Children of China by Alethea Gold

children-of-china

I found this visually stunning book the last time we made a library trip.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any for sale.  If you really want to admire it, you may have to find a library that carries it and check it out.

Premise:

This book is a visual record of the children of China.  Alethea Gold and Luca Zordan traveled throughout China to photograph children from a wide variety of locations.  Children are shown wearing widely differing clothing styles, in a variety of settings, and engaging in many different activities.

My thoughts:

This is an awesome book!  It would be a great coffee table book, but it’s probably more important as a culturally diverse look at China’s children.  Children would have a great time looking at what life is like for children in China, and seeing the huge diversity.  What better way to teach them to look beyond stereotypical ideas?

The photography is just wonderful!  I love how they caught kids in the midst of their activities, preventing the book from looking like a series of unnatural portrait shots.  There are kids in Mongolia riding horses, children dressed to the nines in the big city, and children living in a monastery.

In the back of the book there are comments about some of the photos and/or quotes from the children about what they want in life.  The list runs the gamut from wanting a TV to wanting to be an astronaut when they grow up.

I recommend this book to people of all ages.  It’s a great way to learn about the diversity of China through it’s children.  It would be particularly useful as a resource in a social studies class.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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5 Literary Gift Ideas – #2

Here’s my second installment of hand-picked literary gift ideas!  The last item, the arm warmers, are something that I use when reading in the winter months. For a person with poor circulation, these are a godsend when reading!

This post contains affiliate links.

I Have Too Many Books T-Shirt

Magnetic Bookmarks – Crazy Cats

Stickmen Bookends

Rainbow Bookshelves Mug, 11 oz.

Knitted Long Arm Warmers

Wild Eats and Adorable Treats: 40 Animal-Inspired Meals and Snacks for Kids by Jill Mills

wild-eats

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I love the cover of this cookbook!  Doesn’t it look so fun?  Wild Eats and Adorable Treats is a rare child-friendly cookbook which features HEALTHY recipes.

Premise:

Instructions to make 40 animal-themed recipes.  Categories include: breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and treats.  Author shares how and why she started making these healthful and fun food treats–to tempt her own children to eat more fruits and vegetables.

My thoughts:

I really, really like this book and think we might add it to our own collection of family-friendly cookbooks.  The foods are appealing to children, the presentation is fun, and I won’t feel guilty about serving this food to my family.  Each recipe is based on a particular animal, includes tips and tricks, and facts about that particular animal.

The recipes use basic ingredients and mostly simple techniques.  Some of the instructions are complicated though, because there are exact cutting directions and/or precise food arrangement.  For this reason, I think it’s probably best for parent and child to work together, or for the parent to be on standby.  Also, make sure that you leave enough time to make these creations.  Some of them have somewhat finicky details, so don’t make them if you are pressed for time.

In the beginning of the book the author shares a short history about how she started making these healthy recipes, information pertaining to her blog, and why she thinks this kind of eating is important.  I can definitely relate to her desire to get her family eating more healthy!  If we made these snacks at my house, my kids would probably not be clamoring for junk food so much.

I recommend Wild Eats to families who want to incorporate more healthy food into their diets by getting artistic and playful with their food.  I think kids will have a great time paging through this book and picking out a fun recipe to make.

Recipes Included:

Breakfast: Chicken and Egg Breakfast, Whole Wheat Walrus Waffles, Birdy Breakfast, Cinnamon Bunny Buns, Doggy Oatmeal, Kangaroo Pancakes, Owl Breakfast, Pink Piggy Smoothie and Bagel Breakfast

Lunch: Panda Pita Pizza, Cow Lunch, Horsey Hot Dogs, Pigs in a Snail Shell, Crabwiches, Baby Birdy Egg Salad Lunch, Ladybug Lunch, Lion Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

Snacks: Peachy Parrot, Gorilla Granola Bites, Foxy Fruit Snacks, Porcupine Pear Pretzel Snack, Penguin Fruit Snacks, Apple Owl, Froggy Fruit Snack, Sheep Snack

Dinner: Chili Cat, “Hippo”tato Soup, Mini Shepherd’s Sheep Pies, Penguin Black Bean Soup, Dinodilla Dinner, Mexican Stuffed Froggy Peppers, Puppy Pot Pies, Mexican Billy Goat Quesadilla

Treats: Mini Moose Mousse Cups, Beaver Brownie Bites, Turtle Turtle Cake, Koala Pretzel Pops, Beary Cute Cupcakes, Cheetah Cheesecake, Animal Cupcake Cones, Monkey Banana Bread Cake Pops

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

wild-eats-2

Aesthetically speaking, this is my favorite recipe.  It is so cute!!

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

caddie-woodlawn

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I read Caddie Woodlawn years ago, as a child.  I love frontier adventures which feature female heroines.  The fact that this story takes place in the area I grew up in makes it that much more interesting to me.  This is a 1936 Newbery Medal winner, too!

Premise:

The story is about the life of Caddie Woodlawn and her family in the early Wisconsin frontier during the Civil War era.  Her parents came to the Wisconsin wilderness from Boston to make a new life for themselves, settling in the area of Downsville.  The story is rather like a memoir–sharing specific stories from Caddie’s life which she shared with her family.  It was her granddaughter, Carol Ryrie Brink, who put the stories into book form.

My thoughts:

The most enthralling thing about this book, for me personally, is that it took place in the area where I grew up.  It’s fun to imagine Caddie and her brothers traipsing through the wilderness (which is now quite developed land).  Have we walked along the same stretch of river?  Where exactly was her family’s farm?

