This week’s homeschool bookshelf includes leisure reading selections, as well as one of our Native American selections and several non-fiction books the girls chose for their self-directed science research.
*The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
*This is another book we discovered through the site of @PragmaticMom, but we are just now getting around to reading it. The youngest will be discussing this in her monthly homeschool book club.
Eleanor Estes’s The Hundred Dresses won a Newbery Honor in 1945 and has never been out of print since. At the heart of the story is Wanda Petronski, a Polish girl in a Connecticut school who is ridiculed by her classmates for wearing the same faded blue dress every day. Wanda claims she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows she doesn’t and bullies her mercilessly. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled out of the school, but by that time it’s too late for apologies. Maddie, one of Wanda’s classmates, ultimately decides that she is “never going to stand by and say nothing again.” This powerful, timeless story has been reissued in paperback with a new letter from the author’s daughter Helena Estes, and with the Caldecott artist Louis Slobodkin’s original artwork in beautifully restored color.
The Teacher Who Forgot Too Much by Steve Brezenoff
The Zoo With the Empty Cage by Steve Brezenoff
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Edward G. Garrison, better known as Egg, is pretty excited about the Science Club’s field trip to the zoo. They’ll get to see a rare display of Island Foxes, an endangered species. But when the club arrives, they learn that the foxes have been nabbed! Can Egg and his friends find the foxes?
Caroline’s Secret Message by Kathleen Ernst
aroline and her mother make a dangerous journey across Lake Ontario to the British fort where Papa is being held prisoner. When Mama isn’t allowed to see Papa, it’s up to Caroline to pass a secret message to him–right under the nose of a British guard! She hopes desperately that Papa will understand her message and make an escape. But can she get to him in time? The illustrated “Looking Back” section explores how the War of 1812 affected women and children.
Caroline’s Battle by Kathleen Ernst
Caroline’s father has just returned when they receive frightening news–British warships are sailing to attack Sackets Harbor. Every grown man, including Papa, has been called to defend the village. Mama and Caroline are left alone to guard Abbott’s Shipyard as the battlefront draws ever closer. Caroline knows she must be brave to keep Papa’s shipyard safe. But when the battle seems lost, Mama gives her a terrible order: burn the shipyard to the ground. Will Caroline really be able to do what must be done? The illustrated “Looking Back” section discusses the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the burning of the White House during the War of 1812.
Native American-themed Books
Red Bird Sings: The Story of Zitkala-Sa, Native American Author, Musician, and Activist by Pearce, Q.L. Ilustrated by Capaldi, Gina
“I remember the day I lost my spirit.” So begins the story of Gertrude Simmons, also known as Zitkala-Sa, which means Red Bird. Born in 1876 on the Yankton Sioux reservation in South Dakota, Zitkala-Sa willingly left her home at age eight to go to a boarding school in Indiana. But she soon found herself caught between two worlds–white and Native American.
At school she missed her mother and her traditional life, but Zitkala-Sa found joy in music classes. “My wounded spirit soared like a bird as I practiced the piano and violin,” she wrote. Her talent grew, and when she graduated, she became a music teacher, composer, and performer.
Zitkala-Sa found she could also “sing” to help her people by writing stories and giving speeches. As an adult, she worked as an activist for Native American rights, seeking to build a bridge between cultures.
Books for Self-directed Science Research (They get to choose what they want to research.)
Giraffes by Sophie Lockwood
Young readers learn the history of giraffes, current issues they face and what the future may hold for these artiodactyls. Includes full-color photographs and illustrations, sidebars, maps, glossary, research sources and websites.
Giraffes by Barbara Keevil Parker
No description available.
Watching Giraffes in Africa by Deborah Underwood
No description available.
A Butterfly’s Life by Ellen Lawrence
Part of the Animal Diaries: Life Cycles series, this book chronicles the mysterious and colorful sequence of a butterfly’s maturation. Formatted as a series of late-summer diary entries written by an inquisitive young boy, the book describes events from two butterflies mating in his backyard through their fall migration south and eventual return the following summer. Photographs combine with kid-friendly maps and illustrations to display migration patterns and metamorphosis in a vibrant manner. The text, though written from the point of view of a child, is insightful and straightforward while still maintaining an age-appropriate reading level. Also included is a science lab that explains the process of growing butterfly-friendly plants like verbena and milkweed in window pots and transplanting them outdoors to provide food and nectar to growing insects. A list of science terms is explained through an illustrated glossary. This book explains a complicated process in a factual, understandable, and attractive style. Grades 1-3.
How To Raise Monarch Butterflies: A Step-by-step Guide for Kids by Carol Pasternak
Revel in one of the most remarkable miracles of nature.
Observing a Monarch butterfly as it transforms itself from a black, white and yellow caterpillar and emerges from a chrysalis as a vivid orange, black and white butterfly is among the most thrilling experiences that nature offers. Raising Monarch butterflies from eggs collected from milkweed leaves, or from caterpillars plucked from the plant, is made easy with the help of this detailed guide to locating and hatching this distinctive insect.
With more than 50 unique, close-up photographs readers will learn about the life cycle of the Monarch and how to encourage populations in their own backyards, with tips on which plants to grow, as well as the care and feeding of their pet caterpillars. How to Raise Monarch Butterflies explains what threats face Monarchs and how readers can help conserve the Monarch’s feeding grounds from encroachment.
The Monarch’s amazing story doesn’t end after it flutters away as a butterfly. In the fall, monarchs wing their way southward toward warmer climes in Mexico and California, and congregate in mass groupings in certain regions. The following spring, the cycle begins all over again.
The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies (DVD) by Nick DePencer
Every year, 100 million monarch butterflies set off on an incredible journey across North America. These beautiful creatures fly 2,000 miles to reach their remote destination: a tiny area high in the mountains of Mexico. Yet scientists are still puzzling over how the butterflies achieve this tremendous feat of endurance and how, year after year, the monarchs navigate with such hair s-breadth precision. NOVA flies along with the monarchs, visiting the spectacular locations they call home, and meeting the dangers they encounter along the way. Shot in stunning detail, The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies reveals the monarch as a scientific marvel locked in an inspiring struggle for survival.Special DVD features include: materials and activities for educators; a link to the NOVA Web site; scene selections; closed captions; and described video for the visually impaired. On one DVD5 disc.