Book Reviews & Extras - Older kids, 6th-8th and teens

My Father's World uses a Book Basket method to develop a love of learning and enrich all subjects; Independent Reading Time has different goals and methods but there is overlap in book lists and helpful hints
Julie in MN
Posts: 2902
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: OT: Reading for Junior High Boys

Unread post by Julie in MN »

About the changes you are seeing, between the fact that he's 12.5 and the Asperger/ADHD symptoms, I'm thinking it could just be a phase. I used to tutor and there were definitely lots of boys that age whose minds were anywhere except at my desk.
CharleneHoell wrote: I also agree with you that it is hard to find things that are not full of vampires and guy/girl stuff.
Grrr... this has almost spoiled my enjoyment of book stores these days. Entire WALLS of this.

Anyways, one idea is to use all of the read-alouds from the different MFW years, plus the ECC 7-8th grade readers that your son hasn't read yet. They are all not only educational but character-building. I wouldn't even be afraid of some of the easier ones like Patricia St. James and Daughters of the Faith biographies; even adults can get something out of these.

Also, I have a list somewhere of what my son's book club has read. I can't guarantee there is nothing objectionable whatsoever, but we are all Christian families of different sorts, and we have all okayed these. Maybe they will help someone. My son is a very capable reader but does *NOT* like to read -- I am so jealous of those of you with boys who love to read! Fortunately for my son, his book club includes some easy reads in there :) I may have missed something here or there, but here are some books that one group of Christian boys has read ;)

10th grade book club
-Julius Caesar, Shakespeare (also studied in WHL)
-Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane (Civil War, personally not a role model I'd recommend for middle school)
-A Christmas Carol, by Dickens (again)
-Treasure Island, by Stevenson (again)
-Shipwreck at the bottom of the world, by Jennifer Armstrong (Antarctica, 1914, true story, Shackleton was a model leader)
-Farenheit 451, by Bradbury (set in the future, when TV/media replaces literacy/human interaction)
-To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (Alabama during the Depression, prejudices, an alleged rape, 1933)
-Going Solo, by Roald Dahl (autobiography of author of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory etc.; British pilot in WWII)

9th grade book club, the only year we had a "teacher"
-Ides of April, by Mary Ray (around the 50s AD, Roman Emperor Nero)
-Canoeing With the Cree, by Eric Sevareid (1930, true story of a canoe trip)
-A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park (1100s Korea, one of my son's favorites)
-Call of the Wild, by London (Klondike Gold Rush, Alaska 1897, a bit of underlying "social Darwinism" to discuss)
-Rifles for Watie, by Harold Keith (Civil War, 1861)
-Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmidt (1967, goofy & looks easy but covers a lot of history of the late 60s, some moral dilemmas, and some Shakespeare; our book club also discussed satire, irony, heroes, anti-heroes, and fools)
-Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, by C.S. Forester (England, 1793)

8th grade book club
Critical Thinking Book 1 (logic)
8th grade reading time at home
-Misc. stories from The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling, and other short stories
-Tom Sawyer, by Twain
-I am David, by Anne Holm (boy escapes from prison camp and is on his own; a little slow/poignant for my son, movie was good)
-A Christmas Carol, by Dickens (England, 1850s, fairly short)
-Treasure Island, by Stevenson (England, Caribbean, Georgia, 1750s)
-Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Carroll
-Bruchko: The Astonishing True Story of a 19-Year-Old American, His Capture by the Motilone Indians and His Adventures in Christianizing the Stone Age Tribe, by Bruce Olson (in the ECC supplement)
-The Story of My Life, by Helen Keller (a little Victorian for my son, ended up just reading half out loud & then watching The Miracle Worker, but he was definitely impressed by her story and her writing about how she "sees" the world)
-A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw, by Isaac Bashevis Singer (WWI Poland); I also considered The Chosen by Chaim Potok (end of WWII), but decided to go for a bit younger audience
-The Narrow Road, by Brother Andrew (also called God's Smuggler, absolutely excellent about God's hand in getting Bibles behind the iron curtain, also in the ECC supplement)
-The Hobbit, by Tolkien

7th grade book club
-The Golden Goblet, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw (ancient Egypt)
-The Twenty-One Balloons, by William Pène du Bois
-Black Ships Before Troy, by Rosemary Sutcliff (The Iliad, illustrated version is best)
-The Wanderings of Odysseus, by Rosemary Sutcliff (The Odyssey, illustrated version is best)
-Rascal, by Sterling North (1918, pet raccoon)
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:29 pm
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Re: OT: Reading for Junior High Boys

Unread post by momma2boys »

Ah, love all of those book suggestions and lists and the website! Thanks everyone!

