Thursday, October 6, 2011

Keep on Readin' in the Free World

The kids have been up to some fun reading this week!

We checked out And Tango Makes Three from the library and have been reading it with the boys. It's the wonderful, true story of two male penguins in Central Park Zoo who became a pair and raised an adopted chick. Jack and Fred love it! And the underlying message, that there is no single right kind of family, is beautiful. After reading it, I understand why some (most?) people in the conservative right don't want their children reading this. Opening your eyes to non-human homosexuality kind of makes the whole being-gay-is-a-choice-and-not-natural thing, well, not believable. I'm glad I saw this one on a banned books list and decided to get it.

Another book we've been reading and rereading is The Butter Man, a story about a little girl whose father grew up in Morocco. When she complains about "starving" while waiting for supper to cook, her dad tells her the story of when his family nearly went hungry during a period of drought in his childhood. I make an effort to teach my kids not to turn their noses up at food when there are people in the world who have far too little, and I believe books like this do much more to drive that concept home than my lecturing. It's one of the many books we've been reading to help better understand the current crisis in the Horn of Africa.

Jack and Fred are also currently obsessed with Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is?, which is a great book for helping kids of all ages understand relative size and the concept of the universe.We love it!

Bonnie is immersed in the recent Rick Riordan book, The Son of Neptune, which she is over halfway through after having checked it out from the library late yesterday afternoon, one day after it was published.  (I just interrupted this blog entry to confiscate said book because she was reading it while she is supposed to be working on a math test.) Today she said she can't wait to finish it but doesn't want it to end, which is surely a sign of an engaged reader with a great book.

We're learning about 17th century Persia in history this week, so we've been reading various tales from Turkey and Iran. Bonnie just finished Pea Boy and Other Stories from Iran yesterday, before I let her start the Rick Riordan book. I know that seems kind of mean, but I knew I wouldn't be able to get her to read anything else once she started her book. Because I've made the happy mistake of locating too many books to supplement this history chapter, we're going to continue exploring Persia next week.

As a homeschooling mom, I think putting a variety of good books in front of my kids is probably the most important part of my job right now. We're not in multicultural area, by any stretch of the imagination. The chances, for example, that my kids will see two gay men holding hands or caring for their baby in the grocery store is close to nil. But I can still make sure my kids know those people are out there and realize that they deserve the same respect and rights as the families we see out at the soccer fields every week.

Cue Reading Rainbow theme song. You're welcome.


  1. My boy just got Son of Neptune and burning through it. I haven't heard of And Tango Makes Three. I'll check it out.

  2. Andy, my daughter is making herself put the book down and take breaks so she doesn't read it too fast. It's amusing to watch.

  3. All of these books look tasty - we'll be checking them out! PS. thanks for the Reading Rainbow theme song - never gets old and always makes me feel so nostalgic!

  4. You know how boys will make a "mix tape" for girls they like? My version of a "mix tape" is a book list. Show me how you care--summarize and suggest some books!

    I am an interlibrary professional after finding lists like yours on homeschooling blogs.