Sunday, October 7, 2012

Books for 10/7/12

I have watched three of my children read this as they've done a scholar project on the Civil War. Now it's my turn because I am teaching the class on the Civil War in our homeschooling Commonwealth School. I love this book! I like how it tells the story of the Civil War in such a memorable way, through the eyes of a family living on an Illinois when the war breaks out. So far it's a great book! 

I heard about this in the Chinaberry catalog. It's about a dad and daughter who keep their commitment to read aloud together every day for 1000 nights. I read it whenever I don't want to think too hard. It's a book to relax with, although it has a sad element because the mom of the family leaves. I think it's great that the dad stuck to his commitment to read with his daughter. She perhaps would have been a very different girl if he had not.

My husband just finished reading this one to the 6 and 8 year olds last night. They have loved it! They would race to get it for him every night and would not let him forget that he was reading it to them. They would ask him to read even when we got home past 11 PM from being out as a family. I am one of the few people who haven't read it. Something to look forward to!

I finished this book last week! I loved it! Some may say it's too religious or overly dramatic, but I love it. I like Mrs. Stowe's humor. Sometimes her sarcasm comes through. I loved all her descriptions of homemaking and the power of mothers and women. I copied some of them on my other blog here

To help me understand the Civil War I am reading this book pictured above. I like to hear the "other side." This book tells a very different story from what I heard in public school: that the war was all about slavery, that Lincoln freed the slaves, and that the reason Lincoln sent reinforcements to Fort Sumter was because the Union men were starving. So far it is highly fascinating. I like that it points out that Lincoln stated in his inaugural address that he had no intention to free the slaves. The war was not about slavery, it was about economics.

I already read this book over a year ago but I am rereading the chapter about Fort Sumter to complement the PIG book above. Lincoln did some sneaky things during the period between the time of his presidential election and the firing on Fort Sumter. It explains how the Civil War was really about money and beliefs in governmental forms: statist empire or republic of republics.

We read this in two nights to my younger kids. A charming story about a girl who discovered fossils in the 1800s. She contributed to the family income this way. You could launch your kids into a study of dinosaurs and fossils with this book.  

Something about fall and apples every year makes me want to learn about Johnny Appleseed. I haven't read this to the little kids yet but we are going to, as it's waiting for us in the library bag. It looks delightful! Not too many words and lots of pictures, even a map. This makes me want to rush to bedtime so we can read it!

Books for 7/21/12

I stumbled upon this book at the library. It is based on a true story of a black dad and his three boys who were pioneers after the War Between the States. They went west to find better land. There's a sad part to it but it ends well. A nice bedtime story.

I started reading the above book to the younger kids as a chapter bedtime story. So far I like it.

Dear husband is reading this to the younger kids as his nightly read aloud.

We read this one in a night. It is a graphic novel. I love learning about history this way. It makes it easier to learn.
I found this book at the thrift store and bought it for my son's birthday. That's one of my birthday traditions, to buy a classic book at the thrift store as a present for my kids. I like this author's story about Louisa May Alcott, Invincible Louisa, so I am hoping this one is just as great.      

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Books for 5/26/12

I am reading this and discussing it with a friend over the phone. Elder Bednar has such a talent for noticing certain words in scriptures and expounding on them. He says that learning starts with knowledge, then understanding, which involves applying the heart to knowledge. I am going to have tor read some more of it to tell you what comes next after knowledge! This is one of those books that Francis Bacon said should be digested, not just tasted.

My two younger kids are going through a ninja phase. It is hard to find good ninja stories at the library. We read one last week that was total fluff. So far I am liking this because it involves principles. The main character sets out to rescue his sister from the bad guys.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

More Books for 6/7/12

This book is one of my favorite picture books. I love the message that even though  hard times come, children grow up, move on, and then come back to see their father's dream come true. A sweet testament to the power of sharing your vision with your children and having them come back to bless you! Paul Fleischman's father Sid wrote books that I enjoyed as a child. I will have to check out more books from both of them!

This book is so cute! The author perfectly captures the idea of the "closet," one of the ingredients in a Leadership Education. It will hopefully inspire you as a mom to create a closet for your children of changing objects and tools to spark your children on a learning adventure. I am thankful to Mary Ann Johnson over at for sharing it with me, and for mentoring me on the closet! She has fantastic ideas, check out her site! Even if you don't homeschool you might want to create a closet, it's that much fun!

