D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything And Read) Day

In honor of Beverly Cleary’s birthday, April 12 is Drop Everything And Read Day. When your kids get home from school, instead of having them put away the dishes, maybe let them Drop Everything And Read! Or when they reach for the switch controller, suggest they first Drop Everything And Read!

Looking for a new book that you can borrow instantly? Using your Carnegie Library card, you can immediately borrow electronic and audio books from Hoopla. Here are a few recommendations:

First, obviously, is Beverly Cleary! Here you can find either audio or electronic copies of most of her books! Here’s a very well done recording of The Ramona Quimby Audio Collection, which is where D.E.A.R. began!

Books Ramona would have read a million times:
Understood Betsy Elizabeth Ann was orphaned at an early age and raised by her maiden aunts in the busy city. Sudden illness forces the aunts to send Betsy to other relatives, the Putnams, who live in the country on a farm. Betsy learns all about the farm and making butter and applesauce and dearly loves her new life. Then one of the aunts comes back and wants to take Betsy back to the city … such a dilemma! Children can readily relate to Betsy, a real girl in a real world where fortune seems to direct her life. She so loves being on the farm and doing all the things a farm girl does, including going to school. When fate again intervenes and tries to take her away from the life she loves, Betsy, though torn, bounds into another day of farm life, full of love for all she comes in contact with, and grows into a beautiful young lady.

Anne of Green Gables This tale follows the adventures of Anne, a young, red-haired orphan who has spent her entire childhood being passed around from one foster home to the next. Until one day she is sent to Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert by mistake. While trying to adopt a boy to help work on their farm, the Cuthbert’s ended up with Anne, who they could not send away after learning that an evil woman in town was attempting to adopt her. Anne gains many friendships in her new town with her eager, quick-witted, and bright attitude. While working on the farm, she also finds herself excelling in school and aspires to become a teacher.

Betsy-Tacy Betsy hopes that whoever moves into the house across the street will have a little girl just her age. And the little girl who moves in is just her age. Her name is Tacy. She is very bashful, but she likes to listen to Betsy’s stories-wonderful stories that the girls love, and that they keep as their own special secret. After a while, it’s hard to remember a time when Betsy and Tacy weren’t best friends.

Books that show history is interesting:
Hazardous Tales by Nathan Hale These graphic novels can be a little gruesome (the narrator is the Revolutionary War patriotic spy Nathan Hale who is about to be beheaded by the British for treason and he is telling these tales to stall for time), so check them out for yourself first! But they are easy reads (comic-book style) and very informative! Your kids will be teaching you things about history!

Check out Clyde Robert Bulla! Two favorites: Secret Valley, about the gold rush and Sword in the Tree, set in the time of King Arthur. These aren’t as exciting as Nathan Hale’s tales above, but they are sweet.

Little House on the Prairie The Little House series is based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life growing up as an American pioneer.

Books with animal adventures:
Redwall Series (Often especially loved by dads, too!) The first book of the series in not on hoopla, but the prequel and many sequels are! Brian Jacques’ tales of courageous heroes and deliciously hateful villains have captivated countless readers.

The Green Ember Series. Rabbits with swords! Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world.
Kings fall and kingdoms totter. Tyrants ascend and terrors threaten. Betrayal beckons, and loyalty is a broken road with peril around every bend.
Where will Heather and Picket land? How will they make their stand?

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (This animal is a toy china doll, but still…) Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who adored him completely. And then, one day, he was lost. . . . Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. Along the way, we are shown a miracle — that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.

Free lecture—Ecclesiastes: What the Strangest Book in the Bible Teaches Us About Education

Scholé Academy Lecture Hall Presents
Ecclesiastes: What the Strangest Book in the Bible Teaches Us About Education
with Author/Teacher/Consultant Josh Gibbs

Monday, December 6, 2021  |  7:30pm ET

This lecture might interest some of our friends and members of Greater Pittsburgh Christian Schools Network.

