Bella & Harry Series ( Book review )

 

We were in a super rush to head out the door for the library again today and just last minute, I remembered to get a picture of these guys. So not the best picture, but hey.. you do what you gotta do 😉 !!

The Bella and Harry series was a lucky grab a few weeks ago and we were pretty excited that our small library actually had quite a few from this series. This was our second grab already and we enjoyed each one of these.

They are clearly  for the younger audience ( 5 and up ) but if your child loves travel stories I think just about every age would still enjoy these. I know my almost 10 year old had fun reading these with her little sister. They both just love these little Chihuahuas !  We have studied many countries through homeschooling in many great details and I love adding little fun stories in between just to recall some of the basic facts, these were perfect for that !

The little puppies travel along with their family to all kinds of amazing places in the world and get to have little adventures. Each page is beautifully illustrated and very colorful. The story is brought to life in fun ways with little dialogues between the puppies as they travel through each city and full of great educational information.

They would be a wonderful addition to anyone’s library, educational, inspirational and just a whole lot of fun !!

 

Check out some of the other books from the series, maybe Bella and Harry have already visited the city you have on your next travel plan !!




I wonder.. ( book review )

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I am trying to get out of our morning slump and it has been so hard with the renovations going on and summer slowly knocking on the door. I did not want to spend all summer on renovations on our house and I really did not want to spend our real first summer in Oregon catching up on school stuff. We are not really, really behind ( but my A- personality type, list keeper and goal setter in me, tells me I am / we are).We finished all math curriculum way early even..but… I am good at creating stress for myself. You know –

Anyways. We hit the library at least once a week and bring home tons of books. The girls spend tons of time reading and I almost feel left out. I don’t make as much time as I should to still read with them, the 20 minutes here and there or bed time reading goes over in a blurr and I long for the couch …  So I want to give our morning reading baskets a new chance.

I think I will dedicate another whole post to morning baskets because it is such a beautiful routine to work into your homeschool.

The first book we actually picked from our basket this morning was ” I wonder” and it was so incredibly special and beautiful that I literally wanted to post about it right away ! I clearly have been out of the loop, since this book has been out for several years..

When I saw it at the library I figured it was special and it would be a great fit for my ever asking children. One fact of motherhood and especially of homeschooling that dazzles me continuously  are the questions they ask and the things their little minds truly wonder about….  ” Why do are there stars in the sky ? Why do we have to eat ? What was the first flower ? Why is there gravity ? Where , how , what and when… ?!” I have learnt to appreciate all these questions though ❤

This book, with all it’s beautiful pictures is a great conversation started and a beautiful way to put their minds at ease. While I encourage my children to start finding answers on their own, do their own research through books and the internet, I still want them to know that sometimes, just sometimes, it is okay to not  know know the answer to EVERYTHING… that some things on earth are still, even today, are still a mystery…. I want them to know that even scientists still do not have the answers to many questions about our world, planet and so on ! It’s good to be curious, to explore and also just be amazed and believe !

The book clearly hits more of  secular believes, it mentions science and a few short explanations but it does not talk about religion or God, so if you are looking for religious aspects to be explained this is probably not a good fit.

While the book is targeted towards 1 year olds and up, I think it’s a lovely story for older ones as well. When we get older these questions come up a lot more, and the mind wonders … i know ate age 6 the questions really started coming. While the book does not give exact information on how to answer the questions, its lovely to explore together, and also dream a little.. and just live life sometimes without knowing ” everything”.

I am not sure if a 1 year old would even understand the story line of this book. While I think it’s a beautiful story to share with any child,  if I would could select the age range of my readers I would select Kindergarten age probably 🙂

9-11 A house of Tailors ( Immigration)

We are still playing catch up with 9-11 MBTP but are enjoying it big time. This is another Unit she has once again been looking forward to and so have I honestly. The books included with this lesson are incredible.

As a photographer myself, old photographs always enthrall me. Like I said, I enjoyed this unit a lot myself. The first two books go with the social study unit Immigration.

