Books Sonlight Core C

Last Day of 4th Grade – May 17, 2018 (and some of our favorite books)

Whew!  What a year!  I can’t believe this handsome fella is finished with FOURTH grade!  Whoa!  I’m emotionally not prepared for him to be a 5th grader.  That just sounds so…BIG.

We enjoyed our year this year using Sonlight Core C.  G wanted to take a picture with some of his favorite books so he would always remember.

Here are some of his favorites:

White Stallions of Lipizza by Marguerite Henry (this one happens to be one of my favorites from this year too)

Tales of Robin Hood (what little boy doesn’t love Robin Hood??)

The Little Riders by Margaretha Shemin

Marco Polo (Junior World Explorers) This is the only reader that made his list of favorites.  It’s such an odd book to make his list of favorites but I’m glad he liked it!

The Twenty One Ballons by  William Pene du Bois

Missing from the picture because we had borrowed if from the library is probably our second favorite (with White Stallions of Lipizza being our first)…

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Books Sonlight Core C

LLH’s Book of the Week – The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

I can’t wait to start sharing with you a great book every week that we have enjoyed that I think you should read also!

Here is the first week’s book!

Life Learning Homeschool’s Book Recommendation of the Week for 1/14/18
The Cricket in Times Square – by George Selden

Tucker is a streetwise city mouse. He thought he’d seen it all. But he’s never met a cricket before, which really isn’t surprising, because, along with his friend Harry Cat, Tucker lives in the very heart of New York City―the Times Square subway station. Chester Cricket never intended to leave his Connecticut meadow. He’d be there still if he hadn’t followed the entrancing aroma of liverwurst right into someone’s picnic basket. Now, like any tourist in the city, he wants to look around. And he could not have found two better guides―and friends―than Tucker and Harry. The trio have many adventures―from taking in the sights and sounds of Broadway to escaping a smoky fire.

Chester makes a third friend, too. It is a boy, Mario, who rescues Chester from a dusty corner of the subway station and brings him to live in the safety of his parents’ newsstand. He hopes at first to keep Chester as a pet, but Mario soon understands that the cricket is more than that. Because Chester has a hidden talent and no one―not even Chester himself―realizes that the little country cricket may just be able to teach even the toughest New Yorkers a thing or two.

This has been a delightful book that we are enjoying immensely.  But I feel like a good part of the reason we’ve enjoyed it so much is because we are listening to it on audio.

We listen to a lot of audio books – when we’re traveling or to give mom’s voice a break or just because a certain book was available on audio.  But this is one book I would specifically recommend listening to on audio.  The different character voices, background sound effects and most importantly, the cricket chirping, really enhance the story.  I mean, after all, Chester Cricket is no ordinary cricket – if you don’t have the book on audio, you miss out on hearing Chester chirp The Blue Danube or Onward Christian Soldiers.

The Cricket in Times Square is a 1961 Newbery Honor Book.  Great book, great story, but listen to it on audio for a real treat!

Books History

Happy Leif Erikson Day (October 9th) | Here are some reading suggestions:

Happy Leif Erikson Day!

Yeah, yeah, I know that it’s also Columbus Day but poor Leif can’t help it that Columbus Day jumps around (so as to always be on a Monday) and sometimes overlaps his day which is always October 9th.

Anyway, we just finished up the Viking section of history in our Sonlight Core C so we’ve read a thing or two on Leif.

So here are some quick reads on Leif if you need to brush up (I’ve linked to several sources for purchase so you can order from your favorite place and/or get the best price):

Junior Biographies from Ancient Civilizations: Leif Erikson  ( Thriftbooks)

I found this at the library and I hope I can find more in this series.  It’s a great format/level for 3rd/4th grade and up – probably through 6th grade.

Eric the Red and Leif the Lucky     (Thriftbooks)

This book is part of our history reading in Sonlight Core C.  It was a good read.  I read it aloud but it could easily be read by a 3rd/4th grader and understood as a read aloud for 1st/2nd grade.  It was short – easy to read in a day but we split it over about three.

Viking Adventure  (Thriftbooks)

G read this one last year as part of his 3rd grade reading curriculum (Sonlight).  He enjoyed it.  It’s written from the perspective of a young boy on Eric the Red’s (Leif’s father) voyages.  But as we were reading more about Leif this year, G was recalling things he learned about Eric in this book last year.

Viking Ships at Sunrise: Magic Tree House Book #15  ( Better World Books | Thriftbooks)

Because who doesn’t love Magic Tree House?

Vikings: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #15: Viking Ships at Sunrise (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker)   Better World Books | Thriftbooks)

We love the fact trackers that go along with our favorite Magic Tree House books!

