You're invited to a

Family Book Discussion Party

Who: All members of the Scholar History class, Kidshistory class, and their families (it's great to have parents, especially if they have children under 12 attending)

What: 4 Book discussions with food and games

When: Monday nights at 7 pm

Where: The Cutler Home (let me know if you would like to host one at your place)

What to Bring: A copy of the book (each scholar student should have their own copy), snacks and games to share, friends

Specail Note: Scholars need to read the book in order to join in on this awesome event!

Dates and Books

November 5- "Archimedes and the Door of Science", Bendick

January 7- "The King's Fifth", Scott O'Dell

March 4- "Ben and Me", Lawson

May 6- "Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood", Nathan Hale

Unit 1 Book List

1. Daughter of the Mountains by Louise S. Rankin: a fictional Newbury Honor Book from 1948 starts in the mountains of Tibet and follows the journey of young Momo’s into India to find her stolen dog Pempa. The story is well-written, engaging and fascinating. (Note: Unit 1 covers ancient Asia. This book is set in 19th century Asia, and is a great extension study.)

2. Archimedes and the Door of Science by Jeanne Bendick: Although this book is non-fiction, it is written in a way that holds the interest of younger readers. Readers learn not only about the ancient Greek mathematician and scientist Archimedes, but they also learn about history and science.

3. Black Ships Before Troy, Maryann Sutcliff: As the gods and goddesses of Olympus scheme, the ancient world is thrown into turmoil when Helen, the most beautiful woman in all of Greece, is stolen away by her Trojan love. Inflamed by jealousy, the Greek king seeks lethal vengeance and sends his black war ships to descend on the city of Troy.
    In the siege that follows, history’s greatest heroes, from Ajax to Achilles to Odysseus, are forged in combat, and the brutal costs of passion, pride, and revenge must be paid. In the end, the whims of the gods, the cunning of the warriors, and a great wooden horse will decide who emerges victorious.
    Homer's epic poem, The Iliad, is one of the greatest adventure stories of all time and Rosemary Sutcliff's retelling of the classic saga embodies all of the astonishing drama, romance, and intrigue of ancient Greece.

4. The Wanderings of Odysseus The Story of the Odyssey by Maryann Sutcliff: King Odysseus and the Greeks have triumphed over the Trojans. At long last, they are able to set sail for home and the loving family Odysseus left behind. But for the heroic king, the return voyage holds hazards far greater than any he faced during the war.
    Forced by treacherous winds into unknown seas, Odysseus and his crew must face deadly perils: the flesh-eating Cyclops, Circe and her deadly enchantments, and the soul-chilling Land of the Dead and more.
   Rosemary Sutcliff’s reimagining of the classic epic The Odysseus is woven through with a spectacular cast of men, magicians, and monsters. Odysseus’ harrowing journey home to his family and kingdom tests the limits of his strength, and the power of his will.
Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey, is one of the greatest adventure stories of all time and Rosemary Sutcliff stays true to the classic tale and characters in this authentic retelling rich with drama, magic, and heroism.

 5. The Iliad, Homer: Iliad is the most ancient literary monument, epic poem attributed to Homer. The events of the Trojan War are described in the poem. Homer points out a quasi historical fact of the Helen’s abduction that became a reason for the war. Homer’s Iliad is presumably based on folklore stories about ancient heroic acts. Iliad is named after the capital of city of Greek Troia Ilion (another name of Troy). The story of Iliad dates just a few last months of the 10-year siege of Troy by the Achaeans, and describes a historical episode that covers only a short period of time.

6. The Odyssey, Homer: If the Iliad is the world's greatest war epic, the Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of an everyman's journey through life. Odysseus' reliance on his wit and wiliness for survival in his encounters with divine and natural forces during his ten-year voyage home to Ithaca after the Trojan War is at once a timeless human story and an individual test of moral endurance. In the myths and legends  retold here

Unit 2 Book List

1. Beorn the Proud by Madeleine Polland In this fictional story, a Christian young woman, Ness, is captured by Vikings on the Irish coast. Ness' faith helps sustain her during her captivity. This book is very engaging and relates powerful messages about reliance on God, courage, patience, and avoiding greed for power and wealth. The book is a fairly easy read that should be enjoyed even by reluctant readers. This books does not have as high educational value as other books on this list, as the focus is more on the plot and characters than the historical time period.

