This installment of our family book club had us reading Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. Even though I have read this book before, I was excited for my youngest two children to enjoy it also. July was the perfect month for it too. We joined Shannon Hale’s summer book club in celebration of the release of the sequel, Palace of Stone. I loved the behind the scenes writer stuff and author insights! Apparently if you research goats for a book, you just might develop a fondness for them.
My kids liked the book because it’s a fun story. I agree, but it is so much more than just a fun story. Reading the work behind the story helped me see the web of subplots and understand the theme. I’m intrigued how some big things weren’t in the first draft but evolved in subsequent revisions, like quarry speech.
Even without Ms. Hale’s book club, the reading guide at the end of the book gave us plenty to talk about. One of the questions was about where our names come from, because the story behind Miri’s name is an important part of the story. We had a fun discussion of who’s named after whom and the various origins of our names.
There are several moral and ethical situations brought up that would make great adult discussions too. It might even be more fun to discuss with grownups, since my kiddos were more focused on the ‘fun story’. To add some active play, try the game Rabbit and Wolf described in the book. It seems like Duck, Duck, Goose combined with tag.
Don’t let the title scare your boys off from this book. My son was a good sport as we started reading it, after a few chapters he finished reading it on his own in a few days. Most of the main characters are girls, but this is far from a girly book!
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