Thursday, September 21, 2017

Learn About the World {A Let's Go Geography Review with Coupon Code}

When I decided to add a kids homeschool geography course from Let’s Go Geography to our collection of resources here, I was looking forward to using it as a supplement to a monthly geography club I've been running for several years.  Life changed, though, and that club is now on hiatus this year.  Luckily, my children's geography studies are not, in part thanks to Let’s Go Geography.



What Is Let's Go Geography?

Let’s Go Geography is an easy-to-use, hands-on homeschool world geography curriculum for kids in grades K-4 (but, in our experience, can be used right up to the middle school grades for review and fun.)

The program was created by Carol Henderson, a homeschool mama of five turned primary school teacher, so, as you can imagine, it has solid traditional learning activities that meet curriculum standards while also offering the flexibility that many of us homeschoolers desire. 

The program is delivered digitally and comes with printable teacher resources, which include audio and video links, as well as printable student pages.  Thus, the curriculum hits the three main learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.    The following video explains the program more:




For those that prefer a written explanation, let me detail the program for you:

In a single year, the program takes you and your child through all of the continents, virtually stopping in various regions and countries along the way.  (See image below to know which countries are included in which year of the program.) Each lesson is meant to take one week to complete  with the lessons being spread out over 36 weeks, inclusive of break and review weeks.

Let's Go Geography

To use the program, it is recommended that you create a travel journal in a 3-ring binder, and, if you wish, make a passport, too (available on the website.)  For your travel journal, you receive several printable cover options with your
Let’s Go Geography curriculum.

Dividers for each continent are also recommended for your journal.

Once you've made your travel journal, you can get started with Week One of he curriculum or pick a locale of your choice further along in the curriculum to study (depending on if you purchased
the program as a whole year, a semester, or individual lessons

To study your chosen locale, you will bring a full-color teaching resource up on your computer (or print it out) and print pages for your child to work on. These pages include maps of the country, a flag of the country, and a coloring page of a landmark in the country.  You will also be able to access links for music for your child to listen to and videos for your child to watch.




In addition, if you want to explore your chosen locale more, you can go to the library and check out recommended books, and you can also enjoy a craft with complete directions included.  Finally, you can wrap up with writing if you wish since notebooking pages are included.


Review weeks, of course, are a bit different.  On these weeks (which fall every 12 weeks if doing the curriculum in order), your child will review prior learning by labeling and coloring locations on maps, matching flags to countries, reading some facts, and coloring some printables.

How We Used It and What We Thought


Let's Go Geography

Let’s Go Geography is designed so that you study one locale a week for about an hour's time - all at once, or in smaller bite-size pieces - and, then, if you wish follow bunny trails from there.  In an ideal world, my children and I would have used the program as such so far.  However, nothing is ever ideal in our reality, so, instead, if I am to be honest, some weeks, we meant to get to the geography lessons and did not and others we were going to do the bite-sized pieces, but needed up doing a more-at-once approach. And, therein lies one of my favorite parts of this homeschool geography curriculum:  flexibility!  You can use it for an hour every week, or for 10-20 minutes several times a week, skip some weeks, do more other weeks, dig deeper as time and interest allow or just do the basics and know you are helping your children become more world geography literate.
 

Another thing I appreciate about Let’s Go Geography is that it is so well-organized.  As I did some lessons with my children and looked around at other lessons, I thought, Now, why is THIS the year Geography Club is on hiatus for us?  So much of my legwork would be done!  For, indeed, between printable maps, links to music and videos, coloring pages, crafts, flags, and more, I would have very little to do to prep for any given club week beyond taking out library books and letting the kids run wild with inspiration as they dug deeper to create their own "expert reports".  Alas, Geography Club is not going to happen this year for us due to conflicts in scheduling, but, with the organization and ease of

Let’s Go Geography even with all the busyness of life, I know that pulling some organized geography into our life and learning without having to do much more than click, print, and grab basic supplies will be a breeze.

Then, when we cover all the material, we can enjoy the year end (or maybe longer for us?) review
, which consists of two games ("I Spy" and "Where in the World") and an end of the year project - an easy-to-put-together lapbook "suitcase".

