So it wasn't an overwhelming success. Mostly because I hadn't read the sixty-some page book on Lafayette ahead of time.
But I'm not giving up! A friend of mine sent me this awesome link:
It's a list of one hundred and one spectacular nonfiction stories (it seems to consist mostly of articles in journals and magazines) from the past year. It provides you with links to the articles, so you can click and read away at your leisure.
Thanks to this site, I'm prepared for dinner tonight. I found an article about vultures going extinct in India and all the terrible repercussions this will have on India and the world. It's actually really fascinating, and so are the pictures of the vultures, dead and alive. After just glancing at the article, I will be able to speak fairly intelligently about this problem. The different religions in India have varying religious objections to touching or eating dead meat, depending on the type of animal and the way it was killed. The thirty million plus vultures that used to live in India were incredibly helpful with this problem—they ate the meat and disposed of the carcasses. But the 30 million vultures are now down to under eleven thousand. Can you believe that? Over thirty million vultures down to just thousands? That's a decrease in population of 97%! And dead animal carcasses are everywhere, causing many problems such as the spread of disease...
Definitely check this link out for some good dinner conversation topics, like dying vulture populations!
And here is a nonfiction book Mary and Lucy have been regularly reading from (of their own accord) whenever they have a minute:
Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
It's about the training of Hitler's very young army and the methods he used to brainwash his people into following him into genocide. Look at those award stickers on there—they are well deserved.
And I just read a really fun fantasy set in Austen England. Renegade Magic by Stephanie Burgis. Unfortunately, I read the second book in the series first—sort of a no, no, but I really enjoyed it. Loved the tone, loved the characters, and the story was great (though I am a sucker for anything Jane-Austenish). The first in the series is called Kat, Incorrigible (the Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson).
I think I've found a new series to love. Check it out for your girls ten or older, and yourself. Probably not for boys though. Unless they have a particular interest in magical romance/adventure stories set in 19th century England :).