Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Lovely Books Arrived!

A sweet sister offered to ship some books for Maimoonah all the way from Canada and Alhamdulillaah the package arrived today. May Allaah bless the sister for her efforts and generosity!

I did not have any clue what kind of books to get down so another dear sister (you will know who she is soon Inshaa Allaah) recommended some lovely books and all of them arrived today. Maashaa Allaah I really liked them as they are books that could be read in the future as well and do fall into the category of "Living Books". I found them to be good except for few words like "lucky and "church" which I cut it off, other than this lot of morals and survival issues to learn from them. I feel these books are going to give a completely different kind of information to little Maimoonah who is growing and is entering a different type of a world Inshaa Allaah!.

The sister sent me these recommendations with details for each title, and I thought I would share them with you all as well.

Here are the details of each title which the sister (a big jazzakumullaah khayr to you and your family sis) shared.

1. The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills - about an Appalachian girl who has lost her father. She needs a coat, which her mother cannot afford. A few ladies rally around to help her, but this isn't the end to her troubles. Great book for geography (the USA, Appalachia, the mountains), learning about equipment and instruments of the old days (pictures will show), friendship and kindness, coal and mining, quilting etc. There is a bit where they mention Joseph's multi-coloured coat, which is a Christian concept. I explained to the kids that while there is mention of Prophet Yusuf's shirt (three in fact: the one the brothers put blood on, the one which was torn by the `Aziz's wife and the one that healed his father's eyes), we don't know about it being multi-coloured. We got into a short discussion about how important it is to get our information about the deen from authentic sources.

2. The Salamander Room by Ann Mazer - about a boy who wants to keep a salamander. His mother's gentle questions lead him to give detailed explanations about how he can make his room an ideal habitat. Great for science - you can study amphibians and all the creatures mentioned in the book, forests, plants, habitats etc. 

3. Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming - about a girl in the US who sends a care package to a girl in post WW2 Holland. The charitable effort grows and soon involves and benefits not just the families but the communities. Good book for history and geography (Europe, WW2), science (tulips), as well as charity. 

4. Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran - LOVE LOVE LOVE this book :) It is about a group of kids who live in Yuma, Arizona. This book deals with the boundless creativity and imagination children can have. My kids ADORE this book - I think it is because they truly identify with it. I love the philosophy behind this book :)

5. Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasha - About a boy's summer experience helping his relatives run their seaside food joint. He discovers something interesting on the beach and his grandmother then takes him on a wondrous little trip that helps him learn about his discovery. Lots to learn about geography (New England, sea), science (moon jellies), art (discuss pictures, use of light, shades of blue), how to run a business, restaurants etc.) Lovely pictures.

6. My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tololwa Mollel - Set in Tanzania, it is about a boy who saves and saves for something precious... I love the selflessness of the child. Good for teaching children about Africa, saving, money and family :)

7. Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine - Based on a true story about a slave who mailed himself to freedom. Interesting story about the cruelties of slavery in America's south. 

8. The Gardener by Sarah Stewart - Set in the time of the Depression, this story is about Lydia Grace Finch, who goes to stay with her Uncle Jim, an unsmiling baker. She brings a suitcase full of seeds and slowly transforms the gray city bit by bit with her flowers. She works on a secret project that she hopes will make her uncle smile. My kids loved this story - we talked about the Depression era, good manners, letter writing, gardening... making the best in a tough situation... 

9. The Friend by Sarah Stewart - Very touching story ... about the friendship between a privileged girl and her helper. Born into a rich family, Belle is often neglected by her parents who leave her in the care of Bea. Belle 'helps' Bea as she does the chores and spends a great deal of time with her by the beach. A great tragedy is averted one day, thanks to the deep connection shared between the two. We found this beautiful reading but also sad ... sad that the maid had such a bond with the girl, a bond that her parents should have had. Close inspection of the pictures will show that it is actually based on the author's life. 

10. A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams - About a girl, her mother and her grandmother and their efforts to save up for an armchair after their old home was burnt down. Lots of lessons in this book - money and savings, frugality, appreciating things, family ties, charity, community spirit etc. 

Picture Books - Muslim Characters
(I mentioned Books 1-4 on my blog here.)
1. Alia’s Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq by Mark Alan Stamaty
2. The Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Florence Parry Heide & Judith Heide Gilliland
3. The Roses in My Carpets by Rukhsana Khan

4. Yasmin's Hammer by Ann Malaspina - about a Bangladeshi girl and her sister who have to work at  hammering bricks. Their family had left the village after a disaster and now live in a shack in the city trying to make ends meet. Yasmin longs to learn and go to school... Nice story about determination and love for knowledge. Good for geography - South Asia/Bangladesh, cyclones, agriculture, rickshaws, Bangladeshi food.