And we also added

And of course this is the main book for the literature unit.

There are also some great video’s suitable for this age range. I added a few to the list.

During one of the lessons you will also visit and tour the Ellis Island museum. Isn’t it amazing what we can do with technology nowadays ? The links are provided in the curriculum.
http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/immigration/tour/index.htm

And you will also get a glimpse of how immigrants lived in the tenements.
So much good stuff on these websites alone.
https://tenement.org/education_lessonplans.html

I sure wish we could take a trip to NY right now and see some of these historic sites, luckily this fun family has taken many trips for us and its always fun watching and exploring with them. If you have amazon prime you can watch this episode for free ( you might find it on youtube as well)

There are also some big writing assignments in this unit and be ready to put aside some time for the the artsy projects, like making a hat pattern and making a quilt at the end of the story !

We ended the unit with an amazing final project, a story quilt about the house of tailors !!

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Albert’s Almost Amazing Adventure

Albert is back from vacation and meets all his friends at the playground, of course they all want to know about his adventures but keep interrupting him over and over again. In the end he doesn’t even get to tell them what his awesome adventure really, really was 🙂

It’s a very funny, imaginative story with beautiful drawings. The author made the right choice when he switched from the black and white drawings to the beautifully illustrated, lively images in color. It explains the story so well and lets little ones follow even easier . The story does have some silly images and mentions zombies and monsters, but really just in a funny way. Both my girls ( 6,9) loved it and thought it was hilarious, especially the zombie cats !! A fun and silly, original picture book !! Check it our here !!

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Editorial Reviews ( from amazon)
Review
The contrast between when Albert is telling his story and when his friends are making guesses as to his amazing adventures is illustrated in pictures that shift between black and white and wonderful colors. It is a clever device to help your students determine what is real and what is fantasy. –Brian Smith, Scholastic Blog for Teachers
About the Author
Marty Kelley currently works as a writer and illustrator, but in the past, he s worked many jobs baker, animator, and balloon delivery guy are just a few titles he s held. The former second grade teacher has published many children s books, including Fall Is Not Easy, The Rules, and Summer Stinks. Even though the lingering aroma of Sloppy Joes and tater tots will forever haunts his dreams, he still visits 60 to 70 schools each year to talk about writing and art with students and teachers. He likes to show students how he creates his books, and sometimes he even uses these unsuspecting kids as a focus group for his unfinished works. He’s a member of the New Hampshire State Council for the Arts and a frequent presenter with The Children’s Literacy Foundation. His favorite authors are Chris Moore, Chuck Palahniuk, and David Sedaris. And he doesn t watch any TV. Really.

Bab’l Books Review : BILINGUAL BOOKS

I am always on the hunt for new, awesome kids books and I am very involved in all kinds of educational groups, forums and more because of homeschooling and my love for books itself. Recently in one of our bilingual groups, I came across an amazing new company called,  Bab’l books. Being bilingual and raising our children this way is something that has interested me since before their births, but I didn’t honestly know much about it back then. There was so much else to worry about at the beginning. Now almost 10 years later, I regret a few things, but luckily we are still succeeding in raising them bilingual. One of my problems back then was simply to find good material to use. I had a few options for german- english books from Europe ( Germany has tons more than the US) but it was still difficult and expensive to get them.

I want to thank  Bab’l books for introducing us to this amazing new series and give us a chance to review them. We have so many friends from all over the world that are growing up as bilinguals or even trilinguals. What better is there than growing up, learning multiple languages ? The advantages we can give our kids with this are almost too big to measure and since they will be reading colorful fun books, it will be just a normal part of their life instead of having to learn difficult vocabulary later on life. Nothing more boring than that.

 

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But Bab’ls books is not just books. They have a wonderful website where you can actually participate and help bring books closer to kids worldwide, and you can be part of this by helping to translate some of them, in the form of crowdsourcing ( It’s multiple people doing the translation of one book. That is the key to having higher quality translations. On the Translate site, you can see all of our books page by page, sentence by sentence, and see the translations that people have submitted.) . We tried this out. and it has actually been so much fun clicking through the images of the books and translating a little here and there. You can choose if you just want to transalte a few pages, or a whole book. And you can earn points and then guess what… you will earn books !!

