A Success Story in the making

In the midst of my dark mood, attitude and opinions surrounding the American Education system, more specifically, directed at the “No Child Left Behind” Act of 2001, there is a bright spot.  My brilliant niece Aubrie.

Yesterday, my niece and I took some time to celebrate what we like to call Auntie/Aubrie day.  Kind of geeky, eh?  Not really.  Aubrie and I have virtually NO time to spend together because A.) I spend most of my time with her sisters because they’re little and need me more and B.) Aubrie is 13 and involved in 3 different sports, not to mention her rigid academic schedule.  It’s kind of sad that we actually have to schedule any time we can spend together a month beforehand. We pack a lot of talking into the few hours that we have together.  Right now is a good time to mention that Aubrie is not my biological niece although NOBODY would be able to tell by looking at us.  She couldn’t be MORE mine if she were biological and I’ve become her favorite aunt through the years.  She tells me that she feels like I treat her with respect and don’t condescend to her.  It helps that I’m a good cook and like to take her shopping!  lol  HER words.  She likes that I actually enjoy our time together.

This weekend, Aubrie is competing in the National History Day State Competition in Columbia MO at the University of Missouri Campus (Mizzou).  She’s made it this far by placing fourth place in the original competition where she beat out hundreds of other kids making their presentations on the historical figure of their choice.  Most of the kids her age gave speeches on past presidential leaders such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  *yawn* –  Natural and easy choices.  Not Aubrie.  She went out on a limb, like she always does and made her presentation based on a very strong and successful woman who rose to the top of the fashion industry.  Coco Channel became iconic using her own skills and hard work ethics.  She started poor and became wealthy, as we already know.

What impresses me so much about Aubrie’s presentation and choice of historical figures is that she chose a woman.  Someone Aubrie can look up to and use for inspiration.  We’re all strong women in our family and believe that our gender shouldn’t dictate how far we’re able to go in life, we’re in control of our own destinies.  We are also very well aware that we’ll have to work harder to get there.  Aubrie is well ahead of her game.  Before she was allowed to prepare her speech, she was required to create a website.  This may sound like a normal skill for a girl her age in other countries.  Sadly, here in America, this is NOT normal for a public high school student.  She’s only in 7th grade.  I’m proud to show you all what her website looks like.  It’s her first time creating a website and I think she did a fantastic job!  Obviously, the judges of this competition shared my semi biased opinion or she wouldn’t have beat out hundreds of other students.  Here’s the link to the website she created about the life of Coco Channel

My niece takes her studies VERY seriously.  She worries me sometimes because she’s so serious but I have NO worries about how successful she’ll be in life.  When she gives public presentation, especially when she’s competing, she pays attention where her appearance is concerned.  Aubrie wants to make a professional appearance.  I truly believe this helped her win the competition.  Most girls her age made their presentation to judges who were college professors (potential scholarships involved for MAJOR universities) wearing yoga pants or blue jeans and tee shirts.  They weren’t allowed to wear provocative clothing but a lot of these girls looked like they’d just jumped out of bed without brushing their hair.  Their clothes were wrinkled and they appeared sleepy.  Not MY niece.  She wore a suit appropriate for an interview with a major corporation.  She’s only 13 folks!  lol  Her hair was up in a neat bun and her make up was appropriately light.  She appeared to be a powerful and intelligent woman!  I was so proud.  The professors actually commented on her appearance and asked the other girls to pay attention to Aubrie’s presentation of HERSELF.  They used her for an example of what TO do instead of what NOT to do.

So yesterday, in preparation for her competition on Saturday, we spent our time at the nail salon of her choice.  The salon where Aubrie knew the stylists would do the professional job that Aubrie expects.  If they don’t do it right, she makes them do it over.  Wow.  I can honestly say, she makes ME feel like the child!  lol

Here she is talking to a teacher for one of our public schools also getting a pedicure.  Aubrie is explaining the competition to her and what she expected to win THIS time.  She expects to win a substantial scholarship, by the way.  I’m placing MY bet now that she’ll WIN that scholarship!

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(she cracks me up with how serious she is and how adult her mannerisms are)

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(thank the LORD Aubrie is satisfied with her “full set” and the quality of work this stylist does… lol)

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I must really rate in Aubries book because she allowed me to talk her into a more playful, age appropriate style.  A style that she will have fun with even after the competition and a style that I think will also work for her professionalism.  It’s not so crazy of a color that will stand out and make her appear to not be taking her job seriously.

