The Great Depression for Kids

The easily accessible text and the fun related activities make The Great Depression for Kids by Carol Mullenbach (Chicago Review Press, July 2015) a fantastic choice for the young student in upper elementary school or older that is interested in learning more about the era in our history. The text covers life before the Great Depression, the causes of the Great Depression, and then life during the Great Depression, both in cities and rural areas. It ends as it talks about how the nation recovered at the start of Word War II. Each chapter in The Great Depression for Kids covered a lot of information, but I felt it easily accessible to the younger reader.

This volume includes 21 activities related to the things happening in the text. For example, there is an explanation on how to “play the stock market” when the text talks about the stock market crash. Paper airplane making is the activity as kids learn about the new developments during the era. An erosion experiment is the activity during the chapter about the dust bowl. In all, the activities seem like simple but engaging ones for upper elementary students to enjoy doing!

As a personal note, I found myself wishing I’d asked my grandparents more about the era before they passed away. The book contained lots of details about life during the era, but I know my grandparent’s stories were unique. It’s interesting how this definitive historical era is now so distant from children’s lives today, even though it was only three generations ago.

Note: I read a digital copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.

 

Stuffocation by James Wallman

Stuffocation by James Wallman (Spiegel and Wrau, March 2015) is an interesting analysis of the problem with materialism and a discussion of how seeking out experiences is more rewarding and fulfilling than buying things. I certainly appreciated the analysis of the problems of materialism (many of which I feel on a daily basis!) and I found the argument for experiences to be intriguing. But I also found the book as a whole seemed to drag through the points it made. I felt it could have held it’s own as a chapter in another book, without having to give all the examples that were so abundant.

That is not to say I cannot recommend it. I can! For those even more overwhelmed with things in their lives than I am, I suggest reading through the examples of how to simply and minimize the clutter of our homes. It is provides ample examples that can help those struggling to find balance.

Further, I certainly hope my loved ones don’t mind if I switch my gift giving to more “experiential” gifts versus the materialistic gifts as I’ve done in the past! I dislike the thought of things sitting around or cluttering already crowded homes, but I love the idea of giving a  memorable time to those I love!

Note: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.

Ten Rivers that Shaped the World by Marilee Peters and Kim Rosen

Ten Rivers that Shaped the World by Marilee Peters and Kim Rosen (Annick Press, Aprill 2015) is a delightful children’s nonfiction book about the significance of ten rivers on the history of the world. The rivers chosen are not necessarily the most infuential or the most interesting, but together the histories provide a well-rounded overview of world history and impact of rivers on the development of history.

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The Sound of Music Story by Tom Santopietro

The Sound of Music Story by Tom Santopietro (St. Martin’s Press, 2015) is a celebration and explanation of how a story about a “beguiling” novice becoming the stepmother to singing children became (or inspired), as the book claims “the most beloved film of all time.” It takes a true fan of The Sound of Music to be an eager reader of this book, and I am not surprised to find that I must not be alone, since this book covered the history of the real story and the history of the filming for those interested. I loved learning about the real Maria von Trapp, and the story of the actors, filming, directors, and so forth only helped me enjoy the movie all the more!Continue Reading