Apparently, my daughter has grown weary of waiting for me to compile a list of Books for Girls. Said hypothetical list’s predecessor, Books for Boys, has been floating around cyberspace for a while now. I’d always planned on pulling together a companion list, but it seems as though my girl is taking matters into her own hands. I recently discovered this tucked neatly between the pages of her book:
The second title listed is one of our family favorites (which also happens to appear on the Books for Boys list). We have given the Wilderking books as presents and frequently recommend them to friends who are looking for quality children’s literature. When the books went out of print, they became fairly expensive (the third book in the trilogy, The Way of the Wilderking, has been listed on eBay for up to $100). It’s a sad thing when tales of feechie folk have become too costly to acquire – but take heart. With spring comes hope.
I’m grateful to share with you that the Wilderking Trilogy will be back in print this April. If you preorder our copy before the end of next week, you’ll get yours in early March.
~ You want to know what kind of practical instruction your children will receive? Here are a few things we learned from the books:
~ How can you reserve copies? Visit the Rabbit Room today. Then while you’re there, go ahead and order The Charlatan’s Boy.
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Full disclosure: The author of the Wilderking books has previously demonstrated a disappointing prejudice against the fine city of Charlotte, NC. We’ve chosen to believe that his views are a result of misinformation rather than deficit of character. The love of good story covers a multitude…
This is the story…
behind the video…
behind the book review…
behind the coveted Wingfeather picture…
Our family spent the better part of last year studying the life and music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Together, we journeyed through his childhood, his family, his character, and his music. We discovered that his family was so well-known that it was common to be said of excellent musicians, “He’s quite a Bach.” Branding at it’s best in the 1800’s.
If my children remember one thing from our study, I hope that it is the signature with which Bach signed his music. “Soli Deo Gloria” – “To the Glory of God Alone.” My youngest used the phrase for copywork. We all memorized it, and spent a fair amount of time discussing how those words translate into everyday life. For each child, there was a thoughtful application. I’d like to share with you what it meant for one child in particular. And then I invite you to consider what it may mean in your life.
Will, my 12-year-old, has always been an old soul. He read The Chronicles of Narnia at a young age, and was eager to explain that the books were “really about God and Jesus in a fun way.” His interests are distinctive. Will devours books, often spends his hard-earned money on beakers (and copper wire, pvc pipe, you get the picture) for science experiments, has the mind of an engineer and the heart of a musician. It’s quite a combination.
Last spring, the majority of his energies were focused on learning, practicing, and perfecting 3 pieces of Bach to be played at his sister’s wedding. Quite an undertaking and somewhat of a stretch. In the early, somewhat painful, stages of learning the music, he was convinced that he couldn’t do it. Too much, too hard, too little time. We pressed on, cheering “Soli Deo Gloria.” Real world translation:
Perfect performance isn’t the goal.
Pouring out our talents and gifting for God’s glory is.
We’re called to humility in giving rather than pride in accomplishment.
In addition to the world of Bach, Will spends a fair amount of time in the world of Legos. Stop-motion videos, to be precise. I wish that I had the attention to detail and patience that are required to produce a 2 minute stop-motion video. I don’t. But Will has spent numerous hours in perfecting his technique. Scenes from Star Wars, the Wilderking Trilogy, and various robberies have been immortalized in the form of Lego videos. Soli Deo Gloria… how in the world does this phrase apply here? It feels like a stretch at best. Not quite of the magnitude of a shepherd boy spending years perfecting his shot with a sling… but a stretch.
Then came the Andrew Peterson’s unexpected announcement that there would be a contest for bloggers reviewing his latest book, The Monster in the Hollows. Let me admit that we’re serious fans, and that the children have been indoctrinated accordingly. So knowing that the contest would most likely be entered by adults who were “real writers”, we chose to believe that it was true, regardless of the outcome:
Soli Deo Gloria.
God doesn’t call us to be like others.
He calls us to use our individual gifting to His glory.
When the reviews came pouring in, I allowed Will to read through a few. “I can’t do that” was his response. No, he couldn’t. But he could give out of what he had. He mustered up the courage to hope, and days later, he had created a video for The Monster in the Hollows. He then wrote a review that came straight from his heart. To my knowledge, he was the only child who entered the contest among many adults.
Weeks later, the big day came. The announcement was made. The family celebrated. Will’s younger brother literally jumped up and down while he cheered, and his little sister threw her arms around his neck and rewarded him with her infectious kiss. The coveted award to the winner was an original Wingfeather Saga drawing. Will was able to choose his favorite character or scene from the book, and Andrew would get to work drawing.
