Family Read-alouds
The Hugenot Garden
by Douglas M. Jones III

The Merchant of Venice retelling by Charles and Mary Lamb
Not a bad way to discover the bare bones of the story, but once you’ve come across Leon Garfield (see below) it would be hard to go back to their version.

Six Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield
So well written, Captured the essence, carried the story using some original quotes and descriptive explanations. Excellent introduction.
Includes: insert titles

I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth B. de Trevino
The older kids loved this book when we read it years ago and the youngest four have been no less impressed. If anything they identified more closely with it as they have visited Madrid (and are about to go to Seville) and have seen some of the paintings mentioned.

The Shakespeare Scribe by Gary Blackwood
Ah, we love a mystery! Fabulous to have seen Titus and Twelfth Night and performed in The Merchant of Venice earlier this year as all of them were referenced in the book.

Brother Dusty-Feet by Rosemary Sutcliff

Mary, Bloody Mary by

The Man Who Laid the Egg by Louise A. Vernon
A great way to introduce the early Catholic-Protestant conflict featuring Erasmus. Sympathetic to both sides.

Thunderstorm in the Church by Louise A. Vernon
Martin Luther from his children’s perspective

Night Preacher by Louise A. Vernon
Anabaptist story featuring Menno Simons

The King’s Shadow by Elizabeth Alder
Captivating fast-paced story. Not for sensitive kids (or under seven or eight) due to violent deaths and punishments. Our 10-16 year olds enjoyed it a lot.

When Day is Done by Edgar A. Guest
Another lovely poetry collection – lots to copy into our own poetry journal

Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
middle ages, mystery, minstrel….fabulous story (I have the advantage going through this time period for the second time with kids to be revisiting books we loved a few years ago and know will be great reads! This is one of them)

Ransom for a Knight by Barbara Leonie Picard
We are also picking up new titles and this one did not fail to deliver.

Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle
No less engaging the second time round

The Beggar’s Bible by Louise A. Vernon
Bringing John Wycliffe to life

Ink on His Fingers by Louise A. Vernon
Johan Gutenberg

The Bible Smuggler by Louise A. Vernon
William Tyndale…all these stories by Vernon work together to give a real feel for the time and a beginning understanding of what our forbears suffered.

Sword Song by Rosemary Sutcliff
The girls were getting tired of medieval literature by the time we got to this one and approached it with a jaded mindset! No fault of the book!

William Cowper
Two books by him. Loved the occasional poem and struggled through most!

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Adult read. Primer on medieval monasticism. Gripping murder mystery. Well told yarn.

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
Young adult read. WWII, Poland, Sleeping Beauty, two stories woven together.

There is a Reaper by Michael Lymes
With the benefit of twenty years hindsight, but without losing any of the immediacy of emotion, this father and mother recount their journey of losing their young child to cancer. A well written account that introduces you to the family and as a reader you come away knowing them.

Dragonwings by Laurence Yep
Chinese culture meets America in the early 1900s. Full of pertinent lessons for now. Kids’ book. Especially appreciated by boys perhaps.

Sentence of Marriage by Shayne Parkinson
Apart from being set in pioneering New Zealand, this book had a few parallels with Madame Bovary. There was the sadness, there were male-female relationships (although very different), there was hopelessness and despair. Amy, the main character in this book, did not control situations and in many ways was a casualty through little fault of her own.
I finished the book with mixed emotions. Was it just a trashy romance or was there a strong enough message in the brokenness to have made it a worthwhile read? I’m not sure.

The Moorish Whore by Rebekah Scott
Based on fact, tripping into fiction. Informative and ripping good yarn. Could have been written just as effectively without explicit details of what went on in the bedroom (despite the name of the book), and would then have made it suitable for a much younger audience too. I also felt a lot of modern/post-modern issues were projected on to some of the characters and wonder whether they would have been asking the same questions – they may have, I am not saying they wouldn’t have been.

The Rowan Tree by Robert W. Fuller At first seemed like a trashy novel, but ended up with a strong political message.

Blueback by Tim Winton
Australia. The sea. Family. Education. Maturity. Environmentalism. Death. Sensitively written.

The Me Me Me Epidemic by Amy McCready A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World….that sums it up. Useful practical tips and examples. Could be used with a two-year-old, twelve-year-old, or even twenty-year-old who is still living at home.

Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld
Kids’ mystery adventures set in Ancient Rome. Fun read.