Talking with my little “adult” niece about her plans for the future and the work that she’s doing to make her path clear, only served to make me more aware of how POOR our public school system is.  Aubrie has NEVER attended public school.  It’s Catholic/ Private all the way for her and it’s certainly ALREADY paid off.  Her private school is already preparing the children to write quality university level research papers.  They begin teaching the children to do research papers in fourth grade, by the age of 8 and 9.  Aubrie tells me that her instructors are constantly explaining to the class that they’re being groomed for COLLEGE (not high school).  When I was in Catholic school, they stressed how we were being groomed for high school.  It’s different now and I’m glad.  Guess when our PUBLIC schools focus on college level work?  Tenth grade.  My daughter gave me the “Mom is just crazy” look when I shared my opinion on how important it is to teach our children how to create a proper college level research paper.  In another related point, do you know that these public school kids don’t know how to address an envelope?  They tell me that it’s not important anymore in today’s age of technology.  It just seems so simple to me and common sense.  Don’t they still NEED to know how to address an envelope?  Or the proper way to write a letter, be it business or personal?  They SURE know how to “Tweet” and know ALL the “texting” language.

I’m feeling EXTREMELY guilty that I’m not financially able to provide the right kind of education for my daughter.  Aubrie’s younger, yet she’s so much more prepared for the real world.  She’s been lead to already know the direction she wants her life to go in.  My daughter hasn’t been taught to give it another thought.  THAT is my fault.  I can’t leave it all up to the school system especially since I’m fully aware it’s a FAILING school system and has been since 2001, when the “No Child Left Behind Act” was passed.  My back’s against the wall and I’m running out of time here!  I asked my daughter to consider switching schools.  I realize the choice is not hers but I ‘d feel a whole lot better if she’d share my views for her life!  She’s only 14 and in 9th grade.  She’s got 3 more years of high school so is it too late?  I don’t think so but my daughter actually said these words to me, “Mom, it’s too late for me”.  She’s not worried about her social life and losing her friends.  She just actually believes that she’s not capable of learning because she’s also very aware that she’s not being taught.

To give you an example of why my daughter believes she’s not being educated, I’ll tell you what happened the other day with her Science test.  She’s always (in previous years) been very good in Science.  Once she hit 9th grade, this changed.  Her teacher almost isn’t even present.  He does bother to lecture or do experiments.  He tells them to read their book and if they don’t understand something, he tells them to read it again, never bothering to explain.  He gets annoyed.  My daughter told him that she wasn’t ready to take the test because she only got 2 out of 10 questions right on the quiz.  She didn’t even know why she got those questions wrong and she explained this to her instructor.  He told her to sit down and he actually GAVE her the answers for the test.  I’m pretty sure we all remember what used to happen to US if we were caught stealing the teacher’s answers, or if we “copied” off our “neighbor”, right?  This teacher actually GAVE her the answers because he knew it didn’t matter if she knew the subject matter.  She was going to pass because NOBODY fails anymore!  The rest of the class can’t move ahead if even ONE person fails so he gave her the answers in an effort to make himself appear to be a successful teacher.  It looks bad on the teacher if one child doesn’t know the material and for THIS reason (NCLB act) ALL the children are forced to be on the same level.  For THAT matter, they’re even integrating Autistic and otherwise learning disabled children into a class of “normal”, learning abled children.  They’re ALL being taught the same way.  If there’s an Autistic child who’s making a lot of noise in class, he’s allowed to keep distracting the other kids and there’s NOTHING an instructor can do about it.  TRUST me, my sympathy doesn’t only lie with our children.  What is a teacher supposed to do to gain control of their class and keep their students focused?  It’s becoming more clear, every year that passes SINCE 2001, that there’s NO point in our instructors caring.  SO sad.  Occasionally, we’ll have a rogue teacher who actually takes pride in the fact that they’re forming our children’s future.  They know they may even get into trouble for not focusing ENOUGH time to preparing our kids for one federal test or another.  This rare “rogue” educator will actually spend TIME discussing and teaching a subject.  I need to stress how very rare this is though.

