Many years ago, I read and reviewed Foster’s guide to reading literature. When I saw How to Read Literature like a Professor for Kids also by Thomas Foster (HarperCollins Children’s, 2013), I decided to read it get a little idea of how he adapts his ideas for kids. (more…)
I spent a few months reading about the Native Americans last fall, so Native Americans: A Visual Exploration by S.N. Paleja (Annick Press, 2013) caught my eye on Netgalley. As a brief visual overview to the subject, it was a nice book for young readers. In general, however, it provided too little to be an essential or intriguing read.
By using images, charts, and graphics, this book gives young readers a very active and attractive book. If my son were older, I would not have hesitated to hand it to him to get his thoughts. This truly is a visual generation. The book’s layout reminded me of those whiteboard infographic videos on YouTube where the information is present with a narrator and a hand drawing images on a white board. Each image leads right in to the next, and at the end, the camera zooms out to show the entire whiteboard of images.
In general, however, Native Americans: A Visual Exploration was simply too brief. I believe there is a place for visual learning, but there also is a place for information, and there simply was not much in this book. I say this fully realizing that I have read a lot about the Native Americans, and this is for youth who will not know as much as I do. There were generalities that bothered me, such as the chart which showed that all Native Americans arrived from Beringia (evidence suggests otherwise) and some of the pages had lots of cute illustrations but little information. I really liked some parts of it and I loved the chart of climate and homes since that goes along with my own homeschooling booklet I made.
So, in all, I really did like the visual exploration. It had cute graphics and interesting information. But it would not work as a stand-alone because there simply is not enough. At less than 50 pages, we can’t be too surprised about that.
Note: I received a digital review copy from the publisher via netgalley.com for review consideration.
My son’s favorite phrase this month is “That’s not fair!” I’ve made an extra effort to try to help him understand why we have certain rules. And after reading this young adult nonfiction account of some people who said “No! This is not fair!”, I felt like I have some solid examples I can give him of just what truly is “not fair” in the world.
In People Who Said No (Annick Press, 2013), Laura Scandiffio outlines a few of the people in history who made a difference by standing up for what was wrong. Some chapters felt like miniature biographies of people I’d heard of but never before studied in depth. Included were Hans and Sophie, two young adults who took a stand against Hitler’s rise; Helen Suzman, the lone politician in South Africa who spoke out against Apartheid; the people of Egypt who mounted a mostly peaceful protest against their leader; and many more. (more…)
I really enjoyed reading the first Hereville graphic novel, so when I saw the next one on netgalley, I was eager to revisit Mirka’s somewhat bizarre world. Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite by Barry Deutsch (published November 2012) is another look at the spunky young Jewish girl who has fantastic adventures in her small community.
In the first volume, Mirka fights a troll in order to win a sword, but her battle ends up being different from what she expected! In this second volume, Mirka learns that a meteorite is coming to the earth. The witch helps her by transforming the meteorite, but it was not quite what she was expecting! Once again, Mirka must come to terms with herself in the humorous challenge she faces in this volume.
Hereville is such a blend of creativity that I really enjoy reading it, and I imagine the intended audience (young middle grade readers) loves it far more than I do! It has a strong strand of Jewish culture, but it also is a fantasy, an adventure, and a tale of a girl dealing with bullies, family, and basic pre-teen difficulties. I am not Jewish and I loved the glimpse at an Orthodox Jewish family and community. In general, I really like the world Barry Deutsch has created, and I’m glad he’s continued Mirka’s saga in this second volume of her adventures.
Note: I read a digital review copy from the publisher via Netgalley for review consideration.
When I saw Faces from the Past on the Netgalley catelogy, I was excited, since my recent read about forensic anthropology was such a delightful read for me. My son and I have been studying early American history as well, so it fits in well with my current interests. Once again, I have to say how much I love homeschooling: as I teach my son kindergarten-level history, I am enjoying delving much deeper in to the history of my country.
Faces from the Past: Forgotten People of North America by James M. Deen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, November 2012) is another middle grade or young adult nonfiction look at American history by forensic analyzation of the bones that remain behind after hundreds of years. Mr Deen goes much farther back than Sally Walker did: he begins with remains found that are probably 15,000 years old, some of the oldest American bones found. I loved how his book provided examples of remains from all over the country, from a shipwrecked French sailor from La Salle’s expedition found off the coast of what is now Texas (1600s) to the “ordinary” women buried in Albany, New York.