5. The Butter Man by Elizabeth and Ali Alalou - Nora is impatient for her dinner and says she is "starving", so her father tells her a story about his childhood in the mountains of Morocco. When crops were poor and food was scarce, young Ali's father had to find work elsewhere and Ali had only a piece of bread a day. Even this grew smaller as the wheat supplies diminished and the butter ran out. His mother sent him out to wait for "the butter man" (to distract him from his hunger pangs) and this he did every day, until his father returned with food. Powerful lesson in patience, peserverence and counting blessings. Nice book for learning about Morocco and the Berber folk.

6. My Great Grandmother's Gourd by Christina Kessler - A pump has been installed in a village in Sudan, allowing folks to draw up water efficiently. This piece of technology seems to excite everyone except for Fatima's grandmother, who seems to be infuriatingly set in her ways. She insists on collecting water using the baobab tree even though others ridicule her. Then something happens and teaches the villagers the value of respecting tradition even while they embrace progress. 

That is the end of the details given by sister Imaan.I hope this would help others as well Inshaa Allaah.

We also had a surprise gift in the package. 

May Allaah reward the sister immensely! She had got us these Usborne Lovely set of encyclopedias. Actually I was looking for Science books for next year, I think I may end up using these books. They are such lovely books with extended resources links at the website.

Truly Innalhamdalillaah for all of this, what more can I say!


Homeschool Diary said...

Asalamaualaikum Sister,
the details of the books makes them sound really interesting and eductional. Its making me think about how deficient I am in exposing my kids to good literature that really makes them think.

ummsumayya said...

MashaAllah, the list has certainly come of great benefit to me. I am always book hunting and asking pretty much everyone to give me a list of books recommended for young readers. I need to buy some of those books inshaAllah. Where did you buy them from sis? Amazon? if you find cheap deals on books inshaAllah you can announce/give links here. Also, have you got any reply from Darul kitab books re my request? JazakAllah khayr and sorry for such long list of questions lol

Umm Maimoonah said...

Alaikum salaam Amatullaah,
I am pleased it helped you. I know the agony I went through in trying to think what kind of books to get!

Umm Sumayya
Glad you liked the list. I am sure your girls would enjoy the titles Inshaa Allaah. The sister ordered the books from Amazon I got some used books too. also you can try international shipping is free on this site Maashaa Allaah!I sent a message to your FB in box sis with regard to Darul Kitab, please check and reply Inshaa Allaah! No problems at all, its a pleasure to answer!!!

Umm Imaan said...

Assalaamu alaikum ukhti

This will help me immensely too insha Allah I also put off fiction books as I would have to proof read for any dodgy issues. We have been mainly reading islamic stories but I really would like to get some more but yes the shipping is a major pain! May Allah reward the sister for removing a hardship from a fellow Muslimah :)

The Usborn Science books look good masha Allah. I have a few and Imaan is always flicking through.

May Maimoonah benefit from them. Ameen

Fee Amaanillah
Umm Imaan

sobia said...

Assalam o alaikum, u hav got a very informative n inspirational blog. Can u plz tell me when did u actually started teaching ur kid? Wot do u suggest for a newborn? books or activities

Umm Maimoonah said...

Alaikum salaam Umm Imaan,
Nice to see you back Maashaa Allaah. Aameen to your dua. I am sure your girls would love these titles too especially Imaan as she understands more.

Alaikum salaam Sobia,
Thanks for stopping by, Jazzakillaah Khayr for your kind words, I started formally homeschooling when Maimoonah was 2 years and 6 months. But I started reading to her while I was pregnant with her. I used to read a give her books and do flash cards with her since she was may be 3 months or so. There are many activities here from birth onwards.

Hope this helps Inshaa Allaah.

Umm Adam An-Norwigiyah said...

Assalaamu alaikum uhktee,

late comment, but just want to say jazakillahu khaira for posting this. I was looking for more challenging good books for my kids and these very nice reviews from sister Iman was just what I needed to pick suitable books masha Allah <3 I dont get the books until december though, alhamdulillah, are really looking forward to it inshaa Allah!

Umm Maimoonah said...

Alaikum salaam warahmathullaah Umm Adam,
Oh yes, you would love the books. I loved reading them more than Maimoonah. They even brought tears. Inshaa Allaah I hope to do book reviews and reports with Maimoonah at least once a month starting next school year using these books. Hope you all will benefit too Inshaa Allaah. By the way sis I got your mail, please bear with me will reply soon.

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