Book Review: The Song of Achilles

I have been reading Greek mythology lately. I have been teaching mythology to a small classroom of approximately-ninth-grade boys and I have, as a rabbit trail, plunged into book after book of Greek mythology. It was always a subject that interested me. (The truth is that just about everything in English 1 interested and still…

Book Review: Number the Stars

The books we’ve been reading for middle school literature lately (I teach a co-op class) have been so short that the students have actually asked for more reading suggestions. Not all of the students, but still. After Animal Farm and then War Horse, we landed on another super-short novel (which we’re not going to call…

Book Review: Lyddie

Lyddie was another in a line of middle grades historical fiction that I have read as the Middle School Language Arts teacher at the homeschool co-op I am a part of. I’ve been more impressed by the selections for this year (part of a writing curriculum based on Modern History as opposed to last year’s…

Book Review: Outlander

Well! There are gushing reviews of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and there are scathing reviews of Outlander. No one expects it to be literary fiction—it’s popular fiction—though many claim it is great historical fiction (though it incorporates time travel), but the real discrepancy revolves around “rape culture.” I would say one out of ten, maybe…

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: 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: Lincoln in the Bardo

I was in Syracuse, New York. I had packed the last two books in the Lord of the Rings series and then had devoured what was left of them. I was headed to a pedicure with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and daughter and had about 20 minutes before my appointment to spare. There were two used…

Book Review: Island of the Blue Dolphins

When my daughter was assigned this book for fifth grade reading, I was happy to read it. I enjoy history and have a special interest in Native American history. I thought this would be an interesting story, even though it is a fictionalized account. Not so much. Besides the real story, itself, I found this…

Book Review: Fever 1793

Sorry folks, I have been off sick. Pretty sure a fever (how appropriate!) north of 103 gets you off work, even if you work from home. But I don’t need my throat to work, so here I am. Back again. The following review is for Fever 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson, published by Simon and…