I came up with the idea for this year’s summer school way back at the end of last August, while we were still only in the second week of school. This reading list came together very quickly after I came up with the theme, and we already had many of the books on it. I have to admit that it’s rather heavy on the British history side of things, but I tried to find at least a few things from other countries, too. Aside from Olympic years, I have definitely never planned summer school this far in advance, and I’ve been chomping at the bit to get started for months! (As always, at the end of the list, there are few non-literary items that fit the theme.)
Some of the books we’ll be using to learn about South Korea during this year’s Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang have already been covered in our “Learning About Asia” book list. I looked for some new titles (many by Linda Sue Park, who is of Korean heritage), with good reviews though, (to be honest, however, we don’t have them all at home, and I don’t know yet if we’ll be able to get them from the library), and also found a new cookbook, so we’ll be trying some Korean cuisine, as well!
I’ve mentioned books we’ve read during October to learn about the Reformation, as well as books we’ve read to learn about our Lutheran heritage from time to time, but I’ve never put a list together in one place. In honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this month, here’s our list…books about Martin and Katie Luther, (and some of their contemporaries) and the Reformation itself, as well as books about and/or by other notable Lutherans, and books about Lutheran theology, for pretty much all ages:
Advanced Readers/Adult Titles:
No “What We’re Reading” list would be complete without a few non-book items, such as CDs and DVDs!
I haven’t shared our full curriculum list for the 2015-16 school year yet, but our elective subject has a much shorter list, so I thought I’d start there. Turkey asked if we could learn about Asia this year, so on Fridays, we’re studying various Asian countries (so far this includes China, Japan, Korea, and India). I’ve tried to include some non-fiction, some folktales, and some award-winning books set in Asian countries. This study also involves some fun, hands-on activities. It’s still something of a work in progress, but here’s what’s in our book basket so far:
- All About China
- Eyewitness: China
- Moonbeams, Dumplings, and Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities, and Recipes
- D is for Dancing Dragon: A China Alphabet
- All About Japan
- Japanese Traditions: Rice Cakes, Cherry Blossoms, and Matsuri
- All About Korea
- A Grain of Rice
- Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog
- The Cherry Blossom Festival: Sakura Celebration
- Clueless in Tokyo
- Squeamish about Sushi
- Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun
- You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Samurai
- You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Ninja Warrior!
- A Treasury of Japanese Folktales
- Suki’s Kimono
- Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China
- The Story about Ping
- You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Great Wall of China!
- Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
- Li Lun, Lad of Courage
- The Emperor’s Silent Army: Terracotta Warriors of Ancient China
- Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
- The Drum: A Folktale from India
- My Dadima Wears a Sari
- Chinese Fashions
- Samurai Warriors Coloring Book
- Fashions from India
- Origami for Beginners
- Calligraphy for Kids
- Wooden Sushi Slicing Playset
I’ve shared my top five books list before…I thought I should also share my five favorite children’s books (there is one books common to both lists!):
- The Phantom Tollbooth–This is my absolute favorite children’s book, and one I enjoy as an adult, as well. I can’t tell you how many times I have wished I could visit Dictionopolis for myself!
- Ramona the Pest–I’ve read this book so many times, I can no longer tell what I’m remembering from my own kindergarten experience, and what is just in the book. I think it is the definitive book on being in kindergarten!
- Henry Reed’s Journey–I read all of the Henry Reed books as a child, and enjoyed each one. This is the one that I really looked forward to reading to my children, however, because I love the Reed/Glass adventure across America.
- The Monster at the End of this Book–I remember this book from my childhood, and then again as a teen and young adult when I would babysit. Now I read it to my children. I still laugh every time!
- In Grandma’s Attic–Really, I could just list the entire Grandma’s Attic series, but if I have to pick one, it’s the first in the series, and the first one I read. I still remember where I purchased it, and where I was when I read the first chapter.
I read many, many books as a child, and even more as read-clouds over the years to my children, so it was hard to narrow it down, but these are my absolute favorites!
This year’s edition of summer school is focused on learning all about Illinois: the history, people, and regions of our fair state. I found a curriculum (the first six books on the list), as a starting point, and I’m also adding books about famous Illinoisans, as well as (mainly fiction) books set in our state. We’ll also spend a decent amount of time focusing on Chicago, as it is the biggest city in the state, and the city by which I grew up. How do you learn about your home state?
- Illinois History—One of six books in the Heinemann State Studies series, this book, as you might imagine, is a timeline of Illinois history, beginning with the early natives who lived here, up through the modern day.
- Illinois Native Peoples
- Illinois Plants and Animals
- People of Illinois
- All Around Illinois: Regions and Resources
- Uniquely Illinois—This is a fun title that looks at state trivia, from the serious (the government), to the silly (what is a Tully Monster?).
- A Year Down Yonder—One of several fiction books by Richard Peck set in Illinois…this and the following book focus on a small town downstate.
- A Long Way from Chicago
- Fair Weather—This and the following title focus on the World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World’s Fair, which took place in 1893.
- Mr. Ferris and His Wheel
- L is for Lincoln
- W is for Windy City
- Prairie Numbers
- Across Five Aprils–-A story about an Illinois farm boy set during the Civil War.
- Lincoln: A Photobiography
- Abraham Lincoln
- Who Was Ulysses S. Grant?
- The Great Fire
- The House that Jane Built: A Story About Jane Addams—The story of the famous Illinoisan who co-founded Hull House in Chicago.
- Cows on Parade in Chicago—A fun book about a public art project in Chicago in the late 1990s.
- 32 Wheaton Notables, Their Stories, and Where They Lived—A book about some of the famous residents of my former hometown.
- Molly: An American Girl (series)—One of the earliest American Girl book series, Molly is a fictional character from a small town in Illinois, living during the time of WWII.
- Chicago History for Kids—Some fun, hands-on projects and activities focusing on the city of Chicago.
- The United States Cookbook—A great book for learning about the famous foods of the 50 states…Illinois is represented by a family-favorite–Chicago-style pizza!
- Writing a State Report
I also highly recommend the book There Are No Children Here for high school students. It’s a book I read almost two decades ago, and it had a profound impact on me.
I’ve got several fun field trips planned, as well. Stay tuned for details!
Christian fiction looks great on the surface. The material is clean—no foul language or smut to worry about. As a matter of fact, it can be very easy to grow complacent and assume that just because something is sold in a Christian bookstore, or has the imprint of a Christian publisher, that it’s great material for us, or for our children, to read and enjoy.
via Christian Fiction – Sisters of Katie Luther.
I had another post published on the Sisters of Katie Luther site today. While you’re there, take a look at some of the other great articles that have been published recently!