Books We’ve Been Reading Lately: 2/21/15

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After seeing and hearing Shannon Hale a few weeks ago, where I heard her talk about the above book, I decided it would be perfect for my 9 yog. I got Princess Academy, also by Shannon, in anticipation of the event and gave it to her. She read it, and she said it was OK. Just OK? I loved that book! Maybe it was a bit over her head. So I decided that the Storybook of Legends, would appeal to her more. Shannon said that the character Maddie in this book is her favorite of all the characters she has created, because she can hear the narrator. So far we are loving it. It is the story of the daughters of Snow White and the Evil Queen, who are destined to live out their mother’s stories. Delightful!

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I love, love, love picture books that tell historical events. The above book is the real story of Henry Knox, the amazing guy who got cannons from Fort Ticonderoga in the dead of winter to help George Washington beat the troops in Boston, so they would retreat.  A wonderful story! 5 out of 5 stars.

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This is another great picture book that tells a true story from history. I have been fascinated by Tesla for a while when I heard that he was the pioneer of wireless communication. I was saddened to learn from this book that Edison treated Tesla quite rudely. It’s probably because of Edison that we haven’t heard much about Tesla, because Edison campaigned against Tesla’s idea of using AC as an everyday form of electricity. It’s too bad that not more Americans know about Tesla, he was a genius. I was inspired by Tesla’s driving vision to keep him working hard and not give up. I read this to the boys at our homeschool boys club and they enjoyed it. I did too! 5 out of 5 stars.

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Another great picture book about a real person. I love finding books in the oversized collection in the children’s non-fiction section of my public library. I had never heard about Helen Keller’s dog so this was fun to read about. 5 out of 5 stars.

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I read SFR to my older kids. I remember many a night sitting in the hallway between their bedrooms reading it aloud. Now I am reading it to the littles (ages 10, 9, and 5). I had forgotten about the unreal and unlikely descriptions and situations the family gets into, which make me roll my eyes. But at that same that’s what makes the book fun! This time around I found out that the author, Johann Wyss, was a minister. He wanted to delight his children with a tale involving their family living the Robinson Crusoe story, because his boys loved that story so much. The author’s son, a librarian, helped him write it. No wonder it has so much detail! Only a librarian could be so thorough in descriptions of the flora and fauna of a faraway place. Sometimes I wish some of the wordiness was cut out to make it a better read aloud. I just may cut the wordy parts out myself. I do like all the references to God and His providence. 

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My way of “stealthy homeschooling” is to use all the Story of the World books at once. I finally have all four volumes now, both the books, and books on CD, and almost all of the activity books. We listen to the CDs while they are doing dishes, whatever ones they want, yes even if they are listening “out of order.” They love them! The 9 and 10 year olds know a lot more about world history than I ever did at that age because of these CDs. Then over mealtime, I use the review questions in the corresponding book (pictured below) to test their retention. We sometimes listen in the car as well.Teaching and learning history was never so painless!  

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I am in the middle of Emotional Intelligence, something I am reading as a mom to improve my mentoring and mothering abilities. In other words, I am not reading it to the kids. I found the whole thing as an audiobook on Youtube, so that is helping me “get through it.” I never realized before how majorly important emotions are, and that being aware of my emotions, and teaching my kids to be aware of theirs, really is more important than IQ.

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I love this picture book about a righteous father of an Amish family who leads out his family in returning good for evil. I read it to the boys in my boys’ club and the “turn the other cheek” concept in the story made Jesus’ teaching really come alive for them. We had a great discussion about when it’s right to fight back and when it’s OK to turn the other cheek. One of the boys has parents who are probably NRA members, based on the bumper stickers I see on their car every week, so the wheels were definitely turning in his head as we talked. 5 out of 5 stars!

I love the story of William Tell. The relationship that he and his son have is so beautiful The father is confident he will not hurt him, and the son completely trusts the father not to hurt him. Another great read aloud! 5 out of 5 stars!

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