But this isn’t the point of this post.  You all know me by now, I get distracted and one thought leads to another, which leads to another and on and on we go!  lol  My point was to brag about my niece and to pay attention to what she and her educators are doing right.  My point is to pay specific attention to the difference between our public school system and the private school system.  The differences between the poor and the rich, although there is a DRASTIC difference between our rural area schools and the wealthy public schools in the better suburbs.  I’m SO proud of my sister-in-law for making education a priority for her children!  I’d always believed education was a priority for MY children as well.  However, now that I’m being honest, I can see my tendency toward taking the “lazy” route.  I’d been reading for years, about the effects of the NCLB act on our youth.  I didn’t want to believe it though and tried to make myself accept that it just takes time to iron out the rough edges of any new program.  MY children should have been made a priority, somehow.  I shouldn’t have gambled on their futures and I should have sacrificed more to give them the education that they deserve.  I made vacations and our quality of life our priority instead.

It’s NOT too late though.  I’m done accepting less than mediocre for my daughter.  I’ve got to either talk with the scholarship program St. Pius and make arrangements for her to attend, if she’ll even be able to test into their school.  OR, here’s my other option.  I can do what has been recommended to me BY several educators and allow my daughter to take the high school equivalency test (GED).  There’s not ONE bit of difference here, anymore, between a GED and an actual 4 year high school diploma.  Many parents have now started taking the advice to take their children out of high school and having them begin college courses so that they can earn college credits.  Our educators tell us (in private and off the record) that to send our children to high school is equivalent to sending them to be “babysat” for 8 hours a day.  There used to be at LEAST a social reason to attend high school.  In present days, it’s becoming only negative social development.  Why do I need a babysitter?  I don’t and she should have the same advantages as my niece has.  I’m ashamed and shocked when I think of how much she’s actually REGRESSED since grade school.  Her grades used to reflect a college level knowledge of almost every subject.  Now she tests at a grade school level.  The only reason she’s passing Science at all is because the teacher provides the answers for her.  Don’t think I haven’t tried speaking with the proper school officials.  They keep giving me the same answers and even IF I can get them to care, their hands are tied due to the No Child Left Behind Act.  They have to follow the rules if they’re to receive federal funding.

I want MY daughter to be a success story also.  Naturally she already is in MY book.  She was born with an amazing mind and is every BIT as intelligent as my niece is.  She just hasn’t been given the same advantages and THAT’S been my responsibility all along.  We need to make our children’s futures our priority.  After all, they’re going to be leading this world one day.  If our government doesn’t care and won’t do anything about it, then the responsibility lies solely on us, as parents.  I think it’s time, folks.  It’s probably over time.  We should have paid more attention to this as citizens of the once great USA.

I’m VERY interested in hearing your thoughts and opinions.  DO any of you have a story to share about how our schools have affected (good OR bad) your own children?  What would you do?  Or do you have any ideas about how we, as a nation can change this?  We NEED to care.  Even if you don’t have children now.  This country will be run, decisions will be made by these children who AREN’T being educated.  Who then will run our country?  Let me give you a hint.  It WON’T be the “people”.  I believe they may be doing it this way so that we’ll all become more ignorant.  We’ll care even less than we do now (if that’s possible) and eventually our officials won’t be “elected”.  We’ll have dictators because we won’t be ABLE to make educated decisions.  Is this what they want?  It sure makes you think, doesn’t it?

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Lincoln A Photobiography (by Russell Freedman)… Julia’s Reading Project

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about Julia’s reading project.  It’s been a while because we’ve been so overwhelmed and busy.  Too much to do and too little time.  SOMETHING had to give.  Sadly, it had to be her reading.  I hate to slack in this area because I feel like these reading projects that I give her are sometimes the only education she’s getting.  School just keeps getting more disappointing.  I’m STRONGLY considering taking her out of public high school and either placing her in the Catholic school system or home schooling her.  I feel terrible about even considering imposing such a change at this delicate age but she has to get an education from SOMEWHERE.  There are some days where the ONLY educators who show up to teach these kids are substitute teachers who don’t know their A$$ from a hole in the ground.  I guess that’s a subject for a different post.  TRUST me, that will be a rant that you might not want to read.

