Category Archives: Library books

Weekly Wrap-Up: Science Overview Books

My daughter’s gymnastics team is hosting a meet this weekend (Stars and Stripes, a big meet with 1800+ competitors over four days), so I’ve been busy at the convention center all weekend. Team parents are expected to work a couple of sessions to help the whole thing run smoothly. I still have time to review a couple of books, though. I found two interesting science books I want to talk about today:

Let me start with the more general book, The Science Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained) published by DK. DK does some great overview books, so I’m not surprised they are the publisher. This also seems to be one of a series of books focusing on big ideas simply explained (I need to get The Politics Book next for Mr. Curiosity). The book is organized chronologically and for each major scientific breakthrough, you see the chain of observations that lead to the conclusion, what people thought before and after the breakthrough, a biography about the scientist, and some explanatory information. The book has great graphics and is designed for minimal scientific knowledge. It certainly would be an asset to a homeschooling library.

The second book is BODY: A Graphic Guide to Us by Steve Parker and Andrew Baker. As you would expect from the name, each page is a large graphic about a part of the body. The book walks you through the different organ systems and explains how they work with simple graphics. I would just flip open to a page and immediately be drawn into fascinating little details about the body. Miss Adventure spent the entire drive home from the library going, “huh” and then having to read me some tidbit. Be aware that this was published in the UK, so there are some alternate spellings (oesophagus, for example) and the measurements are all in metric.

And those are the new books we flipped through in school this week. Joining up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Explorers

With a new month, we start a new topic. I decided we should learn a bit about explorers. We’ve done this topic before, but there are so many explorers, I figured we’d be able to find something new to study. We’re still starting with So You Want to Be an Explorer? by Judith St. George. The book provides an overview of many explorers from different time periods. There’s not a lot of detail, but it’s a good place to start to find someone you’re interested in.

Another overview book is DK Eyewitness Books: Explorer by Rupert Matthews. This book focuses more on why exploration occurred, moving through the ages. It doesn’t name too many explorers, but it does provide maps of some of the major exploration routes.

If you just want information on European exploration, try The World Made New by Marc Aronson and John W. Glenn. The subtitle lays out what the book is about “Why the age of exploration happened and how it changed the world.”

And finally, if you want more detail about some explorers, try Explorers Who Got Lost by Diane Sansevere-Drehel. This book focuses on explorers who accidentally made big discoveries. The author provides some in-depth descriptions of the lives of the explorers, and their discoveries.

And those were the books we used this week. Linking up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers’ Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly-Wrap-UpIf you’re interested in purchasing the books, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Native American Mythology

Every year we’ve homeschooled, the kids (and I!) have learned about some traditional mythology. We started with the basics (Greek and Roman) and have slowly been expanding into different pantheons. This year, I decided to stick close to home and do some Native American mythology. This involved reading different myths, and then writing up either about different deities (My. Curiosity used Godchecker.com as his starting point) or constellations (in Miss Adventure’s case). Since they had a different focus, each kid used a different book.

Mr. Curiosity mostly read from American Indian Myths and Legends, selected and edited by Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz. This is a fat book (527 pages long) organized based on the subject of the myth (like creation myths or trickster myths) and then labeled based on which tribe told the story.

Miss Adventure, on the other hand, was all about Stars of the First People: Native American Star Myths and Constellations by Dorcas S. Miller. This was another adult-oriented book. In this case, it was organized based on region, then tribe, and then told the stories of different constellations and what those tribes saw in the sky or named different features (like the Milky Way or the Morning Star).

If you’re looking for something written for kids, try either The Woman Who Lived with Wolves: & Other Stories from the Tipi or The Boy & His Mud Horses: & Other Stories from the Tipi, both written and illustrated by Paul Goble. These are two-page versions of the myths, with illustrations on each page. He focuses on myths of Western tribes.

And those were the books we used this month. Linking up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers’ Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly-Wrap-UpIf you’re interested in purchasing the books, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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What I Will Be Reading #27: Summer Reading edition

The Modern Mrs. Darcy put out a summer reading list of thirty books split into six different categories. I’m not going to add all thirty books to my reading list. In fact, nothing caught my fancy from the gripping, compelling, or beautifully written novels, but there were a couple of books in the other three categories that caught my fancy. I’ll link back to The Modern Mrs. Darcy’s page so you can see the descriptions of the books. I’m just going to provide my reasons for choosing those books.

From the addictive series list: Cinder – it’s steampunk YA. What’s not to love! It’s also a book I’ve seen talked about in several places, and I’m finally going to add it to my reading list.

From the engrossing books list: The Nest – another one I keep hearing this one talked about, so it’s time to actually put it on my reading list, and Before We Visit the Goddess – a multigenerational look at life in India. I’m always on the lookout for good books that focus on other cultures.

And finally, from the spellbinding stories list: Lab Girl – a science memoir, so of course I’m interested. I’ve actually gotten this one out of the library already but I had to return it unread because I ran out of time.

