Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Series ~ History

One of the greatest contributions to children's literature in the 20th century has been numerous history series.  Biographies, memoirs, historical fiction, original sources, all serve to make history come alive for students of all ages.  Could it be that the lack of knowledge and interest in history during our post-modern times stems from the lack of reading gripping tales of heroes and heroines of history?  In order to remedy that, add some of these treasures to your family's reading list.  This lengthy list demonstrates that past generations understood the importance of knowing from whence we came.

Landmark history titles - This series is the gold standard for children's history series.  Over 200 titles are in this series, written by some of the best authors of children's literature.  They focus on people and events that have shaped history.  A history professor acquaintance of ours said that if a child read all the Landmark books, he would have an excellent history education.  A few of the titles have been reprinted in paperback.  More information and titles can be found at Valerie's helpful site.  Written for grades 3-8

Signature biographies - Signature biographies are similar in length to the Landmark books.  Also written by wonderful authors of the time, they focus on lives of people throughout history.  Each title begins with The Story of...

Garrard Discovery Biographies - This is my favorite biography series for younger readers.  Very well written. I've learned so much for them myself.  There is also a World Explorers series and an American Indian series.

We Were There series - This series is a favorite in my library.  The stories are told through the eyes of fictional children but the stories themselves are accurate.  Each title has both an author and a historical consultant for accuracy.  Very exciting!  I see that some titles have been reprinted.

North Star series - Yet another series written with the purpose of engaging middle readers.  Sterling North edited this series of around 40 titles covering mainly American history.

Frontiers of America - This is a favorite series of my boys from a few years ago.  Excellent for younger students, they relate exciting times in our country's history.  The title, Log Fort Adventures, is especially endearing to me.  My youngest son, adopted from China at the age of 6, was learning English, and narration was coming very slowly.  This book was so very exciting to him that he gave a very lengthy, detailed and animated narration for the first time!

Childhood of Famous Americans - This popular series of American biographies for young students is still very much in demand after many decades.  Children enjoy reading about the upbringing of their favorite historical heroes and heroines.  This series has been printed in many different bindings including the current red, white and blue paperback covers.

Winston Adventures - We've really enjoyed the titles we've read from this series.  What I appreciate is that these books focus on lesser known events of history in an exciting, narrative way.  Written for middle grades.

Step-Up Books - I listed this series in the science post as well, but there are many history titles to be enjoyed.  These are excellent for younger readers with large type and nice illustrations.  Note that some of these have been reprinted as "Landmark books".  They are NOT in the Landmark series, but are reprints of Step-Up Books.  Many of these can be found reasonably priced in the nice old hardcovers.  I would invest in these rather than the newer, cheaply bound, paperbacks.

American Adventures - This wonderful older series, published mainly in the 50's, is not to be confused with the newer series of the same name.  These books are full of adventures for younger to middle readers.  Some titles in the is series are pricey and hard to find so snatch them up if you come upon one.

Colonial Americans - This series, by Leonard Everett Fisher, focuses on the trades of the colonies such as printers, tanners, weavers, and more.

Cornerstones of Freedom - This series filsl a particular niche in my library.  While these slim titles are not always as engaging as many of the other series listed here, they do fill a need for an overview of a particular event or person without spending a great deal of time.  The series includes lesser known events as well.  In recent years, other titles have been added and printed in paperback.  I don't know the slant of these new titles so read with discernment.

How They Lived -  This series for younger to middle readers focuses on the lives of the men and women who made our land great.

"I Can Read" History - This is a wonderful series for beginning readers.  Young children love to be included in the family history studies with books they can read themselves.  This series fits the bill perfectly.

Land of the Free series - This unique series focuses on the contributions of various ethnic groups in America.  They are well-researched and engaging.   I don't own many of these titles but wanted to bring them to your attention if you come across them.

Messner biographies - This is a massive series for older readers and is valuable, not only because the writing is excellent by some of the best authors of the time, but because it contains biographies of figures not found anywhere else.

Sower series - This series focuses on the Christian beliefs and influences of famous people.

Trailblazer Books - This popular newer series for middle readers focuses on Christian heroes and missionaries.

If You Lived...series - This series for younger students focuses on how life was during various times of American history.  Children can see what their lives might have been like if they had been born in another time.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Arise, Shine, for thy Light is come!

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion,
get thee up into the high mountain:
O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem,
lift up thy voice with strength:
lift it up, be not afraid:
Say unto the cities of Judah,
Behold your God.
Arise, shine, for thy Light is come,
and the glory of the Lord
is risen upon thee.