Thus, indeed, I think that
Let’s Go Geography is ideal for any homeschooler (or school teacher for that matter) who wants to help children get beyond the surface of geography without requiring everyone to dive full-on into, say, deep unit study studies.  Bite-size pieces, set up as a regular routine which can be adapted to your own routine give the curriculum substance and flexibility. 

As I completed some parts of the curriculum with my children and took in the gist of other parts, I kept thinking, It's all there for us! Carol Henderson has pulled together something similar to what many of us geography-appreciating educators might and has done such a quality job with the legwork of research, organizing, and linking, that we can simply enjoy the learning without the fuss of putting things together ourselves. Maps are there.  Videos and articles are available at the click of a provided button.  "Sightseeing trips" and music  - as well as basic crafts - are included...  Yep, it's a solid, ready-made resource! 
 

Plus, since Let’s Go Geography is accessed online, but has downloadable printable portions, it can be used on and offline (which is a boon in my book!) by families with children of multiple ages.  This makes the program convenient, hands-on, and family-friendly!  Suggested adaptations for varying age groups are even included.

In our family, elementary and middle school aged children used the curriculum. 

Before my kids went to bed and I sat down to write this review, I asked my children to give me a quick thought or two about it.


My seven-year-old said:


I liked coloring the maps, watching the videos, and everything.




My eleven-year-old said:

I liked finding capitals on the map and watching videos.



And, my ten-year-old said:

I liked that it had maps and things you could color in and also videos to watch.  I also like that it teaches about different places around the world.

So, there you have it!  The kids like it.  I appreciate it's organization.  We all would recommend
Let’s Go Geography!

Learn More

The Let’s Go Geography will eventually span three years of learning, but currently offers only two semester’s worth of teaching, which covers nearly 30 countries  


The program, as I mentioned before, is available for purchase as a whole year, a semester, or individual lessons. For a taste of the program, there are SAMPLE FREEBIES available for download. There are also frequent special offers, such as the current 25% off sale when you use the COUPON CODE:
BackTS25.


Let’s Go Geography {Reviews} 
 

Eighty-five Homeschool Review Crew families
tried out Let’s Go Geography, some going through the lessons in order and others skipping around to specific location studies.  So, be sure to click through the banner to see photos and thoughts about the different learning, crafts, and activities everyone enjoyed.

Let's Go Geography

Get social with Let’s Go Geography on:

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Monday, September 18, 2017

What Adventure-Filled Christian Fiction for Kids! {An Imagine. . .The Great Flood Review}

If you and your children enjoy reading Christian fiction for kids, then add  Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich from Barbour Publishing to your "up next" pile.   This middle grade fiction story, written for children ages 8 to 12, is the first release in a brand-new epic adventure series written by schoolteacher and missionary, Matt Koceich that aims to bring popular Bible stories to life for today's children.




In
Imagine. . .The Great Flood, you are taken from modern day Texas to the times of Noah's Ark in order to experience what the monumental Biblical event of the Great Flood might have been like.  You also are reminded that, although life may change and seem uncertain at times, God is always with you.

The book, a 110-page softcover with 15 chapters, is a quick and engaging read.  My children and I read it together in our bedtime story rotation and, more than once, they asked me to keep reading since chapters often ended with enticing cliff hangers. 

Since chapters were short, I did not mind honoring the children's requests, so it took us only about a week in our bedtime story rotation to finish
Imagine. . .The Great Flood, and I would think it would take a proficient middle grade reader only about and hour or two to read the entire story independently.

IMAGINE... The Great Flood

My seven-year-old summarized this
piece of fun Christian fiction for kids:

In Imagine, Corey was moving from Texas to Florida and was not happy about it.  Before he moved, he was in a forest and fell and hit his head.  Then, he started to imagine things. 

Corey imagined that he was taken back before the Great Flood.  He met Noah's sons and Noah.  He talked to them and helped them.  They tried to get all of the animals onto the ark.  Some giants tried to stop them, but lions helped.

