Happy Heart Birthday Grandaddy!

Happy Heart Birthday Grandaddy!.

Many of you already know that I’m being considered as a possible recipient for a complete intestine transplant.  Please read about someone who received the gift of life in the form of a young girls heart… and everything he’s been doing to pay back and honor that gift!  SO inspiring!

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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?

Women at Work – My article in Newspaper

Women at Work – My article in Newspaper.

I know it’s late and ALMOST not International Women’s Day any longer BUT I just ran across this article written by a Middle Eastern woman who is a freelance writer.  Her article was just published in a very prominent magazine called Gulf Times.  Please take the time to read Sakshi Vashist’s good news about how life in the workplace (and at home) has improved for some Middle Eastern women.  I’m encouraged by the progress!

Thanks for keeping us updated, Sakshi!

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 😉