They already have 9 languages listed for most of the books and they are working hard to add even more languages.

The books are guided towards 3-7 year old, but even my 9 year old enjoyed the books we got to test out and read together. She has been asking for french books for a long time ,since this is the 3rd language she wants to learn and is already very fluent with German. Bab’l books looks for stories that have a lesson or message the author wants to share in a subtle manner. The story’s message needs to translate across cultures, like the importance of sharing, never giving up, or not bullying. Stories with universal appeal.

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Think about it, more than 20 million school-aged children in the U.S. live in multilingual households, but few children’s books are available for smaller language groups. Multiple studies have proven the importance of bedtime stories and reading to your child over and over again. By having bilingual books we give children across the world a chance to connect ! By connecting languages, we connect cultures and with that we are on the best way to a better future for all of us !

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Some are available even on amazon, so if you just can’t wait you can go ahead and find some awesome titles right there, some as e-readers or others as paperback edition. I am old school on this I guess, because I still adore the actual book. But if you are on the go and an active traveling family, these would be an amazing addition for the e-library !

” Im a homeschooler” . Books that let your kid be proud about homeschooling.

Finding books for our kids, where kids are portrayed as homeschoolers, are still hard to find. But the good news is, they are becoming more. Slowly but surely more authors are picking it up, or homeschool moms themselves pick up the writing tools and create these books themselves. Especially for the younger kids more and more books are present that show another option than traditional schooling. I think it is wonderful and exciting to be able to show them the different option and it is so important to be able to show them, ” Look, this is okay ! There are others that live this way !

After all many of us get nearly “brainwashed” at a very young age. Maybe brainwashed seems like a harsh word for some of you, but let’s think about it.  Kids are being told about school at an incredibly early age, and it’s still being pushed upon us earlier and earlier. First it was only Kindergarten, now it’s ” timmy goes to Pre-K” and so on. That kids just stay at home before the age of 5 is becoming rarer and books need to show other options !

If you look at my girls ages, 6 and 9, most say they have probably outgrown the picture books age. But I don’t care. We still check out picture books from the library like crazy. And we still often buy must haves. Some of these are on my list of must haves…

Here is a list of all the new, recent books I have found :

Ippie’s a barefooted, band-aid covered, free-spirited eight-year old. She’s a lot like all the other kids in her neighborhood, except for one thing…Ippie doesn’t go to school. She has no teacher and follows no curriculum. So just what is Ippie doing all day? And how can she possibly be learning? Come spend some time with Ippie and find out. Written by former educator and current unschooling mom of four Nicole Olson, this ground-breaking story gives us a sneak peek into the world of unschooling through a child’s eyes.

‘Twas the first day of homeschool,” begins the poetic tale of a young child’s return to schooling. The story weaves through the exciting first day as the family enjoys a special time of learning, helping, and sharing together – interrupted only by a mischievous visit from Homeschool Elf who hides the children’s school supplies and sends them on a hunt to find the missing books, pencils, and more! In addition to the story text, younger children will enjoy trying to find the hidden Homeschool Elf peeking out from the book illustrations while older children are encouraged to interact with the story by answering questions related to the text and their own homeschool experiences. For those eager to begin their own Homeschool Elf tradition – a pattern of Homeschool Elf has been included at the back of the book. We recommend copying the pattern and cutting it out so if something happens to Homeschool Elf during the year, you will always have a pattern to replace him.

When a young kangaroo asks a lot of questions, her parents know it’s time to homeschool. The little ‘roo thinks there’s too much to learn, but her doubt turns into delight when she uses her driveway for a blackboard and learns she “Kandoo” all things through Christ who gives her strength.

I Am Learning All the Time is the story about 5 1/2 year-old Hugh as he begins the discovery process of what it means to not go to school. He reflects on life at home and life of his neighborhood friends, who go to school.

