Travel the Globe with a World Geography Gift Basket

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. Growing up the changing season meant my mother would be in the kitchen canning the fruits and vegetables we had collected at the U-pick farms. My brothers and I would also eagerly await the annual “Back-to-School” shopping spree.

Now that I am mother myself, I look forward to fall for a different reason. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know how much we love to travel. Frequently, our trips abroad happen in autumn when we can take advantage of reduced fees and less crowds.

Thus far, we’ve visited China, five countries in Europe, and Ecuador & Peru. This year, we are excited to add stamps from the British Isles into our passport.

To celebrate our love of travel and the “Back-to-School” season, I have put together a gift basket full of great resources to explore world geography with your kids.

Travel the World Geography

This post contains affiliate links. Contents included in the giveaway are detailed below.

World Geography Gift Basket

The Passport Club

When the kids were younger, we were involved in a wonderful world geography co-op that explored the diverse cultures of our world, one region at a time. We utilized a program called The Passport Club and it was our most anticipated activity of the month.

the passport clubThrough this program, students learn all of the world’s countries plus forty capital cities, the continents, oceans, seas, deserts, and mountain ranges (if they choose Level Five). Each student is given a passport and a study map. At the end of each month, students receive “stamps” in their passports from the countries they have learned.

Designed as an enrichment program, it is easily adapted to a homeschool setting. Included in the basket are two passports, the stamp images, and study maps to get you started learning about the the world in your homeschool.

When students participate in The Passport Club, teachers are able to make geographic connections to authors, folktales, legends, myths, stories from around the world, biographies, books about history, and the arts. Students benefit from a global perspective, which helps them more fully understand and appreciate both informational and literary reading.​

Children’s World Atlas

Included in the basket is hardbound edition of The Children’s World Atlas by Colin Arrowsmith.  With more than 100 easy-to-read maps of all the countries and oceans as well as thousands of illustrations and photographs, this is the perfect atlas for children. It is an incomparable tool for reference and browsing.

Detailed thematic pages give the reader a complete overview of our place in space, Earth’s habitats, and the human story. Each country is featured on a page which provides an encyclopedic survey of each region including information on resources, land use, places and people, natural features, traditions and culture, and history.

Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. Those whom God has so joined together, let no man put asunder. ~ John F. Kennedy

Cuckoo Clock Secrets

Cuckoo Clock Secrets in Switzerland, a paperback edition is included in the basket, centers around a homeschool family that travels regularly just as we do. It’s a fun adventure quest guaranteed to immerse the reader in the culture of Switzerland. Your children will delight in this first book of the Case of Adventure travel series.

For fun activities to accompany the book, you may wish to visit Case of Adventure to purchase the Destination Switzerland Unit Study as well as download the FREE Maps Pack and Money Pack to use for your geography studies. Here, you will also find the Mega Travel Activity Pack that goes along with any novel in their series. Filled with spy gear and codes – this activity pack will bring the mystery to life, especially for younger kids.

For a more in-depth review of the book, read my earlier post, Have you ever wanted to visit Switzerland?

Peoples of the Ancient World – 8 Books!

When we travel, we spend a great amount of our time exploring the ancient sites and learning about the peoples of the ancient world.  In preparation for our travels, my kids devoured the Peoples of the Ancient World series published by Crabtree Publishing.

Exploring each culture in advance of our trip helps to bring the peoples of these ancient worlds to life. It also helps us better understand the modern culture. I’m thereby including the following eight gently used titles from the series (they are not pictured in the basket):

North-Star-Geography

While it is not included in the basket, North Star Geography from Bright Ideas Press is a fabulous geography program. Purchase of the hardback text includes a free Companion Guide that includes reproducible outline and reference maps as well as many note-taking pages and graphic organizers. Planning calendars and lesson plans are carefully outlined for easy use.

I’ve used North Star Geography extensively in our homeschool. It is a fabulous program that is easy to use and quick to implement. One of our favorite components of the textbook are the North Star Geography Sidebars – little rabbit trails that we’d explore in more depth.

Enter the World Geography Giveaway

To enter the World Geography Basket giveaway, follow the prompts here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But wait! That’s not all.