Back to the book.  A few months ago, while visiting Springfield Illinois, the hubby and I visited The Lincoln Museum and Library.  Abraham Lincoln is such a colorful personality in history and there’s just so much more to his story than his presidency and the way he died. I wanted Julia to learn about the man and what made him tick.  There are SO many books to read on this subject and I didn’t really know which one would be geared more toward a teenager.  I consulted a representative of the Lincoln Library and she recommended a Photobiography.  I’ll have to admit that I wasn’t sold on this as it seems like I would be helping to “dumb down the youth of America”! Lord knows that once we start resorting to picture books for our teenagers, we’ve given up hope on them ever being literate.  lol  Okay, I gave in because the lady had a good idea.  She told me that this particular book touches on all the subjects that interested me PLUS Julia would be able to see pictures that related to Lincoln’s life.  I think if they’re real photographs, that’s history too, right?  There was enough of the story here and I wanted Julia to be interested.  It worked!

Lincoln:A Photobiography

Lincoln A Photobiography by Russell Freedman

Clarion Books

A John Newberry Medal Winner

“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master – This expresses my idea’s of democracy.  Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the differences, is no democracy.”

A. Lincoln

“Few, if any, of the many books written for children about Lincoln can compare with Freedman’s contribution… Well organized and well written, this is an outstanding example of what (juvenile) biography can be.  Like Lincoln himself, it stands head and shoulders above it’s competition.”

-School Library Journal

What impressed Julia most about this book?  She tells me that she felt like she actually knew the man.  She discovered what might have motivated Abe Lincoln to feel and act so strongly about certain topics, such as slavery.  Julia was also impressed with how likable a guy Mr. Lincoln was.  She learned that although his photos don’t portray him as a very handsome man, many people who knew him, reported that once they were in his presence, his “spirit” shined through his eyes and his smile and made him appear very handsome.  He was so charismatic and funny.  Julia was also impressed that Mr. Lincoln remained strong in his convictions even while being hated by Democrats and Republicans alike.  He won his last election very narrowly and ONLY because Sherman had torched Atlanta and FINALLY it looked as though the Union would win.  Before that, it seemed as if the war would carry on forever and before too much longer, most of the male population of America, would be wiped out.  Julia tells me that she was amazed to be reminded that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.  In American contemporary issues, it seems like the Democratic party takes credit for being the party who stands up for the rights of African Americans.  In reality, the Democratic Party started out VERY against emancipation of the American slave.  To be fair, not many Republican’s were in favor of emancipation either.  Lincoln BARELY got the Emancipation Proclamation to pass and resorted to a little bit of “trickery” to sneak it past many legislators.  Julia tells me that the schools don’t really focus on the other causes of the Civil War.  Mostly, the kids are led to believe that slavery is the sole reason for the war, when in fact, she learned that slavery didn’t become an issue until after the war had already started.  Through this book, she was able to put faces to names and she learned so much more about this period of time, in history, than she did in school with her history book.

Did she like the book?  Yes and she says she’ll recommend it to anyone her age who needs to do a project on the life of Abraham Lincoln or the causes of the Civil War.  I have to say that even I learned more than I previously knew.  So the picture book thing?  Yeah, I like it!  lol  Julia earned $5 for this one.  However, she had to write 2 book reports because she tried to copy, word for word, part of the first one she turned into me.  So there’s the added lesson she learned about plagiarism!  lol  It’s never too soon to learn about that, right?

True Believer (Nicholas Sparks)…Julia’s reading project, a book review

After reading 1984, and 3 other books that I’ve chosen for her, it was time to let Julia choose her own book.  She’s been bribed (paid $25 so far) to read the 4 books that I’ve had her read.  To date, she’s only liked 1 of those books.  I’m a little sad about this BUT the main thing is that she’s LEARNED and opened her mind to different subjects.  MUCH discussion about exploited women and children (Half the Sky), in fact, we’re STILL talking about that, even though she had a hard time getting through the book.  She’s developed more empathy for the early struggles of African American men, women and children after reading Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry.  After reading Call of the Wild, Julia gave a little thought to treating our pets even better than she already did because she saw through the eyes of a dog.  1984 made her open her eyes to what’s going on in America RIGHT NOW, even though she REALLY didn’t like the book.  That’s the idea, right?

Well, as promised, it was time to allow her to choose her own reading material.  I didn’t want to lose her and even though I’m PAYING her for each book report, I want her to enjoy reading.

Here’s what she choose:

True Believer by Nicholas Sparks (Time Warner Book Group) 318 pages

Description from the inside sleeve:

“One day you’re going to love something that can’t be explained with science.  And when that happens, your life’s going to change in ways you can’t imagine…”

Jeremy Marsh is the ultimate New Yorker:  handsome, almost always dressed in black, and part of the media elite.  An expert on debunking the supernatural with a regular column in Scientific American, he’s made his first appearance on national TV.  When he receives a letter from the tiny town of Boone Creek, North Carolina, about ghostly lights that appear in a legend-shrouded cemetery, he can’t resist driving down to investigate.