A fun, compelling story narrated by Hugh about his life at home. Full of bright, eye-catching illustrations with realistic (and realistically messy) scenes from family life. Your children will love and identify with the characters in this book.

Whether your child is homeschooled, unschooled or schooled, the positive approach brings understanding and similarities into focus, creating confidence in your children no matter what your family s educational choice is.

This story helps to uncover the unknowns of homeschool life. It is great book to share with your child if their friend or neighbor decides to homeschool. Your child s worries will melt away as they begin to understand what homeschooling is and that they can still be friends with their homeschooled friends.

You can feel confident about the positive nature put into the creation of this book in every way!

Drawing from his own childhood experiences, Jonathan Bean takes the autobiographically inspired family he introduced in Building Our House through the special rhythms and routines of a homeschooling day. For young Jonathan and his sisters, Mom is the teacher and a whole lot more, and Dad is the best substitute any kid could want. From math, science, and field trips to recess, show-and-tell, and art, a school day with this intrepid, inventive family will seem both completely familiar and totally unique. Includes a selection of family snapshots and a note from the author

And here are a few books for older Kids

Nellie appears to be a normal nine year old girl. But Nellie is not normal. Nellie is an amazingly gifted scientist who lives in a family of amazingly gifted scientists. One day, her brother, Niles, who is eleven, teases her (as all respectable big brothers do). This time, however, Niles goes too far when he tells Nellie that girls are silly and no woman has ever changed the world. This sets off a spark of an idea in Nellie’s most amazing mind and sends her down the path to create a time machine and meet wonderful women who made a mark on the world. First stop, Amelia Earhart! With a few bumps along the way and a government agency out to steal her technology, Nellie and Niles are in for an incredible adventure!

With her first step off the airplane and into the sunny tropics, ten-year-old Jess McConnell begins an adventure. She and her parents are spending five months at an archeological dig of ancient Maya ruins in the Central American country of Belize. It’s Jess’s first time out of the United States. It’s her first time being home-schooled. And it’s her first trip without her older brother and sister to keep her company. Yet Jess is excited to explore a new place on her own. She’s ready for adventure and anxious to discover just who she is. When Jess meets a new friend and is invited on an eco-adventure, she makes some real discoveries-about the wonders and the dangers of the Belizean jungle, about the people who have lived there since long ago, and about herself. The “True Story” section at the back of the book focuses on a girl from Florida who spends every summer in Belize with her archeologist parents.

Announcing Book #1 in the first series about a homeschooling family. The Wrights travel the USA in an RV. Each month brings them to a new state with a new educational theme to explore and play with. They prove that learning can happen all the time, anywhere, and that being with family is fun! Meet Aidan, age 7: Boisterous and joking all the time, this sporty boy knows how to have fun! Meet Nadia, age 11: Curious and fiery, this intellectual girl can always find out answers to even the most difficult questions. Meet their parents: Harrison, a writer and linguist expert, and Stephanie, a telecommuting computer expert; ready to adventure with their children. Meet Prince Pumpkin III, turtle extraordinaire: This 50 year old little guy is holding on tight, as the family RV and a mysterious device take him on an adventure no turtle has ever gone on before. Explore an Arizona desert cave with the Wrights as they begin their trip. What will Aidan and Nadia discover? This series is Wright on Time.

Latest Geronimo Stilton books

Are there any Geronimo Stilton fans out there ? 

You know we are ! We still love this silly scaredy mouse and his family. We have almost every one of his adventures and the girls still love to read them. Some of his latest adventures have been more on the sillier site than educational, but you know that’s okay sometimes too. I am happy to hear my girls giggle and laugh about the stories. They are reading, having fun, and their creativity and imagination grows. I was excited to see so many new releases and added many to our list right away !

This just came out today !!

I, Geronimo Stilton, was so excited to travel on my third journey through time! Professor Paws von Volt had invented a portal to take my family and me to the past.

