educationalkidsschool at home

three great new releases {grade school books}

I’m a homeschool mom so I look to make every facet of our day educational.  What I’ve learned from homeschooling my young daughter is that kids LOVE to LEARN, but dislike formal worksheets (though sometimes they are just necessary).  Maybe it’s just my girl, but she forces me to get creative with my teaching and one thing she never complains about is a new book.  I found three gems, all from Charlesbridge Publishing, sent for review.

under the freedom tree review

Under The Freedom Tree

This past month of February, we talked a lot about famous, heroic or influential African Americans for Black History Month.  As my daughter’s teacher, I found discussing slavery rather difficult (same with Native Americans back near Thanksgiving).  It is part of our history, and therefore necessary, so I’m loving Under The Freedom Tree, a beautifully illustrated book that doesn’t shy away from the truth, but something about the rhythm of the writing is comforting.  My 7 year old was enthralled with Under the Freedom Tree and I have to say, I was too. Great read kids grades 1-4.

One night in 1861, three escaped slaves made their way from the Confederate line to a Union-held fort where they were declared “contraband of war” and granted protection. As word spread, thousands of runaway slaves poured into the fort. These “contrabands” made a home for themselves, building the first African-American community in the country. In 1863 they bore witness to one of the first readings of the Emancipation Proclamation—beneath the sheltering branches of the tree now known as Emancipation Oak.

feathers not just for flying reviewFeathers: Not Just for Flying

The most fun part of teaching a first grader is discovering facts I didn’t know.  The math and literacy is pretty basic, but science as a topic is so vast.  I am loving learning more about everything, especially nature.  Feathers: Not Just for Flying is an amazing book in both watercolor illustration and information.  My daughter was so inspired by learning what birds use their feathers for: camouflage, warmth, sunscreen, snowshoes, predatory distraction… that she has been studying our local birds and drawing them everyday.  I love any book that spurs new conversations, let alone new hobbies!

stone giant michelangelo's david book review

Stone Giant: Michelangelo’s David And How He Came To Be

I suppose I will start with the fact that David is a naked statue.  My daughter has a little brother, so she knows what boy parts look like, but when I first read her this book her friend was sleeping over… and she has no baby brother.  Giggles ensued, though my daughter thought the bare butt view was much more hilarious.  Anyway, Stone Giant is an awesome description of how David (from David and Goliath) came to be.  David is an important part of our art history and this is absolutely the best explanation I’ve seen for kids (and adults).  It is also simply a great (factual) story of a brilliant artist and how a true masterpiece came to live in Florence.

No one wanted the “giant.” The hulking block of marble lay in the work yard, rained on, hacked at, and abandoned—until a young Michelangelo saw his David in it.  This is the story of how a neglected, discarded stone became a masterpiece for all time. It is also a story of how humans see themselves reflected in art.

Books were provided by Charlesbridge Publishing to facilitate this review.

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