Voyage with the Vikings: Imagination Station Book 1     ( Better World Books | Thriftbooks)

If there are any historical fiction books we like more than Magic Tree House, it’s Imagination Station!  And Voyage with the Vikings is the first in the series, so it’s a good time to pick it up and give the series a try!


These books also have a short portion on Vikings/Leif you can look up if you happen to already have them on your shelves:

Explorer’s News   Better World Books | Thriftbooks)

Usborne Book of World History  Thriftbooks)

Usborne Time Traveler   Thriftbooks)


Happy Reading Adventures to you!

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Books History

Balto and the Race to Save Nome, Alaska


92 years ago TODAY (January 27, 1925) the race to save Nome, Alaska, began.

Seems like a good reason to go to the library and get a book to brush up on this event!

Here are the books you can look for:

Balto of the Blue Dawn (Magic Tree House Book #54).  There is also the Magic Tree House Fact Tracker, Dogsledding and Extreme Sports: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #54: Balto of the Blue Dawn.  But I haven’t read it so I don’t know how much of it is about Balto.  

The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto

-the animated movie.  I feel it does a pretty good retelling of the story.  Great to get younger kids interested.  (You can stream it from Amazon here for $3.99)

Five True Dog Stories
-contains the story of Balto and other dogs who did amazing things

Alaska’s Dog Heroes
-another good one for the kid interested in more amazing dogs – also contains Balto’s story.

The Great Serum Race: Blazing the Iditarod Trail


Sometimes You Just Don’t Like a Book… #MCBD2017 #ReadYourWorld


Last year I took part in Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2016  and got to review a great book.  This year, I have the privilege to take part in the 2017 version of Multicultural Children’s Book Day.

This year taught me something important.  Sometimes…. you just don’t like a book.  Or in this case two.

I feel strongly in the cause MCBD is trying to promote.  Children need to see themselves, their families and their cultures represented in the pages of books.  And children from a different culture need to be exposed to the others.

Being Sonlight homeschoolers, different cultures is no new concept to us.  Sonlight is a very culturally-minded and culturally diverse curriculum.  This year we have learned about the Akebu people in Togo who need Bibles in their language, the way of the present day Maasai peoples of Tanzania,  the struggles for people in rural Alaska and more.

So using all the books we’ve read that have made us more culturally aware, I have to measure the books we were sent for MCBD this year….

And they do not measure up.

The first in a new series about a boy named Trey Jones, is a book called I’m Trey Jones and I Know It!

The intent of the book is to show kids how to be confident in themselves and bolster their self-esteem by giving them a sense of self-worth.  Which is a great message.

I wish I could say that the book gives that message.  Instead, the boy comes off as sassy and disrespectful – speaking to his teacher in a way I would not want my son emulating and even embarrasses his teacher by calling her old because she forgot something.  (Yes, it says in the words of the book that the teacher was embarrassed and the illustration shows her with a red face.)  We discuss in great length at our house about the power of our words and how being embarrassed is not fun and things we don’t say to people that would cause them embarrassment intentionally.

The second book, I’m a Rapper and I Know It isn’t great either.  Trey is “rapping” about his family which in and of itself is not bad.  But the image is of him in baggy clothes, a sideways cap and gold chains.  It’s stereotypical of “rap culture”.  Something we do not promote in our home and frankly, I find quite tasteless.  It saddens me that a book about an African-American boy would play right into that stereotype.


There are dozens of great books being reviewed for MCBD so please check out the Multicultural Children’s Book Day Website for more book reviews, as well as reading resources for parents and teachers and a downloadable Kindness Kit for kids.

And join us for the MCBD TWITTER PARTY: This fun Twitter Party happens on 1/27 from 9:00-10:00pmET. It’s a great chance to have diverse book discussions, chat with authors and publishers and WIN lots-o-books. We will be randomly giving away multicultural book bundles every 6 minutes! Register here and set aside an hour of a whole lot of fun.

Want more ways to win books? Pop over the to MCBD blog-there are many book giveaway happening until the end of the month as well.

I was sent both of these books by the author to review.  It pains me to have to be honest about them. 

Books Writing

Reading Journals for Kids: Yes or No?

I’ve never given any thought to reading journals until I happened across them on Amazon and found that reading journals for kids is a whole thing!

So, I have to know, who does it and who doesn’t?

Do you find that it enhances your book experience?

Or did you try it and discover that it takes the joy out of the books?  (That’s my fear.)

