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.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Series - Geography

So many books line my shelves that are part of a series.  Some are written by one author who continues a story throughout many volumes.  Others are contained in a series which presents many topics within a particular subject.  There are series of fiction, series of history, of science and many others. 

I thought we'd start our look at series with the subject of geography.  Many of these are out of print, written in a living way which will help our children build relationships with those around the world.

This is __________ by Miroslav Sasek - This is a series of vibrantly illustrated tour of places around the world.  Many have been reprinted. 

The Twins series by Lucy Fitch Perkins - This antique series places a set of twins in various cultures.  Some of these titles have been reprinted or are available for free in the public domain.

Children of All Lands by Madeline Brandeis - In the 1930's Brandeis traveled around the world with her young daughter and her camera.  She took photographs of the people and landmarks and wove stories around these photos.  They are out of print but not extremely hard to find.

Count Your Way Through ______ - A fun series that teaches the reader to count in the language as well as lots of cultural information. 

Lois Lenski's regional stories - Lenski was a prolific author for children, and is best known for her regional stories giving us a lively look at life in various regions of America.

Picture Book of _________ by Bernadine Bailey and illustrated by Kurt Wiese - A series of books of the states of the US.

Rivers of the World series published by Garrard - This series looks at famous rivers from all over the globe written in an engaging way.

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Series of Series

I remember when I was a young reader getting my reading legs under me, my 4th grade teacher gave me a book for an award.  It was called Trixie Belden and the Mystery Off Glen Road.  I still have this very book 40 years later and fond memories of the path it set me on.  I read many more Trixie books over the next year or so as well as other favorite series, getting to know the characters intimately as we spent hours together solving mysteries and having adventures.

Series are very important in the reading life of children.  Young readers build confidence and fluency by reading thousands of pages.  They are excited to learn what happens next in the lives of those they know so well. This sets them solidly on a path of reading for a lifetime.  It's funny...when parents come into my library for the first time, they ask wistfully if I have a particular series they remember as a child.  They wish to introduce their children to their friends from long ago.  It's a special bridge between the generations. 

The golden age of children's literature is replete with many series in many subject areas.  Over the next few weeks, I plan to list many of these.  Maybe you will find a forgotten favorite to share with your children or a new series of treasures to discover.

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Librarian

Often when the conversation of operating a library in my home arises, I get variations of the following comments...

"You have a your house??"

"You mean people come to your house to check out books?"

"What do you DO with 18,000 books?!?"

Occasionally I'm conversing with someone who wishes to do this crazy thing called "operating a private library" in her home and are trying to wrap her brain around the logistics of such an undertaking.

I thought I'd take a little time and share what our lives look like as we go about the business of sharing our treasures with 30+ families in our community.

My library hours are always posted in the right hand column of this blog. Patrons check their due dates with my schedule and plan their visit. On library days, we get up and milk cows and other farm chores. My boys begin asking almost immediately, "Who's coming to the library today?" They begin making plans based on my answer (getting ball equipment together, for example.)  We have breakfast and I go over their schoolwork based on how busy I expect to be. Patrons are asked to let me know if they're coming. If the day will be light, we might be able to get in a semi-regular school day. If the day will be insane, I leave a list on the fridge to be completed independently. I also leave a self-serve lunch with instructions to bring me a few crackers or something around mid-day.

Before the library opens, I make sure I have paper in the printer for check-out sheets, swipe over the bathroom and check essentials like soap and toilet paper (those practical things...), maybe run the vacuum.  I pull the check-out sheets of those whom I'm expecting as well as any books that have been requested.

Families come and go during the day with lots of chatter, laughter, encouragement, sometimes a few tears as burdens are confided.  The children enjoy telling me about their favorite reads during the past month.  They make their rounds among the shelves starting piles of volumes that may become treasured friends.  Moms ask for my picks of books of various topics and time periods.  Books are checked in and checked out, packed in totes and sent out the door.

After the library closes for the day, the fun begins.  Reshelving the hundreds of books that are returned in an average library day can take hours a week.  If my week is particularly crazy, I may not get it done at all, in which case piles of books accumulate on the book cases and the floor.  Families don't seem to mind as they sift through the piles to see what has been returned that they might enjoy themselves.

So you may it worth it?

My answer is definitely...yes!

Yes, it can be stressful.  Yes, it's often back-breaking work.  Yes, I have no money to spare because I'm always buying books.  But seeing lives enriched, relationships formed, and the excitement of children and families who are being touched by story is worth all the sacrifice.

If you're on the fence about starting a library of your own, don't hesitate.  Your life won't be the same.