Here's our book list:

The Doppleganger Chronicles by G.P. Taylor. 3 books
Solitary Series by Travis Thrasher. 3 books
The Wormling Series by by Jenkins and Fabry. 5 books
The Cooper Kid's Adventures by Peretti. 8 books
Knights of Arrethtrae Series - not sure how many there are in this one.

Our library has most of these, but we live in a large town and have an excellent system. He loves action and adventure. Cliff hangers. Always goes for the scarier looking covers when at the library which I will not let him read. He did not like reading Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings Trilogy or Redwall... so I read them aloud (currently reading through the Lord of the Rings)! :)
Anna (CO)

Still married to the love of my life
Mom to two boys, 13 and 11 - both adopted and with their own unique special needs

We've done ADV, ECC, CTG, RTR and on to EXPL-1850 this year!
Posts: 12
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:18 pm

Re: OT: Reading for Junior High Boys

Unread post by homespun »

We just found a very exciting series from YWAM. CBD also has them. Its called the Airquest Adventure Series by Jerry B. Jenkins. The titles are Crash at Cannibal Valley, Terror in Branco Grande, and Disaster in the Yukon.
MFW user since 2006 beginning in K. Doing ECC synergy group this year for our second time with ECC.
dd grade 8, ds grade 6
Julie in MN
Posts: 2902
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Biographies for 12 yr. old

Unread post by Julie in MN »

MelissaB wrote:Our daughter has very thoroughly enjoyed the YWAM missionary biographies we were introduced to during ECC. She's now read well over 30 of them, both missionary bios and Heroes of History.

She's also read Isobel Kuhn's book, By Searching; I Dared to Call Him Father; and Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place (three times).

Anyone have non-fiction recommendations or a good biography you would recommend?

Thanks ahead of time. :)
Hi Melissa,
A girl who's read The Hiding Place four times... so exciting. Here are some random thoughts for a gal like her:

- Daughters of the Faith series (MFW uses 2 of these), easier but still good, about people like the daughter of John Bunyan (Pilgrim's Progress author), the Salvation Army, etc.
- Christy
- The Narrow Road (ECC)
- Fearfully & Wonderfully Made and/or In His Image, about Paul Brand's experiences as a medical missionary, and his knowledge of the human body as evidence of a creator
- Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World (not really Christian content, but a good leadership example)
- Kisses for Katie (MFW carries this now)
- Joni
- John's Story: The Last Eyewitness (this is novelized because we don't have many details, but based on historical events in the life of the last living Apostle, note that it starts out kind of shocking but is based on traditional biographical events)

I'll add some more if I think of them. Fun.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Posts: 390
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:38 pm
Location: North Dakota

Re: Biographies for 12 yr. old

Unread post by Poohbee »

I just read Kisses for Katie this summer, and it is amazing! I highly recommend that one!
happily married to Vince (22 yrs)
blessed by MFW since 2006
have used every year K-1850MOD
2021-2022: CTG with 12yo boy
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:58 am

Re: Biographies for 12 yr. old

Unread post by hsmom »

I just stumbled across one of my old posts where I recommended the book Gladys Aylward: The Little Woman :

Honestly, I don't even remember the book, so you'll have to rely on the post for my review of it. I'm not exactly known for my memory. 8|
Posts: 364
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 10:01 pm

Re: Biographies for 12 yr. old

Unread post by MelissaB »

Thank you all so very much for the wonderful suggestions. !! We're starting with Kisses for Katie since it's at our local library, then we'll begin our new list from you all.

