The Strange Intruder

As a boy mom, a small part of my regular reading diet includes previewing books that come from trustworthy sources as possible reads for the often difficult-to-please 8-14-year-old boy niche. In this book list article, Diane and I mention that, in our experience as teachers, boy moms, and encouragers of readers, we have learned that…

The Virginian

This is part of Diane’s Literature Course I Series Owen Wister’s The Virginian Oh, that old thing? Why, yes, it’s been one of my favorites for many years. I noticed, though, while doing research for our American literature class, that it seems to be going out of style. Too trite and formulaic, perhaps? Wait! Please note…

Last of the Mohicans

This is part of Diane’s Literature Course I Series This summer, about six weeks before school was going to start, I was asked to teach a literature class for a small group of teen girls. “Literature” is a dauntingly broad subject. Where to focus? Based on what some of the students had already read, I decided…

Cicero’s On Duties

“Cicero, like thoughtful men of every age, knew that the reason vicious leaders like Caesar could rise to power was because the Roman population itself had been corrupted and no longer pursued the old virtues; a leader is, after all, a mirror of the people who choose him or at least allow him to retain…

A Tree for Peter

“…Some of you have steady jobs now. Most of you work off and on…there is not one among you who is not a man after me own heart. Kicked around by life you were, sure. Only, I am the cop on the beat and I know that there is not one among you who has…

Grandma’s Attic Series

Several years ago this book started popping up in my Amazon recommendations because I was buying Caddie Woodlawn, Understood Betsy, What Katy Did, and Betsy-Tacy for my little girl. The cover art, however, was so off-putting to me that I resisted any inclination to even consider the book. I thought, for sure, that this book was…

Signature: The Story of Clara Barton

Published by Grosset and Dunlap, the Signature “Story of” books are a biography series very similar to the famous Landmark and North Star children’s biography series. Like those series, the publishers at Grosset and Dunlap commissioned excellent authors to write biographies that would be appropriate for children. After having read several books in each series,…

The Scarlet Pimpernel

The movie is better. Much better, in fact. In 1903, Baroness Orczy wrote a successful stage play about a foppish English noble who mastered the art of “disguise and redirect” in order to save the lives of French royals destined for the Madame Guillotine during the Reign of Terror. Building on the success of The…

Little Britches #5: Fields of Home

In my review of the fourth book in Ralph Moody’s Little Britches series, Mary Emma and Company, I said goodbye to young Ralph. That book closed the chapter on Ralph’s childhood. Fields of Home chronicles Ralph’s debut into young manhood. No longer a child but not yet a man, this chapter of Ralph’s life extends…

The First Olympics

In June of 1894, Pierre de Coubertin and his newly organized International Olympic Committee unanimously voted to schedule the first Olympics of the modern era to open in April of 1896 in Athens, Greece. Over the next two years, 13 countries would assemble teams of athletes to represent their nation in this peaceful international assembly…