bookreviews


  • Punctuation..? {Book Review} Are you learning about punctuation? Sometimes, it can be a little challenging to come up with a clear definition of what each part of punctuation is used for. If this is you, or your child, you might want to check out this little book called Punctuation..? by User Design. Only 35 pages long, this little book from the UK uses creative sketches to help explain the use and purpose of punctuation marks from apostrophe to semicolon.  Each topic has a sketch and a short paragraph beneath with examples included. I found this book interesting, and actually quite a nice reference guide when ... Read more
  • A Moose In A Maple Tree Moose in a Maple Tree“On the first day of Christmas, a Canuck sent to me a moose in a maple tree.” And so begins author Troy Townsin’s All-Canadian 12 Days of Christmas book – A Moose in a Maple Tree. Filled with iconic Canadianisms such as hockey players, the RCMP, beavers, polar bears, and totem poles – this is a cute kids’ book to add to the Christmas collection. Troy has also written 2 other Canadian Christmas books – adaptations of famous songs/poems: Canadian Jingle Bells & The Night Before a Canadian Christmas. These books are a lot of fun. The pictures are bright, vibrant and very “Canadian.” ... Read more
  • When We Were Alone: A Residential School Storybook {Book Review} One of the biggest dark spots on Canadian history is the implementation of the residential school system for the First Nations children. With the intention of helping Indian children from savage to civilized, they were torn away from their families and forced to live in schools where they were stripped of everything of their culture, abused, and scarred for life. It is vital importance that we open the lines of communication and reconciliation with our children about this experience. The impact of the residential schools has affected the First Nations community so deeply.  But how can we start the conversations needed with ... Read more
  • Books for Curious Kids If you have a kid who loves learning, is always asking questions or trying to figure things out – then you know that their voracious need to discover something new is hard to satiate. Today, I’ve put together a list of some books to help you feed the need to learn. Thing Explainer The problem with most information books is that they use big, jargoned, challenging words in their explanations and that can make a curious kid confused. The book, Thing Explainer, aims to change that, looking to explain how things work with everyday, simple language. Each page of this book is like a ... Read more
  • This is My Home, This is My School {Book Review} This is My Home, This is My School - a book about life as a homeschoolerKids love books they can relate to.  Kids who go to school get a wide selection of book titles to dive into that allow them the chance to relate to their educational experience. But the options for homeschooled kids are much smaller. In fact, are there any? With this in mind, I am super excited to share a brand new picture book from Jonathan Bean, an author who was homeschooled himself, all about life as a homeschooler. This is my Home, This is my School. The story features a little boy who takes you on a tour of his house and school – ... Read more
  • 3 Preschool Books About Fall and Winter Seasons The changing seasons are a curious thing for kids. What kinds of things happen when the season moves from summer to fall to winter? Here are some great books to read about these changes.   (This post uses affiliate links.) Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak. A picture book with gorgeous artwork illustrations, this story follows the wanderings of a young girl through a late summer day as she observes the world making changes towards fall, like the colours of leaves, animals making preparations, the chill in the wind, etc. Reading wise, the  words on each page are just a line or two, ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: The War of 1812 In 1812, America and Britain go to war, and Canada – being the closest British colony, is under attack. The War of 1812 begins. Heroes and heroines emerge from the battlefields. Important People of the War of 1812 Matching Puzzle Game Although there are many amazing stories of these important contributors to the war that more or less seemed to have created Canadian nationalism, this matching activity only includes eight people: Sir Issac Brock, George Prevost, Tecumseh, Charles de Salaberry, James Fitzgibbon, Laura Secord, Enos Collins, and John Norton. I wish images had been available to include more – like Richard Pierpoint, leader ... Read more
