Monday, September 06, 2010

Book Sharing Monday - Explorers

The year of exploration is upon us here at Rockhound Place.  Waldorf-knowledgeable friends assure me that this theme is a great one for pre-adolescents who are determined to spread their wings a bit, so it's propitious that Jazz was instrumental in helping to choose this year's history/geography subject matter.

We've been looking at books about explorers in order to replace one of Sonlight Core 5's spines, Exploring Planet Earth, which is too religiously slanted to be useful to us.  We've come across some helpful and/or beautiful books whilst doing so, and what better day to share them than Book Sharing Monday?

So You Want to Be an Explorer? by Judith St. George; illustrated by David Small.  Small's goofy illustrations are a big part of the appeal here, I think.  Jazz grabbed this one and enjoyed reading it from cover to cover before we started back with organized homeschooling.  St. George's tone is conversational and appealing to younger kids, and, while she runs the gamut from Alexander the Great and the Greek trader Pytheas all the way through to Buzz Aldrin and cohorts, and even further into the world of 21st century genetic scientists, the succinct text is mainly a roll call to familiarize readers with famous names in exploration.  Fun for ages five and up, if my kids are anything to go by.

The World of Exploration by Philip Wilkinson.  This OOP Kingfisher title isn't that difficult to find used, and its division by geographic region is especially helpful, as that is how we are pursuing our study of exploration.  Like most of the thinner Kingfisher books, this one has, for each geographic region, a two-page spread with a just-right amount of text for my nine-year-old, and contains both photos and drawings as illustrations.

The Usborne Book of Explorers from Columbus to Armstrong.  This particular Usborne title alternates between featuring famous names and familiar movements of exploration, such as the Vikings' expansion into North America or the opening of the American West.  The table of contents lists both by region, though, which makes this little volume handy to have around.  Both Jazz and Jane will use this book.

Like the previous Usborne title, The Look-It-Up Book of Explorers by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel divides the text up by region, and provides information about an even longer list of explorers.  Each name is allotted about three pages of text interspersed with maps and black-and-white illustrations.  I think this book is most appropriate for middle school-level students.

The World Made New--Why the Age of Exploration Happened & How It Changed the World by Marc Aronson and John W. Glenn.  This beautiful National Geographic title would be a great addition to a year spent studying the exploration of the Americas, but unfortunately doesn't meet our needs for our pursuit of knowledge of the Eastern Hemisphere.  I'll definitely keep it in mind when we hit American history again.

The Encyclopedia of Explorers and Adventurers by Justine Ciovacco.  My feminist little heart goes thumpity-thump with the inclusion of more than two dozen women in this 127-page book, from familiar names such as Sacagawea and Amelia Earhart to not-so-familiar ones like Naomi Uemura and Annie Smith Peck.  While not terribly relevant to the region we're studying this year, this is still a great book to have on hand to find out information about adventurous people of the past.

Around the World in a Hundred Years--from Henry the Navigator to Magellan by Jean Fritz; illustrated by Anthony Bacon Venti.  Any narrative by Jean Fritz is going to make a wonderful read-aloud.  This book is exactly what it claims to be--a look at one hundred years of exploration.  While it's not all about the Eastern Hemisphere, and we can't jump around by region as it is a continuous story much like The Story of the World (with chapters even more connected, I dare say), I'm planning to make time for this book as soon as we finish Holling's Seabird, as I can imagine referring back to the various explorers mentioned in this book when we get to them in Core 5.

Book Sharing Monday is hosted by Canadian Home Learning (formerly Serendipity Home School).   Head on over and see what books other families are enjoying!


Suji said...

Thanks so much for this review Christina! I've been very keen to check out Jean Fritz's book (have lots of her US history ones already) and your review has confirmed that I should take a closer look. Wishing you and the kids lots of fun!

Alex said...

This is a great list, and with perfect timing! We are studying Canadian History this year, but we are right at the exploring period.
Thanks for sharing and thanks for the plug for Book Sharing Monday too ;)

Anonymous said...

Christina, this is a great list for adventure loving children, I think my eldest will love these books. I'm off to see if our library has some of them. :)