2. The Corn Grows Ripe by Dorothy Rhoads This engaging, beautifully written book gives good insight into the ancient Mayan culture. The book also teaches great lessons as a lazy boy learns how to face overwhelming challenges with perseverance and experiences the rewards of hard work.

3. Raiders from the Sea by Lois Walfrid Johnson This is part of a 5-book series (Viking Quest Series). Each book leaves you hanging. If you start the series, you will likely want to finish all five books. In this fictional story, a Christian brother and sister from Ireland are captured by Vikings. A strong emphasis is placed on faith in God. This books does not have as high educational value as other books on this list, as the focus is more on the plot and characters than the historical time period. The literary merit is fair. Intermediate Ages and Older 

4. Ernest Shackleton by Janet & Geoff Benge This book tells the remarkable, true story of Ernest Shackleton and his famous Arctic expeditions in the early 1900s. He is a good man and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration is fasinating.

1. The King's Fifth by Scott O'Dell This book tells a fictional, engaging story that takes place in the age of exploration. Esteban de Sandoval, a young mapmaker in the mid-1500s, is to stand trial for withholding "the king's fifth" of the gold he found and supposedly has hidden. The book switches back and forth between the current day (as Esteban stands trial) and his journey through the mythical seven cities, supposedly filled with gold. This enveloping, suspenseful story gives a look at the time of early exploration and will make readers think twice about setting their hearts on riches. The book is very engaging,and it is challenging read!


Unit 3

1. Peter and the Pilgrims by Louis A. Vernon is a great writer of historical fiction for youth. In this book, She creates a plot so captivating that readers hardly realize just how much they are learning about history. The book works great as a read-aloud for the whole family, young and old. This is a must-read book for all. The back cover reads: "Peter Cook has a good life as a bound boy. Although a youth who has to do hard labor, he is treated like a son by his master. Everything changes the day that Peter discovers his master has died of the dreaded disease, the black plague. Because Peter touched the corpse he is thrown out of the great house and left on his own.”

2. Landing of the Pilgrims  Award-winning author James Daugherty is a fantastic writer. In this book—part fiction and part nonfiction—Daugherty uses a rich vocabulary and has a way of writing that makes the content interesting and easy to understand for younger children while also being engaging for older children. Daugherty does a great job of describing the hard work and strong faith of the pilgrims. 

3. Calico Bush by Rachel Field. Originally published in 1931, this Newbury Honor Book is a fantastic and worthwhile book. Orphaned in a strange country, French girl Marguerite is forced to become an indentured servant. Readers learn much about life in the mid-1700s in Maine as they follow Marguerite's story of strength, hard work, endurance, courage, and kindness. The first chapter or two is a little difficult to get into, but don't give up because the book quickly becomes intriguing. I loved the the insights into human life. This one is highly recommended!

4. William Penn : Janet & Geoff Benge really have a way of making history come alive through their fictionalized biographies. William Penn is an interesting and inspiring story packed with educational insights. William Penn was a man with many admirable character traits—a man worthy of study. The book is nicely written and would probably be enjoyed best by children ages 11 and older.

5. Once Upon a TimeThe Way America Was by Eric Sloane. This 64-page book is overflowing with educational value. The information is fascinating and the writing fantastic. Readers learn about the principles of frugality, home, and hard work in early America. I highly recommend this wonderful book for ages 10 and up. It would make a great family read-aloud for older children, as it is likely to spark some great discussions.

6. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham. This Newbury Award-winning fictionalized biography tells the true story of Nathaniel Bowditch, an American mathematician, astronomer, and navigation expert. "Nat" faces hardships as a young boy and is forced into an apprenticeship, but he remains cheerful and perseverant as he educates himself until he achieves his dreams. This inspiring story is skillfully written yet easy to read, with great descriptive language and imagery.

