Some notes on this past month’s U.S. history reading list for my 6-year-old homeschooler, S:

We’ll be looking for more books by DyAnne DiSalvo — A Castle on Viola Street and Grandpa’s Corner Store both went over well with S. After reading the former, he went within seconds from wanting to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity to wanting to start his own organization from scratch. Bonus: Grandpa’s store makes a cameo appearance in Castle, and S always enjoys spotting those.

Of the 9/11-related books, Fireboat is still S’s favorite. I’m not sure he really noticed September Roses, which I thought was powerfully done. Maybe he overlooked it because it’s just half the size of a typical picture book, or even smaller. We’ll try that one again.

(I guess I should qualify what I mean when I say we read these books together. I read them, and they’re all available for S to read, but if I push anything, he willfully ignores it. If he discovers a book on his own and likes it, then we’ll read it together, and again, and again.)

His favorite of the Katrina tie-ins was River Friendly, River Wild, though there were repeat readings of Smoky Night. Both were good for discussing how children on the Gulf Coast might have felt during their ordeal.

The Train of States left the station unread, as far as I know. I pushed this one (see above), which was one big strike against it, but it may also be that S just doesn’t have the same fondness for factoids that I do. (We’ll see how his new book of 1,001 shark facts fares.)

Finally, he liked Jingle Dancer a lot. I figured he’d be cool toward it, since he’s starting to draw lots of distinctions of the “X is for girls” and “Y is for boys” variety. But he overheard me reading it to little brother F (a favorite tactic of mine), insisted I start from the beginning, and asked immediately afterwards whether boys can be jingle dancers. Word came from the author that boys can be grass dancers, which satisfied S, I think.

I’ll try to parlay his interest in jingle and grass dancing into a trip to next month’s Austin Powwow. Even if we don’t go, his interest does help set the stage for next month’s selection of books, which I’ll get to in this space soon.