After months of anticipation, I’m grateful to report that Andrew delivered the drawing and it will soon take up permanent residency in our home. The jury is still out regarding its chosen location – either in our family library or in the boys’ room. Here’s a peek:
On the back of the picture is the following inscription:
As summer fades into fall, and months compound into years, the excitement of winning the contest may lose some of its luster. My hope is that as we continue to enjoy the drawing so generously crafted for Will, it will be a tangible memorial stone for our family. It will serve as a reminder that yes, it is true:
When we offer our gifting, passions and desires back to the Great Creator to use for His glory, He can and will use anything to accomplish that purpose.
Even little boys who likes to read clever books and create with Legos.
Soli Deo Gloria.
For more on the Wingfeather Saga (including Andrew’s upcoming book, The Warden and the Wolf King) visit here.
You can read Will’s review and watch the video here.
This is being reposted in honor of William Shakespeare on his birthday
(originally posted this time last year)
I tripped and fell into homeschooling my younger children. It wasn’t planned, wasn’t the long-fulfilled desire of my heart, and wasn’t the knee-jerk reaction to a bad school situation. More on what brought us to this place on another day.
But I do love what we do (most days) and am constantly reminded what a privilege it is to be the one who gets to discover and explore this great big wonderful world with my children. Last week, we had our year-end state-required testing. They did well, although I’m convinced that “the best” of what we do will never be measured by or demonstrated on any test. More on that another day as well.
The remainder of our school year will be much more laid back – we’re done with Spelling, Math, etc. We’ve been freed from the “must-do’s” in order to enjoy more of the “can’t wait to-do’s”. I must admit that as we entered this phase of the school year, I wasn’t sure what our days would hold. More serious practice of instruments in preparation for recitals, finalizing details for our eldest daughter’s wedding, and freedom to enjoy our history reading at a more leisurely pace were what we’ve all been eagerly anticipating.
The fruits of a more relaxed schedule always catch me off guard – in the best sense of the term. Today, Will (my 11 yr. old) disappeared for a substantial period of time. This was no great surprise, as he is my avid and somewhat obsessive reader. However, he finally emerged from his solace not with a conquered book in hand, but having created the following:
Although we never gave a test in history, never required a project, and rarely adhered to the “lesson plan”, I think we actually learned something this year!
Some of our favorite resources on Shakespeare:
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children by Edith Nesbit
Probably my favorite (but take into account that I’m a huge Nesbit fan). Beautifully written, engaging, and true to story, yet each chapter is short enough to read in one sitting.
Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
A classic. Similar to the Nesbit book, but the stories are a bit longer.
The Wonderful Winter by Marchette Chute
Highly recommended. A little boy runs away to find himself living in the Globe Theatre. He becomes part of the Shakespeare household. Many of the actual historical characters are included, and we get to see “behind the scenes” as Mr. Shakespeare’s new play, Romeo and Juliet, is being produced.
Hamlet for Kids (one of a series) by Lois Burdett
This series is a fun introduction for children. I’d recommend reading the Nesbit story first, then reading through Burdett’s corresponding book. Each book tells one of Shakespeare’s stories through rhyme. The artwork (and occasional commentary) is provided by children. The stories are clever, fun, and often include direct quotes from Shakespeare.
Will Shakespeare and the Globe Theater by Anne Terry White
One of the World Landmark series. A great piece of historical fiction that walks the reader through Shakespeare’s life and the Globe Theater. An easy read, but I learned much.
Will’s Quill (or How a Goose Saved Shakespeare) by Don Freeman A delightful picture book. Found in most libraries.
The following review was written by a guest author, Will Silander (11 yrs). Will is an avid reader who also enjoys strategizing and implementing various forms of battles, creating all things electronic, playing the piano, and spending hours in the creek behind his home in Charlotte, NC
A Critic’s Review of The Monster in the Hollows
Andrew Peterson is one of my favorite songwriters. I was SO excited when I found out that he did not only write songs, but was also an author and had written two books, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and North! Or Be Eaten. These books, also called The Wingfeather Saga, were suspenseful, fast-paced, and cleverly written. I sped through both in less than a week. After reading the books, I had several unanswered questions, and was hoping he would write a third book that would answer at least some of them.
Andrew Peterson and the Silander kids at “Meet the Author”
This past spring, I was fortunate enough to meet Andrew Peterson when he came to Charlotte to speak about his writing. He showed some of the sketches he had made of various creatures, people and places from the first two books. The drawings of The Fangs (villainous reptilian creatures) looked almost exactly like I had imagined them from his description in the books. I was thrilled when he announced that he was almost done with a third book, and that it would be available in May.
The third book in the Wingfeather Saga, The Monster in the Hollows, was even better than I had hoped. It tied up many loose ends left dangling from the first two books, and also introduced some interesting new characters such as Guildmadam Olumphia Groundwich and Madam Sidler, the Librarian. This book is packed full of action, adventure, and suspense, while weaving humor and lighthearted fun throughout. If you like reading the books of C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkien, or Edith Nesbit, I would highly recommend The Wingfeather Saga.
Will is also the creator, producer, and musician for the following promotional video: