Books, Books, Books: The Big Reveal

My daughters are unrepentant bibliophiles. They love reading and each of them almost always has at least one book going (beyond what I require for "school work") at any given time. I never have to entice or coerce them into reading more because being in the midst of a good book just seems to be nearly as natural to them as breathing. Of course, my husband and I wouldn't have it any other way, especially since they enjoy high-quality, non-twaddle titles that support our faith and values as a family.

Because of this and because of the reader's workshop format I've employed in our homeschool since the girls were young and even now, it's imperative that I keep our (ever-growing) home library well-stocked with worthwhile titles. I add to our collection whenever I find quality books - I picked up more than a dozen on our recent vacation - but about once a year at this time I purpose to order a whole bunch all at once. In the past, I've relied heavily on Heart of Dakota's book lists, which I highly recommend. But this year I also delved into Honey for a Teen's HeartGladys Hunt's extensive annotated book list.
Writing from a Christian perspective, Ms. Hunt lists and summarizes the plots of more than 400 worthwhile books of interest to both boys and girls from the middle school years into college, divided by genre. She also indicates whether each book is most appropriate for the early, middle, or late teen years. So I spent most of a recent afternoon paging through Honey, making note of titles from the early teen recommendations I believed would interest the girls. And between what I found and the girls' special request for more books by Carolyn Meyer, I came up with 61 titles to add to our shelves.

Purchased new, I couldn't afford so many at one time - even if I got them all locally and could thus avoid shipping and handling charges. But last year I discovered half.com, where I can often score a new book for less than $2.00 and a like-new book for just 75 cents. Of course, I have to pay shipping, but buying multiple titles from one vendor lowers that cost. And so I can purchase most books for less than half what I'd have to pay at a local bookstore.

Of course, because the books come from multiple vendors located all across the country, they trickle in, a few each day over the course of a week or so. I told the girls the books were coming - but I also made them wait to see any of them until all had arrived. And today was the "big reveal!"

They spent over an hour reading the back of every book, getting ideas about which ones to dive into first. Abbie laid claim to The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary, Queen of Scots by Carolyn Meyer since she recently finished the last of the four Meyer titles we purchased in Virginia. Rachel isn't sure what she'll start with because she's in the middle of something else right now. But Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time seems to be calling her name.

In case you're wondering what I actually bought - several of my friends have asked - here's a list. Remember, I chose these titles with my particular daughters and with our values in mind so they won't be relevant to everyone. But a copy of Honey for a Teen's Heart can go a long way toward helping any parent find appropriate titles for their young adult children.

Our 2014 Books, Books, Books Collection
  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  2. After the Dancing Days by Margaret I. Rostowski
  3. The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie Antoinette by Carolyn Meyer
  4. Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty & the Beast by Robin McKinley
  5. Beauty’s Daughter: The Story of Hermione and Helen of Troy by Carolyn Meyer
  6. Be Ever Hopeful, Hannalee by Patricia Beatty
  7. The Betsy-Tacy Treasury by Maud Hart Lovelace
  8. Bloomability by Sharon Creech
  9. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
  10. Boston Jane: An Adventure by Jennifer L. Holm
  11. Caddie Woodlawn’s Family by Carole Ryrie Brink
  12. Calico Bush by Rachel Field
  13. Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare
  14. Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
  15. Caught in the Act (The Orphan Train Adventures) by Joan Lowery Nixon 
  16. Circle of Love (The Orphan Train Adventures) by Joan Lowery Nixon 
  17. Cleopatra Confesses by Carolyn Meyer
  18. Christy by Catherine Marshall
  19. A Dangerous Promise (The Orphan Train Adventures) by Joan Lowery Nixon 
  20. Duchessina: A Novel of Catherine de’Medici by Carolyn Meyer
  21. The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig
  22. The Eternal Spring of Mr. Ito by Sheila Garrigue
  23. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
  24. In Mozart’s Shadow: His Sister’s Story by Carolyn Meyer
  25. In the Face of Danger (The Orphan Train Adventures) by Joan Lowery Nixon 
  26. Keeping Secrets (The Orphan Train Adventures) by Joan Lowery Nixon 
  27. Love’s Abiding Joy by Janette Oke
  28. Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke
  29. Love’s Enduring Promise by Janette Oke
  30. Love’s Long Journey by Janette Oke
  31. Loving Will Shakespeare by Carolyn Meyer
  32. Many Waters by Madeline L’Engle
  33. Marie, Dancing by Carolyn Meyer
  34. Meet the Austins by Madeline L’Engle
  35. Miranda’s Last Stand by Gloria Whelan
  36. The Night Journey by Kathryn Lasky
  37. Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm
  38. The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley
  39. A Place to Belong (The Orphan Train Adventures) by Joan Lowery Nixon 
  40. Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park
  41. Queen’s Own Fool: A Novel of Mary, Queen of Scots by Jane Yolen
  42. Rainbow Garden by Patricia St. John
  43. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
  44. The Root Cellar by Janet Lunn
  45. The Secret at Pheasant Cottage by Patricia St. John
  46. A Sound of Chariots by Mollie Hunter
  47. Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley
  48. A String in the Harp by Nancy Bond
  49. The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars
  50. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
  51. A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeline L’Engle
  52. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
  53. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
  54. Turn Homeward, Hannalee by Patricia Beatty
  55. Victoria Rebels by Carolyn Meyer
  56. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
  57. The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
  58. Where the Broken Heart Still Beats by Carolyn Meyer
  59. The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary, Queen of Scots by Carolyn Meyer
  60. A Wind in the Door by Madeline L’Engle
  61. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle


Molly said...

What do you do with all these books at the end of the school year? 50 - 60 books per year really adds up quick if you hold on to them!

Tina Hollenbeck said...

I do hold onto them - especially now since the advent of common core because even literature is likely to be changed (not for the better) going forward. Here's my post about becoming a curriculum/book hoarder: http://tinahollenbeck.blogspot.com/2013/09/how-common-core-turned-me-into-pack-rat.html.

I don't, however, worry about doing things by the "school year." This big pile - along with the other books they have in their home library (about 7 shelves, 5 of which are totally full) - will last them a couple of years. When it seems that they've read most, I'll pack up things that are "too young" for them at that time in order to make room for more. As with the books they read when they were younger, they'll be stored in Rubbermaid totes which they can eventually share with each other for their own children. Thankfully, our house - though not large - has lots of good storage areas.

Tracey said...

Hi Tina, do you work these in with The Mystery of History or just let your girls read when them when they want? Just curious.

- Tracey

Tina Hollenbeck said...

Mostly I don't worry about coordinating with MOH. I just want to encourage them to always be reading so if there is not a book of interest to them related to a current MOH lesson, I wouldn't want to hinder them. Now, as it turns out, we just discovered Carolyn Meyer and she writes a Young Royals series that has correlated with our current place in MOH...but that was more of a coincidence.

Alice said...

Great post! I will need to find some of these for Elena! Thank you :)

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