Who Was Queen Victoria by Jim Gigliotti

Who Was Queen Victoria? (Who Was?) - Kindle edition by Gigliotti, Jim, Who  HQ, Hergenrother, Max. Children Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

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Queen Victoria’s life was a hard one, from the time she was born. Her father died suddenly when she was quite young, and though her mother never remarried, she befriended a man to help take care of the house. He and Victoria’s mother were power hungry, and did everything they could to make Victoria feel like an outcast. They hoped that one day Victoria would be queen, and would be so dependent on the two of them that they could rule through her. By the time she was eleven she realized how close to the throne she was, and grew an independent will and took her education seriously. When she was eighteen she became queen, and was up for the challenge, She moved her mother and friend to the far side of Buckingham palace so she could focus on her reign. She eventually fell in love and married her cousin, and they had nine children together. Her mother eventually died, followed by her husband. Her husband’s death took the worst toll on her, and she withdrew from the public eye. As time passed and her children grew, Victoria continued to fulfill her duties, but never stopped mourning. When she was about to die, she planned her funeral asking to be buried in white, as she was finally going to stop mourning and be reunited with her husband. She soon died afterwards.

I would recommend this book again mostly for adults, but also older children. History, though boring to most children, is important, and history of other countries is crucial as we get so little of it in our education. I never knew much about Queen Victoria, but she lived an amazing life! It was interesting to read about her upbringing, her triumphs and tribulations, and her determination to reign as a good and just queen. I felt the story was told as simply and cleanly as possible, leaving out little and yet not being too overwhelming. The illustrations were beautiful as well, and really made me feel like I was a part of the story. Overall a wonderfully informative book.

Who Was Jane Austen by Sarah Fabiny

Who Was Jane Austen?: Fabiny, Sarah, Who HQ, Hoare, Jerry: 9780448488639:  Amazon.com: Books

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Jane Austen was born in 1775 to a reverend and his wife. Though women of the time were meant to be raised as good wives, Jane’s family valued education, and from a young age she and her older sister Cassandra were allowed to rea. The two of them even went to school for a short time, but it soon ended. Soon after coming home, Jane began writing stories. When family visited or they went on a trip, she brainstormed new ideas for more stories. As time passed, Jane’s family grew up and married, and Jane hoped to be married soon too. She still wrote constantly, and helped out the family through trials and tribulations. When she was finally proposed to though, she declined, stating that becoming published was more important, and she also wanted to marry for love, not wealth. She eventually did publish a book, and that made her more determined to write even more. After her father died, her brother offered to help her mother and her sisters by offering them a home they had inherited. When Jane became ill, she hid it from her family and continued to write. When she died, her nephew published a memoir about her, introducing her work to a larger audience than she had ever known.

I would highly recommend this book, more for adults than children though. Jane Austen’s writing is amazing, but many children don’t read her work. I learned more about Jane Austen from this book than I ever knew about her in my 26 years. This book wonderfully chronicles her life, from the good times to the bad. I feel her writing perfectly depicts how her life was back in the day, and love that most of her characters mirror her relationships she had with her family. The illustrations were also lovely, with not too much detail but enough to get the point across. Overall a very informative, well organized book.

Who Was Florence Nightingale by Kitson Jazynka

DK Life Stories: Florence Nightingale: Jazynka, Kitson, Ager, Charlotte:  9781465478443: Amazon.com: Books

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Florence was born into a well off family in 1820. From a young age she was fascinated with the world, not afraid to ask questions and search for answers. She loved animals from a young age as well, which led to her love of helping the sick and in need. Thanks to her father, Florence received a “gentleman’s education” where she learned everything that women were not aloud to know back in those days. Her family wasn’t as enthused that she enjoyed helping the sick. Though her family disapproved of her dedication to helping the sick, that didn’t stop Florence. As time passed, she became more determined to make a career out of nursing. Though she was old enough to marry, Florence didn’t want to. This caused a huge riff in her family relationships. Eventually they all made up, and Florence became a nurse and found herself in the middle of a war. She helped many soldiers during her time and loved everything about her life. Eventually she became deathly ill herself, and though she recovered, her brush with death wasn’t over, becoming sick multiple times throughout her life. She eventually died at age 90. To this day people know her as the Lady with the Lamp, searching for those who are sick and injured.