On this trip, we visited the Ice Age, ancient Greece, and the Renaissance. I encountered wooly mammoths and enormouse bears, wrote and starred in a play, and even helped put a bad guy in prison! But then the portal started malfunctioning — could we get back to the present day, or would we get lost in time? It was an amazing adventure!

This one released just right after Christmas !

My family and I, Geronimo Stilton, were invited to Lisbon, Portugal, to retrace the journey of the great explorer Vasco da Gama. He was the first European to reach India by sea — and was apparently an ancestor of the Stiltons! But once we got on the boat, I learned that someone was trying to sabotage the voyage. Could I figure out who?

Released today 😀

While at the beach, Geronimo Stiltonix stumbles upon a mysterious treasure map! The spacemice follow it and end up on Aquarix, a planet that’s entirely underwater. During their exploration, they face fur-eating seaweed, ferocious piranha aliens, and . . . pirate spacecats! Squeak! Can the spacemice keep the spacecats from stealing the treasure?

 

All these titles have been announced to be released in the next few months, time to save them to your lists or just go ahead and pre-order some 

It’s the start of an exciting cavemice contest: a race to Boulder Bay and back! It’s a dangerous route, but it will supply the village cheese maker with rare hot lava peppers, and there’s a big cash prize. Trap teams up with Geronimo — who has a lazy, slow, city autosaurus (the cavemice mode of transportation). Can they reach the finish line without going extinct on the way?

Fairies, dragons, wizards, and more await Geronimo in this magical adventure!

I, Geronimo Stilton, was amazed to find myself called back to the Kingdom of Fantasy for another adventure. Blossom, Queen of the Fairies, needed my help ― time itself was under threat! Something evil was making the hands of the magical Tick Tock Timepiece spin faster and faster. It was causing Blossom to age at an alarming rate . . . and if she perished, so would the entire Kingdom of Fantasy! Holey cheese! It was up to me to restore time and harmony to the land. Could I do it before the clock reached its final hour?

No further info yet, it looks fun though 😀

There was a mystery in New Mouse City’s Egyptian Mouseum! The Black Papyrus, an ancient document that reveals the secret of eternal youth, had disappeared. The mouseum’s director asked me to help him find it. Yikes — those Egyptian artifacts freak me out! Luckily, a secret agent came to our aid… but could we trust him? It was up to us to recover the precious scroll!

BONUS! After the story, read an extra Mini Mystery adventure and jokes galore!

Who is Geronimo Stiltonord?
He is a mouseking — the Geronimo Stilton of the ancient far north! He lives with his brawny and brave clan in the village of Mouseborg. From sailing frozen waters to facing fiery dragons, every day is an adventure for the micekings!

Attack of the Dragons
The micekings are in a panic. The village’s best cook is ill, and until she recovers, there’s no delicious stew to eat! Geronimo Stiltonord departs immediately in search of a cure for her. But on the way, he ends up snout-to-snout with terrifying dragons! Can he make it back with his fur intact?

Join Geronimo Stilton in all new Fabumouse adventures across time and space!

It’s time for Bart Barnacle, the prehistoric pirate who has been visiting the cavemice, to return to his island home. It’s up Geronimo Stiltonoot to accompany him on his long, treacherous journey ― during which they’ll encounter megalithic danger and hungry sea monsters. Squeak!

Join Thea Stilton and the Thea Sisters on an adventure packed with mystery and friendship!

The Thea Sisters are heading to Hollywood! A friend has invited them to the set of a film. The mice are thrilled to be around famouse and fabumouse directors and actors as they’re working. But then someone tries to sabotage the film with a mysterious theft! Can the Thea Sisters catch the thief and save the movie?

The Thea Sisters are five fun, lively students at Mouseford Academy on Whale Island, who want to be real, live journalists, just like their hero, Thea Stilton. Between classes, friendships, crushes, and some bizarre mysteries to solve, they find life to be a never-ending adventure!