 This is a perfect bedtime story! Not too short, not too long, with a story to think about. Although I am OK with stories of princesses being rescued, I don't think that should be written out. Men and women need each other, we can't truly liver happily ever after without each other. The illustrations are beautiful! I like the summary, so I'll just copy it here:

Four orphaned sisters disguise themselves as men so as to go out into the world and learn a trade. Once each sister has become highly skilled, they join the household of a young king where they rescue a princess and her brothers from the clutches of a dragon. After they've proven that they are not only skilled but courageous, intelligent, insightful, and wise, they have to face one more challenge. Will they continue to convince the king that they're men? And having met four young princes, do the four sisters want to?

Eric A. Kimmel has combined and reformulated two Grimm Brothers stories to give us a view of girls who are active and powerful and good-who do the rescuing themselves and end up living happily ever after. The story takes place in a richly textured court filled with traditional splendor, which Tatyana Uditskaya modeled after sixteenth-century Flemish and Spanish paintings.

The above book is by one of my favorite picture book authors, Teresa Bateman. Read this book if you are feeling blue and want some chuckles! It is about a shoemaker who outwits death with quick thinking and smoothtalking. Very fun! The pictures are a little too stylistic for me, but that's OK.

Books for 6/7/12

I read this book to my 6 y o girl and 7 y o boy last week. It is a delightful story to introduce kids to manuscript making and illumination. I love the soft illustrations and the process it describes of learning to draw.

I am reading this book with my friend and discussing over the phone. It is probably the most important book you could read outside the scriptures.. In case you can't read it, the title is Putting on the Armor of God by Steven A. Cramer. It tells you how sneaky and sinister satan is and how to nip his nastiness in the bud whenever he starts to play tricks on your mind.

This book is totally charming! A great love of learning book to interest children in the life of George Washington and the artist Charles Wilson Peale. It is based on a true story. I love books like this that build anticipation towards some kind of twist, joke or surprise. Delightful!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Books for the End of May 2012

We've been enjoying the following books:

The pictures are big and detailed. The book is a diary of an 11 year old boy learning to be a page.

I just finished this book and liked it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Book of Mormon Is True

I was excited to find this book years ago. It's based on two true stories: the story of the Book of Mormon coming forth through the prophet Joseph Smith, and the story of a man named Jack West who was going to Stanford University law school and was assigned to do a practice trial. He chose to put the "Book of Mormon on trial" to practice his attorney skills. Imagine my surprise to find out a few months after listening to Jack West's story on tape that his granddaughter is one of my close girlfriends! I had known her for years and she kept this treasured family story hidden. It makes me wonder what other stories are hiding in my friends. You can read the story of Jack West here

Here is an excerpt from Jack's story:

This case lasted for almost three weeks. At the conclusion of the case, and upon the concluding arguments by both the combined prosecution ( the rest of the class ) and the defense ( me ), the judge rendered his decision in favor of the defense. He said to the prosecution, “ You have not even established a toehold, much less a foothold in breaking down the marvelous evidence for the authenticity of the ‘ Stick of Joseph ‘ ( or the Book of Mormon ), much less given any evidence that would show it to be a fraudulent work !

Then the judge called me into his office and said, “ Jack, where in the world did you get the
evidence you presented in this mock trial ? ” I grinned at him and said, “ You remember at the
onset of the trial I told all of you that I did not take credit for one particle of this evidence.
Most of it has been available to the world for over a hundred years. It just needed to be
uncovered and organized. And I told you then, as I tell you now, that I believe with all of my heart that God Himself prepared that evidence and the Witnesses.

The judge responded saying, “ I want to tell you something. In all my years in law, I don ‘t think I have ever heard a case more nearly perfect than this one. When you started out, I wouldn ‘t have given you a plugged nickel for your chances of proving that book to be true through the absolute legal process in a court of law.”

My dear friends, do not
sell the Book of Mormon short ! The Book of Mormon gives strength and support to the Bible. Its testimony is vital to the understanding and acceptance of the Bible as the literal and spiritual Word of God without confusion or misinterpretation of its teachings.

From an address given at
Brigham Young University.
First Printing June 24, 1954.

This book is a delight to read on Sunday afternoons or homeschool mornings or at bedtime, or really anytime, with your kids. It has comic book drawings by J. Milton Rich and exaggerated characters who are confounded at every turn when they try to disprove the Book of Mormon. We've been reading it during some of our homeschool mornings. It fascinates me to know that all of the three witnesses and the eight witnesses to the Book of Mormon never denied their testimonies of seeing the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated from. You can order the book at

Friday, February 10, 2012

Eye-Popping Books

This is a fun book to stick in your homeschooling closet (see and then bring out and exclaim over the cleverly photoshopped pictures. It can inspire interest in geography and science with the kids and can give you several days worth of homeschooling discussions. I will be checking out more of Hillman's books!