Amazon has a few cute reading journals for kids if you want to give it a try.  I still haven’t decided…

Reading Journal [ Softback (8″ x 10″) – Child-friendly Layout – 100 Spacious Record Pages – I like this one.  If you click the link you can see how it is on the inside.  With a Table of Contents to write down all the books with corresponding page numbers for the journal pages.  So you can go back and look up specific books later.

Books Make Me Happy: My First Reading Log – looks like a good beginners log.

So, let me know – reading logs, yay or nay?

And I’ll let you know what I decide.

Books Review

Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review #ReadYourWorld | Amazing Places + activity ideas

I am happy to be participating in Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

The Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCCBD) team’s mission to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag (#ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media.

My Book for MCCBD is Amazing Places poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins.

In this collection of original poems, acclaimed anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins brings together fourteen selections that celebrate through poetic imagery some of the amazingly diverse places in our nation. These include Denali National Park, the Oneida Nation Museum, San Francisco s Chinatown, the Grand Canyon, the Ringling Circus Museum, Harlem, the Liberty Bell, Fenway Park, and more. The poems as a whole take readers on an exciting multiethnic travelogue around the United States and encourage a positive appreciation of our country s historical, environmental, and cultural heritage. The inspiring and insightful poems were created by some of the best-known authors writing for children, including Alma Flor Ada, Jaime Adoff, Joseph Bruchac, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Nikki Grimes, J. Patrick Lewis, Jane Medina, and Linda Sue Park. Captivating illustrations by award-winning illustrators Chris Soentpiet and Christy Hale feature well-researched settings that infuse the poems with vibrant life and atmosphere.

BigG loves geography and interesting places.  I knew this would be a fun read for him.  The poems made it interesting to read.  I like exposing him to poetry – although at this point we’ve really only read funny poems – so this was a great way to experience some quality writing.  The book has some amazing artwork that illustrates the places in the poems.  I would love to see a part two as this really only covers a small portion of the United States’ amazing places.

G’s favorite was The Sandy Hook Lighthouse.  It’s a shape poem – written in the shape of a lighthouse!  And it has a very neat picture to go along with it.

My favorite was Niagara.  But it might be (again) because of the artwork.

The back of the book features details on each place feature in a poem.  That was helpful for answering G’s questions.

This book can be read cover to cover or you can do one poem at a time and expand upon it with activities and if you live close enough to the place the poem is based upon – you can take a field trip!

Since G’s favorite was the poem about the Sandy Hook Lighthouse we did lighthouse activities!  He loves to draw so he made his own.  Then he built (a rather good one!) our of LEGOs!


I would love to take him to see it but I’m not sure I’m up for the 15 hour drive!

Thanks for checking out my MCCBD review.  Don’t forget to check out the hashtag #ReadYourWorld on social media to find more posts, reviews and books for this day!

Multicultural Children’s Book day 2016 Medallion Level Sponsors! 

Platinum: Wisdom Tales Press * StoryQuest Books*Lil Libros

Gold: Author Tori Nighthawk*Candlewick Press,* Bharat Babies

Silver: Lee and Low Books*Chronicle Books*Capstone Young Readers T

Tuttle Publishing ,NY Media Works, LLC/KidLit TV

Bronze: Pomelo Books* Author Jacqueline Woodson*Papa Lemon Books* Goosebottom Books*Author Gleeson Rebello*ShoutMouse Press*Author Mahvash Shahegh* China*Live Oak Media

Multicultural Children’s Book Day has 12 amazing Co-Hosts:

All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share,Educators Spin on it,Growing Book by Book,Imagination Soup,I’m Not the Nanny,InCultural Parent, Kid World Citizen,Mama Smiles,Multicultural Kid Blogs,Spanish Playground

Books Homeschool Deals

Better World Books End of Year Sale | up to 40% off and always FREE shipping!

I absolutely LOVE Better World Books!  I’ve ordered so many books from them this year since I discovered them!  I always see lots of Sonlight and Five in a Row titles.  I’ve also purchase Magic Tree House books – we love Magic Tree House!

They specialize in used books – library discards and things like that.  But I haven’t had an issue with the condition a book is in when I get it.  Most used books are priced at $3.98.   Shipping is ALWAYS FREE and they are having a huge end of year sale!

Save on Used Books

Thru January 5th you can save 20% off 4 or more used books or 40% off 8 or more used books in the Bargain Bin that ship from Better World Books!  (The Bargain Bin just means their used book section)

No coupon code needed!  Just shop and save!

Books Milestones

Loose Tooth!


We have a loose tooth!  I didn’t think this day would ever come (he’s 7 years old!)  I got the book Moose’s Loose Tooth for a quarter at the library’s book sale.  I’ve been saving it for this occasion!   It’s a silly little book but he loves it.  We’ve read it two nights in a row now.