Once, the evil people threw Corey in a pit.  That was when the rain started to come.  It seemed hopeless, but Corey thought and prayed.

In the end, Corey came back to modern times.  He moved and met a friend named Noah.  Something scary happened, but you have to read to find out what.

I liked this book.  The giants made it interesting.  One thing I did not like was that, at the end, there was a treasure hunt, but it didn't say who won or anything.

People who like to read or be read to might like this book, especially people who like Bible stories.  It gave me new ideas about Noah's Ark. 


My ten-year-old daughter went into more details about conflicts withing the story:

Imagine has a couple struggles in it:

The first one is that Corey does not want to move to Florida.  Then, he hits his head on a log, goes into an imaginary world, and comes back having learned that everything is not as hard or as bad as it seems.  We need to trust and obey God.

Another struggle in the story is between Corey and Elizar, an evil wizard who tries to utterly destroy Corey in the time of Noah's Ark.  At one point, he stuck him in a pit.  The flood came.  Corey was hanging onto a log...  He was not destroyed.

Imagine was a good story.  It was exciting.  I could really see the action.  It's a book about a boy who travels in time to Noah's time, because he had a concussion.  He faced evil people and, then, came back to the modern world.  He moved and used his lessons from Noah's time to help his new friend Noah.  Christians who like read alouds would like this.  You could read it yourself, too.

As you can see from my daughter's narration, Imagine. . .The Great Flood does put the "fiction" into Biblical fiction by adding imaginative details and characters to the typical Bible version of the Great Flood.  A wizard, a horde of evil giants, and a seemingly magical staff become a part of the story.  These additions are done tastefully and, honestly, add to the drama and excitement of the story helping the message of it come alive without making the story too fanciful.

My eleven-year-old especially liked the drama within the story and said:

We read Imagine together, but I could have easily read it by myself. 

The book is meant for 8 year olds and up, but I think 10 and up would be good, because there are some intense scenes.  In our home, my brother, who is seven, and my sister, who is ten, heard it, but my brother is kind of into intense things.  Other kids might be more sensitive.

This book is good for Christians.  It is an adventure story that takes you back in time to the time of the Great Flood.  The story if fiction, so it adds a lot of things to the Bible story.  These things help you imagine the times.
I liked this book.  It was fast-paced and filled with exciting parts and almost deadly encounters.

Don't let his warning scare you off, though.  Truly, there was drama in the book, but nothing gory or too frightening, in my opinion, for the target audience of 8-12 year olds, unless, of course, your child is super sensitive to good vs. evil scenes where evil seems close to winning. 

Imagine. . .The Great Flood truly was a fun read which kept us turning pages, imagining what it may have been like during Noah's time, and remembering that things change, but God doesn't, and we should always be thankful.  I would definitely recommend the story to those looking for clean reading for kids and Biblical fiction!

Learn More

Imagine. . .The Great Flood can currently be purchased for the sale price of just $4.49 and Imagine...The Ten Plagues is due out in March 2018. 



Barbour Publishing


You can find Barbour Publishing on social media at:




Imagine. . .The Great Flood by Matt Koceich {Barbour Publishing}

Seventy-five Homeschool Review Crew families are sharing what we thought about 
Imagine. . .The Great Flood.  Click through the banner to find all our reviews.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Make a Box of Hail Mary's

Have you heard of the Devotion of the Three Hail Mary's?  When preparing for a portion of a co-op lesson on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I stumbled upon this simple, yet powerful devotion which has been encouraged by many great saints, including St. Anthony of Padua, St. Leonard of Port-Maurice, and St. Alphonsus Liguorias

 
{Disclosure: Some links which follow are affiliate ones.}

The Devotion of the Three Hail Mary's


For the Devotion of the Three Hail Mary's we pray one Hail Mary in honor of each person of the Holy Trinity and ask our Our Lady to intercede for us with specific graces needed to live each and every day.

In a vision given to St. Mechtilde (sometimes called St. Matilda), the Blessed Mother described the devotion in these terms:

By the first Hail Mary, you will ask me in virtue of the supreme power which God the Father has given me to strengthen you in all your combats and to defend you against the power of the malignant enemy.

