Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

What We Are Reading: Middle Ages Edition

Eleven-year-old Adam loved to travel throughout thirteenth century England with his father, a wandering minstrel, and his dog, Nick. But when Nick is stolen and his father disappears, Adam suddenly finds himself alone. He is forced then to live by his wits and his music. Reading level: 9-12 years old.
Set in fifth century Britain, this story is about a Celtic lad in service to King Arthur on a quest in search of horses strong enough to carry his armored warriors into battle against the savage Saxons. Reading level 4th grade and up.
"Papa Jacques is the most admired book illustrator in all of Paris, but he is growing old; his shaking hands and poor vision have delayed his work on an important prayer book. And when his glasses break, daughter Marguerite realizes that she must be the one to complete Papa's work. Robertson uses descriptions of the materials used in creating an illuminated manuscript: Aanimal skins dried for parchment; goose feathers plucked for pens; madder root, parsley, saffron, vermilion and lapis lazuli mixed to make the vivid paints."

This is the diary of a 13th century English girl  and records the daily events in her small manor house. Much of it is about avoiding the various suitors her father chooses for her to marry. Ir includes a feast of details about medieval England. For grades 6-9.
Set in fourteenth century England, this story is of a boy who has lost the use of his legs and learns his own strength when he saves the castle and discovers there is more than one way to serve his king. Although written about a fourth grade level, I think it is a good read-aloud for younger children.
"Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife to two kings, mother to two others, has been waiting in Heaven a long time -- eight centuries, more or less -- to be reunited with her second husband, Henry II of England. Finally, the day has come when Henry will be judged for admission. While Eleanor, never a patient woman in life or afterlife, waits, three people, each of whom was close to Eleanor during a time of her life, join her. Their reminiscences do far more than help distract Eleanor -- they also paint a rich portrait of an extraordinary woman who was front and center in a remarkable period in historyand whose accomplishments have had an important influence on society through the ages." For grades 6 and up. 
Howard Pyle was the first modern writer to collect all the Robin Hood ballads that had come down from the medieval era and structure them as stories. Every version of Robin Hood since Pyle's time has drawn on this book as a major source. This is for a good reader or a read-aloud for middle school aged students.

In the days of King Arthur there stood a mighty oak tree within the walls of a castle. Peace reigned in the castle until the fearsome night when Lionel, longlost brother of Lord Weldon, returned to cause trouble and unhappiness. It was then that Shan, the son of Lord Weldon, took on the duties of a knight and hid the sword in the hollow of the giant oak. The days that followed were filled with adventures that tried the courage of the young boy. Shan was surprised by bearded robbers in the woods. He met noble knights in plumed helmets, and eventually he even made a trip to high-towered Camelot. His story is filled with the pageantry and color of England in King Arthur's time. It creates a vivid picture of the Knights of the Round Table and the wisdom of King Arthur himself.  The book says it is a 9-12 year reading level, but I think it is more like a 7-year old reading level.


Activities to go with Canterbury Tales can be found here at Layers of Learning.

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