Great suggestions...Thank you, again! :-)
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Nov 21, 2006 5:41 am

Watership Down in High School

Unread post by donutmom »

Kelly1730 wrote: Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:47 am Is Watership Down read at all in High School? It's one of those books I want to make sure we read but if it's recommended somewhere down the line then I'll just be patient and wait ;) !
Haven't come across it, nor do I remember it from any of the suggested reading lists (the lists related to studies). At least for the 1st-3rd year of high school. I don't have the 4th year manual, so hopefully someone else can chime in about that year. The 4th year is more modern literature (written after 1850)--perhaps it's included on that list.

I actually never heard of the book myself. I had to look it up to see if it would ring a bell, but . . .nope. It got added to my list (my VERY LLLLLLOOOONNNGGG list)of books to read!

Happy reading,
Julie in MN
Posts: 2902
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Watership Down in High School

Unread post by Julie in MN »

donutmom wrote: Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:10 pmI don't have the 4th year manual, so hopefully someone else can chime in about that year.
Hi Kelly & Dee,
I don't see it in the US2 manual, either -- not on the book or the movie list. Of course you could assign it during US2, when students read classics written and set after 1850, but there's no reason you must wait :)

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Posts: 91
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:22 pm

Re: Watership Down in High School

Unread post by Kelly1730 »

Thanks for your replies. Since it's not listed at all for high school, I may assign it for summer reading. We do something along the lines of they pick a book then I choose one for them during the summer.
Mom to 6
Mimi to 8
MFW K, MFW 1st, Adventures, ECC, CTG, RTR ,EXP-1850, 1850-MOD, Ancient History and Lit 2016-17
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:34 pm

ROAD TRIP- need suggestions

Unread post by ruthamelia »

mom2h wrote: Wed Aug 31, 2016 8:28 am I'm hoping to sneak in some education on the 11-hour drive we have upcoming. Looking for suggestions of good audiobooks. We are in "9th" grade/AHL, but it doesn't have to be directly related to this year's study. Just some suggestions of good family listening.

Rhonda in AR
Hi Rhonda- I sure have enjoyed dreaming up all the things I would love to listen to on a long road trip! Right now my 5 year old is hooked on Mrs. Piggle Wiggle so that's about all I hear on even short drives! I remember road trips growing up when my dad would read books to us while my mom drove- books like The Hobbit and The Scarlet Letter.

If I were you I'd go for literature- there is so much out there and never enough time to read it! My top picks would be The Count of Monte Cristo (although on audio I would suggest making notes of the characters; when I read it I flipped the pages back frequently to keep track of the characters), Gulliver's Travels (I had no idea there was so much more than just Lilliput!), and Robinson Crusoe (I wondered why this was completely absent in my public school education, but once I read it I realized because it is so infused with Christian thought and doctrine).

I like going to the Ambleside Online website and looking through the booklists because they link directly to lots of free audiobooks. If you're not familiar with the site, I would go to Years 6-9, find the Literature or Free Reading sections, and browse through what looks interesting.
Kids in school: 17, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 6
We have used: K, First, all Investigate years
2020-21 First, RTR, AHL
Julie in MN
Posts: 2902
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: ROAD TRIP- need suggestions

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Hi Rhonda,
RuthAmelia's post sparked the thought for me to look at a CTG audio thread, since that's kinda similar to AHL. ... 931#p97931 Although of course as you said, car audios don't have to be related at all. But some ideas came to mind from that:

Jim Weiss - MFW carries some of his (Story of the World, Galileo, Abe Lincoln), brief but fun and educational

Jim Hodges - he's the full-version-narrator (while Jim Weiss is the abridged guy, except when he narrates Story of the World of course). If you've ever wanted to tackle a Henty book and have lots of time, let Jim Hodges read it to you. MFW carries Cat of Bubastes (from AHL) which must be his shortest book at 11 hours, and I've listened to With Cortez in Mexico and started Robinson Crusoe. They are all unabridged so reading aloud takes time, thus you have to be committed or listen with breaks in between - you should be able to sample his narrating on his website. Not sure if Rosemary Sutcliff books are on audio - those would be shorter but similar.

