Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Matchbox Diary

The Matchbox Diary
Author: Paul Fleischman
Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4601-1

The Matchbox Diary

This is a beautiful children's picture book.  The illustrations are Divine and perfect for the story. 

This is the story of little girl with her grandfather.  She is told she can pick anything from his shelves to look at.  She picks a box full of match boxes.  The match boxes are her grand-father's diary.  Each box holds a treasure from each year.  I can just picture this book so clearly in my mind it's fabulous.

I got this book from the library but it is one I will have to add to my bookcase.

This was available from:  Book depository, Fishpond, Whitcoulls and Amazon

Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Breadwinner

The Bread Winner
Author: Deborah Ellis
Pages: 170
Rollercoasters edition

Taliban soldiers break into Parvana's apartment and take her father.  She has to dress as a boy and go make a living so her family can survive.
This is an eye opening book.  The things this girl goes through are not often (if ever seen) on Western TV.  On the news and in the news paper we hear of the Afghanistan war yet the effect on the children's lives are left un-notice to most.  This book tells the story from a young girls perspective.  It makes you really think of the reality of war on real people.  Do we all too often read the news paper with our eyes closed?
I recommend this book for ages 12 up.
This book was available from:  Book Depository, Fishpon and Whitcoulls,

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Harry and the Anzac Poppy


Harry and the Anzac Poppy
John Lockyer
ISBN 1-86948-959-4
Harry and the Anzac Poppy

Harry cleans up for his Great Grand-mother every night.  One night he finds a box of letters from his Great Great Grand-father.  His Grand-mother reads the letters.  Each one gives more details of the war.  It details the reasons for the poppy and gives the a reality of the war. 
At a time when we remember the men that went to war this is a sad but real story.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Queens Park

Queens Park

Fountain spray spoke in splatters,
Transporting me through towering gates,
Red brick embraced with wrought iron,
Prologue to a wonderland.
I step inside a world to be stolen,
By a path beneath sun drenched treetops.
Sparrows sung songs of childhood,
Flittering ahead, leading the way.
One solitude rhododendron,
Enticed the company of a bee,
Leaves playing the debaucher,
While nectar awaited it's prey.
Ducks awakened my attention,
Guiding me to a shimmering pond,
Leading me past Tinkerbell and Peter,
Their master hidden behind magnolias.
He knelt perched upon a rock,
Surrounded by fairies and elves dancing,
Munro's waterwheel hummed Amazing Grace
To music heard beyond imaginations reach.
A sundial catches my gaze,
Golden though splattered with age,
Madam de Point and Minnehaha roses,
Stood strong still holding their pose.
The last corner concealed a recycled vision,
A beauty of entangled stumps,
It harboured a guarded nest,
Of the dragon evolved from roots.
Beyond the boarder awaits a world,
Surrounded by coloured concrete,
Cars and buses suffocate the songs,
Sung within the garden's walls.
Children long to enter,
The land inside the gates,
But homework, sports and tutors,
All dominate the clock.
Maybe they'll take their children,
In another season of time,
Letting them sing and play,
Like their grand parents did,
Once Upon a Time.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Top 100

The Top 100, a bucket list, books you'd save in a fire, the best books evah!

This is what the Book Depository have published on their site.  Take a look at what they think are the Top 100 books ever.


Have your vote!

The Book Depository want to know what we think are the best 100 books.  You get to name your best 5 books and they are going to make a new top 100 list.  If you want to add your favourite visit their site and vote.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The witch of Blackbird Pond

The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Author: Elizabeth George Speare
ISBN: 978-0-547-55029-9
Pages: 249

I found it hard to put this book down!  It is the story of a girl who loses her grandfather and goes to find her Auntie.  Upon finding her she discovers a different way of living.  One of which she struggles with.  From riches to rags.  From being a girl with servants to a girl who works all day.  Kit makes friends with Hannah Tupper, an older woman who lives on her own.  Hannah is a Quaker and the towns people think she is a witch.  Kit sees her differently but if anyone finds out she visits her she will be thought of the same way.  She finds she has to decide to stand by Hannah and risk everything or abandon her only friend. 

A story of courage and following your heart.

I would recommend this book for ages 12-13 up.  It will be enjoyed as a read aloud also.  I read this aloud and we all enjoyed it.

This book was available form: Book Depository, Fishpond, Amazon and Whitcoulls

Monday, 14 April 2014

What's the big idea, Ben Franklin?


