The other title I had in mind was: Our decision to homeschool.
The absence of picture book reviews is directly correlated to this shift in our educational avenues for our daughters. As I will be their primary teacher, the challenge of creating engaging and appropriate material for their lessons is on me. Fortunately, there’s a library and there’s Pinterest (which also led me to Teachers Pay Teachers, bless them).
I’m sticking with the picture book angle for this title because it is the one that directly impacts this blog, though I’m sure other changes will arise as we all adjust to a new routine. The picture books and chapter books that have occupied my time are now tied to specific themes related to the units I’ll be teaching next year. Which is great because in a year I’ll have a load of book ideas to pass along (and wow! our quilting unit is packed with great reading and fascinating history)! I haven’t been as creative or inspired in searching for much outside that realm and so my posting about books has flagged. Right now I have a few lists by categories and topics that I’m prepping to post at some point and hope to then continue to do in that format for a bit.
But I’m still reading and loving books for children, and I can’t wait to pass along some of our discoveries!
For now, here are a five recent favorites that aren’t tied to my lesson plans but that I have read and recommend!
The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies – Evan is good with people. His sister Jessie is number smart. Usually the two siblings get along, but when the end of summer brings an announcement that Jessie can skip ahead to Grade 4, Evan’s grade, and that the two will be in the same class, complicated feelings build and erupt into a full-scale economic and marketing battle. Marketing tips and strategies as well as complex word problems are embedded in the text naturally. A balanced approach between emphasizing the strengths and weaknesses of each child allows grade-school children to appreciate the complexity of business management as well as friendship building. We were going to use this for a unit on Economics, but I scratched that direction for now and am reading it with my girls now. Love this book and can’t wait to read the others in the series.
The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich – I saw this one receive so much acclaim for telling an age-appropriate and historically accurate story of a young Ojibwa girl named Omakayas. It is a compelling story of family, identity, and struggle. The only reason we will not be reading this one this year is to wait one more year for my youngest daughter to be old enough to understand it more fully. Another series I look forward to reading further.
She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton – A compilation of thirteen mini-biographies of women who faced daunting odds and overcame them. Each biography includes a paragraph or two about the woman’s achievements and a quote from her about her effort. Diversity of backgrounds, goals, and accomplishments is a real plus for this standard-length picture book. Nothing too overwhelming for younger readers, but a great range of voices for young readers to consider and pursue further as inspired.
Hannah Is My Name by Belle Yang – This is a story about a girl who is immigrating to the United States from China. The story covers a child’s comparisons of life and her perspective of the process for receiving a green card – and the implications of not having one right away. The language and presentation is age-appropriate and a great introduction to young readers about what it means to be an immigrant. The illustrations are bright and engaging with details and colors to engage everyone.
My Mom Is a Foreigner, But Not To Me by Julianne Moore – A lovely book about the wonderful ways that children might understand or interpret how their mother is different in another country while affirming that their mother is still the best. Love the different languages and customs expressed and explored. A beautiful tribute to moms though I didn’t find the rhyming structure to be effective.
That’s what I have for now. I’ll keep on blogging in fits and spurts, but in all likelihood, the posts will really pick up when we start our school year, and I get to reveal the gems I’ve found on various topics. Stay tuned!
(In looking back, maybe I should have titled this: Blog Post with A Lot of Exclamation Points)