YWAM - I sent my college son some of these audios to listen while he delivers pizzas (I sent Ronald Reagan and Paul Brand). Disclaimer: Ive read the books but haven't listened to the audio narrators.

Chuck Black - I got his Kingdom series of audios for my son and we never got around to listening, so I listened on one of my own car trips. They are a light story but sometimes that's good enuf in the car. Warning: They are designed to get you to want to hear the next one.

There are of course many works of great literature on audiobook. I've always planned to listen to an original version of Heidi, for instance. But in many cases, there will be parts that make you cringe. For instance, I just recently listened to A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. It was a wonderful audiobook for the most part with only a few off-color events, I learned a lot about the early 1900s in Brooklyn NYC, but towards the end the author wrote an unnecessary, cringe-worthy conversation that made no sense to me and certainly wouldn't be helpful to a teen. We've listened to other good ones over the years but I wont' remember their cringeworthiness factor :~ For instance, I remember enjoying Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose but can't remember if there was anything I should mention?

You will, however, be safe sticking to MFW suggested books in the car :) , since there are so many good ones both in the various packages over the year as well as on the literature lists. Anne of Green Gables comes to mind. Two of my very favorite audiobooks based on books we read in MFW were Sergeant York (1850MOD) read by Little Bear Wheeler and Cry, The Beloved Country (WHL) read by South African Maggie Soboil, but of course your mileage may vary.

I always love a book thread!
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Christy - Staff
Posts: 48
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:09 pm

Re: ROAD TRIP- need suggestions

Unread post by Christy - Staff »

My family loves to listen to The Brinkman Adventures and Jonathan Park. As far as MFW recommendations ... Cat of Bubastes has already been mentioned, but what about any of The Story of the World Audio CD sets?
Christy Callahan - MFW Customer Service Team Lead
Wife to Mike (homeschooling dad)
Mom to 5 blessings and foster mom to many
Posts: 243
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:14 pm

Re: ROAD TRIP- need suggestions

Unread post by Yodergoat »

We also enjoy the Brinkman Adventures for road trips!

Focus on the Family has some really well-made audio adventures that could be considered educational. We have Amazing Grace: The Inspirational Stories of William Wilberforce, John Newton and Olaudah Equiano (heavier listening, better for older listeners as it has mature themes), C.S. Lewis at War, Bonhoeffer: the Cost of Freedom (heavy) and The Hiding Place (heavy but amazing). I am very impressed with the quality of the Focus on the Family productions. They have great voice acting and theatrical quality sound and music.

The following suggestions are not necessarily educational but are just fun, great ways to pass the time and to keep the driver awake!

We love Focus on the Family's Chronicles of Narnia series! I'm not sure how many hours it is, but it is pretty lengthy and amazingly well-produced. We also have The Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables.

We've also listened to the BBC's production of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which are older and have some sound and voice quality issues but are still enjoyable.

If your family is okay with Star Wars, NPR has the original trilogy available as an audio adventure... it is about 13 hours long and we listened to the whole thing TWICE on one recent trip to New Mexico and Arizona.
I'm Shawna...
... a forgiven child of God since 1994 (age 16)
... happily wed to William since 1996
... mother of our long-awaited Gail (3/15/2006)
... missing 6 little ones (4 miscarriages, 2 ectopics)
... starting Rome to the Reformation this fall!
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 7:25 am

Re: ROAD TRIP- need suggestions

Unread post by mom2h »

Thanks, everyone! Some great suggestions here. Going to check our library for any of these audiobooks first, then other sources.

Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:14 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: ROAD TRIP- need suggestions

Unread post by klewfor3 »

Fun little side note...The Cracker Barrel used to offer audiobooks as well. I haven't checked them out in a while but you can "check" them out at one and returned to another...even in another state (if I remember correctly). Plus you can visit those fun gift shops and get some good food! It's a win-win-win!

Happy travels!
Mom of Tyler 13, Paige 10, Brooklyn 9 and Chase 3
God bless us!
We've used:
MFW 1st (both versions)
Currently using 1850-Modern Times (2016/2017)
Post Reply