From Scholé Academy: No book in the Bible offers a more glum assessment of this life, or inspires deeper yearning for the life to come, than Ecclesiastes. This glum assessment is a caution for those who believe that classical education can “change the world” or that reading old books can help students “get ahead in the world.” And yet, Ecclesiastes also insists that refusing to “love the world or the things of the world” will actually make a man’s life tolerable, joyful, and spiritually fruitful.

This event is free to attend, but registration is required. Click here to register for this Lecture Hall event. (Nota bene: Personal information provided in the registration process will be shared with Josh Gibbs, owner of Gibbs Classical.)

GPCSN Recommends: Pittsburgh’s Urban Impact’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Urban Impact’s Shakes

Urban Impact’s Performing Arts department presents Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This fusion of faith and theatre puts a new spin on the Shakespeare classic. The 90-minute film mixes Shakespeare’s iconic text with original music and student testimonies.

The digital download is only $10 and worth every penny! One GPCSN family called it “the most understandable version ever,” and they’ve watched DAME HELEN MIRREN’S VERSION.

In this family-friendly film there is no dumbing down of the bard: The direction, acting, music, and setting bring Shakespeare’s original language to life for a 21st Century audience.

Go here to buy your $10 digital ticket now:

GPCSN Recommends: Shaw and Chesterton—A play about the complicated friendship between G.K. Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw

Greater Pittsburgh Christian Schools Network Director Jessica Brown attended an education conference this summer with The CiRCE Institute. One of the highlights from the conference was the play Shaw and Chesterton written by Tim A. McIntosh (playwright, actor, educator, podcast host, and more). She liked it so much that after she watched the rehearsal, she went to the play, went to the play again, and returned to Pittsburgh and bought the video that was only available to conference goers.

Now that video is available for purchase for everyone until August 25, 2021!

The play is about the complicated friendship of Christian, G.K. Chesterton (creator of Father Brown), and Atheist-turned-Mystic, George Bernard Shaw (playwright author of Pygmalion which was made into the movie My Fair Lady). As one viewer says,

The idea that we can be ideologically worlds apart but still maintain respectful debate and even remain dear friends is a pretty important message right now.

Beth Pitman, Christian Educator

And not only is the message important, the play is good! (Sometimes you have cheesy art with an important message or good art with a terrible message. This play is first a great play.)

The play was so good that while it was scheduled to show only once to just a roomful of attendees, after watching it, CiRCE decided to add an encore performance on the final night of the conference—on the main stage, open to all. One speaker at the conference, Greg Wilbur, church musician and president and dean of New College Franklin (a Christian college GPCSN wholeheartedly recommends), called it “a wonderful and insightful play.”

Really if you are interested or involved in Christian education, you should follow The CiRCE Institute for more, but at least go buy the video—pay-what-you-want ($5, $50, $5,000?) and proceeds split between The Circe Institute + Tim A. McIntosh. The video is available to purchase through August 25. Once purchased you will be sent a link and password to the video. The link does not expire and you can watch it anytime.

This play definitely earns the GPCSN stamp of approval!

A Bookish Podcast for Kids Who Love Books (or for those of us who want our kids to love books!)

Goldberry Studios, creator of Close Reads (the best online bookclub and discussion podcast on all of the internet), has a BRAND NEW podcast for kids! It promises to be part nonsense/part bookclub, with book discussions, author talks, family-friendly jokes, game show bits, and more.

Hosts David and Graeme are deeply involved in both books and Christian education and they are trustworthy! This fun podcast definitely gets the Greater Pittsburgh Christian Schools Network stamp of approval!

Their first guest is S.D. Smith, author of The Green Ember series with its famous rabbits with swords! (This is a beloved series with some of our Greater Pittsburgh Christian Schools Network families!)

This summer, if you are looking for something for your kids to listen to–or something to listen to with your kids–check out Withywindle!

It is going to be so good.