We had another great month of picture books. We learned about inventors, authors, human rights advocates, and naturalists. If you think that picture books are just for young children…..you would be wrong! I get just as much from these books as my nine year old does and we get to enjoy learning about these amazing people who somehow did not make it onto our radar together. Learning together is one of the many blessings of the homeschool life.
Eugenie Clark was truly an amazing lady. My kids have always enjoyed learning about sharks (second to dinosaurs of course) Funny story: When we went to the Atlanta aquarium my seven year old daughter knew so much about all the sharks she saw that she ended up teaching the guide some things they did not know! Swimming with Sharks tells the amazing story of how a young girl’s lifelong fascination of sharks helped the world to learn more about these mysterious creatures and kickstarted many shark protection laws along the way.
I knew about the Fibonacci sequence already because I took way too many biology classes in college, but I am always amazed at the amount of evidence nature holds to prove this amazing discovery. Once again we are introduced to someone that many people thought were odd because they focused on the most minute details, but they went on to prove that they were geniuses by picking up on the patterns that most people overlook. The illustrator filled the pages with a ton of hidden details of things that illustrate how the Fibonacci sequence is found throughout nature. There are pictures of galaxies, pine cones, nautilus, starfish, hurricanes, and so many other examples of the Fibonacci sequence hidden in the illustrations that you can go back after you read the book to find in the pages.
Ben loved this book. We learned about how J.M. Barrie was inspired to write Peter Pan by experiences scattered throughout his life, like how his mother was the inspiration for Wendy and how his beloved St. Bernard provided the idea for Nana. I also loved how each page had a quote from the book in relation to what the author was explaining about Barrie’s life. If you love Peter Pan I think you will like this book as much as we did.
This was probably one of my favorites of this bunch because it was just so amazing that Eratosthenes got within 200 miles of estimating the Earth’s circumference and that this occurred around the year 200 BC was just mind boggling. He used only math and what little science they had at the time to figure it out. I was amazed to learn that he hired a group of men who were trained to walk in measured steps to accurately gauge the distance between two cities (this was an actual profession back then) which helped him to gather the missing data he needed to get his estimate. If you love geography and math, then this book is for you.
We had came across Thomas Edison before when we read about Nikola Tesla last month so it was nice to learn some more about this complicated man. I had heard stories of his ruthlessness and his unrelenting work ethic before so it was nice to see how his life shaped him. The author left out some of the more unsavory tidbits of his life like how he stole the rights of patents from others and ruthlessly squashed competitors, but even I have to admit he was a brilliant inventor.
I love reading about women who just wanted to do the right thing and didn’t wait for the men in their lives to approve. Clara was a trailblazer of her time who helped to establish the American Red Cross. We enjoyed learning about how she put her life on the line again and again to reach the wounded soldiers on the battlefield and the fact that she escaped being shot numerous times by just a few inches. She also helped to update the sanitation practices in field hospitals and trained the nurses on how to be emotionally supportive the the wounded. Simply an amazing woman.
We found all of these gems at out local library, so head over to yours and see if you can find some amazing picture books to read with your kids (or even by yourself!)