Category Archives: books

Z – Middle School Book ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

Z

We are at the last letter for this round of ABC Blogging or Blogging Through the Alphabet (whichever you prefer to think of it as).

Z

Oh, this one was actually kind of easy to find a book for.

Zlatas diary

Zlata’s Diary: a child’s life in Sarajevo by Zlata Filipovic
introduction by Janine Di Giovanni
translated  with notes by Christina Pribichevich-Zoric

I have tried to persuade my girls to read this one and have not yet succeeded. I may end up assigning it just to get them to take a chance on it.

This is a true diary, along the lines of Anne Frank. Zlata is 13 at the start of the diary, right before Sarajevo was blockaded and war broke out in 1991. Zlata’s family were not poor but money did nothing for them when there was nothing to be had. These are the thoughts that fill the head of a young girl who should be running around, visiting friends, and having fun, yet cannot leave the “safe room” in the building for fear of the shelling and shooting. As the war continues, thing deteriorate further and Mimmy (the name of the diary) is a friend when no others are there. Zlata is able to be evacuated safely a couple years into the war and so her story – and the story of so many other children trapped in war zones – is able to be heard. It is a tremendous read, full of life and emotion.

I will take a couple weeks break from the ABC series but will be back when the new round starts.

Blessings,
At Home.

blogging-through-the-alphabet-300x300

The ABC linkup is hosted by Hopkins HomeschoolDoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life and Biblical Womanhood.

My previous posts in the series:

A – All-of-a-Kind Family and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse
B – Ballet Shoes and A Bear Called Paddington
C – Counting by 7s and Cheaper By The Dozen
D – Door In The Wall & D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
E – The Endless Steppe & Ella Enchanted
F – Family Tree & Fog Magic
G – Great Turkey Walk & The Great Brain
H – Half Magic & Horse Diaries
I – Indian in the Cupboard & Island of the Blue Dolphins
J – Journey to America & Julie: An American Girl – 1974
K – Kite Fighters & Key to the Extraordinary
L – Little Women & Long Way From Chicago
M – Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle & Mistakes That Worked
N – North Child & Number the Stars
O – One and Only Ivan & Our Only May Amelia
P – Pollyanna & Prism of Wings
Q – Quanah Parker & Quake!
R – Robin Hood & Rilla of Ingleside
S – Sisters Grimm & Singer of All Songs
T – Thick as Thieves & Twinkle Tales
U – Under the Lilacs
V – Valkyrie & Voyage on the Titanic
W – War That Saved My Life & Wonderful Wizard of Oz
X – Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters & Betty Before X
Y – A Year Down Yonder
Z – Zlata’s Diary

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Y – Middle School Books ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

Y

Y-titled books are not easy either. This is a book that I just adored from an author that is just tons of fun to read.

A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck

This story takes place at Grandma Dowdel’s once again. Due to the hardships of the Great Depression, Mary Alice goes to live with Grandma. The year provides a tons of activity and laughter. From turning the tables on the local bullies to doing good while no one is looking to making every season one to find hilarity in, Grandma gives Mary Alice an education she’d never get in Chicago. It turns out to be a wonderful year full of the kinds of memories we all wish our children would be blessed with.

As always, I definitely recommend Richard Peck as an author. I have yet to read anything that I wouldn’t share with my girls, though I keep finding new ones, so I obviously have not read all that he has written.

Got any Y-titled books that you adore? Please share their titles with me in the comments.

Blessings,
At Home.

blogging-through-the-alphabet-300x300

The ABC linkup is hosted by Hopkins HomeschoolDoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life and Biblical Womanhood.

My previous posts in the series:

A – All-of-a-Kind Family and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse
B – Ballet Shoes and A Bear Called Paddington
C – Counting by 7s and Cheaper By The Dozen
D – Door In The Wall & D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
E – The Endless Steppe & Ella Enchanted
F – Family Tree & Fog Magic
G – Great Turkey Walk & The Great Brain
H – Half Magic & Horse Diaries
I – Indian in the Cupboard & Island of the Blue Dolphins
J – Journey to America & Julie: An American Girl – 1974
K – Kite Fighters & Key to the Extraordinary
L – Little Women & Long Way From Chicago
M – Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle & Mistakes That Worked
N – North Child & Number the Stars
O – One and Only Ivan & Our Only May Amelia
P – Pollyanna & Prism of Wings
Q – Quanah Parker & Quake!
R – Robin Hood & Rilla of Ingleside
S – Sisters Grimm & Singer of All Songs
T – Thick as Thieves & Twinkle Tales
U – Under the Lilacs
V – Valkyrie & Voyage on the Titanic
W – War That Saved My Life & Wonderful Wizard of Oz
X – Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters & Betty Before X

X – Middle School Books ~ Blogging Through The Alphabet

X

What to do? What to do? I just can’t come up with anything. Goodness! Harder and harder!

There were several suggestions for books that had an X “in” the title but only one that started with X.

So, for the pleasure of sharing something, here are some titles with X that look pretty interesting.

This book looks interesting to me –

Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz

It is about a young black girl in the 1940s in Detroit. It shows the difficulty, the challenge, and the heartbreak. Betty grows up and becomes the wife of Malcom X, which influenced the title.

Read a full review of this book by A Net In Time.

Soldier X by Don L. Wulffson

This book is a look behind enemy lines during WWII. As a teenager, Erik goes as a soldier for Germany, experiencing the horrors of war and the Third Reich. The story looks interesting and difficult at the same time.

This book was suggested by Hopkins Homeschool.

Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters by Margaret Dilloway

6th grader Xander is looking forward to a break and spending the time with his friend and his comics. He will be thrust, instead, into a dramatic and challenging adventure.

This book was suggested by Walking Fruitfully.

Hopefully you saw one that looked interesting and will explore it. If you have other suggestions for the letter X, I would love to hear them.

Blessings,
At Home.

 

blogging-through-the-alphabet-300x300

The ABC linkup is hosted by Hopkins HomeschoolDoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life and Biblical Womanhood.

My previous posts in the series:

A – All-of-a-Kind Family and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse
B – Ballet Shoes and A Bear Called Paddington
C – Counting by 7s and Cheaper By The Dozen
D – Door In The Wall & D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
E – The Endless Steppe & Ella Enchanted
F – Family Tree & Fog Magic
G – Great Turkey Walk & The Great Brain
H – Half Magic & Horse Diaries
I – Indian in the Cupboard & Island of the Blue Dolphins
J – Journey to America & Julie: An American Girl – 1974
K – Kite Fighters & Key to the Extraordinary
L – Little Women & Long Way From Chicago
M – Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle & Mistakes That Worked
N – North Child & Number the Stars
O – One and Only Ivan & Our Only May Amelia
P – Pollyanna & Prism of Wings
Q – Quanah Parker & Quake!
R – Robin Hood & Rilla of Ingleside
S – Sisters Grimm & Singer of All Songs
T – Thick as Thieves & Twinkle Tales
U – Under the Lilacs
V – Valkyrie & Voyage on the Titanic
W – War That Saved My Life & Wonderful Wizard of Oz

W – Middle School Books ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

W

The letter W was actually quite easy to get a list for. We probably have too many titled for it but that’s okay. I’ll share them anyway.

Wonderful Wizard of OzThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

This is the book that the wonderfully imaginative movie was created from. The story is a glorious read with tons of opportunity for the reader to use their imagination. It has all the elements you would expect if you have seen the movie – Dorothy being swept away in a tornado, landing in a strange village, befriending the tin man, the lion, and the scarecrow. Even the flying monkey are included. But the book is vastly different from the movie in the way the story runs along. It was a fantastic read aloud for our family and we definitely recommend it. The following books in the series were not quite so interesting for the girls so I think we only got through two additional books and they were quite different.

War That Saved My Life
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Summary provided by Miss L: This was a book about Ada, who is 10. She was born with a club foot and her mother did not like her. When WWII started and the government began evacuating children from London, her mother decided to send Ada’s brother to the country but not her. Ada decided she was going to go to, even though her mother had not given her permission. In the country, she gets to live a very different sort of life with all these luxuries and all the food she wants. Her mother comes back to get her and life changes again, leaving Ada wanting to return to the country.

Wrinkle in Time
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

Summary provided by Miss L: Meg is the main character, along with her brother Charles Wallace and their friend Calvin. They go on a voyage with three old ladies who have magical powers to a bunch of different planets in the solar system. They are on a search to find Meg’s father.

Wings of FireWings of Fire: The Dragon Prophesy by Tui T Southerland

This is book 1 in the series.

Summary provided by Miss E: It is about dragons and there are humans that are called scavengers. The dragons see them as animals. In this first book, it is centered on Clay, a mud-wing dragon. He and four other dragons are trapped under a mountain by three other dragons, the Guardians. The Guardians keep telling them that being kept there is for their own good. The dragons have not ever seen the outside, except small peeks through the sky hole. They come up with a plan to escape and they succeed. In the process, though, they get captured by the queen of the Sky-wings, who are involved in a war. According to a prophesy, Clay and his friends are supposed to stop this war. Once in captivity, Queen Scarlet likes to watch dragons fight and kill each other and this is what Clay and his friends are captured for. In the end, they are able to escape, with the help of the queen’s “killer dragon”, and they take off to find their parents.

 

Wide Awake Princess
The Wide-Awake Princess by E.D. Baker

Summary provided by Miss E: The Wide-Awake Princess is about a girl named Annie. Her sister is Sleeping Beauty. When Annie was a baby, she only got one christening gift – magic could not touch her, whether good or bad. When the curse on Sleeping Beauty takes effect, Annie is not affected. She and her friend Liam, one of the guards, go to find all the princes so that one of them can reverse the curse and wake Sleeping Beauty. This is the story of their travels.

There are several other books about Annie and they are fun books to read. The last couple in the series about Annie include characters from the Frog Princess series so the stories overlap a bit, sharing character. This is fun and now that she has shared the summary with you, Miss E wants to read it yet again. (I think we know what is going on her library check-out list for next week!)

 

There are two other W-titled books that I want to put on your radar. I am not providing a summary for these but they are ones that we keep on our shelves.

Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

The Wouldbegoods by E. Nesbit

Hope you have some good reading time this week and find some titles that bring you joy.

Blessings,
At Home.

blogging-through-the-alphabet-300x300

The ABC linkup is hosted by Hopkins HomeschoolDoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life and Biblical Womanhood.

My previous posts in the series:

A – All-of-a-Kind Family and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse
B – Ballet Shoes and A Bear Called Paddington
C – Counting by 7s and Cheaper By The Dozen
D – Door In The Wall & D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
E – The Endless Steppe & Ella Enchanted
F – Family Tree & Fog Magic
G – Great Turkey Walk & The Great Brain
H – Half Magic & Horse Diaries
I – Indian in the Cupboard & Island of the Blue Dolphins
J – Journey to America & Julie: An American Girl – 1974
K – Kite Fighters & Key to the Extraordinary
L – Little Women & Long Way From Chicago
M – Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle & Mistakes That Worked
N – North Child & Number the Stars
O – One and Only Ivan & Our Only May Amelia
P – Pollyanna & Prism of Wings
Q – Quanah Parker & Quake!
R – Robin Hood & Rilla of Ingleside
S – Sisters Grimm & Singer of All Songs
T – Thick as Thieves & Twinkle Tales
U – Under the Lilacs
V – Valkyrie & Voyage on the Titanic

 

Carole P. Roman books ~ a Crew review

author Carole P. Roman books

Whenever I think about reading a book on another country or culture, the first books that come to mind are by author Carole P. Roman. The Carole P. Roman books and collections are award winning books about lots of different people and places, as well as fiction stories (some with great morals), and we are blessed to review these three this past month:

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Russia

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Poland

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Germany

We were asked which books we might be interested in and these were our top three choices. Why? Because each of these countries were affected by World War II and Miss J has been studying WWII. This gave us yet another literature correlation to our study and I knew for a fact that they were quality literature. In addition to have an easy-to-read text, the If You Were Me series are written from the viewpoints of children and are written in a way that children can relate to them well. As you open each book, there is a map (not drawn to scale but still helpful) of the country, followed by a page with a globe that shows where the country is located. The books are well-researched and a pronunciation guide with definitions are provided with each one to help the readers understand a bit more about the culture. The illustrations are engaging and colorful, enhancing the enchanting text, bringing it all together.

Carole P Roman Russia

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Russia

The book about Russia covers a lot of family words, like mother and father. As you read along, words are incorporated naturally. In talking about going to the store, the book mentions the word for a fur hat and that you would use rubles to purchase it. Major landmarks are included such as St. Basil’s Cathedral, Red Square, and the Kremlin. Food is not left out and descriptions of borscht, piroshky, caviar, samovar, and more are included. Favorite pasttimes for children are mentioned and include chess, playing with kuklas (dolls), and ice hockey. The new year is a big holiday and much of the details of it are included, from the gift bringer Ded Moroz to the New Year tree, favorite foods and the fortune teller tradition.