I would recommend this book to older children and adults. I used to be in nursing school and while Florence Nightingale was mentioned, we never went into detail about her. I think that’s too bad, because learning about her and her life was amazing! She is such a good role model for children, especially young girls, because she lived her life her way, and didn’t let anyone’s opinion of her change her mind. She knew she wanted to help people and she did. It was so interesting to learn about her upbringing and her family, as well as her struggles of deciding which life to choose. I wish more people read these books, because they’re so informative without being completely overwhelming.

Who Was Amelia Earhart by Kate Boehm Jerome

Who Was Amelia Earhart?: Jerome, Kate Boehm, Who HQ, Cain, David:  9780448428567: Amazon.com: Books

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This book chronicles Amelia Earhart’s life from childhood to her final flight. Beginning in 1897, Amelia was born in her grandmother’s house. Though Amelia’s grandparents were well off financially wise, Amelia’s father had difficulty keeping a job. This led to the family splitting up in Amelia’s teenage years, with her, her mother, and her sister moving to Chicago. Once Amelia was nineteen, she left for Ogontz School in Pennsylvania. She did very well there, but during her time there World War I started. She left for Toronto and became a nurses aid, helping those who were wounded. When she returned home, she began seeing a boy, and he eventually proposed. She declined, stating she couldn’t give her freedom to him. It was then that Amelia sought out flying as a career. After taking lessons and passing her license exam, Amelia flew stunt shows with her friend. Soon her friend married, and at age 28 Amelia was asked again by her previous suitor to marry him. Though it was tempting, she declined, her freedom was more important. By 1929, after becoming the first woman to fly across the ocean (as a passenger), Amelia had made it in life, having given more than 200 speeches and interviews (and being paid for them). Eventually, Amelia’s father passed away and she married her long time friend and manager, George. In the end, Amelia wanted to set a record for flying around the world, and unfortunately crashed and was never found.

I would recommend this book for older children as there is a lot of text involved. The story is told in a simplified and easy to understand manner, and definitely provides enough information to write an essay about. It doesn’t leave out any part of Amelia’s life, including the unhappy parts, such as when her parents split or when her father dies. I loved that the author included that she turned down proposals from men, as it shows little girls that you don’t have to live a certain way to have a happy life. Overall, a wonderfully told biography about an amazing woman.

When Sadness is At Your Door by Eva Eland

When Sadness is at Your Door: Eland, Eva: 9780525707189: Amazon.com: Books

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This book is an amazing introduction to depression and how to handle it. It follows a boy who is visited by the sad emotion, which is illustrated to be a semi-see through blue blob. The book shows how sadness can feel, like being unable to breath or feeling like your emotions take over you, as well as showing how to handle it, like going for a walk or giving it a name and listening to it. In the end, the sadness disappeared, and the boy got ready for a new day.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone, not just children. So many adults nowadays are disconnected with how they feel, that this would be a nice, easy example of how to reconnect with those lost feelings. I loved that it didn’t show children how to “overcome” the sadness with hard work and determination, but rather showed how to be tender to that sad side and let it happen. Work with it instead of against it. I think this book perfectly portrays depression and I love that there is a children’s book about it.

The Proper Way To Meet a Hedgehog by Paul Janeczko

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This book is a series of poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko. Each poem has a different author, but they all rhyme in a wonderful limerick way. The poems themselves are whimsical, and cover topics such as scaring monsters away, taking care of trees, and of course, properly meeting hedgehogs. Each poem is matched with a wonderful illustration that perfectly depicts what the poem is discussing. The poems themselves aren’t too long but give enough information to create a clear image.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone to read, especially children. The topics are all magical and whimsical, letting children’s imagination run free. The illustrations are beautifully done, with so much color and style to them. The poems themselves are pretty easy to understand and straight forward, but still fun to read. The authors all made sure that they were relevant to what children are experiencing, such as swinging on a swing, making snow angels, and seeing fireworks. The limerick to each poem made for easy and enjoyable reading, and in my opinion this would be a great storytime book to read to any and all children. Overall a really great book that anyone can enjoy.

