Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

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

What We Are Reading: Renaissance Edition

Here is a selection of some of the stories we are reading...
For grades 4th  and up. The Mona Lisa... Why did Leonardo da Vinci lavish three years on a painting of the second wife of an unimportant merchant when all the nobles of Europe were begging for a portrait by his hand? The riddle is solved in a most ingenious reconstruction of the middle years of Leonardo da Vinci's career. Fiction, yet based on the know facts of his life. A lovely read.

For grades 4-7. This is the tale of a 14-year-old Yorkshire orphan sent by a rival theater manager to steal the as-yet-unpublished Hamlet in 1601 London. It is a must-read. There is also a sequel, Shakespeare's Scribe.
For grades 4 and up. Two similar, companion works in one convenient book.
The book reduced the archaic English and complicated storyline of Shakespeare to a simple level that children could easily read and comprehend, but does not lose the integrity of the stories. Both works have the same stories. You may want to decide which one to read, or read them both. You can't get too much of Shakespeare.
I absolutely love Bruce Coville's Shakespeare books for young children. They are for children 2nd grade or age 7 and up. He is able to maintain the character of the original stories, often using phrases or word choices from the master, but it still is able to reach the youngest audience. Wonderful first introduction. The artists vary for each of his stories, but I like all of them.
And, of course, for those old enough the Bard's own words. We have the Riverside Editon, but it doubles as a physical education exercise to use it because of its weight (almost 8 pounds) although I understand that the latest edition is now in two volumes.

"Having witnessed the murder of her father, Alice Tuckfield flees to York in search of a family friend. There she is befriended by some members of the York Minster Boys' Choir, who disguise her as a boy and sneak her into the choir. Alice's new identity becomes more than a joke when she discovers that her father's murderers are searching for her and that one of the priests at the cathedral was also involved in the murder plot."  I like the book even though it plays the bad-priest theme, which is a very over used one. For grades 5-9.

This story is told by Juan de Pareja, a slave of the master painter Velázquez of the Spanish court in the seventeenth century. "Through Juan’s eyes the reader sees Velázquez’s delightful family, his working habits and the character of the man, his relations with the shy yet devoted King Philip IV and with his fellow painters, Rubens and Murillo, the climate and customs of Spanish court life. When Velázquez discovers that he and Juan share a love for the art which is his very life, the painter proves his friendship in the most incredible fashion, for in those days it was forbidden by law for slaves to learn or practice the arts. Through the hardships of voyages to Italy, through the illnesses of Velázquez, Juan de Pareja loyally serves until the death of the painter in 1660." A book you will never forget. Reading Level: Ages 9-12.

I also wanted to tell you about a lovely free Renaissance Lapbook that I found at Dynamic 2 Moms.


  1. I just had to chuckle at 'it doubles as PE' I had been wondering how to gently introduce Shakespeare and now I know.

  2. I'll have to check out the Bruce Coville books for my 7-year-old--he loved reading about Shakespeare in the Magic Tree House book about him. I'll have to keep The Shakespeare Stealer in mind.

  3. Wow! Your really found some interesting ones - I think I'll try out the first two on my older children, and see what they think.

  4. What a great collection of books here! :) Thanks for sharing!

  5. Great books! Thanks.

  6. The Bruce Coville book sounds really neat -- I can't wait to check it out. I think Emily would really enjoy it!! Thanks for the recommendation!

  7. Thanks for joining WMCIR! I am bookmarking this post for future reads - all the books sound great.

  8. Thanks for the recommendation of Bruce Coville - looking forward to introducing shakespeare to my story-lover! All of your suggestions make me a little nostalgic for my students from my middle school days - look like great reads! And thanks for linking up at Feed Me Books Friday! Hope you'll join again and get in on the giveaway this week!


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