The Bayeux Tapestry by Norman Denny If your kids took any interest in the Norman Conquest of 1066, this might be a great visual for them. It’s an old book, but the Berks County and Chester County library systems each have a copy. It shows the Tapestry (which is essentially a medieval comic strip) frame by frame with explanations of what’s happening. It is wordy, but you can read as much or as little as you want. Great if your child showed an interest in this portion of history and would like to see a “primary source.” Recommended for any age level, including high schoolers! I found it informative!
How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig This was a real treat. I read the first two chapters aloud with my seven year old and through the guided memorization tactics presented in the book, we both got 10 lines of Shakespeare memorized in one Saturday morning. (And yes, we still remember it.) If you or your child took any interest in our Shakespeare units – at any grade level – you will find this book a treasure.
Give Your Child the World by Jamie C. Martin I’m easily won over by books filled with suggestions of other books. This book does just that. The first few chapters emphasize the importance (and the practical how-to’s) of connecting your child to the globe. I found it inspiring. The bulk of the book sorts reading suggestions by continent and recommended grade level. Consider buying a used copy (easily found online for $10 or less) to reference as you work through your history/geography curriculum.
Natural History: The Ultimate Visual Guide to Everything on Earth published by Smithsonian This fat, photo-filled resource been a great asset in our school room! From browsing examples of the various types of vertebrates to finding out if Redwall’s fox Selah or badger Constance would be larger in real life, we’ve pulled this tome off the shelf countless times already. Don’t be content to borrow this one from the library. You’ll be glad to have it in your permanent collection.
Down Down Down by Steve Jenkins If you’re looking for supplementary materials to go with your science curriculum, this is a great one for your section on sea creatures. Animals are sorted by how deep in the ocean they live. Illustrations are some sort of paper cut-out reminiscent of Eric Carle, but with much greater detail and liveliness. Very enjoyable. (Follow it up with the “Ocean Deep” episode from Planet Earth.)
Finding Winnie by Lindsey Mattick With illustrations by Sophie Blackall (one of our favorites), this book started out with points in its favor already. The story, based on the true background of the bear that inspired Winnie the Pooh, is a sweet one for kids who love Pooh, but it’s perhaps even sweeter for grownups who have seen that “sometimes you have to let one story end so the next one can begin.” (cue the tears)
Love Is by Diane Adams Another tear-jerker for moms and dads, this rhyming book tells the tender story of a child’s care for a lost wild duckling. Its brevity is its greatest power. Simple but beautiful illustrations capture each sweet phase of the story.
Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler A Depression-era family (mom and eight kids; dad has died) sets up a home in a shack in the woods. Will they make ends meet? Will their empty life be filled? Based on a true story, this picture book is gorgeous and tells the sweet story of finding contentment in the smallest