Here in this tightly knit community, Lexie Darnell runs the towns library, just as her mother did before the accident left Lexie an orphan.  Disappointed by past relationships, including one that lured her away from home, she is sure of one thing:  her future is in Boone Creek, close to her grandmother and all the people she loves.

Jeremy expects to spend a quick week in “the sticks” before speeding back to the city.  But from the moment he sets eyes on Lexie, he is intrigued and attracted to this beautiful woman who speaks with a soft drawl and confounding honesty.  And Lexie, while hesitating to trust this outsider, finds herself thinking of Jeremy more times than she cares to admit.

Now, if they are to be together, Jeremy Marsh must make a difficult choice:  return to the life he knows, or do something he’s never done before-take a giant leap of faith.

A story about taking chances and following your heart.  True Believer will make you too believe in the miracle of love.

Ok, here’s what Julia thought of Mr. Sparks book:  She didn’t like it!  lol  He’s her favorite author and I expected that she would fall for the romance, once again, like in ALL the Nicholas Spark books.  Not so much and I’m encouraged about the mind of THIS 14 year old!  lol

In the last paragraph of Julia’s book report she tells me:

“I didn’t like this book as much as I did the other Nicholas Sparks books because there was nothing special about it.  It was a traditional love story and VERY predictable!  Girl had been hurt in previous relationships.  Boy was opposite of what girl was used to and was willing to do anything to make things work between them.  Honestly, I was bored.”

And I owe her $5!  lol  I wonder what  kind of book she choose for herself NEXT time?  I’m encouraged that she didn’t fall for the typical love story.  I’m still thinking about which book I’ll choose for her now that she’s done with this one 😉

Children, Music and Brain Activity

my 3 year old niece showing an extreme interest!

my 3 year old niece showing an extreme interest!

 

 

Rebogged, read entire article here:

 

If you started piano lessons in grade one, or played the recorder in kindergarten, thank your parents and teachers. Those lessons you dreaded – or loved – helped develop your brain. The younger you started music lessons, the stronger the connections in your brain.

A study published last month in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that musical training before the age of seven has a significant effect on the development of the brain, showing that those who began early had stronger connections between motor regions – the parts of the brain that help you plan and carry out movements.

The study provides strong evidence that the years between ages six and eight are a “sensitive period” when musical training interacts with normal brain development to produce long-lasting changes in motor abilities and brain structure. “Learning to play an instrument requires coordination between hands and with visual or auditory stimuli,” says Virginia Penhune. “Practicing an instrument before age seven likely boosts the normal maturation of connections between motor and sensory regions of the brain, creating a framework upon which ongoing training can build.”

Eideard

If you started piano lessons in grade one, or played the recorder in kindergarten, thank your parents and teachers. Those lessons you dreaded – or loved – helped develop your brain. The younger you started music lessons, the stronger the connections in your brain.

A study published last month in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that musical training before the age of seven has a significant effect on the development of the brain, showing that those who began early had stronger connections between motor regions – the parts of the brain that help you plan and carry out movements.

The study provides strong evidence that the years between ages six and eight are a “sensitive period” when musical training interacts with normal brain development to produce long-lasting changes in motor abilities and brain structure. “Learning to play an instrument requires coordination between hands and with visual or auditory stimuli,” says…

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1984 (George Orwell)… Julia’s reading project

Another book done and book report complete by teenage munchkin (more here).

1984 By:  George Orwell  299 pages ( Centennial Edition Published by Signet Classic)

Description from back of book:

1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell’s prophetic nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever.  1984 is still the great modern classic of “negative utopia” – a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words.  No one can deny the novel’s hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of it’s admonitions – a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.

Why did I choose this for my 14 year old?  Because I think it’s important to give her an example of what COULD happen if the government gets too powerful.  I wanted her to think and relate this book to what might be happening in America now.  Clearly, some of it is already happening. Teenagers, today, aren’t expected to debate (at least not in our public school system) or to think outside the box.  I wanted her to stretch her imagination and talk to me about her ideas concerning the power that our government should be allowed to have.

Did it work?  I think so.  She hadn’t given ANY thought to the government or the state our country is in until she read this book and we started discussing it.

