images of giftedness in G. K. Chesterton

I’m on a G. K. Chesterton binge right now, reading a variety of his books. Reading the books is a refreshing exercise. I have to concentrate on it. One cannot skim his books. Each sentence has such meaning and yet each gets¬†more meaning from the sentences around it. That seems such an obvious thing to say. but it really I can read a paragraph or two and then sit and reflect upon what it means. I keep finding within Chesteron’s works descriptions about intellectual giftedness. Since the challenge of being a gifted adult is a topic of interest to me, Continue reading

Conversations to go with three great picture books

I am loving that my youngest is excited about picture books. There was just a little while where she didn’t care much for us reading to her, and her brothers were into chapter books, but now she’s right back into picture books. Three of the books we read recently struck me as being really interesting. They all had some aspect in which the limits of what the characters know becomes apparent. It led to some interesting conversations. There were other things I liked about the books too, so I’m dusting off the old blog and writing about them. (There are Continue reading

picture books as writing prompts

I like to look for library books that are easy to expand and build off of. I like books that the can be turned into games, philosophy discussions, or writing prompts. The following are two that are easy to use for writing prompts for children. Links from the book titles are affiliate links. Unnatural Selections by Wallace Edwards This book contains a series of pictures showing fantastical mixed up creatures like a whalephant. For each two page spread there is a couplet about the featured creature, its name and what two or more animals it is based off of. The Continue reading

Superman Grounded: a comic book about despair and hope

I’ve read two good blog posts recently on using children’s books to help counter the despair people feel about the world today. One is a post over at Steam Powered Classroom, where Gwyn speaks about how children’s books embody the best parts of humanity.¬† She writes that children’s books “serve as the proverbial angel on the shoulder, whispering in young ears stories of kindness, of struggle, of the human condition.” Then there’s a post at Books, Babies and Bows about sharing books about peace as a counter to the depressive nature of world news. I think back to what I Continue reading

thoughts inspired by a children’s book about friendship.

I had it happen again, where a children’s picture book leaves me thinking about all different things. Yesterday I read the book Nora’s Chicks to my younger kids. The story tells of a young Russian girl moving to the prairies of North America, feeling lonely and becoming a friend. What fascinates me about the story is that Nora meets another girl about her own age fairly early on in the story though they don’t identify as friends till near the end. The girl is Susannah, and when their mothers visit they go and see the cows together, but they don’t Continue reading

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty

My six year old and I sat down the other day to read Rosie Revere, Engineer together. The story tells of a second grader who likes to gather up trash which she takes up into her hideaway to use in her inventions. She keeps her creations a secret because she’s been laughed at before, but when her great-great-aunt Rose (the Riveter) comes to visit she risks letting her aunt into the secret in order to try to fulfill her aunt’s dream. It gives an opportunity to discuss who Rosie the Riveter was and about how women took over in factories Continue reading

Can you count the counting books?

An exploration of the different ways in which counting books present numbers.

One of my children choose a counting book at the library the other day, and I thought about how my youngest was just about able to start counting and maybe I should find another counting book too. So we came home with a collection of them, with me rejoicing in the differences between each book. Some books count different things – five oranges, six apples, for example, while other groups count one group that grows and shrinks. Some books start with one, others with zero. Some start to move into multiplication, grouping things together. I’m describing them here starting with Continue reading

Lesson ideas using Superman comics

As a kid I enjoyed watching Lois and Clark, or at least the first two seasons of it, but I never actually read any Superman comics. It’s only been recently with my kids interested in superheroes that I’ve started to learn more about them. At first I was thrown by the discontinuity of the stories. I tried to link things together looking for a big storyline, until I suddenly realized that like Archie comics, there isn’t one. There are story lines, but not one big single one. Suddenly I could start looking at the different stories for what they are. Continue reading

The Prince Iggy Books

It’s been a while since I’ve accepted the gift of a book in exchange for a review. I’ve been hesitant to for fear of being stuck with books that I can’t really enjoy, but recently I decided to try out the Prince Iggy series by Aldo Fynn, and really enjoyed sharing it with my kids. Prince Iggy grew up in the Kingdom of Naysayers, in a boarding school my nine year old described as “the Hogwarts out of Hell.” The kids are served porridge three times every day (more gruel anyone?) and encouraged to behave unethically. There Iggy is belittled Continue reading

learning about Marie Curie and radioactivity

As I was preparing to write that blog post about comic books, there was a day when I asked my husband to grab some more comic books when he goes to the library. One of the books he brought back was called Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss. It was from the adult graphic novel section, and it isn’t exactly a comic book. It’s an artistic exploration of the Curie’s life and also of the “fallout” of their discovery of radioactivity. The book tells how Marie and husband met, and how they Continue reading