By the second Hail Mary, you will beseech me, through the admirable wisdom which I have received from my Son, to let the truth shine upon your soul and to banish from it the darkness of ignorance and error.

By the third Hail Mary, you will ask me by the burning fire of love with which the Holy Spirit has inflamed me, to give you such ardent charity as will enable you to overcome the fear and struggle of death.

St. Alphonsus, one of the greatest promoters of this devotion, recommended adding the following prayer at the end:

By thy pure and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, make my body pure and my soul holy.

Another option is to pray:


O my Mother, preserve me from mortal sin during this day (night).


Many also add a Consecration to the Blessed Trinity, and, you can even get a free printable prayer card from Catholic Tradition with the entire devotion written out that way.

How I Decided to Introduce the Devotion


As I said, I stumbled upon this devotion when preparing for a co-op class.  Basically, I remembered a lovely little story called "A Box of Hail Mary's" from Angel Food for Boys & Girls (which you can also find read aloud for free on LibriVox in
Angel Food For Jack and Jill: Little Talks to Little Folks).



Upon re-reading "A Box of Hail Mary's", I began to wonder if there was any significance to the woman in the story praying three Hail Mary's each morning and evening.  Some quick research online brought me to information about the Devotion of the Three Hail Mary's, and, I thought, What a perfect way to celebrate Mary's birthday with the children!  We can read this story and begin praying the devotion.  Maybe we can even use a real box for them to "place" their Hail Mary's in as they pray them and this box can be placed in front of a statue of Our Lady as a gift when we sing Happy Birthday and enjoy cupcakes.


So, off I went to find a golden box in my home.  Unfortunately, the one I thought I had was nowhere to be found, so, instead, I took gold scrapbook paper and made an origami box - making the top of the box with a full sheet of square paper and the bottom with a sheet that I cut into a slightly smaller square, so the box would have a base and top that fit easily together.



Then, during our co-op class, I read and chatted about the story and guided the children in making their own origami boxes (just bases without lids, though, due to time constraints), before we prayed three Hail Mary's and "placed" them in our boxes.  The children were so cute as they carefully "placed" their gifts of Hail Mary's and, I hope, the boxes they made will remind them to pray the Devotion of the Hail Mary daily.



Our Lady, preserve us from mortal sin during this day and night.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Will the Underground Church Succeed? {A Tabletop Game Review}


Our family was introduced to Chara Games last year and, immediately, fell in love with the way they aim to create tabletop games that families and friends can enjoy while exploring historical and modern Christianity.  Thus, we were excited to be able to try out their latest card game:  Unauthorized - a 6-12 player, 30 minute, social deduction game about the underground church that can, in our experience, be played with fewer players, too.

UNAUTHORIZED


Unauthorized is basically a role-playing card game that mixes strategy and chance.  Intended for ages 12 and up (but, in our home, happily played by children 7 and up), the game is focused around state vs. an underground church.  This, of course, makes for a natural conversation opener about life for Christians in some other countries, as well as about what it was like, for say, the first Christians in the centuries after Christ was born.

In the game, each player is assigned a role and each role has specific abilities.  Every game has both a pastor and a police officer among the cast of characters.


Experience cards are dealt to each player with the police getting 7 red cards and the pastor getting 7 green cards, while all other players get a mix of cards. The experience cards tell players whether they are loyal to the state or the church (by chance).

Then, the game is played in three rounds where strategy comes into play and intensity can get ratcheted up as players can become imprisoned or even executed and no one can be sure where loyalties lie until the end of the game.

At the game's end - which we found takes 20-45 minutes depending on the number of people playing  - if at least one Christian remains out of prison or there is a Christian majority, the church wins.  Likewise, if there is no Christian majority or all Christians are imprisoned, the state wins.

Does this sound interesting and fun?  It is!  Does it sound confusing to get started with?  It can be for those like my children and me who are not practiced role playing game players.  Thankfully, there is a helpful instructional video about the game online:





Between this video and the direction booklet, my children and I were able to get games up and playing without much trouble and with a lot of fun, imagination, strategy and chance.