A Coming Evil by Vivian Vande Velde
When 13-year-old son saw me with this book he commented, “That’s a strange one. I’m not sure if I enjoyed it or not.”
Now that I’ve read it, I understand him! But I can’t put my finger on what didn’t quite work for me. Maybe mixing a ghost from the time of the crusades with an evacuated girl in World War II was just too ambitious to be believable. But I like C. S. Lewis’ “Into the Silent Planet” and that is even more absurd, so perhaps that’s not IT. More likely I was expecting a war story and it did not deliver – or rather, it delivered much more, but was not particularly strong in either time period (but then again, this is a kids’ book, so would I expect more? Surely it is a good accessible introduction to some of the central ideas around war). Somehow I think I’ll have to go back and read this one again, trying to work out what doesn’t sit so well with me – I expect I might end up loving the uniqueness and cleverness of it!

Walking for Peace by Mony Dojeiji and Alberto Agraso
Rome to Jerusalem on foot. Not a travelogue, but a record of their inner searchings and developments.

The Children Who Stayed Alone by Bonnie Bess Worline
In the vein of Little House on the Prairie. For young children, the main characters were very mature and self-aware – perhaps unbelievably so. Settlers and Indians getting on, which makes an interesting change to most books set in that time period.

Life of Fred Apples by Stanley Schmidt
It’s a maths book, but it’s not like any other maths book you’ve ever read. Inspiring enough to borrow the whole set from the library and different ones are engaging all kids from 9-15 years (and me).

The Mayflower Adventure by

The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers
I’ve been meaning to make this author’s acquaintance for a long time. Why did I wait so long?

The Enneagram for Parenting (or something like that) – fill in details later

Enneagram by the official one

Sketch City by

The Urban Sketching Handbook by Gabriel Campanario
What a wee treasure. Useful and inspirational.

Sketch city : tips and inspiration for drawing on location

The sketchbook challenge : techniques, prompts, and inspiration for achieving your creative goals by Sue Bleiweiss.

Watercolour for the Absolute Beginner by Alwyn Crawshaw, Sharon Finmark and Trevor Waugh
I fit the demographic. The book fits me. Let’s see what I can learn from it – reading is one thing, doing it is quite another.

Mandala by

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Denniston Rose by
A white Once Were Warriors. Gripping. Devastating. Tragically believable.

Heart of Coal by
As soon as I had finished Denniston Rose I had to start on the sequel set some twenty years later. Just as compelling as the first. Wonderful weaving of characters together and apart.

An illustrated journey : inspiration from the private art journals of traveling artists, illustrators and designers by Danny Gregory

The sketchnote handbook : the illustrated guide to visual note taking by Mike Rohde

The sketchnote workbook : advanced techniques for taking visual notes you can use anywhere by Mike Rohde

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
Uncle Screwtape’s latest advice is probably to convince young believers not to read such a book.Insightful. Demanding. Illuminating. Challenging.

Making Supper Safe by Ben Hewitt
food safety in the US

Home Grown by Ben Hewitt
parenting, unschooling, connecting with creation

The Nourishing Homestead by Ben Hewitt
personal story of them developing their land – made me think I could do it

Saved by Ben Hewitt
challenge about relying on money…..contentment, community, caring

Edible Cities by Judith Anger, Immo Fiebrig and Martin Schnyder
urban permaculture – full of examples, great ideas

Koanga Garden Guide by Kay Baxter
*well worth buying*
Month by month in the garden, beginning, seed saving, growing grains, poultry, cultural details of vegetables & flowers, moon calendar

What’s Happening by Kay Baxter
basically the month by month portion of the previous book

Beginning Gardening by Koanga Institute
exactly what it says!

Design Your Own Orchard by Kay Baxter
*another worth purchasing if we are to grow fruit*

Sabbath as Resistance by

Drawing for Older Children and Teens by Mona Brookes
Absolutely fabulous, will use this after we complete next year’s plan (can’t do it all at once)

Botanical Illustration for Beginners by Meriel Thirsten
inspirational, good colour tips, step-by-step help, borrow again when learning botanical illustration

The Town That Food Saved by Ben Hewitt
Hardwick’s journey around food security

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
After trying once to get into this book and then giving up, I tried a second time when friends insisted it was a great read. I did get to the end, but still found it to be slow-going. It was tragic but was not as gripping as “A Fine Balance”, which still remains the most haunting book I’ve ever endured-but-could-not-put-down.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
What a fascinating read. I have never read anything like it. I felt transported to a completely different world that I knew was make-believe but seemed so real. Clever writing. But at the same time, the magic element was disturbing to me.I sway between thinking it was innocuous and thinking darkness can be deceptive in its attraction.