From the words of Julia, “This book scared me because it’s a weird thought to know our world COULD be like that.  I wouldn’t be able to handle not having any freedom at all.  I think it will be a long time before the government ever takes over.  Right now the government has the ability to listen in on our phone calls and there are cameras in pretty much ALL public places.  That’s kind of the same situation as in the book, just not as bad yet.”

Hmmm…  LOT’S more discussion on the topic with Julia to come.  Her innocent mind can’t grasp what’s happening all around her now.  However, I’m trying not to throw TOO many of my own opinions at her because I want her to form her OWN opinion.  I want her to open her own mind up.

Did she like this book?  Ummm  NO!  lol  Once again I chose a book NOT to her liking 😦  In her words, “I didn’t really enjoy this book because it wasn’t exciting until the end when Winston was arrested”.  Ahhhhh… the mind of a teenage, carefree girl!  She lives for romance and excitement, kind of like her mother!  lol  Oh, almost forgot to tell you that this one cost me $10!  lol  It’s a price I’m happy to pay if it helps her to use her brain 😉

Reading Project, Or – How I Bribed My Daughter…

My 14 year old started high school this year.  As I mentioned before, she’s the baby of the family and my last chance to do things right so naturally, I’ve been pretty involved with her school work and her grades.  She had a few issues in English this year, which is strange because she always tested well above her age in English and literature.  In 7th grade, she was reading on a college level so you can imagine my surprise when I was notified that she’s only reading on a 9th grade level THIS year.  Of course, I immediately scheduled a meeting with her English teacher and what I learned was more than a little unsettling to me.  I don’t know about ALL public schools but our little public school doesn’t have a required reading list for their high school students.  Totally not acceptable to me!  No WONDER we have such a high illiteracy rate these days.  I realize times are different AND there’s a big difference between public school and the Catholic school that I grew up in BUT I was required to read Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird in 6th grade!  We couldn’t move on to 7th grade until we had a complete understanding of both.

And here’s where I took matters in my own hands…  I established my own very special required reading program for Julia.  Okay, at first she wasn’t happy about it but I explained that she would lose her skills if she didn’t use them (she came really close to letting that happen) AND reading is the single most inexpensive vacation that a person can take.  Once you open a book, you’re transformed to places you may never get to see in “real” life.  Did I tell you that I also resorted to bribery?  Each book that she finishes in a timely manner (I usually give her 2 weeks but she’s been finishing 1 book a week) AND hands me a good book report on is worth between $5 and $10!  You can’t beat that, right?  She loves it!  For the most part, I’ll be choosing the books I want her to read.  I don’t want this to be a punishment though so every once in a while she’ll get to choose her own.

I’m going to try and post about every book as she finishes it but because this is a new blog and she’s finished 3 books since we started doing this, there’s going to be 3 books on this post.

Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

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The reason I chose this book for my 14 year old is that I wanted her to understand how very lucky she is to live in America, the land of the free.  I wanted her to have an understanding about the horrors and oppression other women face in the developing world.  What she learned:  She says what stuck with her is how widespread human trafficking is and about sex slavery.  Did she appreciate this book?  No.  Maybe a bit too much for a 14 year old BUT she does want to start fundraising and getting her friends involved in raising money to prevent human trafficking.  Mission accomplished!

I paid her $10 for this one!

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

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The reason I chose this book was primarily because we own sled dogs (Alaskan Malamutes) and I remember loving this book at her age.  I thought it would be cool for her to see the world through the eyes of a dog.  Did she appreciate this book? Absolutely not!  She thought it was too sad.  She didn’t like to read about “Buck’s” struggle to survive the extreme conditions and inhumane treatment of some humans.  It made her sad.  On the other hand, she liked Jack London’s writing style.  She liked that she was made to understand exactly how “Buck” felt… she truly saw through the eyes of a dog.

This one earned her $5

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D Taylor

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I chose this one last week in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day.  It’s so hard for a white kid to understand what it was like to be black in America even in the early 1900’s.  I wanted her to know and to feel something.  Mildred D Taylor will MAKE you feel!  Basically, it’s a coming of age story about a black family and their struggle with “accepting the way things were” and the treatment of black people.  It also mentions lynching, night riders (or KKK) and describes a tar and feathering.  Did she like it?  YES!  We have a winner!  She loved it and even gave me a 3 page book report (I didn’t ask for 3 pages but she just had a lot to say about the book!  Lol)

$5 for this one!