My children also liked to simply use the cards to make their own storytelling games and card games.  Yep!  The cards are full of characters and circumstances that ignite my kiddoes' imaginations!



UNAUTHORIZED


So far, we've played the game as directed - although often with only 4 or 5 people with one or two doubling up hands - several times, and, I've also found the children playing their own imaginary solitaire and small group games with the game cards.



What the Kids Thought


 

I asked each of my children for their thoughts about the game.



My seven-year old said:

"I liked being the bad guy in the game to see what it's like, because I don't like to be the bad guy in real life.  The bad guy in this game can execute a person or put people jail.  He is powerful.  I made him have some virtue, because I never murdered anybody."

This was an honest assessment from him!  He did love playing "the bad guy", but also gave his policeman heart (which I found encouraging from a mom-perspective even if it may not have been the best game strategy.)



My ten-year-old daughter said:

"This game was fun, because you don't really know what side you're going to be until to draw your cards, and it's fun trying to get people out of prison, share facts with neighbors, and try to win. 

The police try to win by imprisoning everyone on the pastor's side, and the pastor tries to have at least everyone out of jail on his side.  You have to try to guess if people are on your side or not.  That's interesting.


I did not like that once you are executed, you were executed for the whole game. So, Mommy gave me her cards to play so I could keep playing.

I was confused when I saw boy and girl pastors, but learned some Christians have girl pastors.

This game showed me how some people might be good people, but just following orders like when Christians are really persecuted.  I think in real life people should only follow orders if they are good and just, so innocent people are not killed."

As you can tell from my daughter's concepts, thoughts were churning and conversation flowing during and between games with us - everything from, "Mommy why would they have girl priests?" (which made me aware my children did not know how some other Christians worship), to "Mommy, I don't want to do what the rules say..." when card said allegiance went with "wrong", to "Mom, it's sad the way people have treated each other..."  Plenty of conversations about Christian martyrs of old and the act that people are still dying for their faith came up, too. 


My oldest, at eleven, said:

"This game was awesome!  I like how it is a battle between church and state. Our state is not like this, but in some places, people are killed for their religion.

I don't like how there are girl pastors, because I am Catholic and in Catholicism there are no girl priests.  There are nuns, but girls cannot be pastors.  Besides that, I liked the cards.  I liked the illustrations and the graphic design. 
UNAUTHORIZED

When you play, you never know who is on your team.  It's a game of chance, change, betrayal...  The double cards are interesting, because they can affect you either way.  You choose.  It's like real life.


I don't like this game as much as other Chara Games that I've played, because it takes so many players, but I still like it."

Again, a candid review that was spot on with what I observed as my oldest son played the game.  He quite enjoyed the cards - and often used them as he led his siblings in imagined conversations and self-made games.  However, he was bummed that the game called for six or more people to play 'for real' since we only have five in our family and, more often, just three available to play.

He tends to opt for the
Chara Games 3 Seeds more often than Unauthorized for actual game play as directed, then, but surely used the Unauthorized game cards a lot for self-created fun!



Played as directed, or by our own adapted rules, Unauthorized has been a hit in our home, then, and we'd happily recommend it to others (and have already done so in person prior to writing this review!)  Christians and non-Christian alike can enjoy the mix of chance and strategy in this well-designed game.  Christians can also appreciate the thematic element of it.  




I certainly LOVE that the game engages and entertains while focusing us on the reality of church challenges now and throughout history.  So many other role-playing card games include mythical creatures and fanciful, dark themes.  It is refreshing to have one that centers around truths of this world.

Really, the only negative thing I could say about the game - and it is not really negative at all - is simply that two of three of my children did not like to play the police/state-sympathizer roles.  It was hard for them (and me!) to play these rules, because, of course, we want faith to always win. 


Learn More

 
If you're looking for other Christian tabletop games, you might like our review of Commissioned.



Chara Games also puts out 3 Seeds, which is a favorite of my children's!

Chara Games 
Unauthorized {Chara Games Reviews}

 Forty-six Homeschool Crew Review families tested out this game.  See what we each thought!

