Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth

I love reading children's books to my children and, I have to confess, I enjoy them myself. Oftentimes they explain difficult concepts in an understandable way that more scholarly books just can't. A great read aloud for your 5 - 10 year-old. It is well illustrated and explains how Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the earth over 2000 years ago. It also takes care of a very persistent myth which is that the people of the ancient times even up through the Middle Ages believed that the earth was flat. That simply is not true and before you know it, this book will lead you into an interesting discussion and further studies with your children when Mrs. Lasky closes with this intriguing thought in the Afterword: "When Columbus finally did set sail west from Spain to the Indies, he should have paid more attention to Eratosthenes' calculations. Instead he looked at maps done by Greek geographers after Eratosthenes. These geographers made some serious mistakes and showed an earth that was not so big around. Columbus thought it would be a quick trip to the Indies. He was wrong. But perhaps if he had believed Eratosthenes' measurements, in which the oceans of the world looked so huge and the distances between land so far, he would have never even tried!"
The Librarian Who Measured the Earth, hardcover, $17.99

Friday, December 4, 2009

Coffin's Story of Liberty

A great history book written for younger children with many exciting illustrations. Our son Oliver (10) read the book this year. Now, he is reading the second book in the series called "Sweet Land of Liberty". The Story of Liberty covers medieval history in Europe through the Reformation right up to 1620 when the Pilgrims journeyed to the New Land. I personally read the book and found it fascinating. However, it is not an easy book to read and though liberty prevails, the Story of Liberty is a hard-hitting account of what it cost men, women and children to achieved and finally establish liberty on this American continent. The book is definitely not a "politically correct" account. For that reason, however, I think it's all the more worth your and your students time. Our children not only need to understand true liberty but also know what the enemies of liberty look like and act like. I highly recommend the book for a student with good reading abilities and an interest in history. I also think any parent will profit from the book in preparation for teaching this time period to your children.
The Story of Liberty, large paperback, $14.95. A study guide is available for $9.95
This is the first book in a series of three published by Maranatha Publications. The second book is called "Sweet Land of Liberty" and the third is called "The Boys of '76"