Books we are loving – October 2019
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli
The Door in the Wall is a book set in Medieval England, about the son of a knight whose life is forever changed by losing the strength in his legs after an illness. We read it as part of Learning Through Literature‘s Building Character Through Books monthly unit studies. This gave us a week by week guide to studying the book, and included discussion topics, poetry, links to related media about the historical period, and suggestions of supplementary books to read.
The novel was fantastic and we all really enjoyed it. The unit study was useful and the children were happy for us to follow it. We had some good discussions, and we were able to relate what we read back to the Secrets of the Castle documentary series we watched over the summer. I’m not sure that we will complete all 9 books in the 2019-20 Building Character Through books list, but I am planning to do more of them throughout the year.
Knights and Bikes by Gabrielle Kent
If you want it to be, Knights and Bikes can be a full on multimedia experience. You can read the books, (there are now two in the series), as well as playing the videogame on PC or Playstation. The option for a cartoon series has also just been sold. We haven’t played the game yet (maybe it will come out on Switch one day?) but we read the first book as a readaloud and it was a ton of fun.
The basic premise is two girls, a goose, a couple of bmx bikes and an local mystery on an island off the Cornwall coast. It hits a lot of the classic adventure beats – explore the castle, find the treasure, save the family home, discover the stranger’s mysterious secret – but that’s not a complaint! It was fun, and exciting and we are really looking forward to getting to the sequel in the next few weeks.
The Usborne Book of the Moon by Laura Cowan
Autumn feels like a lovely time to think about the moon, in part because it’s a time of year when you can actually look at the night sky as a family. This picture book from Usborne include myths, science and folklore about the moon. It’s beautiful and filling with great information, and we spend a few morning times slowing savouring our way through it.
Best Friends by Shannon Hale
I think someone in our house has been reading Best Friends at any given time since we got it last month. I keep finding it open on the side of the sofa, or on a chest of drawers, or work surface. When it arrived I didn’t let anyone elseknow until I had read it cover to cover, because I was looking forward to it as much as the kids were. Their dad read it about two days after it arrived. What I’m saying, is that it is really popular here!
Best Friends is the sequel to Real Friends, and continues the graphic novel memoir of Shannon Hale’s school experience and friendships into middle school. Both books are a masterful exploration into the complexities of childhood friendship (especially the politics of friendship amongst girls), and also give recognisable descriptions of childhood anxiety and ocd that I wish had been available back in the 80’s when this book is set. It’s a great starting place for talking about compassion, and bullying, as well as mental health.
What have you been reading this month?