Book Review: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch

A couple months in to school, and this is the third book I am assigning for my middle grades Language Arts class which is also studying Modern History. The first two books were a moderate win, so I thought it would be too much to hope for another success, and yet… This book was even…

Book Review: In the Reign of Terror

I have been really enjoying history, lately. Perhaps it’s my age showing. Perhaps it’s my way of dealing with the overwhelming amount of “history” that’s happening to us right now. It makes me feel like I have more perspective and I also feel like I relate to the people on the pages of history more…

Book Review: Amal Unbound

My twelve-year-old son joined a book club this year. Okay, that’s a bit of a laugh. I forced my son into a book club. Yes, I am the dentist with the kids with bad teeth, or more literally: the writer with a son who can’t stand the sight of the printed word. He is too…

Book Review: Sit, Walk, Stand

Heads up: this book is meant for Christians. It pertains to that particular faith in an intimate way. You have been warned. Technically Sit, Walk, Stand is not on my working list of best books, but the author, Watchman Nee, is. I read this book because my pastor preached from it this summer and gave…

Book Review: The Indian in the Cupboard

Sometimes themes just happen. Native American-colonist relations in the 1750s in middle grades literature is a theme that just happened to me, hardcore. As you can see, my last two reviews were Calico Captive and The Sign of the Beaver, and now I am about to review Lynne Reid Banks’ Indian in the Cupboard. I…

Book Review: The Sign of the Beaver

If this were an adult fiction book, it would be considered a novella. At 132 pages formatted for a middle grades reader, this is a very slim novel. Perhaps that is one of the many reasons it is one of my son’s favorite books. Not that anything is missing in this novel. It’s all there:…

Book Review: Calico Captive

This is my second year teaching Literature/Language to a home school co-op class of middle schoolers. Of course, last year was rudely interrupted in March by a pandemic, and this year we are going to begin on Zoom. Anticipating that I will be teaching this for three years total, I have decided to step up…

Book Review: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

I read this book because my mother-in-law recommended it after she read it in a book club and then my uncle bought it for me off of my birthday wishlist. There are reasons why this book would jump out at me, anyhow: it’s about books, essentially. It is peopled with writers, authors, bookstore owners, booksellers,…

Book Review: Stolen Lives

Well, this has been one of those sorts of books: the kind that engulfs you and compels you to talk about it and to reference it at tea time, like “Well, at least we’re not in gaol for twenty years.” In fact, my husband has asked that I stop talking about it so that he…

Book Review: Africans in America

I began this season of my Social Passion reading (which would be civil rights/BLM) with some history. I began this way for a few reasons. I enjoy reading history. This book was already on my shelves. And I wanted to begin somewhere in a less disputed territory, on a less of-the-moment and less inflamed book.…

Book Review: In Our Backyard

Continuing with the Social Passion Series, I reached for another book on human trafficking. Last time it was a standard about trafficking around the world, this time it was a book about trafficking in the US. In Our Backyard by Nita Belles was published in 2015, so it is still up-to-date, though specific facts may…

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing

Sometimes a book just haunts me, before I even know what it is, let alone read it. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens was one such book. I believe I first heard of it at writing group, where we share what we have recently read. I think I remember the share being favorable. Then…

Series Review: Anatomy Books by Julia Rothman

I came across Julia Rothman being stuck at home for months on end with a tween and a teen. While relatives have sent me books and punch needle supplies, my husband puzzles, and my daughter paints and canvases, my son has been harder to figure out. I mean, he could just play video games straight…

Book Review: Dear Mr. Henshaw

I already like Beverly Cleary, but I wasn’t sure about this book because it seems so outside of what Cleary usually writes (Ramona, Henry Huggins, cute stories about animals). Published in and taking place about in 1983, it’s a more modern book than her typical fifties neighborhood kids. It features a more “modern” family and…

Book Review: The Underground Railroad

Let me tell you what this blog post is not: a critique on subject or a political statement. Let me tell you what it is: a review of a book. While I had such high hopes for this book—and there were many voices from Oprah Winfrey to The New York Times on the cover calling…