The House Baba Built by Ed Young

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This book gives an overview of one family’s time in Shanghai, China, when there was a war going on. The Great Depression was in full gear, and China was beginning to be affected by it. The story follows a boy (the author) and his family as they try and live a good, safe, and healthy life through all the turmoil of the time. The father, Baba, was an engineer, and struck a deal with a landowner to create and build a large house with a pool. The story follows the author and his family through the seasons, sharing little stories here and there about their life. In one story, the author and his brothers trained crickets to fight. In another story, the author’s sisters steals seconds of dinner and blames her brother. It is a beautiful story of the little moments in life that we tend to forget.

I would not recommend this book for children, mostly because I can see them losing interest quickly. The pictures aren’t bright or colorful, they’re more artistic and remind me of a collage. While the stories are very sweet and fun to listen to, the book itself is rather long. I would recommend this for older readers though, and even adults, as it is a beautiful story to read.

Summer Green to Autumn Gold by Mia Posada

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This wonderfully colorful book depicted the life cycle of the leaves in the trees. It explained what cells and chloroplasts are, and even chlorophyll. It went on to describe the life cycle of the leaves and how when it becomes fall, the chlorophyll stops producing, since the tree’s life cycle is ending. The leaves change color because the chlorophyll has stopped producing the color green, and eventually in the winter the trees sleep. In the spring, new buds start to sprout, all filled with new chlorophyll, and the cycle begins again. 

I would highly recommend for anyone to read, as it is a great introduction to the seasons and how trees are affected by them. Learning about chloroplasts and chlorophyll was so fun, and the author made it easily digestible. The illustrations were beautiful too, especially the pages filled with various types of leaves. On each page, the text of the book would change colors or highlight colors to match what it was trying to say, which was very helpful. Overall a wonderful book about the seasons and the tree

Sad Underwear: And Other Complications by Judith Viorst

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This book is broken up into sections, and each section has poems about it. For example, there is a section about moms and dad’s that reflect the day-to-day life of living with adults, and there is a section about questions, where the poems are about questions children may ask. The author did an excellent job in creating poems that children could relate to. In some of the works, the author talks about who decided that roses are flowers and dandelions are weeds, or who decided that burping was rude. In another example, the author talks about things that shouldn’t exist, such as getting cavities and liver for supper. All of these poems expertly give a look into the world of children. There are no existential topics such as death or love, but rather topics that actually affect children and their day to day life. 

I would highly recommend this book for anyone, not just children. Again, I really felt like the author got inspiration from Shel Silverstein. The poems were tailored to children and their everyday life, I felt like a child again reading them. They aren’t overbearing or sad, they merely discuss the inconveniences children experience. Who doesn’t wish they could talk about their mother’s infamous cooking skills, or having to apologize when they didn’t mean it? These are things children are learning about and living through, and it really does an excellent job of connecting with children on their level. Overall a wonderfully written book, with beautiful, minimal illustrations to complete it.

Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook by Shel Silverstein

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These series of poems follow the main character, Runny Babbit, through his life in the woods with his family. They talk about all his adventures, from needing a new coat, to hugging and kissing a hedgehog. Each line has two words that have switched the first few letters, making the poems difficult but fun to read. Some words are easier to guess what they should mean, and others are more difficult. It really makes you slow down and read the poem thoroughly to understand what the author is trying to say. 

I would highly recommend this book for anyone to read, not just children. First off, the illustrations are so unique and adorable, they perfectly picture what I would expect a “peedy grig” (greedy pig) to look like. I found the most fascinating thing about this book was that even though the letters had been switched around to make these weird words, the author managed to keep the rhyme! It was so interesting to read a poem that seemingly made little to no sense and still have everything rhyme so well. The poems themselves were light and silly, making it an easy read full of laughter. I’m a bit biased about this since I love Shel Silverstein, but I’ve never read this book and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.