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What I Will Be Reading #26

I’ve picked up a new book podcast recently. I listen to a fair number of podcasts, but hadn’t found one about books. Anne Bogel from The Modern Mrs. Darcy recently started a podcast called “What Should I Read Next“. The premise behind the podcast is Anne asks her guest to provide three books they love and one book they hate, and she will then parse what kinds of books someone likes and give them three suggestions. My favorite part of the podcast is listening to her figure out the threads that tie favorite books together. It isn’t “you like suspense novels”. Instead, she figures out you like books written from a first-person point of view that exhibit a strong sense of place (or some such characteristics). I get new books from her website on a regular basis (and typically enjoy them), so I trust her judgement in suggesting books. Often, if I like the books the guest likes, I figure I have a good chance of liking the books Anne suggests. Here’s a couple of books I’ve picked up since the podcast started:

First off is Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams. This book is about environmental issues, breast cancer and personal reflection, which touches many topics near and dear to my heart. It’s an older book (published in 1992), but it still covers an interesting time period in American history (nuclear bomb testing in Nevada). This book was a suggestion in Episode 17.

Next up is The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver. In this book, the narrator envisions her life going forward in two different paths. In one path, she cheats on her long-term boyfriend, and in the other, she doesn’t. This book was a suggestion in Episode 23.

Next, I’m adding Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I’ve seen this book reviewed in multiple locations and thought it sounded interesting, but it wasn’t until Episode 17 that I finally decided it was time to add it to my reading list. This is a post-apocalyptic story that bounces between the before and after the apocalypse. The main character is in a traveling Shakespeare company, determined to keep some culture alive, even after the world’s population is decimated.

Finally, in the most recent episode (#26), Anne talked about The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring by Richard Preston. The guest wasn’t so sure the book sounded interesting, but I am willing to give it a try. It’s all about trying to measure and document the ecosystems surrounding and living on ancient redwoods. As a bonus, I’ve read another of his book (The Demon in the Freezer) and found his writing style very enjoyable and engaging.

I do recommend listening to the podcast. Anne makes the books sound absolutely fascinating, even if the Amazon descriptions aren’t as intriguing.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

 

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Weekly Wrap-Up: Japan

Our family is going to Japan the middle of May to visit my sister, whose husband is stationed in Japan for the past few years. We’ve been overseas before, but this is a major cultural (let alone time) difference. Therefore, we’re going to prep as much as possible by learning about the culture and what to expect once we visit. I found a few books that were useful concerning Japan.

First off, there’s Spotlight on Japan by Bobbie Kalman. This book is a bit too simple for my kids. It covers the geography, history, and major cultural points of Japan, but at a level that would be more appropriate for a first grader or younger. There are lots of photos and not too much text on a page. Each topic gets a two-page spread.

My kids are getting more out of Japan: Enchantment of the World by Barbara Somervill. Again, the book covers the geography, history and past and present culture of Japan, but in much more detail. The book devotes >10 pages to a topic, still with photographs and other graphics. There are also sidebars on smaller (but still important) topics like important people, or cultural tidbits.

Finally, I’ve got Old Japan by Clare Doran, in the Make it Work! series. This book focuses on the historical culture of Japan, and tries to bring the history alive by providing crafts that can be made that go along with the history. The book has instructions on how to make everything from a fish kite to a samurai sword to origami. It looks like something Miss Adventure especially will enjoy.

To help prepare us for the trip, we’re also watching videos of where we’ll visit and what we’ll see. Right now, we’re mostly enjoying the Only in Japan channel, but there are so many videos to choose from.

And those are the books (and videos) we’re using right now. Linking up with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers’ Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly-Wrap-UpIf you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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What I Will Be Reading #24

I’ve been getting books crossed off my reading list, which means it’s time to put some new ones on the list.

I’m going to start with some books about libraries. The Hub had a whole post with books set in libraries. There were two books that caught my eye. First was Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake, the first book in the Library Jumpers series. Looks like there’s some magic, some romance, and lots of cool libraries. That’s enough to get me intrigued. The second book is Ink and Bone: The Great Library by Rachel Caine. In this series, the Library of Alexandria never burned, but it controls all the books. I can’t imagine not being able to own a book, so I’m interested to see what the author came up with.

The next set of books came from a School Library Journal post about the top 100 chapter books. I’m not sure how they compiled their list, but I’m always on the lookout for good books to read to the kids. At some point or another, the kids have read/been read/listened to 22 out of the top 25. So, I’m adding the three we haven’t read to our list. They are The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, and Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. As a bonus, I found Tuck Everlasting at the latest library book sale and bought it for a quarter.

I don’t read a lot of book reviews, mainly because it would just make my to read list grow even faster. That being said, I always check out the GeekDad reviews. Two recent posts caught my eye. The first book was from a Between the Bookends GeekMom review (GeekMom and GeekDad recently merged, so you can get all your geek parenting from the same site now). The book I was most interested in was The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe. It looks like a fun bit of historical fantasy. Then, there was a post on good audio books for family trips. I’m always looking for audiobooks for either summer travel or trips to gymnastics meets, so a list of good family audiobooks, including the narrator who makes it so enjoyable, is definitely useful. There’s a number we haven’t read or listened to yet, so it should provide some great options for a while.

And those are the books I’ve added to my reading list lately. Got any more you’d like to recommend?

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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