Virginia Johnson

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Sisters Pearl and May Chin are “Beautiful Girls”—artists’ models in 1930s Shanghai. They live in amazing times in a modern city, dancing at nightclubs, dining at expensive restaurants, buying new outfits, and having lots of admirers. Neither college-graduate Pearl nor everyone’s darling May give much thought to their futures.  They think they can go on like this forever, marrying as they choose, if they choose. Unfortunately for these Shanghai Girls, they are quite mistaken.

Russka: The Novel of Russia by Edward Rutherfurd

Russka: The Novel of Russia by Edward Rutherfurd

Edward Rutherfurd’s Russka is a sprawling, engaging book that delves into the lives of many generations who are determined to survive and even thrive in a Russian village.

Columbus Day: A Day of Discovery

Columbus Day is sometimes called Discoverers' Day. In the spirit of discovery, take some time to learn about the world as it was in the days of the European explorers. You can make a compass, learn about the stars, read about other explorers and discoverers, and find how even our way of eating has changed since the Europeans came to the Americas looking for gold, glory, and, yes, tasty cooking spices.

Pizza Without Tomato Sauce?

The explorers who came to the Americas found the food enjoyed by the native people to be very different from what they knew at home. They had never seen tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, maize (corn), pineapples, chili peppers, or even cocoa. The vegetable dishes from the Europe they knew relied on parsnips, cabbages, peas, carrots, turnips, and onions. After being at sea and living off of a diet of lentil soup, salt beef from a barrel, salted sardines, hardtack, and other delights, the fresh, new foods of the islands would have been an astonishing change.

First Test by Tamora Pierce

First Test by Tamora Pierce

No Girls! Go Home! You Won't Last!

As Kel surveyed the damage done to her room-- mattresses, sheets, and blankets strewn everywhere, desk drawers dumped out onto the floor, wall hangings sliced with a glaive, and that message scrawled so plainly on the plaster walls, she knew the battle to be accepted as page was just the beginning.

Author of the Month: Tony DiTerlizzi

Wildly inventive Tony DiTerlizzi imagines worlds of bizarre--yet mostly friendly--characters and sets them down in words and pictures to share with others. From the Star Wars universe to the Spiderwick Chronicles to his own Oz-like Wondla books, Tony’s creative genius shines brilliantly.

The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher

The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher

What really happened when genius businessman Sir Owain Lancaster decided he could conquer the Amazon? In the 1800s, it was not so unusual for British gentlemen to take on this kind of task—to prove the superiority of man over the elements and increase our scientific knowledge. In Sir Owain’s case, the natural elements won. Or, perhaps they were horrifically supernatural, as Sir Owain claims. Stephen Gallagher’s Bedlam Detective is determined to find out the truth.

Hands-on Colonial Crafts

Chances are if you are studying colonial times, your teacher will assign a hands-on project. You could make a model of the Jamestown Fort or a copy of the Declaration of Independence-but why not try a craft that the colonists themselves would have done?

Every colonial family except for the very rich had to be able to make their own soap, candles, furniture, cloth, baskets, toys, and musical instruments. Below is one practical craft to try. Scroll down and check our lists of books and Web sites for more ideas.

Moon Handbook: Virginia, Including Washington DC by Michaela Gaaserud

Moon Handbook: Virginia, Including Washington DC

Whether you’re a newcomer or a born-here, fall weekends are the perfect time to explore this beautiful, charming state. Short road trips can take you from the mountains to the beach and lots of points in between. Grab Michaela Gaaserud’s Moon Handbook for Virginia, Including Washington DC to find the perfect destination for you.

Make Your Own Board Games

Gather your family together for an hour or two of face-to-face gaming with a twist: you can make the games yourselves to match your family's interests.

The Homeschool Phenomenon

Not every child today learns in a big building with lots of other students all studying the same things at the same time. In the past twenty years, the homeschool phenomenon has caught fire across America.