interesting stuff I found while planning history

In my searching, I came across other stuff that I should put somewhere other than scraps of paper. And maybe you folks will also find them interesting. Just for information, I started my journey by looking through the printouts I had made of the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction, and the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People (I printed an annotated list but can’t find that on the site today). I also did some searching on the library catalogue.

Recently Tigger decided to learn more about the Halifax Explosion so the Barbara Haworth-Attard book Irish Chain jumped out at me. She’s already read the Penelope books in the Canadian Girl series and has the book from the Dear Canada series out at the moment. We borrowed a CBC documentary from the library last week, too.

We have just finished Stowaway by Karen Hesse, purchased second hand because a friend of hers had said it was good. We really enjoyed it. So when I came across The Remarkable Voyages of Captain Cook by Rhoda Blumberg (sorry there aren’t any good links with photos), I thought that would be a great thing to read when Tigger gets back from camp. She liked the other fiction-nonfiction pair we did so this one could be fun. We also have a book on the shelf about Latitude and Longitude that we picked up at Greenwich Observatory when we were there in December 2005 if she feels like doing related things.

An Extraordinary Life: The Story of a Monarch Butterfly by Laurence Pringle just looked interesting. The Monarchs are around right now (Mat had to save one from Blitzen’s jaws the other day) and a well illustrated book would be a nice addition to our days.

The Great St. Lawrence Seaway also looks interesting. Tigger knows a bit about the lost towns from a Tamarack song (folk music as history teacher, hurray) and Upper Canada Village is constructed alongside the seaway incorporating actual buildings from the towns. My parents live really close to the Welland Canal so she’s also see those locks and the big lake boats that go through them.

Given her interest in art, I also noticed The Painter’s Eye: Learning to Look at Contemporary American Art by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan. While searching for a link, I found this rather helpful review of their work. As I may have said before, I am learning a lot about art by exploring these things with Tigger. If you are uncomfortable about art and art history, the kids’ books might be about your speed, too.

And while looking for links for those Joan of Arc books, I discovered Michaelangelo and The Bard of Avon by Diane Stanley, both of which hit topics we’ve come back to more than once. And Anne Frank by Josephine Poole. Sometimes good picture books are a nice addition.

Amongst the Canadian award winners, I am particularly interested in The Road to There: Mapmakers and Their Stories by Val Ross. The library catalogue had an excerpt of the first chapter and unless the excerpt is atypical of the rest of the book, it is definitely going to fit into "well written non-fiction". Tigger is the granddaughter of a geography teacher, so the maps are important.

Again, finding good links is leading me to more interesting resources. That link and the one for Irish Chain came from a magazine for "teachers, librarians, parents and kids" that seems to be run out of the University of Manitoba. I think I need to be checking CM Magazine more regularly. Just checking the recent issue led me to this book about fishing, something Tigger has recently tried with her Grandad (with some success; we had a nice meal of bass).

It seems to me that I should stop investigating all those rabbit trails for the time being and leave you with this rather random list of what I hope are good books.

Edited to add: I spent some time looking through some of the recent issues of CM Magazine and some of the reviews really annoyed me. For example a series of books about different commodoties (coffee, vanilla, silk) aimed at grade 4-7 level is described as perhaps not of interest to an elementary school audience because of the historical aspects covered. Apparently the history of these commodoties is a substantial portion of each book and, horror of horrors, slavery and mistreatment of people is involved. I guess some folks think education means glossing over the not so nice parts of our history (or current reality — coffee production still involves some pretty nasty practices. Why do you think anyone bothers to create "fair trade" coffee?).

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One thought on “interesting stuff I found while planning history

  1. At the last hs convention I attended, I found a little booth with a couple from SK selling some books I hadn’t heard of. One was “The Halifax Disaster” by Ernest Fraser Robinson (Vanwell Publishing, St. Catharines, ON); very slim and illustrated with b/w photos.

    Thanks for those lists. I’ll have to try to go through some of them when I get a chance, maybe next week if the garden slows, while the kids are at theater camp…

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