Sometimes when I finish a book that I loved I can’t wait to sit down and gush about how great it is. Other times, I love it but I just know I won’t be able to give it proper credit: I struggle to explain just why it is so incredible.
Shapes in Math, Science, and Nature by Catherine Sheldrick Ross (April 2014, Kids Can Press) is a book I struggle to describe. The title suggests something a little bit academic.
But it is far from simply a geometry book about shapes. Rather, Shapes in Math, Science, and Nature is a fascinating activity book for kids with activities and experiments that can get even the math and science averse excited about shapes. It covers not only the subjects indicated on the cover but also history, culture and anthropology, ancient games, and even a little bit of literature. (more…)
I Walked to Zion by Susan Arrington Madsen (Deseret Book, 1994) is a delightful collection of first person accounts of Mormon pioneers who traveled across the American Great Plains to Utah from the late 1840s to 1860s. Although the volume is probably intended for adults to read, the engaging and interesting stories of the pioneers have such detail and provide interest so that even very young children would appreciate hearing the stories. (more…)
We often encounter books about the wives of the U.S. presidents. We’ve seen a number of books about the presidents themselves. But what about the mothers of the presidents?
First Mothers by Beverly Gherman and Julie Downing (Clarion Books, 2012) finally puts the mothers’ stories at the forefront. With just one or two pages per mother, Gherman captures the personalities of the women who raised the people who would become president of the USA. The facts are interesting, relevant, and amusing. Julie Downing’s cartoon-like illustrations keep humor through the book as well, highlighting the humor of the mother’s stories. (more…)
Happy Independence Day! To celebrate America’s special holiday, I thought I’d review a patriotic and historical book.
Visual learning is best for many young kids. A Timeline History of the Thirteen Colonies by Mary K. Pratt (Lerner, November 2014) provides a visual understanding of history by representing some of the main events in the development of the American colonies via timeline. (more…)
I am an active Christian. I believe God created the world. I also believe we do not know how God created the earth, and I do not believe in a literal, seven-day creation. All I have learned about the big bang theory and the evolutionary history of the earth has only solidified that testimony that I have that God is behind it all.
That said, I’m always careful about which books I share with my kids that deal with the big bang, the expanding universe, and evolutionary biology. Some of these texts for kids disparage those that believe in God as creator, or otherwise dismiss the possibility of both creationism (i.e., God created the earth) and the evolutionary sciences as evidenced by science as possibly co-existing.
How to Make a Planet by Scott Forbes (Kids Can Press, March 2014) teaches about the big bang and early evolutionary history just right. It focuses on the science, based on the evidence we can see around us. Even the title seems to underscore that someone could make a planet. While the book does not have discussion of God or a “creator” in a religious sense, it also does not eliminate the fact that it could have been created by a higher power purposefully. The “instructions,” although written to the two children that appear on each of the pages, could just as easily have been directed toward God creating the world in His way. (more…)