.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Enjoy History and More with Carole P. Roman Books

Disclosure: Some links which follow are affiliate ones.





Last year, we were introduced to
Carole P. Roman's historical book series  and quite liked it.  So, we jumped at the chance to review another book in this series - If You Were Me and Lived in...the Ancient Mali Empire: An  Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time (Volume 5) - and were happy to receive two bonus books from Carole's other series - The Crew Goes Coconuts!: A Captain No Beard Story (Volume 6)
and Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag: An Oh Susannah Story


Who is Carole P. Roman?


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

If you are unfamiliar with Carole P. Roman, you might like her backstory:  She is a mom who took a dare from one of her sons to write a book and has since gone on to author over 35 children's books and to win over 100 awards for both her fiction and non-fiction books.

Carole P. Roman's "If You Were Me and Lived in..." series encourages children ages 8-15 or so to explore what life would have been like for people that lived in different places
around the globe during various time periods. Each book in the series focuses on a specific historical location and time, introducing readers to the clothing, food, education, games, religion, etc. that were common to day-to-day life .

Carole P. Roman also has authored the following books and series:
  • If You Were Me and Lived in… Cultural (for ages 4-9+), which takes readers into geography and culture
  • Captain No Beard (for ages 3-8), which offer male and female characters (modeled after Carole's grandchildren) who get up to fun and adventure as they use their imaginations and teach tender lessons about sharing, stranger dangers, asking for help, bullying, and more.
  • Bedtime Series, One to Ten (for ages 4-8), which teaches readers to evaluate a problem by giving it a number and to put it into the right perspective.
  • Rocket-Bye (for ages 2-8), which was Carole's love letter to my grandsons in the form of a trip to the stars
  • Can a Princess be a Firefighter? (for ages 2- forever), which was Carole's love letter to her granddaughters, encouraging you to reach for your dreams and not let people put you down because of gender
  • Oh Susannah (for ages 7-12), which is Carole's newest series which presents life lessons in short chapter books. 

Carole also offers bonus materials on her website in the form of free worksheets, etc to go along with some of her books.


What We Thought of the Books


My three children do not agree on much these days, but, when I took their dictations for this review, I discovered they do agree on their opinions about the Carole P. Roman books we reviewed - and I do, too.


In short, we all enjoyed the If You Were Me and Lived in... series.  Like the books in this series we previously reviewed, the Mali book was packed with interesting information and engaging illustrations, which helped us each of us learn new things.  We found the Oh Susannah chapter book pleasing enough.  Short chapters and a decent storyline kept us reading. However, even though we typically love picture books, we were not enamored with the Captain No Beard Story.  While its premise was cute and message against teasing sound, the book fell short for us overall.

In further detail, here is what each of the children had to say about the different books:





My youngest, at seven said:

I did not like (The Crew Goes Coconuts!) so much. The illustrations are too cartoony. The monkey looks nothing like a monkey, and I don't like the pictures or the storyline.

Books by Carole P Roman


I liked (
Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag). It was good. It had a better storyline.

A girl named Susannah woke up, put her schoolwork in a bag, didn't like oatmeal and had to eat it. Then, she put her banana in the bag. Then, she put books in the bag and more until the zipper broke. Every time she didn't want to deal with something she put it in the bag. Then, her parents found out and helped her find out things weren't so hard. It was good! I liked the illustrations. They were not too cartoony.
And, I liked learning about the Mali Empire. In ( If You Were Me and Lived in...the Ancient Mali Empire) I liked hearing about the prince that fought. Also, it is weird that they used nuts to bargain over marriage. And, I thought it was cool how the pants gets bigger and bigger... more baggie. Of the three books, Oh Susannah and the Mali book are my favorites. I would not recommend the Crew Goes Coconuts to other people, but I would the other two.



My daughter, at ten, said:
The Crew Goes Coconuts! is about a frog, a goat, two children, one baby, a lion, a monkey, and a parrot.  Some of the animals - the parrot, the monkey, and the lion - begin to tease the goat.  Then, the baby and one o the children defend the goat.  So, they get the Captain comes down and asks everyone to say something good about themselves and something bad...  Then, at the end of the book, we learn it's all imagination.

