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May and June Titles // 2017

Ani and a friend at co-op discovering birds' nests

I skipped May's book post because it was so short! We've had a whirlwind 6 weeks, traveling, wrapping up school, prepping our home for guests, our next trip, and trying to see friends now that we're on summer break. May felt very full and I only got two (short!) books read, so it felt underwhelming to post here. June has been quite full, too, but I've gotten a bit more on track in June. What did you read this month?

May

* The Classical Unschooler by Purva Brown - This short snippet is a homeschooler's manifesto on how both unschooling and classical education -seemingly opposite-can mix together to create a rich environment for children's learning at home. I read Brown's blog (same title) and I appreciate some of her thoughtful posts on applying ancient educative philosophy to today's methods and trends. I would give this 3 stars, and I donated it to my local homeschooling support group's library for others to enjoy. 

*For the Love of Learning by Jennifer Sockey - I was given this after the owner wanted to pass it on and I found it to be a pinch of inspiration in a very lackluster and overly busy time of the school year. I'm leaning more on Charlotte Mason's ideas these days (I've always understood and loved her educational philosophy, but have never rigorously implemented it, just a few things here and there as anchors in our day), and this book, in similar vein to Unschooler, provided context for mixing classical education and Charlotte Mason, which I can see a little easier than the book above. I liked it, and also passed this one on, too. 

June

*The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - This was one of my long-standing favorite books since high school and when a member of my book club said they were picking this one I was thrilled to 'have' to read it again for the discussion. Aside from Plath's gorgeous writing (really, her stinging metaphors are practically unbeat 75 years later), I don't particularly remembered why I would have called this a top 3...alas, we grow up, we read more, we change. It felt a little sad to demote this book (though never her poetry!) to less than 'favorite' status, but the discussion with the group was excellent, and I'm hosting a Sylvia viewing next month!

*Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith - Smith is the newest  Poet Laureate of the USA and I loved her newest collection. These poems focus on space, time, and the universe as it relates to the body; a small complex world within a larger. I can't for the life of me where I first heard of Smith, but she will be well-known in years to come. Her work is excellent and if you like poetry, this one comes recommended. 

*Born A Crime by Trevor Noah - Comedian Trevor Noah, newest host of The Daily Show, has written a memoir about growing up in South Africa during apartheid and the aftermath of it's abolition. It was funny, surprising, informative, and a page-turner. Just what you want in a book. I'm only sorry I didn't get the pleasure of listening to his accent on the audio version, but I give this memoir 4 stars. 

*One Year Off by David Elliot Cohen - (edit: oops!) This was a book I randomly picked up at an used book store when I was trading mine in, and I'm so glad I found this little gem, along with the publishing house it came from (all those travel titles!!), Travelers' Tales. Right now around-the-world trips are becoming more and more popular, or maybe just a bit more on the radar. Thanks, internet. A lot of people are even including their families, but this family did it before blogs existed, and AOL was still a valid ending to an email address. The Cohen family set off with three kids, two parents, and one nanny and the book that came out --written in 'email form', which I loved and have never seen before -- was a really humorous and lighthearted read about everything from mishaps to memories made in exotic places. I've read quite a few around-the-world books, and this is hands-down my favorite one. 

*Plato: The Great Philosopher-Educator by David Deiner - This was a short little book about the life and context within history of Greek educator and philopsher, Plato. It refreshed my knowledge about Greek culture and how such philosophies came to be in that day and age, and why we still use (or should use, in some cases) some of Plato's teachings. I decided to keep this one. 

Read-Aloud with Kids

*The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis - We finished up this one early this month. This is the 'first' of Lewis' Narnia series, though it was written towards the end which is why we read it second to last. Digory and Polly, who turn up later in Last Battle, are given magical rings that take them into the creation of the world of Narnia, though an evil witch named Jadis tries to rule. Again, loved this series, the kids really enjoyed this book.

*Sophie Mouse #10 It's Raining It's Pouring by Pippa Green - Ani and I love to read these together because they are just so cute! The illustrations and the story are both candy sweet, easy to read, and generally take one long cuddle session to finish. This one covers how a drought can effect a community, and school projects. 

*The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis - The final installment of the Narnia series is hands-down my favorite. Everything in all the other 6 books culminates in this story, and the plot and writing do not disappoint. The ending -- resolution, dialogue, and final closing of the book are simply masterful. I stumble through the last 20 or so pages holding back tears because the story is just that good. The series itself is a favorite, but this is the crowning jewel of them, and one of my all-time favorite children's novels, hands down. You simply MUST read these with your kids!

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