"Intellectual distinction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for election to a Rhodes Scholarship. Selection committees are charged to seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead. The Rhodes Scholarships, in short, are investments in individuals rather than in project proposals..."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Boy's Book Club - G. A. Henty

As many of you know, I like to host book clubs for my kids. I think reading classic literature is vital in developing their language art skills, teaching history through fiction, and building character.

My son will be reading several G. A. Henty historical fiction books this year. I would like to offer that if others are interested in having their son’s read along with us, they would learn a lot AND have a great time discussing the books. Here’s some information about the G. A. Henty books:
While many children's adventure books that emphasize the traits of courage, high moral character, diligence, perseverance and other valuable personal virtues were written during this period, G. A. Henty's books are unique. Each adventure takes place within the setting of some important period in human history. From the fall of Jerusalem to the American Civil War, Henty's heroes live their adventures within exciting historical events. The reader learns much detailed history while he is being entertained and taught by exemplary heroes.
Moreover, through his personal experiences and careful scholarship, Henty provides very detailed and accurate accounts of history. While one might read a section of a history book concerning, for example, the conquering of Mexico by Spain, most such accounts are dry and shallow in comparison with Henty's tale of the primary happenings and of the way of life of the people caught up in those events.
Henty wrote 72 historical fiction novels for children. I’m using _The Boy’s Guide to Historical Adventures of G. A. Henty_ as a guide for choosing the most interesting books. I’d like to go through some in chronological order. Now to be fair, Henty has been some books that have an anti-Catholic bent (he was protestant) pertaining to times during and just after the Reformation, so I have DISCLUDED those from the list. Many of his novels show up in Catholic Reading lists (like Angelicum.)
The way I would like to run this book club is to have the boys complete the book before our meeting date. At our first meeting, I will introduce the boys to Mr. Henty (via biographical information) to help them understand why he wrote as he did. We will fill in a worksheet using the Socratic Method of learning, where I ask questions and help them to discover plot, setting, characters, theme and conflict within the story. They will take home a list of vocabulary terms to fill in for the next meeting. Unlike other book clubs I’ve done in the past, there will be no thematic craft or thematic snack. If you sign up for the book club, you would need to bring a nut-free/peanut-free snack to share one time. There will be some time for the boys to stretch their legs and re-enact some of the book during that time. The cost is $1 per boy to cover copying costs.
This book club is for boys 9-12.  Here’s the list of books we’ll discuss them:
_The Cat of Bubastes_ (Ancient Egypt – 1250 B. C.)

The Young Carthaginian_ (Punic Wars – 220 B. C.)  

_Winning His Spurs_ (Crusades– 1188)

_ A Knight of the White Cross_(Rhodes – 1480)  

_In the Reign of Terror_ (France - 1793)

 _With Lee in Virginia_ (Virginia, USA – 1860)
    The Library System has some copies of these books available if you don’t wish to purchase your own copy or you can read them online or print your own at: http://henty.ae6gn.com/listbooks.php?sort=year or here: http://www.gahentyonline.com/example/booklist.html.   These books are all in the public domain.  If you have an eReader device or the ability to read books on your computer, you don't need to spend a dime!

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