Picture Books Supporting the Girl Scout Daisy Global Action Award

C has been working on earning the Global Action Award for Girl Scout Daisies, which uses the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) "to teach Daisies about critical world issues and how they can make a difference." What better way to start learning about these issues than through books? There are some wonderful picture books out there that touch on (or even tackle) these heavy topics in an age-appropriate way. These topics are tough, so if you have a sensitive child, consider pre-screening the books and remember, Daisies only have to complete a minimum of one activity from the requirement list in order to earn the award. Here is the book list I came up with, each book coupled with its corresponding…

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The Red Bicycle by Jude Isabella

The Red Bicycle follows the true story of one donated, recycled, and re-purposed bicycle, Big Red, as it travels from a small town in the United States to rural Burkina Faso in West Africa. Depending on where they live, each owner has a different use (or need) for the bicycle. In a sweet, child-friendly way, The Red Bicycle shows children how an item they use for fun can be essential — sometimes even life-saving — to people in other parts of the world. C recently heard about bicycle ambulances for the first time, so she was excited to read more about that here. I appreciate so much that the story did not come full circle at the end. That is, the boy who originally…

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One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul

All too often when I'm browsing the nonfiction children's titles on NetGalley, I spot a book that looks like it might tie in perfectly with a topic we're already focusing on (or planning to focus on). We tend to combine homeschooling and Girl Scouts when we can. One Plastic Bag ended up being a combined science and social studies lesson, and the discussion it sparked helped C work on her dark green "Use Resources Wisely" Clover petal as a Girl Scout Daisy. (It would also work well for the light pink "Make the World a Better Place" Rosie petal, and I have a feeling we'll revisit this book when she starts on the "Between Earth and Sky" Journey.) One Plastic Bag tells…

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Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki

In Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, memories of time spent in Japan visiting her professional violinist grandfather inspire Hana to play her violin in her school talent show, even though she's had only a few lessons. Hana spends every spare moment practicing, despite unsupportive comments from her brothers, and finds a way to face her own performance anxiety the day of the show. The illustrations are stunning, and I especially appreciated Leng's attention to accurate details: the violin and the bow are shown in the correct hands, music notes are properly drawn. Uegaki's use of language is beautifully descriptive: "From his study, the clear, bright notes would drift upstairs, through the shoji screen doors to where Hana slept on sweet-smelling tatami…

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Girl Scouts Founder’s Day: Books for Mom & Daughter

October 31 is full of celebration! It's Halloween. It's Reformation Day. And for the Girl Scouts of the USA, it's Founder's Day, the day we celebrate Juliette Gordon Low's birthday. My mom and I were both Girl Scouts, and now C is continuing the tradition. Today I thought I'd highlight two recently-purchased books that we've been enjoying.   For Mom Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts by Stacy A. Cordery (Penguin Books, 2012) Reading Here Come the Girl Scouts! to C actually prompted me to look for a Juliette Gordon Low biography for myself. I'm so glad I chose Stacy Cordery's book! I'm finding this to be thorough and very engaging, not at all dry, as some reviews…

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Tino and the Pomodori by Tonya Russo Hamilton

  In Tino and the Pomodori, Tonya Russo Hamilton tells the story of her father as a young boy in Italy, anticipating his favorite time of the year: the tomato (pomodori) harvest. This book has everything I look for in a great children's title, and some of you may remember from last year's Armchair BEA... I'm terribly picky. The watercolor illustrations are stunning and keep the reader's attention. The story is simple, sweet, and reads easily. Children will pick up Italian words and phrases, learn about Italian culture, and have a subtle science lesson in the life cycle of the tomato plant. Charlotte Mason would have certainly approved of this as a "living science" book. C, who is almost 5, connected with the story right…

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Mini Reviews from Classic Children’s Literature

C is almost 5 and still enjoys plenty of picture books, but this year we've been reading more and more classic chapter books. Between audiobooks while we're in the car and whatever book we're reading here at home, we're on a roll! I thought I'd combine our most recent reads into a mini review post. Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard & Florence AtwaterThis was a completely new one for me. How had I never even heard of it? I loved the rich vocabulary, the problem-solving (especially how to keep the penguins happy and healthy), and the little bits of social studies woven seamlessly into the story. C's reaction? "Sooooo cute and those penguins are hilarious!"Little House in the Big Woods…

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Raising Readers Through Wordless Picture Books

My preschooler has reached an interesting stage. She's been working through Reading Eggs and can read most of the books in set 1 of the Bob Books, but it's still so new that the effort tires her out quickly. I'm always watching closely to make sure I'm not pushing her and her enthusiasm toward books stays high.When I noticed C reading Good Dog, Carl to her stuffed animals one afternoon, I realized how powerful wordless picture books could be. What a great way to spark the imagination, foster a love for reading, and give children an "I can do it all by myself" feeling!Since Good Dog, Carl is the only wordless picture book we own, I headed over to the library to find others. Here…

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Small Fry Saturday: Scarlatti’s Cat

Small Fry Saturday is a meme inspired by The Well-Read Redhead, showcasing books our children enjoy.This week's pick is:  Title: Scarlatti's CatAuthor: Nathaniel LachenmeyerIllustrator: Carlyn BecciaPublisher: Carolrhoda BooksExpected Release:March 1, 2014Source:I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.Find it on:    Scarlatti's Cat grabbed my attention both as a musician and music teacher, and as a parent who appreciates a quality picture book. The book is based on the legendary story behind Domenico Scarlatti's Fugue in G minor and how it became known as the "cat fugue." This fugue is built upon a somewhat unusual set of six notes, which inspired a tale in which Scarlatti composed the piece during an improvisation session after…

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Small Fry Saturday: John Coltrane’s Giant Steps

Small Fry Saturday is a meme inspired by The Well-Read Redhead, showcasing books our children enjoy.This week's pick is:  Title: John Coltrane'sGiant StepsAuthor/Illustrator:Chris RaschkaNarrator: Richard AllenPublisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson BooksReleased:July 1, 2002Source:I borrowed this book from my local library.Find it on:    John Coltrane's Giant Steps offered so much more than I expected in a children's book! The CD included with the book is a must; this is really meant to be experienced as an entire package. The CD offers two tracks: one with page turn cues, one without.The story's "performers" are some raindrops on drums, a box playing string bass, a snowflake on piano, and an adorable kitten on tenor sax. (Get it? Raindrops? Snowflake? Kitten?) Narrator Richard Allen has a laid back, very chill style…

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