Saturday, June 4, 2011

Favorite Books of 2010 - 2011 School Year

I have a confession to make. We go a little overboard with our read-alouds at Blue House Academy. It's my favorite part of homeschooling, so our reading time hardly ever gets skipped. If you put a suggested reading list in front of me, I will check out every available book from the library. And if the book has a really great review and isn't available through the library, I will sometimes break down and buy it. The Veritas Press catalog is a dangerous object when put in my hands. : )

For the 2010 - 2011 school year, we read more than 215 books. We're still working on Mr. Popper's Penguins and a few books are taking a very long time to become available through the library. Marc reads to Ryne and Grace before bed and still has a couple chapters left of one of our missionary biographies, and when they're done they will start The Twenty-One Balloons. So this list might still get updated.

I've decided to post my list a little differently than I did a couple of years ago. Back then I just listed every book we read. This year I'm just going to post the books that received the BHA five-star rating. Our rating system is not flawless. Generally, if we love the story and it had good illustrations (if applicable) and it supported the subject well, it would receive four or five stars. Sometimes a book would have received a better rating if it had been read in different circumstances. For example, a couple of years ago we studied Australia and one of the books we read was The Pumpkin Runner. I only gave it two stars because it didn't go with the time period we were studying and didn't add at all to our understanding of the chapter in The Story of the World we had read. But as part of our geography studies it was much more helpful and received four stars.

This list contains mostly selections recommended in My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures curriculum, although some I just found through my library's search system or through other sources.

Enough with the introduction; on with the book list!


Resource Books

Maps and Globes, Jack Knowlton

Georgraphy A to Z, Jack Knowlton

Missionary Biographies

George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans, Janet & Geoff Benge

David Livingstone, Janet & Geoff Benge

Gladys Aylward, Janet & Geoff Benge


Miss Rumphius, Barbara Cooney

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, Marjorie Priceman

Maps & Globes, Harriett Barton

People, Peter Spier

North America

(United States) - we didn't really read much extra from this section since we covered the U.S. so heavily with Adventures in My Father's World

Someplace Else, Carol Saul


Nine Days to Christmas, Marie Hall Ets

The Tortilla Factory, Gary Paulsen

Saturday Market, Patricia Grossman


The Way Home, Nan Parson Rossiter

South America

Here is the Tropical Rain Forest, Madeleine Dunphy

Welcome to the Green House, Jane Yolen

How to Draw Animals of the Rain Forest, Justin Lee


(Norwary and Scandinavia)

Welcome Back Sun, Michael Emberley

Annika’s Secret Wish, Beverly Lewis

Snow Treasure, Marie McSwigan


Bonaparte, Marhsa Wilson Chall

Anatole, Eve Titus

Mouton’s Impossible Dream, Anik McGrory

Madeline, Ludwig Bemelmans

Anno’s Journey, Mitsumasa Anno

Bee’s Own Good, Linda Talley


The Falling Stars, The Brothers Grimm

The Gift: A Hanukkah Story, Aliana Brodmann


A Gift for Mama, Esther Hautzig

(The Netherlands) – many of these we read last year for our homeschool around-the-world festival

The Wheel on the School, Meindert DeJong

Katje the Windmill Cat, Gretchen Woelfle

Boxes for Katje, Candace Fleming

Hans Brinker, Bruce Coville

The Greatest Skating Race, Louise Borden (better for older elementary)

Vincent’s Colors, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Hole in the Dike, Norma Green


If You Should Hear a Honey Guide, April Pulley Sayre

Nobiah’s Well, Donna Guthrie

When Africa Was Home, Karen Lynn Williams

One Small Square: African Savanna, Donald Silver


(Saudi Arabia)

Ali and the Golden Eagle, Wayne Grover


One Grain of Rice, Demi

Rikki Tikki Tavi, Rudyard Kipling, ill. Jerry Pinkney w/CD

Heart of a Tiger, Marsha Diane Arnold

The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling


The Story About Ping, Marjorie Flack

Mei-Mei Loves the Morning, Margaret Holloway Tsubakiyama

The Warlord’s Puzzle, Virginia Walton Pilegard


This Place is Crowded: Japan, Vicki Cobb

Turtle Bay, Saviour Pirotta

Sadako, Eleanor Coerr

The Sea and I, Harutaka Nakawatari

Yoshiko and the Foreigner, Mimi Otey Little

Crow Boy, Taro Yashima

The Wise Old Woman, Yoshiko Uchida

Grandfather’s Journey, Allen Say

Tree of Cranes, Allen Say


The Trees of the Dancing Goats, Patricia Polacco

Rechenka’s Eggs, Patricia Polacco

The Impossible Riddle, Ellen Jackson

Peter and the Wolf, Vladimir Vagin


Flood Fish, Robyn Eversole

The Best Beak in Boonaroo Bay, Narelle Oliver


Ice Continent, Louise Young


White Owl, Barn Owl, Nicola Davies

Walking In Wild Places, Jim Arnosky

Leaf Man, Lois Ehlert

Skylar, Mary Cuffe-Perez

One Small Square: Arctic Tundra, Donald Silver

A few other notes: The only five-stars in our fine arts category were the Opal Wheeler composer series that I've mentioned several times on this blog. Also, there were a number of books highly recommended in ECC that I was not able to find at my library and did not purchase. This list is not meant to be a substitute for the ECC curriculum. You will be missing out on so many good reading selections if you rely solely on this list, plus there is so much more to ECC than the reading list. I'm also using an older version of ECC, so I'm guessing the list is even better in the newer version.

That wraps up the Blue House Academy school year in review! Stay tuned for our 2011 -2012 plans.


  1. Wow! You get an A+ for reading!!

    I look forward to reading your plans. :)

  2. Reading to my kids has really scaled down now that we are no longer home's what I miss the most. : (
    In the small amount of time we have to actually read, it's after dinner and at bed time...the Bible. ~Melanie

  3. Great post!! Thanks!! I'm soo looking forward to getting back to read-alouds!! last year was too busy for us! changes a comin for this year! Thanks for this great list, heard to read the book Mr. Penguins poppers, can't wait ~~ Laura