Geography

Sacred Song of the Hermit Thrush

A Native American Legend

Tehanetorens

Softbound

$5.95

Add a review

Sacred Songs of the Hermit Thrush

Long ago, the Birds had no songs.
Only Man could sing, and every morning,
Man would greet the rising Sun with a song.

This is a Native legend that tells the story of how the birds were given song, and most especially how it came about that the Hermit Thrush was given the loveliest song of all.  It is so beautifully retold that you can almost hear the voice of the storyteller as you read the words.  The line drawings are heartfelt and exquisite.

As if this were not enough to recommend it, this little booklet is simply perfect for the Waldorf 4th Grade biology block, and in the US, also the section of the geography block that concerns Native culture.  In addition to its very beautiful legend, there is a chapter at the end on "The Natural History of the Hermit Thrush" that paints a wonderful picture of the life and ways of this little bird, along with its basic biology and nature.  The legend and this addtional information combine to make a meaningful and vibrant introduction to the nature of birds and life itself.

Farther back in the book is a listing of the seasonal ceremonies of the Mohawk people, which could easily form the basis for conveying the Native cultural impulse to 4th graders as part of their geography block and throughout the year.

Sacred Song of the Hermit Thrush is a gem that can resonnate in every child's heart, with or without Waldorf education.  The fact it fits perfectly within the Waldorf curriculum simply echoes the beauty of the human heart through the world.  I can't tell you how much I hope that many, many children will be able to hear and learn this story, and how much I hope it inspires many, many adults to offer it to the coming generations.

 

Minn of the Mississippi

Holling Clancy Holling

A Newbery Honor Book

Beautiful and detailed color and black & white illustrations

Softbound

$11.95

Add a review

Another favorite book from my own childhood, Minn of the Mississippi is a great story, a wonderful natural history of the Mississippi River, and an outstanding geography/history lesson all rolled into one.

Minn is a snapping turtle who begins life as an egg laid at the source of the Mighty Mississippi. [I still remember my amazement when I learned while reading Minn at around age 9 that the Mississippi River also begins as something so small a child can stand astride it. The only part of the Mississippi I had ever seen was under the bridge we crossed every year to get to my grandmother's house in southern Iowa -- I had assumed the river was always about half a mile wide.]

One thing leads to another, and over the course of many, many years, Minn makes his way down the full length of the Mississippi, at last making his home among barnacle encrusted treasures left on the Gulf bottom by pirates and adventurers of long ago. Minn's travels bring him into contact with most of the wildlife that makes its home in and near the river, many of the people, and evidence many peoples gone long before.

I just love Minn of the Mississippi and the story that is told here. One of the remarkable things that H. C. Hollings does here and elsewhere is to create a story where the animal at the center of the action remains an animal (i.e., no talking, thinking or anthropomorphic behavior), yet evokes in the reader a great sympathy and involvement. And he does this while teaching a huge amount about nature, geography and history! It doesn't get better than this.

Pagoo

Holling Clancy Holling

Softbound

$11.95

Add a review

The stories of Holling Clancy Hollings rest as some of my childhood favorites - I still remember the thrill of getting to check them out of the library (again and again!) and my rapt absorbtion in the stories of creatures and things that were such great adventurers. As the captivating page turners rolled out their tales, I learned so very much about the aspect of the natural world in which the story took place. Hollings stories are a rarity in that they are great books and while also being great learning tools.

Pagoo is an intricate study of the teeming life of tide pools, told through the adventures and misadventures of Pagoo, a hermit crab.

Paddle-to-the-Sea

Holling Clancy Holling

A Caldecott Honor Book

Softbound

Captivating illustrations in color and black & white

$11.95

Add a review

An Indian boy living along the shores of Lake Superior carves a small canoe with a "Paddle Person" in it. He names it "Paddle-to-the-Sea" and sets it on its journey from Lake Superior all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. As Paddle-to-the-Sea travels, we journey with him through all the Great Lakes, meeting boats and barges and seafarers along the way. Paddle even goes over Niagra Falls and through the locks on the St. Lawrence River. And after surviving all those adventures, it should come as no surpirse to learn that he eventually crosses the whole Atlantic Ocean and arrives in France!

A great book with a riveting story. I don't think the natural and social life of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway has a better chronicler than Holling.

