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I own several books by Amy Welborn, all prayer books geared toward women. A while back I came across her blog and have been keeping up with it ever since. But recently I was looking through my Amazon wish list and realized that I had put one of her children’s books on there and promptly forgotten about it. Unfortunately I still don’t own it but I wanted to highlight it here anyway, because it looks just so lovely and I want to spread the word! Welborn teamed up with illustrator Ann Kissane Engelhart to capture for children a conversation that Pope Benedict XVI had about the Eucharist. Friendship with Jesus records some of the questions and answers from that conversation with children who had made their first communion. I think this would make a lovely first communion gift or one given to help a child prepare for the special sacrament. Unfortunately, the book is not yet available from Amazon. But you can get it directly from the Catholic Truth Society. If you want to read more about the book you can read Amy Welborn’s blog post about it.

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For a while now, I’ve been meaning to do a review of these wonderful Smithsonian’s Backyard books that I stumbled across at our library. Time is limited here in chance of books homeschool but another lovely blogger has written about them here so for now I’ll leave you with a link to her review. Enjoy!

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Here’s last year’s post for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe coming up on Dec. 12.

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I wish I could remember how I came across this book. It must have been on some world geography book list I found recently while making my lesson plans for our homeschool. At any rate, I’m glad I found it!

The Giraffe That Walked to Paris is a children’s book based on true events from early 19th century France.  It’s written by Nancy Milton and illustrated by Roger Roth.  The story goes that the pasha of Egypt wanted to give a present to King Charles X of France, to improve relations between the two countries after disagreements about a spat between Turkey and Greece.  It was suggested to the pasha to give the king a giraffe.

So the giraffe made the journey across the Mediterranean Sea to the coast of France and landed in Marseilles.  Since they wanted to keep the giraffe in a warmer climate for the winter, she stayed there until spring.  The only way they could figure to have the giraffe make the journey north to Paris to be presented to the king was to have her walk with an entourage of cows, and caretakers.

She finally made it to Paris and in an elaborate ceremony was presented to the king.  Then she lived out her days at the Paris zoo.

This book is a fun story, if not a good way to be introduced to the historical facts the story is based upon.  It was interesting for my kids to imagine seeing a giraffe the first time, if never even been introduced to a picture of one, for that is what it was like for the people of France to see the giraffe walk from town to town.

The Giraffe That Walked to Paris is appropriate for Kindergarten and up.  It’s a longer picture book, with several paragraphs on each page, so it would also be appropriate for independent reading for older children.

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Pheidippides!

You say that Fi-DIP-uh-deez.

If you or your kids don’t know who this guy is, then I have just the book for you!

Author Susuan Reynolds says that she got the inspiration for this story after running her first marathon.  The First Marathon:  The Legend of Pheidippides tells the story of a battle between the Greeks and Persians and how we get the word and event marathon.  Pheidippides (yes I do have to keep checking to make sure I’m spelling it correctly!) was a Athenian soldier, but due to his good running skills, he was often used as a herald to deliver messages between generals.  Runners were used instead of horses because the Greek landscape was often too rocky for horses.

The Persians invaded Greece in 490 BC and they landed in the Greek city of Marathon.  Pheidippides was tasked with running to Sparta to get help from the Spartan army.  He had to run 140 miles from Athens to Sparta.  Then, after hearing that the Spartans would not come to help for a while, he had to run all the way back to Athens.  The Athenian army marched to Marathon to defend themselves against the Persians.  The Persians were caught off guard and lost the battle.

Pheidippides was asked to run from Marathon to Athens to tell the news of the battle.  The story goes that soon after he had delivered his message, he breathed his last breath.

Reynolds does a fantastic job bringing this legend to life.  Keep in mind that this story is a legend, so while based on factual events, the details are muddy.

Even if you’re not homeschooling or studying Ancient Greece, it’s a fun story to help your child understand how some of our English words have come about and maybe spark an interest in further word root study!  At the end of the book is a more detailed discussion about which parts are fact and fiction, and how the marathon distance has evolved over time.

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Still here…

…just trying to figure out another system to catalogue my books online.  Google Books is pretty crappy, tedious and highly unreliable.  I haven’t given up, just needed a short break to reorganize so this is more usable.

Check back very soon for some Advent/Christmas reading selections!

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Mondays: Books for read alouds.  If you’re familiar with Classical homeschooling, the idea of read alouds is familiar.  Basically these are longer chapter type books that are perfect for kids of varying ages to snuggle up and listen to.  Usually they have few pictures and are about topics that younger kids can enjoy long before they are able to read them on their own.  In our family we usually have at least 2 read alouds going at a time.  I do one every day after lunch with the kids, and my husband has another one going as a bedtime story.  I have found that the kids will enjoy listening for a longer time if they are permitted to play quietly at the same time.  We usually park ourselves around legos, blocks or k’nex while doing our read aloud time. Stay tuned on Mondays for reviews of great read alouds.

 

Wednesdays:  I’ll use this day to focus more on educational books.  There are great stories out there to go with any unit of study!

 

Fridays: We’ll focus on books that get a big huge thumbs down.  There are way too many kids books out there that are just plain stupid wastes of paper.  Hate to say it, but it’s true.  Lousy art, lousy message, lousy sentence structure.  I know they exist because we own some.  Those are the books that no one ever wants to read more than once.

 

 

 

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What was your favorite book as a kid?  You could probably see a copy of it now as an adult and finish all the sentences.  The pictures stay in your mind and you will never forget their style.  It will likely be one of the first books you buy for your own children, or children you know.

One of my favorites (although it is hard to choose just one) growing up was Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett.  The pictures always made me crack up as I’d imagine living in the town of Chewandswallow.  I loved that the kids had a Grandpa that lived with them and told them bedtime stories as elaborate and exciting as this.  I wondered, could you really build a boat out of oversized stale bread glued together with peanut butter?

As a Mom, now, it’s so fun to read this book to my children, although it’s not a current favorite of any of theirs, it’s a stand-by classic that comes out every now and then.  They scan the pages looking for silly scenes as I did, the irony of all the pets waiting for the sanitation department to scoop up all the food off the streets with giant utensils before they could eat.  The man in a bathtub swirling around the tomato tornado.  It’s a joy to pass on the experience of a great book to a kid you love.

This blog will be about quality books for kids that make them want to read more and more.  Books that parents love to read over and over to their kids, and books that help us celebrate whatever season we are in.  Whether it’s a season of the year, a liturgical season, or a unit of study, I hope to have books to review for each purpose.  Children love traditions and routines in the family and I believe books become part of that.  There are books about space to read when NASA has an important milestone.  There are stories about giving our all to God to read during Advent.  There are stories to read when your kid needs a hero to emulate.  I hope to provide inspire in parents the desire to read wonderful books to their kids, no matter what the occasion.

 

In this blog there will be dominate themes of homeschooling, Catholic liturgy, and Classical education in my quest for great children’s books.  I can’t help it, though, I’m Catholic, and lean towards classical style of educating my children at home!

 

I am slowly but surely adding to my Google Library.  This way I can keep track of books we get from the Library, ones we have at home, and ones to keep in mind for future use.  I have every book labeled so you can easily sort them to find what you might be looking for.

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