  • 642 BIG Things to Write About – Writing Prompts for Young Writers Encouraging a non-writer to write can be a real struggle. So can finding something to satiate the passion of a child who loves to write. What if you could hand them a book with 642 things to write about? Introducing 642 Big Things to Write About – Young Writer’s Edition. This oversized writing journal gets the creative juices flowing with a wide range of prompts from the fun and silly, to the deep and thoughtful, to self-reflection, to fictional, to poetry and even just writing simple things like definitions or single words. What would you do with an extra arm? Write about something you ... Read more
  • Charter for Children Book Series Published by DC Canada, the Charter for Children book series makes the Charter of Canadian Rights and Freedoms more personal and understandable through stories of lovable cartoon characters such as Anne of Green Tomatoes, Alexander the Grape, and Thanadel the Canadian Goose. Based in different provinces and territories across Canada, these stories take a small part of the charter and build a story around it – explaining how that section works and why it’s important. The series has recently added 4 more books to the series, bringing the collection up to current total of 10 books. They are working on adding ... Read more
  • Ultimate Field Trip Guide – Canada Canada is an amazing country – you can see and experience it from coast to coast through some unique and exciting destinations. Whether we’re taking a journey to a local attraction for a learning experience day, or travelling from one coast to the other, or even touring the country from in front of our computer screen – there are field trips all over Canada to explore. Sharla, a Canadian homeschooling mom with 7 kids, has created an amazing resource for any homeschooler, traveller, or Canadian explorer who wants to stop and see some great destinations. It’s called The Ultimate Guide to Field ... Read more
  • X-Tails: Books with Adventure Action. Adventure. Extreme sports. Lessons in perseverance, inclusion, how to combat bullying, and more. This is what the X-Tails book series is all about. Introducing the X-Tails team – a set of 6 animal characters: Wisdom, the lion who is the team leader. Charm the Kangaroo. Crash the Hippo. Flight the Gorilla. Dazzle the Bear. Mischief the (slightly short) Wolf. Together, in their X-Van, they love to go out and have big adventures such as surfing, BMX biking, skiing, and skateboarding. Each of the books has a theme to help kids grasp the importance of subjects like sportsmanship, understanding different abilities, and persevering. I had ... Read more
  • Science Storybooks When presented in storybook format, even young kids can grasp potentially complex concepts with surprising ease. That’s why I really have been enjoying the Science Storybook series. Originally published in Korea and translated into English, these books are written for young children – preschool through 2nd grade in particular, although I think they can be great tools for even older students and terrific picture books for toddlers as well. The three books in the series that I got to check out were Fossils Tell Stories, The Flow of Water, and Will it Rain or Snow? Not only are these books filled with ... Read more
  • The Lost My Name Book {Book Review} Lost My Name Personalized Children's BookKids love gifts that are specialized just for them. So when I heard about the Lost My Name book company, I thought it would be an amazing gift for my youngest son – something special, just for him. The story follows the adventures of a little boy (or girl!) who has lost their name and goes seeking for answers. Along the way, each character that they meet is guided by the letters of their name. Ordering is super easy and quick. Simply type in your child’s name, pick their character, and click create book. The story builds itself. One of the neat features ... Read more
  • Smithsonian Picturepedia Smithsonian PicturepediaOne of the best things we as parents (whether we are homeschooling or not) is instill the love of learning in our children. Kids are curious creatures by nature – we just have to provide the opportunity for exploration. As a child, one of my favourite thing to reference was the large set of encyclopedias on our book shelves. I would study things in earnest, eager to learn. Unfortunately – the information in those books is now so sadly out of date that they don’t hold the same appeal for my kids as they did for me. Thankfully,  a  bright colourful ... Read more
  • Eureka! Eureka Screenshot 1Homeschooling parents are a resourceful bunch, pulling together resources to best educate their children. I was recently contacted by Grace-Anne Post – a Canadian homeschooling mom who has put together a collection of activities in a new book. “I am a homeschool mom of two boys age 11 and 16.  We have been homeschooling from the beginning and love this journey!  Over the years I have been collecting some of our favourite activities to put into a book format that I could share with others. Well, I have finally put it all together and wanted to make it available for free!  In ... Read more