Caddie is such a fun tomboyish character.  Her father is given charge of her upbringing, in the hopes that more vigorous activities (a.k.a. hanging out with her brothers), will help keep her healthy.  (One of her older sisters became weak and died when she was coddled by their mother in the rough frontier land.)  Caddie and her brothers engage in all sorts of shenanigans, and eventually Caddie matures and realizes that growing up isn’t quite the awful thing that she always thought it would be.

The one criticism I have for the book is its outdated language pertaining to Native Americans.  For its time, this book is fairly forward-thinking, but it will still be offensive to today’s readers.  There are a few instances where the terms “redskins,” “savages,” and “half-breeds” are used.  I recommended the book to my son, but prefaced it with a discussion on terms referring to and attitudes towards Native Americans at that period in history.

There are a couple of circumstances relating to the Native American characters in the story which help teach kids a lesson in accepting others.  Caddie’s friendship with Indian John, and her act of love for the Hankinson kids are two of my favorite scenes from the entire book.  You’ll see why when you read them.  Sometimes it takes a child to know what is right and to follow through, even when the adults around them would rather cling to suspicion and prejudice.

I recommend this book to older elementary-age children, up to teens.  It’s a fun look into U.S. history which gives kids a good view into what everyday life may have looked like for white settlers.

Possible Objections:

  • Some offensive/outdated racial language referring to Native Americans (“savages,” “redskins”)

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Tea Giveaway Cross-Promotion – CLOSED

giveaway-1

I’m cross-promoting a giveaway that I’m hosting on my tea review website.  This is one of my favorite teas and I want to share a box with one lucky winner!

Enter the giveaway through the link below. You have to complete at least two of the listed actions to qualify. The giveaway ends January 19, 2017 and the winner will be contacted through email.  It’s open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

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A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

moveable-feast

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I want to challenge myself to read more biographies and autobiographies, so A Moveable Feast is a step in the right direction.  It’s a memoir by Ernest Hemingway.  I haven’t read much else by him, but I will be doing so now.  His writing style is interesting and he’s a master at making you feel like you’re a part of the action.

Premise:

A Moveable Feast highlights the early part of Hemingway’s life, when he and his wife lived in Paris as a young couple.  It talks about writing, food, alcohol, friends, love, sex, reading, art, marriage, horse racing, skiing, and some of his now-famous friends and acquaintances.

My thoughts:

This was a fantastic book!  Hemingway’s writing style is very distinctive, so if you can wrap your head around it, you’re bound to appreciate his stories.  He has a way of drawing the reader into the surroundings and events he’s describing, so that you feel like you’re a spectator just looking over his shoulder.  I find myself wanting to explore the places he’s describing.

Hemingway’s way of life as a young man was so alien to me, and that is probably what made it so interesting.  The way he talked with friends; the food he ate; the alcohol he drank; the things he did in his spare time–they are all outside of my own world experience.  I love learning about what life is like for other people.

I had no idea that Hemingway was friends with such well-known people as Picasso , T. S. Eliot, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.  It’s neat to get a little peak into their social lives and realize that in a way they were regular people just like the rest of us.

It would be helpful to know some French when trying to tackle this book, but you can get by without it. Some of the place names, food, and drink will be lost on you.

I recommend this book to older teens and adults who are looking for a good biography of Ernest Hemingway.  Though the stories only pertain to his younger years, you get a good sense of his character, motivations, and a fascinating look into his life.

A Favorite quote:

“’We’re always lucky,’ I said and like a fool I did not knock on wood.  There was wood everywhere in that apartment to knock on too.” (p. 42)

Possible Objections:

  • Some bad language (SOB x 1, etc)
  • Sexual-themed talk (an STD, prostitution, homosexuality)

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor by Nathan Hale

underground-abductor

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I requested The Underground Abductor from the library as part of my quest to find interesting graphic novels for children.  I could not put this one down!  I didn’t know much about Harriet Tubman, but now I want to find some adult books to learn more.

Premise:

Araminta Ross was born a slave, but she dreamed of freedom for herself and her family.  She escaped to the North and later, as Harriet Tubman, returned for her family.  In her journeys she led many others to freedom on the Underground Railroad, met Frederick Douglass and John Brown, and worked as a spy during the Civil War.  Harriet Tubman became a legend in her time, known as “General Moses” for her unequivocal success in leading her people to freedom.

My thoughts:

I absolutely loved this book!  Araminta (better known as Harriet Tubman) was an amazing young woman who was born into slavery in Maryland.  She worked hard and eventually made plans to secure her freedom.  When she found out that she was going to be sold and would not be able to buy her own freedom, she made the decision to run away to the North.  Harriet was successful and had started to settle into a new life, but when she heard about “The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850”, she knew that she had to get her family to freedom sooner rather than later.

Harriet made many trips into the South to bring her family (and many others) to freedom.  Because of a head injury she received as a child, Harriet suffered from narcolepsy and during these sleep episodes she would see visions from God.  These visions helped guide her on the many dangerous trips she took, and alerted her to dangers along the way.

Harriet also aided the North during the civil war, acting as nurse, spy and consultant.  During one particular episode, she helped lead about 800 slaves to freedom in one night, when she aided Colonel Montgomery and his Jayhawkers.

Amazingly, Harriet Tubman survived all of the dangers she faced throughout her life and eventually settled with her family in Auburn, New York.  Her dedication, drive, and courage are an amazing example to all of us.  When there is something worth fighting for, don’t give up.

I recommend this book to kids who enjoy graphic novels and would prefer to learn about history through that medium.  This particular book is best suited to elementary-age children up to teens.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence (though the illustrations are not graphic)

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori