Tag Archives: history

Bessie’s Pillow ~ a Crew review

Bessie's Pillow review

History came to life. It truly did, when we were reading Bessie’s Pillow. This story, from Linda Bress Silbert and Strong Learning, Inc., is about a young lady who immigrates to America just after 1900.

For our family, that is very personal. My husband’s great-grandmother immigrated to America, through Ellis Island, just before 1900. So this story became something that we could easily relate to and brought us a greater understanding of all that their family would have gone through. This ability to relate so personally to the story made this true story of Bessie very real and very alive.

with the drawing of the shipby the passenger list

The main character in the story is Boshka Markman and her story begins in Vilna, Lithuania in 1906. 18 year old Boshka is leaving Vilna because it has become so dangerous there. The progroms and war have invaded their lives but far away, America beckons. Boshka begins her immigration journey to America. But before she boards the train, an older lady from the village asks her to deliver a special pillow to a son in America.

“May this pillow bring you peace.”

This story is not just a story. It is history. The history of a family, the history of nations, the history of the world at that time. And it pulls the reader deep into it all.

Bessie's Pillow cover

We are engaged in the story and through it we see the dangers of the world. The difficulty of a young girl traveling by herself, bravely facing all that comes her way. We walk with her through the invasive medical exams she was forced to endure in order to board the ship and the nervousness of waiting to see if she is allowed to live in America. Though her name is changed (she becomes Elizabeth Markman at Ellis Island), she boldly moves forward to live a new life in America.

She faces the dangers of a young lady in New York but finds employment and a safe place to live. Through her, we see the horrible working and living conditions but we also see the unconquerable human spirit and the will to push through towards a dream. Finding a way to deliver the pillow entrusted to her back in Vilna, she travels to New Rochelle and encounters a new life. The story of her life, lived with the same boldness she came to America with, is what this book is about.

Bessie’s Pillow touched me a lot. The true story of someone who would have been so like my husband’s great-grandmother was intriguing to read, to experience. Written by the granddaughter of Bessie Dreizen (the married name of the main character), this story has the twists and turns of the most creative novel yet is history, family history. And while this story is personal for her, it is one that most everyone in America should be able to relate to in some way.

exploring Bessie's America

Found online and in the back of the book, Bessie’s America is a collection of short articles and websites full of historical tidbits, links, and videos to help us get an more complete look at the life Bessie would have lived and the world she lived in. From the progression of film (from a silent movie that was shown in the theater in New Rochelle to early cartoons and talking movies) to music and dancing (we watched a video of Nellie Melba and looked at images of Carnegie Hall), from news of the day to famous people of the day, from housework to health and hygiene – Bessie’s America was very different from what we know today and this look back at the time in history of this story gives the story even more context and gives us even more understanding.

Bessie’s America really enhanced the book and we found a number of interesting things to read about and websites to visit. This is not a necessity for reading the book but it definitely gives extension to the book and understanding to the reader who takes the time to read and visit the website.

Bessie’s Pillow  is a wonderful, engaging read that is so full of history – our history – that I highly recommend it to everyone. I will note that there are some discussions early on in the book about incidents that caused Vilna to be unsafe for her, as well as New York to be unsafe (mention of attacks on girls and women), working conditions and the dangers that were faced, as well as some undesirable locations that people frequented. I would not just hand this book to anyone under the age of about 12 but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good books for them to read. I suggest reading it yourself first and deciding if it is right for your child and/or doing it as a read-aloud so that you can edit the parts that may not be right for your family.

My 12 year old read it and thoroughly enjoyed it. She read it quickly (perhaps a day) and wanted to talk about it. We had talked about our family history and that made this book even more desirable for her. There is much to be gained from reading history that comes alive as Bessie’s Pillow does.

At Home.

Bessie's Pillow {Strong Learning, Inc. Reviews} 

Crew Disclaimer

WASP WWII Museum – Middle School Monday

WASP field trip

Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) were a group of women who did great service for the United States and its Allies during WWII. After the men had left for war, there was a great hole left and these women trained to fill that hole. Over the course of the years, over 1800 were accepted into the training program and about 1100 graduated, going on to serve on various bases around the US.

The WASPs ferried aircraft around the country, served a tow-target gunnery pilots, some as test pilots, and in various other capacities. They flew military planes though they were only recognized as civilian pilots. Over all, they flew over 60 million miles in 78 types of aircraft. These aircraft went from the smallest trainers to the fastest fighters and the heaviest bombers of the time. 38 WASPs gave their lives during this time.

In 1977, the women pilots were finally recognizes as WWII veterans. In 2010, their contribution to the war was recognized with a Congressional God Medal.

Sweetwater, TX, and Avenger Field is home to the WASP WWII Museum. In a 1929 hanger set on a hill, there is a small collection of interesting displays highlighting and honoring these women and all that they did for the war. The museum admission is free but they won’t say no to your donation. We also purchased a book titled “We Were WASPS” by Winifred Wood with drawings by Dorothy Swain, both WASPs.

We found the example of the barracks very interesting – one of the girls kept commenting on the cots they slept on. We saw examples of the types of transmitters and other communication boxes. We viewed a memorial to the women who lost their lives during the WASP program. We read about Jacqueline Cochran, who began the WASP program (interesting story and background!). We were able to view a film about the program with footage from Avenger Field. The girls sat in one of the trainers, or simulators, that were used and there were handprints from some of the WASPS along with their biographies. We were able to see pictures of many, if not all, of the graduating classes and textbooks that they used.

It did not take more than an hour to dawdle our way through the museum but we did enjoy it quite a bit. I had been wanting to stop since we pass it every time we make a trek to New Mexico. I am glad we were able to make the stop this time and enjoy this bit of history.

At Home.

GIANTS : The Dwarfs of Auschwitz – Book Club

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

This month, Wendy and I decided to read separate books to share about. We have very different tastes, which is really good. However, she had one she really wanted to read and I did, as well. So, we each read our own and are sharing about them today. Wendy wrote about The Girl On The Train.giants-the-dwarfs-of-auschwitz

GIANTS: The Dwarfs of Auschwitz – The Extraordinary Story of the Lilliput Troupe
by Yehuda Koren & Eilat Negev

In most books, I don’t read the Foreword or the Introduction. This one, however, was filled with fantastic information. Telling the background of how this story came about was fascinating. So, I start out by saying, “Don’t skip this.”

Meet the Ovitz family. Meet each of the interesting people, these unique souls. It begins in 1866, long before the horrors of the story come about. We meet the ancestors who formed the character of the Ovitz family and the fortitude with which they faced life.

The Ovitz family was made up of seven dwarfs and their tall family members. They are an all-dwarf performance group during the 1930s and 1940s in Eastern Europe (Transylvania, specifically the town of Rozavlea). They traveled all over and we very well known.

However, one major problem arose for this well-known and loved group – they were Jewish and they didn’t fit the Nazi German idea for a normal person. This family was rounded up with so many millions of others and sent to a concentration camp – Auschwitz to be specific. They stayed together, as their mother so often had reminded them to do before passing on from this life. And that probably saved their lives. Seven dwarfs in a single family arrived together and caught the attention of those who were told to watch for twins for Dr. Mengele.

Dr. Mengele was very happy to have a group of so many dwarfs, along with their tall siblings, to add to his medical experiments. While the dwarfs lives were spared for these experiments rather than being sent to the gas chambers or the incenerators like 9 out of every 10 who arrived at  Auschwitz, their lives were made absolutely miserable (not a good word but no other word comes to mind) by this doctor. They were poked, proded, injected, had specimens taken from them, and a million other variations of private invasion to see if the doctor could determine just what he wanted to know.

This family survived and were able to leave the concentration camps but they still had a long road ahead of them. These who were so well-off before the Nazi invasions were now destitute. And in a world where everything they needed had to be specially made, this was a great hard-ship, even with their able bodied siblings alongside. Moving to Israel, the family begins the slow process of rebuilding their lives.

My thoughts:
This story was absolutely fascinating, though incredibly difficult to read at points. I still struggle to understand how the world had something like the Nazi regime occur and how the atrocities that went on were approved of by men who thought themselves right. The awful, disgusting experiments that were done on the Ovitz family and so many, many others are unbelievable. But this story is one that will touch you deeply.

The love of the family for each other and for their heritage and religion is beautiful to read. I enjoyed reading about the Ovitz family because it brought another layer of understanding to my knowledge of WWII. To read about the world this family came from and the one they died in and all that was between is to read and feel the human story of life in some of the brightest days and some of the darkest of humanity.

I highly recommend this book to adults. There is certainly too much in it for most teenagers to be reading when it comes to the detail of the experiments that were performed. But it is a good book to read and see the resilience of humanity and the neighborliness that can exist, even when things are dark.the-whistler

Next Month:
In April, we will posting about the book The Whistler by John Grisham. This will be interesting. I used to love to read John Grisham so we’ll see if I still enjoy it. 🙂

At Home.

book club button 200

 

Ancient Greece ~ a Crew review

ancient-greece-review

History is a favorite topic around the three giggly girls and the opportunity to review HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece from Home School in the Woods was one we were more than happy to ask for.

Home School in the Woods is a company we have reviewed for in the past so we are well acquainted with the high quality of their products and the information they include. When you choose a product from Home School in the Woods, you are getting something that has been thoroughly researched and well written, with illustrations that are classic and realistic as well as accurate. Home School in the Woods is the family business of the Pak family. Headed by Amy Pak, the history products are packed full of learning through timelines, maps, reading, listening, and creating. A true hands-on product, Home School in the Woods brings history to life. HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece is a combination of a timeline project, learning through hands-on projects, and reading historically accurate information about a time period. Throw in some crafts and a lapbook and you have the gist of Project Passport studies. We were sent the link to download the study and it downloaded a zip file. We then unzipped that and following the instructions, it opened the study in a web browser. From there, it is easy to open each time and to navigate through the study.ancient-greece-opening-page

Once I had the study opened in the browser, I spent a little bit of time getting familiar with the project and reading the Introduction, Travel Tips, and Travel Planner. I then printed the binder information for Miss E, the student who was going to be traveling to Ancient Greece through Home School in the Woods. I also printed off all that was needed for the first two stops.

Each lesson in Ancient Greece is labeled a stop. Each stop has several parts to it. There are 25 stops in the entire study. Most stops include timeline work, writing something for the newspaper, a postcard from a famous person related to the theme of that stop, and some minibooks or activities associated with the theme. A few of the stops include an audio tour, as well. Some of the stops have taken a couple of hours but most stops are less than an hour. It all depends on how artistic and creative your student desires to be with each part of the stop.scrapbook-of-sights

So far in the stops, Miss E has visited Athens, Sparta, learned a bit about the Archaic Period, Greek Government, and everyday life in Ancient Greece. These are the first 7 stops. Miss E is working on stop 7 at this time. We are averaging just over one stop a week, with each stop broken up over a couple of days. Other topics still to come include: farming, business, and transportation; education, oration and literature; science; medicine and disease; the arts; philosophy; religion; and warfare. Each topic has readings and activities to really help you get into and learn about history and the people.map-work

There are some things that we really, really like about the HISTORY Through the Ages programs.

  • They are rich with well-researched history and cultural information.
  • The activities are so widely varied that the interest in continually renewed.
  • The program is so well laid out that it is easy for me as the teacher to get what the student needs without having to spend a lot of time fumbling through files. However, if the program didn’t open right or something goes wrong with it, I can still access each of the printable files from the zip folder.
  •  It is easily adaptable for the student. If they don’t do well with writing, you can leave out the newspaper or assign it in a different way. If they don’t like to draw, you can just have the student read the postcard; they don’t have to illustrate it. If a mini-project is too difficult or really not interesting, you can skip it because there is so much more in each stop. Adapt and change to meet the needs and interests of the students – key quality!
  • The timeline is thorough and full of information. This alone makes the program a very good investment. If all the student did was read the guide book and do the timeline, a very good knowledge of Ancient Greece would be gained.
  • The activities are fun.
  • The audio “tours” are lively and interesting.
  • It is easy for the student to self-pace the program so I don’t have to be hyper-focused on which piece she is working on each day.
  • While it takes quite a bit of printing and paper, it is used to create a final product that the student will be proud of having created.

timeline-and-more

As far as dislikes, there just aren’t many. I do wish there were an easier way to get started. The first two stops are labor intensive because you are setting up so many of the projects that will be added to or worked on throughout the entire project. From the timeline to the maps, these things take a bit to set up. But, they are very worth it as you add to it and work with it throughout each stop. We do have a wish to see the Postcard Rack redone. It just doesn’t hold the postcards. Miss E created a page with a little envelope on it where she places the postcards after she has designed them. That works much better for her and she doesn’t lose the postcards this way. But that is it!

Miss E says, “It is a fun way to learn about history.” When asked about her favorite parts, she said that the Snapshot Moments (timeline) and postcards are her absolute favorites but that she really likes all of it. Some of the newspaper articles are hard to write but others are easy and fun and she really enjoys doing the illustrations. All in all, she gives this two thumbs up and thinks that lots of other students would enjoy it as well.

Home School in the Woods has a wonderful set of learning programs with their HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study. Whether you choose Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, The Middle Ages, or Renaissance & Reformation, there is much to learn and enjoy.

And as a note of interest – Home School in the Woods is working on Ancient Rome, which is scheduled for release in 2018!

At Home.

You can also read our review of Ancient Egypt.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about the other places you and your students can visit with the HISTORY Through The Ages programs. Just click on the image below.

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study Reviews

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Crew Disclaimer

Visit the World Through Video

visit-the-world-through-video

This week on the Virtual Curriculum Fair, we are talking about Exploring Our World: Social Studies and the Exploratory Sciences. Be sure to visit the Homeschooling Hearts and Minds to catch all of the posts related to this, and all, themes of the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair.

week-4-exploring-our-worldSocial studies, history, geography – these are all favorite topics of mine both for teaching and learning. There is so much to be gain from any contact with these. Whether it be  reading a difficult text and getting through it or just having fun with a simple game, I enjoy just about every aspect of learning about the world. One of my favorite ways is to watch a video about it.

We keep our Netflix handy and have recently added Amazon Prime. We have shelves stocked with documentary videos and a library system that we pull videos from often.

Nothing can bring you more information about a place than seeing it. But what do you do when you cannot visit in person? Watch a video on it.

smartkidz-media

Other than the previously mentioned resources, we have a couple of other that have proved to have a lot of fantastic videos for learning about our world, geography, and cultures. SmartKidz Media Library has been one of those. We reviewed it a couple of years ago and we still find things on there that complement what we are reading and learning about. Recently it involved castles. I am currently browsing for things on Greece. They have a couple that we will check out soon. Another fantastic resource for video based classes is SchoolhouseTeachers.com. We are so blessed with this resource. They include Drive Thru History as part of their course options and these are going to be fantastic! A third resource that we have access to (through SchoolhouseTeachers) is Right Now Media. There is a large variety of religious resourced at this site, some of it highly applicable to a middle school or high school level history. Missionary stories make a wonderful cultural resource, as well.

schoolhouseteachers-geography

some SchoolhouseTeachers.com geography courses

schoolhouseteachers-history

some SchoolhouseTeachers.com history courses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delving a bit into the science end of the topic (which really isn’t where this week goes but fits with the theme of visiting the world through videos), we have a number of interest DVDs that we enjoy pulling out. Titles of some of our favorites are:

  • Planet Earth
  • Flight
  • Metamorphosis
  • Living Waters
  • Curiosity Quest

Each of the previous resources also have a number of options for science titles.

I just think there is no substitute for seeing something. And when you can do so in person, it is a great option to pull out a video that will show it to them. So, don’t be afaid to pull out those videos and spend some time exploring that place you just read about in literature or a history text. My girls always remember more when it is tied to something else.

At Home.

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about Exploring Our World this week:

Note: all links will be LIVE by Monday 1/23 at noon EST.

Notebooking Our Way through History by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Studying the Where and How by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays

The History of Our Mysterious Struggle With History by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

Social Science, Science and Exploring our World – Our Path by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Learning History Through Fiction by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

History in Our Homeschool by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool

Exploring Our World Through History And Science by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Bringing History to Life! by Yvie @ Gypsy Road

History, Living Books and the Imagination by Sarah @ Delivering Grace

Exploring our world comes in many different forms. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love

Bible, History and Geography by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home

Beyond the Books – Social Studies and Science by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed

Exploring the World with Living Books by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

High School History & Science without Textbooks by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Exploring the World Starting with Canada by Annette @ A Net in Time

Visit The World Through Video by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens

Nature Study is Our Favorite Way to Do Science by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully

What A Wonderful World by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break

The Time we got Lost in the Woods by Dana Hanley @ Roscommon Acres

What A World by Jennifer King @ A “Peace” of Mind

If you have written a post related to the theme of Exploring Our World, please link it up!

An InLinkz Link-up

Victoria and Her World (Homeschool Legacy) ~ a TOS review

victoria-post-image

When you have three giggly girls, all things royal are appealing. We were excited to review Victoria and Her World, a Once-a-Week Micro-Study from Homeschool Legacy. (However, I know Miss J would have been overly thrilled to get to study Pirates or Privateers: You Decide, another micro-study from Homeschool Legacy.)

Once-a-Week Studies {Homeschool Legacy}
We have reviewed the Once-a-Week studies from Homeschool Legacy in the past and enjoyed them just fine. The Once-a-Week Micro-Study has been fantastic! It is simple, written with plenty of information, and easy to do activities that can easily be extended if you want to create additional depth in the study for older students or lower the intensity of the study for younger students. Unit studies do a wonderful job of bringing the family together and create an atmosphere where hands-on learning thrives.

These micro-studies are set up to be done once a week for four weeks. As easy as that is, it might not fit everyone’s scheduled as well as it does ours. The study is written in such a way that you can easily adapt it to fit your schedule. For the most part, we did our study on Fridays. However, there were a few times where we had opportunity to do something so we worked on some of the hands-on activities about Queen Victoria.

Victoria and Her World is designed around learning more about Queen Victoria, the world she lived in and reigned, and what was shaping life at that time. From authors to work conditions, from the life of royalty to the way a home was run, this study has taught us much about the times of Queen Victoria. This study is acceptable for grades 1-8, according to the Homeschool Legacy site. I would personally think that it would need a bit more beefing up for grades 6-8 but that isn’t hard to do.

The unit begins with a short introduction and learning-about-great-britainthen moves directly into the unit. Week 1 begins with a list of the materials needed for the entire study and then moves right into the study. Each week includes a reading that focuses on that week’s topic(s). There are then a few hands-on activities to do that enhance the learning. It is also suggested that a book be chosen for a family read-aloud.

Victoria and Her World focused on Great Britain, Queen Victoria (her history and reign), The Royal Family, and Hard Times. To see a sample week, visit Homeschool Legacy’s page for this micro-study. At the bottom of the page, there is a link for a sample week.

We enjoyed activities from all of the weeks and had a lot of fun. There is plenty of options and exchanging options works well, too. In week one, we chose our family read aloud. The study discussed many authors from the time period and their influences. We checked out several options from the library. These options all came from the reading or by searching the stacks at the library for Victorian era authors and themes. After the options were explored, we chose Black Beauty to read aloud.

In week two, the study focused on Queen Victoria, who began her reign at the age of 18. We did some additional study on the internet because the girls had more questions about Queen Victoria after reading about her in the study. We also had grabbed a couple of books about her from the library so those came in handy. From her coronation to fashion, architecture, and more, the history of Queen Victoria’s time period was interesting. The activities we did included a lot of reading or looking online. This is the sample week to be found on the Homeschool Legacy site.

queen-cakes

We baked Queen Cakes. We studied flags, maps, and music. We viewed architecture, fashion, and furniture. We viewed coronations and weddings and learned about the royal family. From sponge cake to afternoon tea, we had such fun with this study.

The simple approach is sometimes best and while we had fun with the study, I think the results are somewhat of a mixed bag. Miss E (grade 7) made the comment that she didn’t think we had really learned much of anything, though we had seen a lot and read quite a bit. I think she would have benefitted more from me stretching her learning and making this a more in depth experience for her. I believe that too much of it was already familiar to her or didn’t encourage a whole lot of deep thinking. Which is true of this study – it didn’t require much work, either from me or the students. But, it was a lot of fun.

Would I recommend this study or one like it? Absolutely. The hands-on aspect is one that I think makes this a very good study. Victoria and Her World is a great jumping off point. This is not a full history course that covers the period well but that is not what it is intended to be. It is, however, a great way to determine interest points for further study and to expose students to material they might not otherwise encounter.

At Home.