Tree in the Trail

Holling Clancy Holling

Softbound

Full color and black & white illustrations

$11.95

Add a review

As with Big Tree, Tree in the Trail uses the life of a tree to portray both the passing of history and life cycles of nature. Where Big Tree uses a Redwood to survey the founding moments of Western Civilization, Tree in the Trail is about a Cottonwood and the things that happened within the tree's view over two hundred years along the Santa Fe Trail in the American Southwest. There are animals and people that bring to life the history, both natural and human, of this amazing part of the world. And through all the dramatic changes, the tree continues to stand and grow.

Like Holling's other books, this one is packed with story and teaching; with life itself.

Seabird

Holling Clancy Hollings

A Newbery Honor Book

Softbound

$11.95

Add a review

In the days of the great square-rigged sailing ships, a seaman and his ship are saved from a collision with an iceberg by the swooping flight of a seagull off the shores of Greenland. In gratitude and for future good luck, Ezra Brown, the seaman, buys some ivory ashore and carves a beautiful ivory gull. Together they travel the seas on their whaling ship. Later, when the seaman is captain of his own ship, they sail together on the swift Clipper Ships to the South Seas and the Orient.

Seabird continues to ride the waves with Ezra's son, and then with his grandson, traveling on the fastest sailing ships, then on the steam ships that replaced them. At the end of the book, Ezra's great-grandson takes the Seabird along as he flies the skies, soaring through the air as he pilots the new airplanes around and around the world.

Another wonderful book by Hollings.

All Sail Set

Armstrong Sperry

The gripping and authentic yarn of a race 'round the Horn onboard the greatest clipper ever built - The Flying Cloud

$14.95

Add a review

This would also be a great accompanying novel for the Waldorf history block covering the industrial revolution, ages 12-13.

If ever there was a story of adventure on the high seas that we would want to share with the young people around us, this is it. The subtitle is as accurate as they come -- the adventure captures our imagination and holds it fast; the descriptions of sailing aboard a clipper ship are so accurate your young reader will be qualified to sign on as a deck hand before the story ends.

Sperry takes us back to the days when Clipper Ships transformed the world with their amazing speed (only 90 days to sail around the whole world!) and the race against time was a race toward a new modern world.

Here is the story of Enoch Thacher, a boy whose father lost his fortune at sea, goes to work for Donald McKay (who really existed and built an entire line of great clippers). McKay takes him on during the lofting, building, and rigging of the The Flying Cloud. Enoch finally ships out on her for her maiden, record-breaking trip around the Horn. Sperry's vigorous drawings are the perfect accompaniment to this realistic, riveting narrative of iron men and wooden ships. Even landlubbers will be pegged to their seats as they read.

Wagons Westward

The Old Trail to Santa Fe

written and illustrated by Armstrong Sperry

Softbound

$14.95

Add a review

Amstrong Sperry, author of All Sail Set  created some of the very best historical novels written in English. That they were written for young people is almost icing on the cake -- what a terrific way to share the life of the past with young minds! Well researched, well written, and real page-turners -- good juvenile literature just doesn't get much better than this.

Wagons Westward is among the best such novels -- it will give you a whiff of what the journey along the Santa Fe Trail must have been like in 1846; and how a restless America managed to add much of the Southwest to its expanding territory. The young hero, Jonathan Starbuck, faces and overcomes many challenges along the untamed trail -- and through his eyes we find ourselves travelling right alongside these determined pioneers. The author's spirited drawings just make this good story even better.

Very highly recommended!

A Knife and a Fork and Bottle and Cork . . .

That's How You Spell New York

Howard Schrager

Illustrated by Sarah Madsen

$12.95

Add a review

Howard Schrager, author of LMNOP, brings us another delight for classroom, home, travel, or just about anywhere you find yourself with a little time and a wish for something fun to do with someone else. 

A Knife and a Fork . . . is a collection of riddle rhymes each of which leads to the spelling of the name of a US state.  They can become a delightful part of geography lessons, sparking infectious laughter as they stimulate creative thinking and correct spelling. 

In these original riddle rhymes, Schrager often goes in several directions at once, leading and misleading all at the same time.  For instance, in the title rhyme, the first three clues all point to the shapes of letters (N, K and Y), but the final clue is a hint of the spelling of the word itself (. . . ork).  Altogether, it adds up to New York, but the mental journey to getting there just woke everyone up and created an adventure that will make not only the spelling of the word unforgettable, but will bring a smile everytime you hear it, too.

Howard will be coming out with more riddle rhyme books in the near future.  For now, we welcome you and your students and children and grandparents and friends to a new world of word games that will have you all laughing and spelling away.  Very highly recommended.