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Back to the Bibles

Last year we ran an extensive series of posts on the lucrative market of “specialty” Bibles, particularly for teens and children. That market just keeps on pumping, so it seems like a good idea to make this an annual feature. Today we’ll talk about new or new-ish Bibles for various age groups and demographics; tomorrow, […]

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Shakespeare: life, theater and historical context

Here are some resources that weave together the life of the bard with the world he lived in, how the plays were produced, and what became of his second-best bed after he died. All of these resources cover pretty much the same material, the primary difference being the age of the intended audience. I have […]

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The Shakespeare Stealer–and an Interview with Author Gary Blackwood

The Shakespeare Stealer (1998), Shakespeare’s Scribe (2000), and Shakespeare’s Spy (2003), by Gary Blackwood.  Penguin Group; Puffin Books.  Age/interest level: 12-16. True story: in 1998 I was shopping around a manuscript about a 14-year-old boy in 16th-century London who through a series of happy misfortunes becomes an actor in William Shakespeare’s theater company.  Before starting […]

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The Playmaker by (our very own) J. B. Cheaney

When I first read this book, I did not know Janie personally. I knew of her from WORLD Magazine, but it took a flyer at my local library for me to discover her middle grades fiction. I managed to finagle a face-to-face meet-up with Janie when she came to town for a Shakespeare Festival (and, like all […]

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Middle Grade Fiction with Fibonacci, Tesla, and More!

When I was a child I read large numbers of mysteries and was always somewhat irritated when I had to go to math class. I did just fine in math class, but all that specificity got in the way of my more verbal and creative side. If you have children that sound like this–or, believe it […]

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Adventuring with Wilder Good, Gannon & Wyatt, and a Giveaway!

NOTE: The giveaway contest is closed–congratulations to Nellie, who recommended Ivanhoe as her favorite adventure story.  “High interest” children’s literature (see our explanation here), covers many genres and age levels.  Today we look at some worthy titles in the travel/adventure genre for middle graders–and you, lucky reader, may have a chance to win three of […]

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America, the Future: Divided We Fall and Sylo

This month we’re looking at some YA and middle-grade titles that could be described as “high-interest”: maybe not top-notch on the literary side, but stories that grab you and don’t let go.  These two YA novels certainly qualify in the “interest” department, but also contain some thought-provoking material–especially the first.  And speaking of “high-interest,” the […]

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The Lunar Chronicles, continued

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer.  Feiwel and Friends, 2013.  452 pages.  Age/interest level: 14-up.    As a sequel, Scarlet picks up right where Cinder ended.  Linh Cinder, now a fugitive fleeing New Bejiing, is struggling to accept the reality she has only just learned. . . . she wasn’t just a cyborg anymore.  She was Lunar now. […]

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Ukraine: Lessons in Liberty and Compassion, Pt. 2

Last week, we began our Ukrainian series with a personal reflection from our executive assistant, Hayley.  Having recently visited orphans in Ukraine, Hayley gave us insight into their situation, which is only made more tenuous by the current political upheaval.  And most importantly, she gave us a detailed look at how we (and our kids!) […]

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Retro Reads: Lloyd Alexander’s Picture Books

In reading Lloyd Alexander’s picture books, I observe three things: 1) he is well-versed in a broad range of folklore traditions, 2) he loves cats, and 3) he’s a great storyteller. While his stories contain more Story than Truth, they are cleverly written and worth sharing. How the Cat Swallowed Thunder, illustrated by Judith Byron […]

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Retro Reads: Lloyd Alexander’s Vesper Holly Series

Ginger-haired, green-eyed, and very determined, 16-year-old Vesper Holly is ready for anything, especially an adventure.  Possessing “the digestive talents of a goat and the mind of a chess master. . . . She is familiar with half a dozen languages and can swear fluently in all of them.”  Not that she does swear –not in […]

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