Magical stories for your “tween”

Lately my 9 year old has been loving all kinds of magic books. Ever since Harry Potter came into her life she has been hooked. I can’t forget to mention Narnia here too of course, such an amazing series all on it’s own. But those are some of the big book series, the ones many people know by now. If you have a little book worm like mine at home you might be looking for more. Luckily there are so many other great stories out there.

Here are some of our latest favorites !!

Just recently Amazon prime added a wonderful, new show to their streaming and we have absolutely fallen in love with it.

When Kelly and her two best friends stumble upon a mysterious cookbook, they discover the book’s recipes are far from ordinary-they’re magical. Attempting to use the recipes to release Kelly’s grandmother from a powerful curse, they uncover more clues surrounding Grandma’s mystery and learn each recipe comes with a hefty price. Bigger secrets are about to be unearthed when you Just Add Magic!

It tells a wonderful story of the friendship of three girls that are on the journey to solve the mystery of a magical cookbook and help Kelly’s grandmother that seems to be cursed by a magical spell.

As it is incredibly hard to find inspirational TV shows for older girls these days, especially non cartoon and non Disney , this is a wonderful refreshing show. As we watched the first few episodes I knew this show was a winner and our whole family has been glued to them ever since. We have almost watched all of them and hope they will add a second season very soon !

If you can’t wait for season 2, the book might give you more hints on the evolving story.

 

The Bliss Trilogy

Rosemary Bliss’s family has a secret. It’s the Bliss Cookery Booke—an ancient, leather-bound volume of enchanted recipes like Singing Gingersnaps.

Rose and her siblings are supposed to keep the Cookery Booke locked away while their parents are out of town, but then a mysterious stranger shows up. “Aunt” Lily rides a motorcycle and also whips up exotic (but delicious) dishes for dinner. Soon boring, non-magical recipes feel like life before Aunt Lily—a lot less fun.

So Rose and her siblings experiment with just a couple of recipes from the forbidden Cookery Booke. A few Love Muffins and Cookies of Truth couldn’t cause too much trouble . . . could they?

Kathryn Littlewood’s culinary caper blends rich emotional flavor with truly enchanting wit, yielding one heaping portion of hilarious family adventure.

Harry Potter ( picture book edition ) 

I don’t think I need to add the story line here 😉 Harry Potter is simply a must read in your lifetime. If you love magic or not. The new picture book addition is simply a dream come true !!

Half Magic by Edward Eager

It all begins with a strange coin on a sun-warmed sidewalk.
Jane finds the coin, and becasue she and her sblings are having the worst, most dreadfully boring summer ever, she idly wishes something exciting would happen.
And something does: Her wish is granted.
Or not quite. Only half of her wish comes true.
It turns out the coin grants wishes—but only by half, so that you must wish for twice as much as you want.
Wishing for two times some things is a cinch, but other doubled wishes only cause twice as much trouble. What is half of twice a talking cat? Or to be half-again twice not-here? And how do you double your most heartfelt wish, the one you care about so much it has to be perfect?

The Miri and Molly Series

Miri is the non-twin child in a family with two sets of them–older brothers and younger sisters. The family has just moved to an old farmhouse in a new town, where the only good thing seems to be Miri’s ten-sided attic bedroom. But when Miri gets sent to her room after accidentally bashing her big brother on the head with a shovel, she finds herself in the same room . . . only not quite.

Without meaning to, she has found a way to travel back in time to 1935 where she discovers Molly, a girl her own age very much in need of a loving family. A highly satisfying classic-in-the-making full of spine-tingling moments, this is a delightful time-travel novel for the whole family.

The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders

Lily and Oz Spoffard have just inherited a magical house with a mysterious boarded-up chocolate shop on the ground floor. The twins’ great-great-uncles were famous chocolatiers, and their chocolate was ANYTHING but ordinary. In fact, it had magical properties.

Now an evil gang is after the secret recipe, and it’s up to Lily and Oz to stop them. The fate of their family, and the world, depends on it.