This book was okay.  The illustrations are bright, but I am a person who likes more realistic illustrations, so that is one thing I did not like.  The storyline was okay.  I liked the ending best. 

Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag is about a girl who did not finish her homework and who comes downstairs to get oatmeal and a banana.  She really does not want the banana, so she drops it in the bag with her homework.  Then, her mom made her lunch, but her dad was going to work, grabbed her lunch, and left.  So, her mom made her a new lunch, and she went to school.  At school, she puts more and more things in her bag and, then, the banana explodes in her bag and gets all yucky.  Then, when she goes home and goes to bed, she has nightmares and her parents find out what she has done and help her.

This story was good.  I liked it.  I would recommend it to people who don't want and extremely long book, but want a bit longer than a picture book and people who don't mind not having illustrations. 

Books by Carole P Roman

If You Were Me and Lived in...the Ancient Mali Empire was my favorite.  It is a very informative book.  It says what the Mali empire is like today and, then, it says what it was like back in the day. 
It's about a girl whose mother is richer, but she has many mothers, but is only born to one, because the men were married more than once.  (That's extremely weird, but I understand that maybe many women and children died back then and they needed sons to carry on their stuff.) 
The girls were not meant to go to meetings, but the girl's brother took her to one where she hid and observed.  The ruler had to giant tusks on his throne.
Then, it is about her grandfather telling stories of famines and the Mali empire.  There are lots of details. 

I think is strange that a man would come with nuts and put down three and he and you father would argue and then he would get your hand in marriage.
It was crazy how badly people were punished, too.
People that like history would like this book.

My oldest, at 11, said:
 
Books by Carole P Roman

The illustrations in
The Crew Goes Coconuts! are okay, but I prefer realistic illustrations.  The storyline was easy to follow, but was way to simple and basic.  It would only be good for little, little kids.  I totally missed the message about not teasing.  It was not delivered well.

Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag is okay.  The storyline was not my favorite, but it was not my least favorite.  I did not like that we never knew if the girl went to the sleepover or not.  That might be because the author wants people to read the next book.

It's about a girl who keeps getting mad and anxious and throws things in her bag.  Then, her bag explodes.  She tries to hide it.  Her parents find it in her room - a mess under her bed.  Then, they try to help her.  The parents learned not to ignore her and she learned not to throw all your stuff in a bag.

I liked If You Were Me and Lived in...the Ancient Mali Empire the most.  It is about history - which is probably why I like it, because I like history and did not know about the Mali empire before.

I learned a lot about the Mali empire, but sort of wish the book was told from a boy's perspective, so I could learn more about the things that boys did.

I liked to learn about how salt was worth as much as gold, that farmers were above artisans, that two generals commanded about 100,000 men, and more.

We have read other books from this series, and I like them all.  I would recommend any of this series and the chapter books, but not necessarily the author's picture books.


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My family chose to read each of the books we reviewed for enjoyment.  However, since The Crew Goes Coconuts!: A Captain No Beard Story (Volume 6)
and Oh Susannah: It's in the Bag: An Oh Susannah Story, however, since both books contain clear life lessons (on not teasing in the first book and handling anxiety in the second), they could be used as resources for virtue studies or emotional intelligence and time management for young children, respectively. They also would work for helping elementary-aged children get from character and plot to theme when studying literature.

If You Were Me and Lived in...the Ancient Mali Empire: An  Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time (Volume 5) could also be extended beyond mere enjoyable, informative reading since:

  • Illustrations of famous people at the ends of the book could be models for timeline drawings.
  • Glossary words could be used for vocabulary exercises, copy work, and other writing/word study endeavors.

  • Children could key into one or two of the topics covered in a book to study in further depth, making the book a catalyst for personal research projects or unit studies.

  • Maps and globes used in conjunction with the books would tie geography and history together well.
  • The wide variety of topics covered - from food, to clothing, to religion, to... you name it could open doors for a cultural fair.

Oh Susannah, Bedtime Stories, Captain No Beard, If you were Me ... {Carole P. Roman Reviews}

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