7. William Bradford by Janet & Geoff Benge This is another great book by Janet and Geoff Benge. This part nonfiction, part fiction story tells the story of William Bradford who came to America on the Mayflower and showed steadfast leadership that blessed the Plymouth Colony. The book would likely be enjoyed best by children ages 12 and up.

8. Ben and Me by Lawson: Ever wonder where inventors get their ideas? As it turns out, the great inventor Benjamin Franklin got his best ideas from a mouse named Amos! Funny, interesting and wise, this classic tale has been a favorite for generations. Once you've met Amos and read his account, you'll never think of Ben Franklin-or American history-quite the same way. 
Did you ever wonder where inventors get their ideas? Benjamin Franklin was one of the most famous inventors in American history, and according to this amusing book, he got most of his ideas--the good ones at any rate--from a mouse! Funny, interesting and wise, Ben and Me is a classic American story that has been read by generations of young people. Once you've met Amos the mouse, you'll always remember Benjamin Franklin a little differently than the history books do. 

9. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin: Blessed with enormous talents and the energy and ambition to go with them, Franklin was a statesman, author, inventor, printer, and scientist. He helped draft the Declaration of Independence and later was involved in negotiating the peace treaty with Britain that ended the Revolutionary War. He also invented bifocals, a stove that is still manufactured, a water-harmonica, and the lightning rod.
Franklin's extraordinary range of interests and accomplishments are brilliantly recorded in his Autobiography,considered one of the classics of the genre. Covering his life up to his prewar stay in London as representative of the Pennsylvania Assembly, this charming self-portrait recalls Franklin's boyhood, his determination to achieve high moral standards, his work as a printer, experiments with electricity, political career, experiences during the French and Indian War, and more. Related in an honest, open, unaffected style, this highly readable account offers a wonderfully intimate glimpse of the Founding Father sometimes called "the wisest American."

Unit 4

 1. The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy. The Singing Tree is a sequel to The Good Master, but it works wonderfully as a stand-alone as well. The story explores life on the Hungarian plains during World War I. The writing and the messages are powerful.There is not a lot of historical information about World War I, but it does illustrate how normal life was affected by the war.

2. Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan. Written in 2000, this book has won several awards. I found no objectionable language or content. The story is beautiful and very engaging. Esperanza has a life of wealth and comfort on her family's ranch in Mexico. But, when tragedy shatters Esperanza's world during the Great Depression, she and her family are forced to flee to California and settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. This story is packed with educational value about the Great Depression and has uplifting messages about family, loyalty, hard work, attitude, gratitude, enduring trials, friendship, honesty, kindness, and more.

3. Anna's Fight for Hope by Joann A. Grote. If you are looking for a wholesome, engaging book that takes place during the Great Depression, this is a great option. It's a sweet and engaging story. The official description reads: "Follow the fictional story of Anna Harrington to see how this time of upheaval affected a twelve-year-old girl who saw her friends and acquaintances devastated by economic events. This very personal story shows the beauty of friendship while at the same time teaching important lessons of Christian faith and American history."

4. A Cup of Cold Water by Christine Farenhorst. This book tells the true story of the faithful, courageous British nurse Edith Cavell during World War 1. Caught in the turmoil of the war while working in Belgium, Edith shows tremendous faith, courage, and selflessness as she helps others, even through she is surrounded by spies. The first half of the book is a little slower paced, but beautifully written. The second half is much more engaging.

5. The Forgotten Founding Father by Joshua Kendall. This book gets 5 out of 5 stars from me in each category: moral merit, literary merit, and educational value. It would be a very challenging read, however, and require daily reading of 40+ minutes to finish by the end of the unit. With skillful and elegant writing, Joshua Kendall tells the lesser-known but deeply inspiring story of Noah Webster. This is a wonderfully challenging, true biography, not a fictionalized biography. This worthwhile read is packed with the highest moral, literary, and educational value, making it one of the "best" books, in my opinion.