Monday, July 27, 2015

Prereading History Books

I'm not generally a pre-reader of books for my kids. I know my children pretty well & find that they will quickly put a book down they find inappropriate. I once had a child complain about one of those newer Hardy Boys books because he found the name calling & bullying excessive. The thing is, I like to read the same books as my kids, especially our history books! I like to be able to talk about the characters with them & know exactly what my child means when he laments about an action, rejoices in a victory, & poses confusion over why a character did what they did. It also helps me to be ready for those bunny trails we are notorious for, to find pictures of the people we read about, & have a better understanding of exactly what my kids are learning.

Which means, I've been doing some major pre-reading around here over the past couple of weeks to get ahead of the game with Morgan's Term 3 books, & a few of Jayden's I'd fall behind on. They were all so lovely, & the ones I haven't finished yet are calling me as I sit here typing this instead of reading..

The Ravenmaster's Secret is set in the 1500's & tells the story of a young boy who lives at the Tower Of London. He's not a prisoner, unlike many others, instead he helps his father care for the ravens & even looks after a prisoner or two. The young hero in this book is struck by the injustice being done to a prisoner in his care & is desperate to help, but at what cost will the help come? The book has a lot of different things happening it at one time & shows the plights of not only those working or kept prisoner in The Tower Of London, but also those the cruel treatment & jobs children were subjected to at that time in history. I really love the way the history between Scotland & Britain was brought to life in this book as we've been reading about it in our copy of Our Island Story & will be reading In Freedom's Cause to go along with this book. After reading this book I was overjoyed to discover Secrets Of The Tower Of London on Netflix too!

The King's Fifth is a story about power & greed. It's a slower read with a thicker plot line; it too is set in the 1500's, but a bit later down the line. This brings to life some characters we've met before in other readings, but told in a different light. I haven't finished this book, & thus I'm curious to see if it will end like I suspect. I'm pretty sure my boy will ask to watch Road To El Dorado again as the gold stories tend to bring that request out. I will say if you go for an audio copy of this book the Spanish is beautiful in it, where as the main character's voice is often dreary, dull, & monotone; hopefully it won't mean my boy will feel it a chore to slog through this one.

Ghost Hawk is one I'm equally still listening to. It's narrated by the brilliant Jim Dale {we're huge fans here} & tells the story of a young native American who goes out on his right of passage to become a man & returns to find the people of his village dead. As the story moves on he meets the "Pale Faces" & even befriends one despite the heated troubles that are currently brewing between the two nations of people. There is so much more to this story then what I can sum up in such a small space of time, so perhaps when I finish it off I'll share a bit more indepth about it.

Nory Ryan's Song is the first book in a small series about a young Irish girl left to care for her family while her father is out to sea, her mother is dead, & her older sister marries & moves to America. It is after Nory's sister moves away that the potato blight of 1885 arrives & her village is left to starve to death at the mercy of the British peoples trying to take over their land. It's a quick, but emotional read & due to it being part of a series leaves you hanging just a little bit. I dare not say how or it will spoil the end of this book. We may watch this interesting video from PBS about the Potato Blight/Famine/Hunger. Don't miss the author's note at the end of the book, it's very very worth reading!

Operation Yes! this is a book that's meant to be used later in Term 4 but I have a little boy very keen for Mamma to check it out. I don't normally feel the need to check out books before handing them to my children, but with family members in the military some situations can hit close to home & cause my children great worry. This one has hit the back shelf as I work my way through the other books.

The Breadwinner was an incredibly moving & beautiful book. I read through it in an evening or there abouts & found it incredibly hard to put down. The book is deeply emotional, but so beautifully written that it keeps you going to the end. This book tells the plight of a family living in Afghanistan. The story follows a family who meets disaster when the only man in the home is arrested & they are left to fend for themselves in a city where woman aren't well treated. The author did an amazing job weaving all sides of what's happening into this story. There is hard stuff in this book, but it's the kind of hard stuff I think our children need to be aware of. As a warning there's a pretty rough scene in the book where a man's hands are chopped off. It doesn't go into great detail, but you'll know you're about to encounter it when the main character enters a soccer stadium.

Calico Captive is set during the French & Indian war & follows a family through an Indian War raid, but spends most of it's time dwelling on their time spent at Fort Duquesne. A good portion of the book, hidden amongst the main story, is also the maturing of the main character as she realises life isn't all about lovely dresses & dance parties. The story is based on a real family. My boy is all ready happily enjoying this book. I had to race to keep ahead of him on this one.

Indian Captive this book is also about the French & Indian War, but is shown, instead, from the view point of a captive adopted by the Seneca Indians. There is a lot more sadness in this tale as we follow Molly's plight. Her family, too, is caught in an Indian raid, something her father was so sure would never happen. They are hurried along trails & before long she is taken away from her family with one other person. Much later in the book you'll learn the gruesome fate of her family. It was interesting to see some of the same places mentioned in this book as were mentioned in the one above, but the outcome for the characters was greatly different. After finishing this one I looked the main character up & found a few photos of her & a bit more information, all of which made for an interesting read.

Angel In The Square takes place over several years, those preceding WWI in Russia. The story follows a young girl who moves to the Czar's home & becomes a playmate with the young girls. You see both sides of the situation in this story, & a few in between as well, as you watch the peasants revolt, the royals pretend, & those leading both sides take their places. The story was, again, a quick read & I really did enjoy the story all though I found the ending unsatisfying. The story spends much time following the Romaov family, but in the end leaves them off with no real closure on what happened to them, simply a presumed. Again, though, this book is part of a series & perhaps the next book covers that, all though I'm not so sure. Either way I had fun looking at these beautiful pictures of Russia pre-WWI & these photos of the Romanov Family.

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