Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Semicolon Summer Reading List

Sherry who blogs at Semicolon describes herself most pleasantly as a "former librarian, homeschool teacher, scary conservative, member of her own vast right-wing conspiracy, and committed till she dies and goes to heaven Christ-follower." Nothing to argue with there.

I've enjoyed her blog over the last couple of years and I am always impressed with her devotion to the benefits of reading good books. At Semicolon, she makes challenges, holds contests, reviews books, invites recommendations from others, gives extremely interesting reading lists (age-appropriate even), and more -- all to get others involved in the moral stimulation and grand adventure that comes from fine literature.

In this particular post, Sherry gives the following reading list for her 13-year old daughter's summer regimen. The girl, obviously a bright and well-read kid already, must read at least 10 from the list and memorize two poems. And with completion of the "course," the 7th-grader wins a book and a restaurant outing of her choice.

Now, kids like this one are not usually motivated by the prizes involved. (As if I would know -- academic awards being noticeably absent from my childhood.) Sure, prizes are nice. But what I think kids know (even instinctively) is how cool it is that somebody would go to all this trouble to guide, oversee, and be proud as punch over your exploits. That's a real motivation motor for you.

Anyhow, here's the reading list for "Brown Bear Daughter:"

1) Romans.
2) I Samuel.
3) Thomas Costain's The Conquering Family.
4) Shannon Hale's Book of a Thousand Days.
5) Paul Little's Know What You Believe.
6) Hilary McKay's Forever Rose.
7) Geraldine McCaughrean's The White Darkness.
8) Gemma Malley's The Declaration.
9) Catherine Marshall's Christy.
10) Don Richardson's Peace Child.
11) Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice.
12) Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
13) James Sire's How to Read Slowly.
14) Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

For the annotated version, just click on over there. In fact, you'll even find Semicolon's own reviews for several of these titles. And that's not all. You'll also find reading lists for two more of her children. And as she explains in an earlier post, she makes lists for her older kids too (18, 20, and 22). And even for her husband!

But Sherry explains why she does this in a disclaimer she makes lest readers think she was some kind of book bobby: "I don’t give them summer reading lists in order to control their reading or to make them read books that they don’t want to read. They often ask me for suggestions of books to read, so I’m trying to include on their summer reading lists books that they would enjoy but that they haven’t remembered to try or I haven’t remembered to suggest."

Anyhow, get on over to Semicolon sometime soon. You'll find it a fascinating yet very homey spot.