Many homeschool curriculums are literature-based, and lists of good literature are available online and at the library. Most people are familiar with the classics, such as the books by Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, or Jane Austen. While we use the classics in our studies, we like to read more contemporary books together during lunchtime (I read aloud while the children eat), some of our favorites being the Junie B. Jones series and the Trailblazer missionary stories. New books are being published every year, and we like to try those out too. Some are good, some not-so-good. We usually don’t finish the not-so-good ones, but Perch, Mrs. Sackets, and Crow’s Nest is one I would definitely recommend.
The story is about ten-year-old Andy Parker who goes to spend the summer with his grandmother in the country. His dad has passed away, and now his best friend is moving — things are changing, and he suspects a new chapter in his life is going to begin. Set in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York, Perch, Mrs. Sackets, and Crow’s Nest describes Andy’s activities with his mother’s friend John, his grandmother, and the neighbor, Mrs. Sackets.
Written in first person, the story softly conveys Andy’s feelings and reactions to his changing world. Through Andy’s voice, author Karen Pavlicin, who lost her own husband to cancer, leads the reader gently through the changes as Andy realizes that even as he experiences loss, life is still full of hope.
Since we began homeschooling eight years ago, I’ve known of several families in the area who have lost parents or children because of automobile accidents or illness. Even though I lost my own father twelve years ago, I can still only imagine what they are experiencing. But for those families, I think Ms. Pavlicin’s book carries a timeless message: “With a little bit of faith, we’ll make it through a lifetime of changes.”