Bella Donna by Ruth Symes

Ever since she was a baby, Bella Donna has suspected she has magical powers, and she wants nothing more than to be a witch. Bella lives in an orphanage, waiting for her “Forever Family,” until one day she meets Lilith Sorciere and agrees to move in with Lilith and her niece Verity. Bella tries keeping her witchy tendencies a secret from her new foster family, and she stays on her best behavior—but when she comes home early one day from school, she stumbles upon something very surprising! Could Coven Road really be a road for witches?

This first installment of the sweet, spooky Bella Donna series will captivate young magic-loving readers. Bella Donna: Coven Road is an engaging and entertaining read with a subtle message to be yourself. Marion Lindsay’s adorably simple spot illustrations bring even more magic to author Ruth Symes’s delightful tale. Fall in love with Bella Donna and her road to witchdom! And be prepared for her next big adventure!

A snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd


Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.

But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck’s about to change. A “word collector,” Felicity sees words everywhere—shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog’s floppy ears—but Midnight Gulch is the first place she’s ever seen the word “home.” And then there’s Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity’s never seen before, words that make Felicity’s heart beat a little faster.

Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she’ll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that’s been cast over the town . . . and her mother’s broken heart.

 

Book review REDWOODS and the Tree Lady

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Last week I grabbed these books at the library to read with the girls at home. Since the MBTP 6-8 Concept 1 deals with a lot of plant types, plant cycyles and also being mindful of our nature in general ( Giving tree )  these seemed a great fit.  Now that we live in Oregon I am trying to gather more and more information about all the amazing places that are just so different that anywhere else we have lived before.

Every so often you just make this awesome catch of books at the library, where you have a few books that you would just love to keep or just go ahead and buy them one way or another. These were just like that…

The tree lady is the story of Kate Sessions. A wonderful woman, who was one of the first women to go to college in California to study science. She loved trees and nature more than anything and made it her life work to turn San Diego into a little oasis.

It is in Balboa Park that the legacy of Kate Sessions is most obvious. She leased land in what was then called “City Park” in 1892 for a nursery. For this privilege, she was to plant one hundred trees a year in the park and furnish three hundred more for planting throughout the city. In 1902 she was instrumental in the formation of the park Improvement Committee with her friends George Marston and Mary B. Coulston. Their work resulted in assuring the park’s place in the life of the community.Kate Sessions died March 24, 1940. She has come to be called the “Mother of Balboa Park” and a bronze statue of her was erected there in 1998.

The book is beautifully illustrated  and it’s just one of those books you wish you would have read before or even better, you end up longing for actually going back in time and meeting this amazing lady. It is a beautifully written book about a lovely person who clearly deserves to be recognized for her amazing work and dedication. It is incredibly inspiring, especially for young girls.

 

And then there was the REDWOODS book.

A book that shows a little boy walking and day dreaming with his book in his hands, the book you are holding, the book about the REDWOODS. The book is once again beautifully illustrated ,the charming little pictures of the animals and especially the little cute squirrel my daughter had discovered after a few pages are just adorable.  It even shows the magnificent DRIVE TRHOUGH REDWOOD which made it so much clearer how big some of these trees really are. We loved how it referred back to the roman times to explain again how old some of these trees really are. The details and information given was more than I really expected from a picture book, and I think it will take a few more times to fully understand each bit of it. The whole ecosystem of the redwoods is simply amazing and it is so important we learn more about it.  I am beyond excited about the summer, it will be an unforgettable little trip to go there and see these giants for real !

This is the place we have picked out for on of our first adventures here.

https://www.treesofmystery.net/

If your hungry for more…

More about the REDWOODS

And a wonderful video that shows almost exactly what is described in parts of the book.How the scientists literally have to climb up these giants to confirm or do any research at all. My daughter thought it was funny that a scientist would have to learn how to climb trees in the first place to even do the research.. who would have thought that can be important 😉 Maybe another homeschooling benefit hidden here ?! 😉

Anyways hope you enjoyed today’s journey through the trees !