Click on the banner below to see what other Homeschool Review Crew families thought about their studies, which included:

Once-a-Week Unit Study: Christmas Comes to America
Once-a-Week Micro-Studies:
Pirates or Privateers: You Decide
Cooking up History with the Founding Presidents
Victoria and Her World
Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims
Many Nations

Once-a-Week Studies {Homeschool Legacy} 

Crew Disclaimer

If You Were Me books by Carole P Roman ~ a TOS review

Books and culture all rolled into one colorful, interesting, fun, well-bound package? This wonderful series of books by Carole P. Roman fit the bill perfectly! We have been reviewing four books from this author’s series titled “If You Were Me and Lived In . . .” They are packed with learning and they have been brought to you by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com!

We were sent four of the books to read and use:

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}viking-europe-books
There are four more reviewed by other Homeschool Review Crew families:

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}

Each of the books we received are well-bound soft cover books that are approximately 8 1/2 inches square. They are printed in full color. There are a few different illustrators for this series and the ways that they are illustrated also vary. Three of ours have drawings. One has photo backgrounds with illustrations placed on top.

Each book covers the same series of topics for whichever culture it is about. There is family structure, names, living quarters/homes, foods, education, travel, and more. The information is written from the perspective of a child in that culture. Many of the things that are important and distinguish that culture from a different one are addressed from the child’s point of view.

With simple but clear sentences, each of these books quickly and clearly addressed the vital aspects of a culture. They are appropriate, in my opinion, for all ages of students. Middle school students can gain a large amount of information quickly with these books. They also hold the attention and engage the younger elementary students. So, these are a win-win.

carole-p-roman-books

Each of the girls was given at least one of the books to read and discuss with me. We used some of the discussion questions from Mrs. Roman’s blog site. These are found under the title “worksheets & resources.” We did most of the discussion out loud. Then each of the girls was asked to help write this review by writing about one of the books.

If You Were Me and Lived in…Ancient Greece (An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time) (Volume 1) – review by Miss E, age 12

This book was very interesting to me. It places you in a child’s position according to what your father did. Your father might be a merchant, soldier, or just a fisherman. You might be a girl learning sewing and cooking. Or you might be a boy learning how to fight. I also learned about Greek gods and goddesses. I know about the Roman gods and goddesses and a little on the Greek before, but I wanted to compare them. This book taught me a lot about Ancient Greece.

If You Were Me and Lived in…Ancient China: The Han Dynasty – review by Miss L, age 10

If You Were Me and Lived in Ancient China is a book about life in ancient China. I’m very interested in China, ancient and modern, so I was very excited to get to read this book. It has many different pages on many, many different topics. It tells about how long ago you might have lived, the people in power at that time, what your home and family were like, what you might eat and wear, and many other things. I think that my favorite part of the whole book was the page on names. It has two boy names and two girl names that you might have had one of and what the names meant, too. I also really liked the clear, bright pictures showing just what the descriptive words told of. I really enjoyed it and recommend it for ages 8 and up, or for anyone interested in China.

viking-book

If You Were Me and Lived in…Viking Europe  – review by Miss J, age 7

The boys names were Knut and Ulf. The girls names were Sigrid and Hilde. I think about them as kind of weird but they have different cultures. There were three different kinds of people (classes): Yearls, Carls, and Throlls. The first one meant you were really wealthy. The second meant you were middle and owned a farm and had to do all those farm things. The third were slaves and had to do hard labor. They were not well liked.

Your dad helped other people. Those people would return the favor and help your dad when he needed it. You would help your mom by bringing in saltwater and she would make salt. She would also make yummy stews. Your dad took men to help defend a village and the king gave your dad arm rings for his service.

I like the book. But I did not understand the part where when guests came over they drank out of horns that were pointy so they couldn’t put it down. I don’t get that. Overall, I think that it was a fun book. I think I would recommend it for kids 7 and under. Also for 12 and 10.

If You Were Me and Lived in…the American West (Volume 7) – review by Lori, At Home Mom

The American West book places you as a child moving from the east to the Oregon territory and traveling along the trail to get there. Life on the trail was not easy and this is shown through many of the experiences the child has with the wagon train. From camping out under the stars to meeting various Indian tribes, from cooking on a camp fire to crossing large rivers, the adventure seems to always be there. Once the wagon train reached Oregon, there was still much to do. The settlers had to build their cabins and prepare the land to grow food. The life was a difficult one and this books shares these trials and adventures with children.

We have really enjoyed these books and I know that they will get a lot of use here at our house. We also have the books from her country series. We love books that give us so much information in an enjoyable format like this.

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