  • 250 Hours {Book Review} Written in the present day, and exploring the past, this new book from author Colleen Nelson challenges readers, offering the opportunity to look at their own personal responses. Summary: “Jess is an angry loner trying to escape a troubled past, who acts out by setting things on fire. Sara Jean is a dutiful granddaughter trying to escape a strait-jacketed future, who has her heart set on being a writer. They both are heartbroken over being abandoned by a parent. They come together over a 250-hour community service sentence to clean out a garage full of secrets that has implications for them both.” This was an incredibly ... Read more
  • Through Flood and Fire {Living Book Review} Title: Through Flood and Fire {Book Review} Author: Anne Patton Publisher: Coteau Books Age Range: Children (9+) Time Period: 1903 Location: Saskatchewan Dorothy is in a campsite on the edge of a little village called Saskatoon. The year is 1903 and the 10-year-old girl and her family have come all the way from England to Canada. They are heading to a new settlement. While her mother stays behind to nurse victims of scarlet fever, Dorothy sets out with the rest of the family across the prairies to the Barr Colony. But it is going to take all her courage and determination – and some help – to make it through the floods, ... Read more
  • Canada Books: A to Z Canada: Our Road to DemocracyIf you are looking for a fun way to start teaching more in-depth about Canada, its history, culture, and democracy – you might want to check out these new books from Humber Press. Canada – Our Road to Democracy tackles the often complex concepts surrounding our country, our government and how it all works, explaining it easily enough that a child can understand it without watering it down to utter simplicity. Working its way through the alphabet (starting with Aboriginal Peoples and ending with Zeal), this book makes learning fun with bantar between the cute little characters at the beginning of ... Read more
  • Shards of Excalibur {Book Review} There’s always been something alluring about Arthurian legend. I think I’ve devoured just about every version of the story as I’ve possibly could. Camelot, Avalon, Lancelot, Morgana, Guinevere, Knights of the Round Table, Arthur….. it’s all so… romantic and mysterious. What if the stories were real? What if there was a sword called Excalibur and it held great power? What if that sword had been broken into 5 shards and hidden in the farthest corners of the Earth? What if Merlin were still alive and trying to claim those shards and the only people who could stop him are some young ... Read more
  • Book Scavenger {Book Review} Once in a while, you just happen to stumble onto a book that was written for young people but that you can’t put down. Book Scavenger is one of those. Emily. aged 12, has just moved to San Francisco with her parents and older brother. They move a lot, as her parents have a goal to live in all 50 US states. Her favourite pastime is a game that combines the seek & find thrill of geocaching, with the brain challenge of puzzles & ciphers, and the love of reading. It’s a game called Book Scavenger. Basically, you look up a book ... Read more
  • Between Shadows {Book Review} Recently released from Coteau Books is a book about a 12 year old boy named Ari who had been looking forward to spending a summer with his grandfather at his cabin, but whose plans all change when his grandfather dies – forcing him and his dad to meet up with his aunt to get the cabin ready to sell. Ari meets up with some locals, learns more about the community his grandfather lived in, and even makes some friends. When his grandfather’s will is read and Ari learns that he was given the property, he is excited. At least, until his father and aunt ... Read more
  • A Path of Their Own {Book Review} A Path of Their Own: Helping Children to Educate ThemselvesAs a homeschooling parent, I’ve always been curiously drawn to the idea of unschooling, but have mostly stuck to conventional methods of teaching. I think I am scared that I will fail my kids if I drop the basics of “school,” so I was glad to get the opportunity to read Canadian unschooling mom, Lael Whitehead’s book – A Path of Their Own. Ms. Whitehead shares the story of her journey through education with her daughters – from the early days of public school through the start of home education to the freedom of unschooling and beyond. Unschooling seems to have a ... Read more