Holes Concept 3 8-10

Holes has been a unit my daughter had her eyes on, since we started with the 8-10 level. I had again never read the book, and could not quite imagine what story was waiting for us. The geology, the science part that goes along with this unit looked very promising and fun as well. It comes with its special little science kit and you will do multiple tests, labs, experiments throughout this unit. Once again we had many opportunities to all work on things together, her little 5-year-old sister had plenty of moments to observe along with her, go on a rock hunt and big sister even let her help discover the skeleton of the T- Rex.

 

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The book ” Holes ” was a great story. I was not sure how my daughter would react to the feel of the book at first, the whole idea of “bad kids” at a camp being punished for things. There is a little bit of violence in the book ( hitting, kicking, a few guns etc with the mention of the wild west ) but we had no problems with it at all, I guess my little girl is really growing up. She surprised me many times again, with her wonderful insight and great ideas. As we were discussing the final project, to make a better camp for juvenile kids, she instantly had wonderful ideas how kids could be helped. We have not started with it yet, and I was nearly set on skipping the final project here, but with her wonderful ideas it would be a shame to do so… This weekend we will also watch the movie ” holes” which is currently available on Netflix 😉

Our geology studies were great fun throughout this unit. We started with cookie mining !

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We learnt lots about rocks and minerals and another activity that surprised me as being fun, was reading through all the labels in our pantry ! She sat there for multiple hours and dug through the whole, entire pantry !! She was amazed about what we are eating and shares her facts with us nearly daily now !

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Above are some of the rocks and minerals that come with the science kit. I would loved it to be even more rocks, even though we already had some from other kits we still wished for more to just really be able to do the experiments better and have a wider variety. I found some great rock kits on amazon and I will be ordering some for her birthday in the summer. She had such great fun with this unit that I know she will be happy to pick it back up again.

This is an amazing series of books, which we have gotten from the library. It is fun and brings science to life !

Overall there are many great kits available on amazon. I will update this after I have chosen another one and we have tested it. For now it looks like I will be ordering another one of these.
ROCK & MINERAL COLLECTION Kit with 2 Easy Break Geodes Activity KIt with Over 150+PCS Comes with Identification Sheet EDUCATIONAL DISCOVERY TREASURE KIT SORT, FIND, IDENTIFY

Of course we also got to break our geode. She was a little disappointed to see how little the geode was and the size also made it harder to actually break it. Again, I plan on buying a few more to let her try it again and maybe get a better chance at finding a colored one. Ours was white, and still very beautiful.

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We had multiple activities that called for lots of outdoor time. Unfortunately our weather her in Texas has been very awkward for our state lately and we have had rain, rain and more rain. We still ventured out a few times and had a great time collecting and hunting for rocks. Our great exploration to an actual Fossil park will have to wait until better weather though.

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Some of our crystal experiments did not work this time, but we got some amazing sugar crystals !

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Working on different fossil types. We learnt about imprint, cast and mold fossils !

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This was the T-Rex dig !! It was a lot of fun for them, the spent two days outside just working away on it !

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We love the variety of activities throughout Moving beyond the page. You really learn in so many ways. Cooking is a favorite of my daughters and she loves learning about culture, history and food al at the same time. Here we made Katherine Barlow’s famous spiced peaches !!
Ps: Here is another fun site to go along with Kate. http://holes.wikia.com/wiki/Kissin%27_Kate_Barlow_(Katherine_Barlow)

So as you can see, this Unit kept us very busy ! I didn’t feel like it was a very difficult unit, and it was fun and easy to go through and along with all the activities. Sometimes some units feel like they have an intense work load, or just way too much to read. But the chapters in HOLES are short and sweet and easy to read. My daughter actually finished the book on her own at some point, because she was too excited and just could not wait. The Geology rocks is a wonderful book, that will be kept in the library for a very, very long time. Many more experiments that can be done at a later point, just for fun !

So if you are curious about this level of Moving beyond the page, the Unit HOLES and the Geology can be found in the 8-10 level here. You can buy them both separately and both can be done independently but they are so much fun together !