When I first saw it in the Netgalley catalog, I was startled by the title It’s OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids by Heather Shumaker (Tarcher, 2012). Not share? Isn’t that the first thing we teach our babies during play dates? I was delighted by some of the concepts in this parenting book, not because I agreed with it all, but because it opened my mind to different ways to approach teaching my children about relationships, compassion, and dealing with the ups and downs of life.
I have been blogging on Rebecca Reads for more than four years now, but I still feel like a newbie when it comes to my new blog, Line Upon Line, which focuses on my homeschooling and education journey and promotes products, both free and paid, in the blogosphere. I found Born to Blog by Mark Schaefer and Stanford Smith (McGraw Hill Professional, 2013) to be helpful in recognizing that a blog cannot do everything. Rather, blog writers must find their style within their niche category. By using their own strengths, they can write stellar and interesting blogs.
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…)
Ariel Bradley: Spy for General Washington by Lynda Durrant (Vanita Books, 2013) is a historical fiction early chapter book based on a real experience. Since Raisin and I are learning about American history this year, I decided it would be a perfect choice for reading aloud together during our school time.
In many ways, Ariel Bradley’s story is a fun and exciting one. Ariel is a young boy, with two brothers who are a part of General Washington’s army. He wishes he could be brave, but his life is still at home. When his brothers come to visit, though, they have a special mission for him to perform for General Washington himself! As Ariel acts like a country bumpkin and stumbles in to the British war camp, he knows he can be a spy for General Washington and do his own part to help the country.
I liked the story. It showed how a child helped in the war effort. It showed my son the different way someone could help the Patriot cause. As we read, we looked up unfamiliar words and talked about what Ariel Bradley was doing. Raisin was very excited to see General Washington, and I believe he enjoyed the suspense of what would happen next.
It’s been a few weeks since we finished and Raisin tells me now that he does not remember it. I know he liked it, but apparently the story was not a memorable on. There are many historical fiction stories based on real events that relate to the American Revolutionary War. This may not have been the strongest choice out there, but Raisin and I did enjoy it when we read it. We found it to be a fine book to tie in to our American history studies.
Note: I received a digital copy of this book for review consideration from the publisher via netgalley.com.