This was a simple look at a complex society so it is definitely not comprehensive. Yet, it is a good way for children to get a look at another culture and some of the ways in which children from there are like them and different from themselves. The text itself is not difficult but because there are a number of Russian words with pronunciations included, I would not recommend a child try to read this book alone. Guidance would be greatly beneficial for children under the age of about 10.

Carole P Roman Germany

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Germany

The book on Germany actually begins with a bit of history about the country itself, where it and its name originated from. There is also information about the city of Berlin and its importance. Boy and girl names are shared, as well as other family names including mother and father, grandmother and grandfather, and aunt and uncle. The beautiful castle Neuschwanstein is pictured (an actual picture, not a drawing – I like that it shows it accurately this way) and the history is shared. Euros and marks are talked about and why the change was made. Food, of course, is covered including hunger-inducing dishes such as sauerbraten, sauerkraut, dumplings, and apfelstrudel. (This made Miss J ask her daddy to make her some apple strudel and it was yummy!) Activities such as fussball (soccer) and going to Oktoberfest are part of their lives. It closes out with a bit more history and several interesting facts about Germany.

Carole P Roman inside Germany Book

I like that this story contains so many bits of the history of the country, as well as the information on the actual culture that we would expect. Between the history, the food, and all the words, I feel like this is a good book to help someone know a bit more about Germany. The story is engaging and easy to read, though the pronunciations of the foreign words will make it a bit more difficult for a child.

Carole P Roman Poland

If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Poland

Poland was one that I chose solely due to the involvement of the country in World War II. It is often mentioned so I felt it would be a good one for Miss J to know a bit more aobut. This book definitely did its part for that, without getting so much information that she didn’t understand any of it. One of the fun bits about this book on Poland is that backgrounds of almost all of the pages are actual photographs that have drawings on top of them. This allows the beauty of the country to be seen clearly.

The book, like the Germany book, give a lot of history about the country. From the various names for Poland itself to a legend about how the city of Warsaw got its name, the text is engaging. Because much of Poland’s interest includes famous people, the book includes people such as the composer Chopin and the astronomer Copernicus. Sports are important to these people and so football (pilka nozna), skiing, and sledding are featured, as well as ice hockey. Food is shared through a trip to the grocery store and dinner at the grandparents. From mleko and hleb (milk and bread) to rosol broth, makaron, sledz and pierogi, hunger creeps up reading about the food. Bird watching and a game called “spot the gnome” are fun activities for all ages in Poland.

Carole P Roman books

Overall Thoughts

While each book contains many of the same types of information, each one seems so very different. That is partly because of the different culture of each book but I also feel that Carole P. Roman does a great job of writing the differently, with a slightly different focus that helps you get a feel for things that are important to that culture. For example, Germany seems to have a big focus on history while Poland’s focus in on activity and outdoor sports. This keeps each book in the series fresh and new and exciting, even when you are reading several of them back-to-back.

This is a wonderful series for children to learn more about other cultures around the world and is a great supplement to any country or continent study that you may be doing. As I mentioned, we pulled a bunch that we already had on the shelf for our WWII study and then added these when they arrived at th house. A couple of years ago when we were doing a continent study, I put the various If You Were Me books that went with the continent in the basket along with the other items to help us get a feel for what the continent was like. These are so very flexible and packed with such good information that I highly recommend them.

And one of the best parts – they get read and enjoyed! When these three books arrived at the house, they disappeared into one bedroom and the another and were read by two of the three girls within two hours of receiving them. The other young lady had read them in a couple of days. The appeal of these books is strong and since the content is quality, I don’t mind giving them free rein to read them.

Blessings,
At Home.

Be sure to read more about the Carole P. Roman books and collections that Homeschool Review Crew families were reading. We have read and reviewed books by this author before, both 2017 and 2016, and always enjoy them. Some of our past reviews include

 

Click on the banner below to read reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew.

Carole P. Roman books and collections {Carole P. Roman Reviews}

Find Carole P. Roman on Social Media –

 

 

Crew Disclaimer

V – Middle School Books ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

V

This week we are on the letter V. Remember me telling you that we were getting to some letters that it was tougher to find titles that we enjoyed for? Well, this is one of them. One giggly girl had a book to suggest and I had one from a series we really like. That’s it for the letter V. So if you have any good V-titled books, please share them in the comments.