Handel's Messiah
based on Isaiah 40:9, 60:1

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Castaway Christmas ~ A Review

We have discovered a new book to add to our Christmas favorites.  As I was scouring my shelves to find a new treasure that 12-year-old boys would enjoy (without too much sap...) I came across this book by an author with whom I was unfamiliar.  Just the title was intriguing so I took a chance that they would love it...and they do.  It's one of those books that makes them beg for more at the end of each chapter.

Castaway Christmas by Margaret Baker is the story of siblings Pinks, Miranda and Lincoln Ridley who are meeting their parents at a rented cottage for Christmas.  The rains become floods and a joyous holiday vacation turns into danger as the children are stranded at the cottage alone.  They must make their own way, relying on fortitude, courage and cooperation.  As they work together through many hardships, their bonds are strengthened and they experience a Christmas they will never forget.

A quote from the book...

"Miranda stirred the logs and they drew nearer to the dying fire.  The wind battered against the stone walls of the house.  The first Christmas wasn't safe or comfortable either, Miranda thought.  In his palace King Herod had plotted to take the Baby's life.  The Child had come to a country occupied by a powerful foreign power and full of danger.  In the stable overhung by the star, hay in the  manger had warmed him and the love of Mary and Joseph had shielded him from harm.  The Wise Men, when they came to worship did so in secret, and because of Herod's treachery, went home by another way.  Now King Herod was no more than a half-forgotten tyrant and the Kingdom of the Holy Baby whose life he had sought to take still flourished and endured."

Add this title to your Christmas reading list for an action-packed, heart-warming tale.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Series ~ The Arts

As we continue our series on series, I want to focus on books that broaden our studies of the arts, including music, art, handicrafts and recreation. 

Composer biographies by Opal Wheeler - Wheeler's biographies are beloved in the homeschool community.  Written for elementary to middle school-age children, they help students build lasting relationships with  composers.  Happily many of these have been reprinted.  Wheeler also wrote two artist biographies of Giotto and Millet!

Composer biographies by Reba Paeff Mirsky - Mirsky also wrote a series  of composer bio, written at a slightly higher level.  I was a music major in college and I would have loved to have known about these.

Music books by Anna Harwell Celenza - These newer picture books are unique in that they not only focus on a composer, but a famous piece of music as well, such as Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.  Included is a CD of the music.

The Art of ____ by Shirley Glubok - This series focuses on the art of various civilizations throughout history.  Written for middle school and up.

Katie art series by James Mayhew - This picture book series is loved in my library.  Katie learns about many artists by entering their artwork as she visits a museum.  Sweet.

Art for Children by Ernest Raboff - Each of Raboff's titles focuses on a particular artist and his techniques.

Artist series by Elizabeth Ripley - Ripley's biographies include many black and white reprints of the artist's work.  Suitable for middle grades and up.

Early Craft Books - This wonderful series takes children step by step through various handicrafts. 

First books by C.B.Colby - Boys (and girls) really enjoy Colby's books which give instructions on topics such as fishing, hunting, shooting, archery, etc.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Thanksgiving Greeting

It never mattered to Maggie or her grandmother
 that the red carpet was worn and mended 
or that the silver spoons didn't match.
Friendship and sharing were important.
But everyone knew that.

Cranberry Thanksgiving
by Wende and Harry Devlin

Wishing you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Streak ~ One Year Later!

It was Thanksgiving one year ago that we began a life-enriching habit.  We vowed to read aloud every single day for as long as we could.  This habit was inspired by The Reading Promise:  My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma.  I wrote about our reading streak here and here

Throughout this year we have enjoyed many books together.  I thought I'd share what a few minutes reading aloud each day can accomplish.  This list does not include all of the various books we read aloud for school subjects (although I did stick in a few favorite history reads.)  It also doesn't include books we all read independently. 

We look forward to another year building and strengthening our family relationships around books.  Gather your children or grandchildren and share a book today.

