What We’re Reading: Thanksgiving Week

We’ve been taking a bit of a history jaunt the past week, veering away from the very interesting-looking chapter on “The Bottom of the World” in our history spine to give homage to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. I was fortunate to find several good books at the library:

The story of the first Thankgiving told from the prospective of Squanto, who is incredibly important, but usually sidelined. I think I always thought as a child that he somehow just magically knew how to speak English! I appreciating reading the context of what has going on with the Native American nations as the first English settlers were arriving.
This story chronicles s child’s perspective of making the journey across the Atlantic on the Mayflower
After reading so many more accurate historical descriptions, this one stood out as a more romanticized picture of the pilgrims. It was interesting to contrast it with the other more grim representations. The artwork really is lovely though, and makes for a nice picture study. 
And to counterbalance the romanticized view, a depressing one! 
I will warn you at least, lots of people die bluntly in this book. But there are lots of engaging illustrations and the author certainly does not shy away from presenting the suffering that the pilgrims faced. My sensitive daughter looked a bit ill. But its true that its difficult to appreciate how relieved they were at the time of the first Thanksgiving without understand the difficulty they had already undergone.
I found this a really interesting modern tie in – what would a modern day pilgrim look like? Who today is looking for religious or political freedom? How might the beginnings of our own country change they way that we should respond to such people?
I’m thankful my library has done such a nice job curating their book selections. 🙂
Hopefully we will get to some art projects and such…

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Livng Books Books for St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is a fun opportunity to take a little side jaunt from our normal history studies. This week, we’ve been reading about St. Patrick of Ireland, and I thought I’d share some of our favorite books to that end. Sometimes one is overwhelmed with silly, stereotypical representations of Patrick, but these are excellent sources for a mini-study using living books.
by Tomie dePaola
I love this storybook version of St. Patrick’s life. Lovely illustrations, concise prose, and a clear distinction made between the historical life of Patrick and the legends that have been associated with him make for a great introduction to Ireland’s beloved patron saint.
by Cornelia Lehn
St. Patrick’s story is among many tales of missionaries in this compilation of stories. About a five minute read aloud, I like reading this story as well because it emphasizes a bit more about Patrick’s Roman background and fleshes out the circumstances like his pirate capture vividly (although it might be a little much for very sensitive young children – please pre-read).
Saint Fiech, Bishop of Sletty
This roughly 10 page poem describing Patrick’s life  and and work is an original source of many of the stories we know hear of St. Patrick. The Irish, English, and Latin  versions are all included. Being available free on kindle is an added bonus!

Books for (tiny) Boys

My 2 year old has been getting in on the reading action lately. Usually our routine is to read a book of each child’s choosing both before afternoon quiet time and then again before bed.  With three kids choosing, we rack up some serious time reading time!

 Now my youngest is insisting on  choosing his *own* book for reading times too, and I thought I’d share some of his current favorites in case you need some library list inspiration for your little one. Of course, these are books tiny girls could certainly love, too – it just so happens my tiny one right now is a boy, and I do notice a bit of – shall we say? – masculine flair in his preferences.

Dinosaur vs. Bedtime
Bob Shea
Simple, fun, and inter-actable (ROAR!), this story’s hero little Dinosaur takes on all kind of challenges. Piles of leaves, big slides, talking grown-ups… and the biggest challenge of all, bedtime! Its like they’ve been to our house, weird.

Little Blue Truck
Alice Schertle / Jill McElmurry
This book was given to us by my sweet Aunt Marti during our beach trip a month ago, and my 2 year old is still begging multiple readings of it daily. So many elements of a great early reading book – written in charming verse, lots of fun onamonapia, farm animals, vehicles, action / consequence (what happens when big Dump is rude?), team work, and even (though I admit it reads melodramatic) redemption. 
See, now you have to read it to find out how someone could really find  a board book redemptive. 🙂
Meeow and the Little Chairs
Sebastien Braun

This was one that one of my kids picked at the library that I was honestly was kind of “meh” about at first, but its proven entertaining. There are colors to point out, animal sounds to make, and my favorite – imaginative play is encouraged. I can also see this being a fun book for a beginner reader because the text is huge and fairly simple.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Eric Carle

Of course you know about TVHC – how could you not? If you’re like me you got three copies of the board book alone during your first child’s babyhood. It has been such an enduring favorite around here that I made my little guy’s 2nd birthday cake an homage to the Caterpillar:

(the eyes bore into your soul… or not)

But I couldn’t have a list of books for little ones without it.

I’d love to know – what are your favorite books for tiny readers?