What's the big idea Ben Franklin?
Author: Jean Fritz
ISBN: 978-0-698-11372-5
Pages: 47

What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?
This is a well written story of Benjamin Franklin.  It presents Benjamin Franklin from a the day he was born to the day he dies.  It is really good to see these famous people as human.  He was once a little child just like any of us.  He managed to achieve so much because he was willing to put his ideas into action.  An ambassador, a printer, an almanac maker a politician and even a vegetarian for a time.  He was also a great inventor.  I like the way this book tells history beyond the textbooks.  It tells of Ben Franklin the inventor and person.
This book is recommended for 8-12 year olds and is presented in a lovely picture book format.
It was available from: Book depository, Fishpond, Amazon
Teachers guide available from:

Friday, 11 April 2014

Toliver's Secret


Toliver's Secret
Author: Esther Wood Brady
ISBN: 978-0-679-84804-2
Pages: 166

Toliver's Secret
This is a easy reading chapter book about a young girl who has to get a loaf of bread to George Washington.  Ellen Tolivers grandfather is a patriot spy.  He becomes injured on the day of an important mission.  Ellen has to dress as a boy and boat across the New York Harbour to deliver the message hidden in her bread.  She finds herself in a boat full of British solders and the boat takes her to the wrong town.  The message must get through the country depends on her!
This book is recommended for ages 9-12
It was available from: Book depository, Fishpond, amazon and Whitcoulls

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Cross and the Switchblade


The Cross and the Switchblade
Author: David Wilkerson
ISBN: 987-0-515-09025-3
Pages 172

Cross and the Switchblade, the

The cover of this book states, "A true story- the best selling inspirational adventure of all time!"
Wow!  This book had me hanging to the next page so many times.  I read it because it is on my daughters reading list and I wanted to see if it was age appropriate.  I will hold on to the book a little longer before giving it to her.  Mainly due to the professions of some of the gang members.  But it is one that I will have her read when I feel she is ready.  I recommend if your child is a young teen, you read should it yourself first and decide when you feel they are ready.
It is about a country preacher from Pennsylvania who is drawn, by a newspaper article, to go to New York.  There he finds he can not leave the young people stuck in the world of gangs.  He moves his family there. This amazes me!  The danger he sees every day yet he moves his young family. It is amazing what is accomplished and the work that is still being accomplished.  There is meant to be a sequel to this book being written. 

This was available from: Book Depository, Fishpond, Christian Manna Bookstore and amazon 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Freedom Train

The Story of Harriet Tubman - Freedom Train
By Dorothy Sterling
ISBN: 978-0-590-43628-1

Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman

The story of Harriet Tubman, from a small girl to the day she passes away.  This story is full of historical information.  Harriet, a young slave, was considered trouble from the start.  Little did anyone know what an influence she would become as a woman.  Harriet runs away and uses the slave railway, until she makes it to freedom.  Upon her freedom she is unable to leave the other thousands of slaves behind so she goes back, again and again, to help free rest.  This she continues until slaves are finally allowed their freedom.  She then helps with the war against slavery and equal rights for the Negro people.  All the places she travelled are mentioned and the names of the people she fought along side.  This book is by far better than a history text book.

My daughter read this book alone and really enjoyed it.  My son, I had him read it aloud to me.  I am pleased I had him read it to me as many of the town names were difficult, considering he is not from her part of the world.  I felt the misreading of these towns would have been an injustice to the books information.  There was also a lot of names which required sounding and correction on the behalf of my young reader.  The names were not difficult.  It was the speed of which my young reader scanned the words which made the pronunciation incorrect.  If he had read this alone he would have given many people and towns different names, as he scanned rather than sounded the words. 

I would recommend this book as a read aloud or for 9 years up (depending on the readers ability to read/sound words rather than scan read)

Thinking of the issue of sounding words... 
I believe it is of importance to have our children read aloud on a regular basis. There are many studies that agree with this.  It is very easy to disregard the reading of your child once we think they can read well.  I notice, very often, that even very good readers read words incorrectly.  The word makes sense, where it is said in the text, but it is not the correct word.  This often changes the whole meaning of the sentence and sometimes even the storyline.  To the child this goes unnoticed (to mine anyway).  This is why I have my younger child read chapter books out loud to me.  It is easy to think that once a child can read easy books to you, they will read the harder books to themselves correctly.  I am noticing that this is not always the case and the excitement of the storyline is changed.

I hope you all enjoy reading the Freedom Train it is amazing what these people went through.

The story of Harriet Tubman - Freedom Train was available from: Book depository and amazon

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
Author: Jean Lee Latham
ISBN: 978-0-618-25074-5
Pages: 251

"I really like this story!"
This is the line I heard so many times while I read this book aloud to my children.  I even found myself saying it near the end.  So for this book "I really like this story!" has become it's motto in our house. 
The story of Nathanial Bowditch.  A boy who was destined for Harvard but his parents sold him as an apprentice.  Where he worked he was encouraged to keep reading.  He kept journals of the books so he could remember the information.  He studied everything he could get his hands on, every spare moment he got.  When we finished his time he went working on ships but always took his books.  Upon the ships he taught the other men to study and also taught them to believe in themselves.
His love for mathematics took navigation to new limits.  He wanted to see that every table in the books were correct.  This lead him to write his famous works "The American Practical Navigator" (also known as the "Sailor's Bible"). 
This is a biography of a boy who fights poverty and all limits put him  He finally graduates Harvard, without spending a day at Harvard.  It inspires children to read and never give up.  The limits placed in front of them do not have to limit the person they endeavour to become.
We all really enjoyed this story.  It was very easy to read aloud and I would recommend it to any child, boy or girl, who is capable of reading chapter books. 
This was available from book depository, fishpond, amazon and Whitcoulls
A lapbook and unit study was available from whitcoulls