Boys
By Maggie Stiefvater

Favorite First Book of a Post­-Apocalyptic Trilogy Where I Didn’t Love Books Two and Three but Book One is So Good That I Can’t Help Recommending It and You Should Probably Read the Others And Make Up Your Own Mind :: Pure by Julianna Baggott

Favorite First Book of a Contemporary Fantasy Series With Clairvoyants and Ley Lines and Cute Boys Which I Stopped Reading After the First Book Because the Fourth and Final Book is Coming Out in March 2016 and I Want to Read Them All in One Glorious Binge :: The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

Favorite Fantasy Heist Novel Which I Didn’t Even Know Was a Thing But Which As a Big Ocean’s Eleven Fan I Was Thrilled to Discover and Even More Thrilled to Learn That It’s the First of an On­-Going Series (NOTE: Maybe Don’t Get Too Attached to All of the Characters in the Heist Crew) :: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

 

Favorite Reading Inspired by My Obsession with the Broadway Musical Hamilton

(Because we’re all obsessed with Hamilton, right? Even those of us who live nowhere near New York and couldn’t afford tickets even if we did and so are forced to make do with listening to the cast album over and over again and singing along while our children mock our hip-­hop skills? If you are not yet obsessed with Hamilton , you have my permission to stop reading briefly to immediately check out the album. As a bonus, it totally counts as a homeschool history lesson.)

Alexander Hamilton
By Ron Chernow
Fever 1793
By Laurie Halse Anderson

Favorite Biography That Inspired it All and At 800-­Some Pages is Maybe Not a Quick Read but Still a Great Book About Our Ten­-Dollar Founding Father Who Just Like His Country Was Young, Scrappy, and Hungry ::Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Favorite Upper­-Elementary/YA Historical Fiction That I Had Been Meaning to Read For Years And Finally Got Around to Because It’s About the 1793 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia That Also Sickened Alexander Hamilton :: Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

Favorite New Sarah Vowell Book About America’s Favorite Fighting Frenchman and Alexander Hamilton’s Best Bud the Marquis de Lafayette Which Has, Disappointingly, Not All That Much Hamilton But Which is Wildly Entertaining Nonetheless As Are All of Sarah Vowell’s Books of History :: Lafayette in The Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell

 

Favorite Readalouds

Favorite Series That I’m On My Fourth and Probably Last Time Through Reading Aloud Until I Have Grandchildren Many MANY Years From Now :: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

Favorite Series That Just Keeps Getting Better and Is Giving Narnia a Run For Its Money As My Favorite Kids’ Fantasy Series of ALL TIME Where We’re Currently Reading Book Four (The Boy Who Lost Fairyland) While Anticipating the Release of the Fifth and Final (Sniff) Book (The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home) in March 2016 ::the Fairyland series by Catherynne M. Valente

Favorite Series by My Favorite Kids/YA Fantasy Author Diana Wynne Jones Where We’re Currently Reading The Magicians of Caprona Which is Turning Out to Be One of My Daughter’s Favorites Because It Has Magical Italian Cats :: the Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones

 

And finally:

Favorite Memoir That Examines the Author’s Life in Terms of Her Favorite Literary Heroines (Including Elizabeth Bennett, Anne Shirley, and Jane Eyre) Which Also Has the Best Title of Any Book I’ve Read This Year :: How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned From Reading Too Much by Samantha Ellis


Magazine Extra: Great Nonfiction Books for Homeschoolers

Biographies, treasure hunts, and just plain fascinating people make these nonfiction stories as compelling as good fiction.

Gorgeous illustrations and a larger-than-life subject make this picture-book biography one of our favorites.

 

The cohost of NPR’s Morning Edition has put together a fascinating history of U.S. expansion, starring President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee chief John Ross, and a territory battle that would shape the modern United States.

 

Teens will dig this story about the hunt for notorious pirate Joseph Bannister’s lost ship, the Golden Fleece.

 

Haven’t you always wanted to know about the group that inspired Middle Earth, Narnia, and modern fantasy as a genre?

 

It’s great to see one of our favorite authors get the biography treatment in this young reader.


What You Should Read in Elementary School

What You Should Read in Elementary School

Whatever else you read, make time for these classics before middle school.

Stuff We Like :: 5.28.15

home|school|life's Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources.

Around the Web

I loved this: that magic moment when you become a reader, not just someone who can read a book. (With bonus REM lyrics!)

Why can’t we read anymore?

Are you watching this great web series from the American Museum of Natural History? This most recent episode, all about languages as seen through the eyes of an anthropologist and a computational biologist, is fascinating.

 

On home/school/life

On the blog: Lisa nails it with her thoughts on the whole “Oh, I could never do that” attitude homeschool parents sometimes run into.

From the magazine:Practical strategies to help a student who’s having trouble focusing. (Middle school parents, this one’s for you!)

On Pinterest: I think building this cardboard castle would be such a fun summer project.

 

Crafty

I’ve been ripping up old T-shirts to knit rugs for all our bathrooms. (It feels so good to find a use for all those old T-shirts.)

I’m also knitting up fresh dishcloths for the kitchen, which is probably as close as I ever get to spring cleaning. I like the Ballband Dishcloth pattern (it’s free!). (I use KnitPicks Dishie because it has the best colors, the cotton isn't too hard on my hands, and it seems to hold up well.)

 

Reading

Sometimes these kinds of books annoy me because you would have to have a PhD in woodworking to do anything they suggest, but Woodshed for Kids: 52 Woodworking Projects Kids Can Build really does have projects that kids can build.

I downloaded Rebecca from the free SYNC summer audiobooks series and have been loving listening to it while I’m walking the neighborhood. (Rebecca's not available anymore, but they have a great lineup of freebies for this summer.)

I am stalking Amazon for my copy of The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams— it’s supposed to be a fascinating read.

 

At Home

I am so late to the party with the whole Homicide: Life on the Streets thing, but I am so hooked.

Speaking of being late to the party, Jason and I are just getting around to listening to Serial, finally. Of course, being late adopters means we can binge listen, which is a plus.

Honey-roasted carrots with tahini yogurt are so good. (If you don’t have Ottolenghi’s book Plenty, go get it — it will change your vegetable cooking life forever.)