Homeschooling · What to read

A Year of Picture Books (July)

We are enjoying finding new books each month to read together. Our picture book choices for July were all over the place once again. We read about a helpful mathematician, a man who loved words so much he wrote a dictionary, a beloved librarian, a man who loved to dance with cranes, and one of the first female aeronauts to take to the skies. We hope you see a book or two that your family might like to share together in this month’s lot.

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos

This was a fun book. I love learning about savants and how their focus on their one main interest takes over their life in amazing ways. Paul Erdos loved math and especially loved to help others solve their own mathematical problems (which is very unusual in mathematicians) He collaborated with over 500 mathematicians in his life and wrote over 1500 mathematics papers. He even collaborated with Einstein! The author and the illustrator did a great job incorporating mathematics into the story and the illustrations were lovely.

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré

Planting Stories tells how one woman spread her Puerto Rican heritage throughout New York city with a couple of books and numerous puppet shows. Pura Belpre noticed that there were not any books for children that told of the stories she remembered growing up in Puerto Rico, so she decided to record the stories in book format and share them with the children she saw each week at her library. I am a sucker for bright colors in children’s books and this book was bursting with color.

Noah Webster and His Words

We enjoyed this book about how the Webster Dictionary got its start. I loved how the author cleverly has definitions of long words built into each paragraph that got Ben hooked on looking words up in our own dictionary after we finished this book. I did not know that Noah Webster singlehandedly helped Americans develop their own spelling and pronunciations of words independent from England. Apparently depending on where you lived back then, a word could have multiple different spellings and pronunciations….which was chaotic! He also wrote many of the early readers that school children used during that time.

The Flying Girl: How Aida de Acosta Learned to Soar

Flying Girl tells the story of how one woman fulfilled her dream of becoming the very first female aeronaut to fly a motorized aircraft. During her solo flight, she landed in a polo field while a game was going on! After watching a few rounds, she got back into her aircraft and finished her circuit. The pictures were beautiful in this book as well.

Dancing with Tex: The Remarkable Friendship to Save The Whooping Cranes

This was a cute book. When Tex was a baby whooping crane her rehabilitators did not keep her separate from humans, so she identified as a human and not a whooping crane. This meant that she did not know she needed to do a mating dance with other whooping cranes, and instead would only dance with humans (who of course could not help her to have a baby!). This was a problem because Tex was one of the few whooping cranes (one of 109) left in the US at the time and every egg was valuable. So one of the scientists started to dance with her and after numerous attempts (over many years) she finally was able to have a viable egg. Her son, Gee Whiz, went on to live for 38 years and have an extended family that expanded up to 178 whooping cranes. His contributions to rebuilding the whooping crane flock helped bring the total population up to 800 in 2018. We actually live near a whooping crane migration path and saw one at a local refuge two years ago. They are beautiful!

Happy reading!

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