Vaklyrie by Kate O’Hearn

ValkyrieMiss E is providing the synopsis: Based on Norse mythology, it is centered on the Valkyries. It is about a Valkyrie named Freya. In the beginning of the book, she becomes a full-fledged Valkyrie. She reaps her first full spirit and he asks her for a favor. She returns to Earth to find that spirit’s family, to tell them what happened to him and that he loved them. She found them but the grandmother was taking care of his girls and she was dying. Freya had to help the grandmother find a permanent situation for the girls after she died. Along the way, she makes a friend named Archie, a human boy, and he helps her with her tasks.

She really enjoyed this story, as well as the 2nd book of the trilogy. She is impatiently waiting for the 3rd book in the trilogy to be released. It is possible that it has been and she just doesn’t know it. Either way, she really wants to read it!

Voyage on the Great TitanicVoyage on the Titanic (Dear America series) 

This is one of the Dear America series and these books are written as diaries. They are a historical fiction but are enjoyable to read. We have found them to be a good way to personify a time in history that we are somewhat unfamiliar with yet know that the information is fairly accurate.

Summary: Margaret was left in the care of an orphanage when her brother immigrated to America. Now she is to go to America to join him. She is to get there on the great ship Titanic. What is expected to be the new beginning of a wonderful life take an unexpected turn when the ship collides with an iceberg.

 

Well, that’s it for this week. If you have any good titles, please share them in the comments!

Blessings,
At Home.

blogging-through-the-alphabet-300x300

The ABC linkup is hosted by Hopkins HomeschoolDoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life and Biblical Womanhood.

My previous posts in the series:

A – All-of-a-Kind Family and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse
B – Ballet Shoes and A Bear Called Paddington
C – Counting by 7s and Cheaper By The Dozen
D – Door In The Wall & D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
E – The Endless Steppe & Ella Enchanted
F – Family Tree & Fog Magic
G – Great Turkey Walk & The Great Brain
H – Half Magic & Horse Diaries
I – Indian in the Cupboard & Island of the Blue Dolphins
J – Journey to America & Julie: An American Girl – 1974
K – Kite Fighters & Key to the Extraordinary
L – Little Women & Long Way From Chicago
M – Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle & Mistakes That Worked
N – North Child & Number the Stars
O – One and Only Ivan & Our Only May Amelia
P – Pollyanna & Prism of Wings
Q – Quanah Parker & Quake!
R – Robin Hood & Rilla of Ingleside
S – Sisters Grimm & Singer of All Songs
T – Thick as Thieves & Twinkle Tales
U – Under the Lilacs

 

U ~ Middle School Books ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

U

Um – this was hard! Harder than I expected. We just do not have U titled books on our shelves, which means we really don’t have many favorites. In fact, I even asked a couple of people and no one really had any of their own to share. But, I do have one. And it is by my favorite author. Well, one of my favorites. I have many. I do love books, after all. But, I digress. . .

Under The Lilacs

Under The Lilacs by Louisa May Alcott

Starting with a tea party in which the tea cakes disappear, you are quickly drawn into this story. Bab and Betty are such sweet, innocent children and their life is entered by a young man named Ben and his dog Sancho. The interactions of the children is the focus of this story and it is a joy to read. Family and friendship merge into one. A very endearing book.

Many people do not like this book because it is very different from the stories of the March family in Little Women and the sequels. But this story is unique and fun, all on its own. Another good read of Louisa May Alcott’s.

Next week – V! You’ll have to come back to see what I have up my sleeve for that letter.

Blessings,
At Home.

 

blogging-through-the-alphabet-300x300

The ABC linkup is hosted by Hopkins HomeschoolDoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life and Biblical Womanhood.

My previous posts in the series:

A – All-of-a-Kind Family and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse
B – Ballet Shoes and A Bear Called Paddington
C – Counting by 7s and Cheaper By The Dozen
D – Door In The Wall & D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
E – The Endless Steppe & Ella Enchanted
F – Family Tree & Fog Magic
G – Great Turkey Walk & The Great Brain
H – Half Magic & Horse Diaries
I – Indian in the Cupboard & Island of the Blue Dolphins
J – Journey to America & Julie: An American Girl – 1974
K – Kite Fighters & Key to the Extraordinary
L – Little Women & Long Way From Chicago
M – Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle & Mistakes That Worked
N – North Child & Number the Stars
O – One and Only Ivan & Our Only May Amelia
P – Pollyanna & Prism of Wings
Q – Quanah Parker & Quake!
R – Robin Hood & Rilla of Ingleside
S – Sisters Grimm & Singer of All Songs
T – Thick as Thieves & Twinkle Tales

 

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