Various books of the Bible
A Christmas Carol - Dickens
I Saw Three Ships - Goudge
A Tree for Peter - Seredy
The Christmas Stove - Seymour
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus - Houghton
The Snow Queen - Anderson
By Right of Conquest  - Henty
On the Far Side of the Mountain - George
The Wizard of Oz - Baum
Frightful's Mountain - George
Beyond the Desert Gate- Ray
Greek Slave  Boy - Carroll
Wind in the Willows - Grahame
The Green Ember - Smith
The Magician's Nephew - Lewis
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - Lewis
Trumpet of the Swan - White
The Horse and His Boy - Lewis
The White Stag - Seredy
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - Lewis
The Silver Chair - Lewis
The Last Battle - Lewis
Gorilla Hunter - Ballentine
Indian in the Cupboard - Banks
Sign of the Beaver - Speare
Call It Courage - Sperry
The Black Star of Kingston - Smith
The Dragon and the Raven - Henty
Rascal - North
The Young Carthaginian - Henty
Around the World in 80 Days - Verne
Son of Charlemagne - Willard
A Midsummer Nights Dream -  Shakespeare
Penrod - Tarkington
The Little Duke - Yonge
Mr. Popper's Penguins - Atwater

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Series - Science and Math

Science series are a good way to introduce children to a variety of topics. There are so many covering many topics for all ages. Please note that there may be mention of evolution in many of these titles. Remember that nothing can deprive God of His glory.

Discover Nature in ___________ - This is an excellent series for older elementary and up which includes activities and experiments in various habitats and seasons.

Junior Science Book of __________ - Another series for older elementary and up, this living science series by various authors covers many topics. These are out of print but not expensive.

The All About series contains many titles covering topics ranging from the weather, undersea exploration, rivers of the world and many more. Also out of print, these are often obtained very cheaply. For upper elementary.

Wild Folk at the ______ - These are a wonderful living look at life in various habitats. Children in my library love this series. Out of print but worth the search for elementary students.

One Day in the _______ - Jean Craighead George has authored so many children's science books. This series, which is happily in print, takes a look at habitats.

The Thirteen Moons series - Another fabulous series by Jean Craighead George, each investigating the life of an animal.

One Small Square - I really enjoy this series. Each title encourages children to look at life in a small area of a different habitat.

Seasons books by Edwin Teale - This series, one for each season, records the authors travels around the country. Excellent for older students and parents.

Among the __________ People - This older series for younger students was written by Clara Dillingham Pierson and looks at wildlife in various habitats. Children are fascinated by animals and their surroundings so, thanksfully, there are many series on these topics to fuel their interests.

Books for Young Explorers - This series is published by National Geographic and includes many titles. These are excellent for young children with simple text and vivid photographs.

Books by Seymour Simon - Speaking of photography, you don't get any better than Simon's books. Children love pouring over them.

Books by Thornton Burgess - Thornton Burgess is a long-time favorite in our house. He makes science fun and lively. He has written so many wonderful titles from his more factual Bird, Animal, and Seashore books to his Adventures of series. Try one with your children and they will forever remember the lessons learned.

Books by Robert McClung - McClung is one of my favorite science authors for young children. His writing engages the imagination of children and helps them build relationships with the animals of which he writes.

______ Do the Strangest Things - From the Step-Up series, these titles are favorites for early readers. Look for Animals, Reptiles, Fish and more.

Let's-Read-and-Find-Out series - This is another favorite series for younger grades. So many titles to choose from covering many topics.

Living Forest Series by Sam Campbell - Young patrons in my library have fallen in love with these books. Sam takes children on many rollicking adventures starring his animal friends.

Here Come the ______ series by Alice Goudey - This is also a favorite series for young ones. Children can learn about many animals such as deer, bears, bees, dolphins and more.

Nature books by Alice Crew Gall and Fleming Crew - This brother/sister team wrote six titles each describing the live of an animal in its habitat. Look for titles on ants, chipmunk, beaver, raccoon, tadpole and muskrat.

Nature books by Margaret Waring Buck - Beautiful illustrations and engaging informative text make these books treasures to share with children on various habitats.

Science and nature books by Glenn Blough - Blough's books are sure to delight any child as they seek to learn more about the natural world. Illustrated by popular science author, Jeanne Bendick.

Science books by Wilred Bronson - Another excellent science/nature author you won't want to miss.

Young Math Series - It's such a shame that this series is out of print. This is by far my favorite math series. It covers dozens of topics to make math come alive for students. If you'd like to search them out, Valerie has a list on her website.

MathStart series - This newer (and in print) series covers math concepts from the most basic through more challenging concepts.

Sir Cumference series - Children in my library check out this popular series just for fun without realizing they are gaining important math skills.

I'm sure I'm leaving out many wonderful treasures. Some of these may not be technically classified as a series, but they are so dear I couldn't leave them out. If you have a favorite science or math series, leave a comment below, and enjoy a delightful living book to illuminate your science adventures.