Category Archives: Book Reviews

Review: Three Cups of Tea: Young Reader’s Edition

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Three Cups of Tea: Young Reader's Edition
Three Cups of Tea: Young Reader’s Edition by Greg Mortenson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My kids and I (age 9 boy, 14 girl) really enjoyed this book. I know there’s a lot of controversy around it and the lies the author has told and mismanagement of funds…but it doesn’t detract from what my kids and I learned from this book. And that is that education makes all the difference in the world. Even if this were a completely fictional story (it’s not…yes, large chunks of it are fabricated, but the main message is true and the fact that Greg Mortenson has indeed built schools in that area of the world and does truly care about those people…) I would have loved it.

I homeschool my kids and have a hard time explaining to them sometimes why education is so important. It’s sort of a given in our country (US) and there are times when education seems tedious to them (a challenge I’m constantly struggling with, as I don’t believe education should be unpleasant) so this was a wonderful story to introduce the idea to them that not every child in the world has the privilege of getting an education…and in those countries, the building of a school and the learning of the basics of how to read and write and learn about the world around them make a huge difference in the lives of the people living there.

Just looking at the topic of girls and women are treated in many third world countries…if every girl got an education and learned that this isn’t so all over the world, I wonder what a difference this would make to the plight of women and girls in these countries. When you don’t know that there’s even an option of being treated equally, why would you question it? My kids and I discussed these topics because of this book, so bravo Mr Mortenson! I thank you for bringing these issues to my children in a format they could really understand.

I highly recommend this children’s version of Greg Mortenson’s book for anyone with kids. You may choose to tell your kids the controversy over it, but I chose not to while we were reading it, as I didn’t want it to detract from the message of the story. I probably will talk with them about it now that we have completed the book, though, but will also point out that while some of the story is false, much of it is true, and even though some parts are false, that sort of thing (village hospitality…kidnapping in the Middle East by terrorists…) truly does happen.

Great story and I hope the CAI are able to get their act together and make up for all the lost revenue and time they suffered as a result of Greg Mortenson…and that Mr. Mortenson can find a way to make up for it as well, and continue on to do great things. It’s evident that his heart is in the right place, he just needed to have a reality check on some of his decision making. Considering that the one interview I saw said that CAI is down 80% in revenues due to the controversy, I think that lesson was indeed learned.

But don’t let the controversy stop you from reading this great book and from thinking about this issue of education in countries where schools are few and far between. Greg’s right, education is truly the answer to world peace.

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Review: Dear Dr. Bell…Your Friend, Helen Keller

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Dear Dr. Bell...Your Friend, Helen Keller
Dear Dr. Bell…Your Friend, Helen Keller by Judith St. George

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. This is a fascinating book! I had NO idea Alexander Graham Bell and Helen Keller were such good friends…or friends at all! And everyone I’ve talked to about this book was surprised as well!

My kids and I enjoyed learning all about Bell and Keller together in one book that focused on their relationship, but touched deeply on their individual lives as well. This was a great, quick read on 2 very inspiring and fascinating people!

I highly recommend to anyone who wants to know more about either or both of these people!

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Review: Who Was Amelia Earhart?

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Who Was Amelia Earhart?
Who Was Amelia Earhart? by Kate Boehm Jerome

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an excellent intro to Amelia Earhart! It made us (myself and my 14 and 9yr old) fascinated by this young woman’s life! Now I need to find a good documentary to supplement this book!

This book was well written on a child’s level to explain the fascinating life of this heroic and spunky woman!

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Review: Mr. Revere and I: Being an Account of certain Episodes in the Career of Paul Revere,Esq. as Revealed by his Horse

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Mr. Revere and I: Being an Account of certain Episodes in the Career of Paul Revere,Esq. as Revealed by his Horse
Mr. Revere and I: Being an Account of certain Episodes in the Career of Paul Revere,Esq. as Revealed by his Horse by Robert Lawson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Book Review: Lives of the Scientists

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This is an excellent children’s nonfiction book that shares short info on the lives of a selection of scientists throughout history. It is sort of a picture book, in the sense that it has a picture on nearly every page, but much more words that you’d normally see in a picture book.

The scientists are arranged chronologically, and I especially like that each one’s initial page includes where and when they were born and where and when they died (if they died).

I do wish the dates were included as well in the Table of Contents, so you could see at a glance which scientists would be relevant to the time you are studying, but I guess I can’t have everything. My solution to this, on books I own, is to simply pencil the dates in on the Contents.

This is a book I think I will look for purchase (used) on Amazon, as it will be handy to have on hand, to refer to as we travel to different times in our history lessons. I like to interject scientists of the times into our history lessons, but don’t necessarily need to go into great depth with each one, so this is a great little book to read short (2-4 pages) info on the lives and contributions of a variety of scientists.

I was pleasantly surprised to see women represented as well as men, although not equally. I counted 15 men and 7 women, but frankly it’s often hard to find ANY women represented in this sort of book, so this was a good sampling, I think.

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