There are 27 other homeschool bloggers have joined together to provide one massive back-to-homeschool gift basket giveaway! Take a peek around these 27 other sites and enter to win as many baskets as you like. Each blogger is conducting her own giveaway, so you never know – you may end up winning more than one! All giveaways will be live on Monday, August 7.

iHN Gift Baskets August 2017

Here are just a few that caught my eye:

Middle and High School Living Book Loverís Delight! from Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus

American History & Government Back to School Packfrom Blog, She Wrote

Back to High School Giveaway Basket from BJ’s Homeschool

Ocean Learning Gift Basketfrom See Jamie Blog

Life of Fred Math Books Gift Basket from Look! We’re Learning!

Queen Girls: Inspiring Girls with Real Stories of Female Heroes

Today I divert from my usual content to share with you a book series that I am very excited about. Though my children are no longer the target age, I love the mission of Queen Girls – to inspire girls to follow their dreams and envision them as possible and I look forward to sharing the books with my nieces and nephews. I also love that the stories are based on real women – short biographies that highlight the struggles and successes of women the world over.

Often times, classic stories highlight the strength, courage and skills of men while female characters are often stereotyped or one-dimensionall: the mother figure, the homemaker, the exotic beauty, the love seeker.

Did you know that 57% of children’s books have male protagonists, while only 31% are female? We believe that we should be telling different stories to our children. Let’s encourage girls to find their happiness, passions, drive and self-confidence from within. At the same time, let’s help boys to move to a place of equality.

Queen Girls Kickstarter

They also believe in giving back to the community and this is why they stand on a One for One model. Every time you purchase a book, another will be donated to local and international organizations who are fighting illiteracy and empowering girls.

The first fairy tale is Bessie, Queen of the Sky inspired by the story of Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to hold a pilot’s license. The book will be available in English and Spanish.

When Bessie was growing up, no one could have imagined that a girl from a humble family would get out of the cotton fields and become a pilot. But with the help of her best friend Bloony, Bessie uses her courage and determination to make her dream come true!

How to get involved?

They are running a Kickstarter campaign to collect necessary funds to print the first book! Queen Girls is hoping to reach like-minded people who can help them ‘kick’ their crowdfunding campaign! If you believe in their mission and want to be part of the movement, donate and receive one of the first limited copies here!

bessie-and-bloony-flying

This multicultural team is formed by Jimena Durán (Spain), Andrea Doshi (USA) and Chiara Fabbri (Italy). They bring their diverse experiences to this initiative along with tons of love and dedication. Their intention is to open this collection to fellow authors and illustrators that could potentially bring their own Queens on board.

Books

Available in English & Spanish
Recommended age – 4 to 7 y.o.
32 page, hardcover & digital

Bessie, Queen of the Sky! Inspired by the story of Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to hold a pilot’s license in the world – When Bessie was growing up, no one could have imagined that a girl from a humble family would get out of the cotton fields and become a pilot. But with the help of her best friend Bloony, Bessie uses her courage and determination to make her dream come true!

Isadora, the Rebel Queen! Inspired by the story of Isadora Duncan, a ballerina who danced away from rigid ballet technique towards what she perceived as natural movement. Influenced by the sea, she started dancing like no one ever did before, imitating the waves of the sea with her arms and feet – She defied conventionalist minds by creating what today we refer to as Modern Dance or “Barefoot Style.”

Savi, Queen of Education! Inspired by the story of Savitribhai Phule, a woman poet, an educationalist and a social reformer, Savi was one of the earliest crusaders of education for girls in India. She defied all odds to become the first female teacher at the first women’s school founded by her and her family.

And more books to come! We have the firm intention to grow this collection and open it up to fellow authors and illustrators that could potentially bring their own queens on board.

If this sounds appealing to you, please pledge to make it happen here!

#queeengirls #childrensbooks #booksforgirls
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Bowls of Happiness: Exploring Chinese Culture through Books

I feel very strongly that a comprehensive world view is important in today’s society.  In our homeschool we strive to develop an awareness of other cultures and lifestyle choices by reading great books, diving deeply into history, and immersing ourselves in other cultures through our travels around the world.

As our communities become more diverse, many parents are looking for literature and other tools to help their children develop a deeper understanding of their neighbors.

Through our studies of Mandarin language, we have developed a greater understanding of the Chinese culture than I had dreamed possible. My children enjoy cooking Chinese foods and celebrating many of the holidays unique to China (Mid-Autumn Festival, for example).

multiculturalbooksdayI received these books in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions below are mine and I was not required to write a positive review. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Exploring Chinese Culture with Children’s Books

One of the best ways to learn about another culture is through children’s books. China Institute has published four hardcover books about the Forbidden City, one of the world’s most fascinating landmarks. Each of the books will have its own interactive e-book app, which will feature a bilingual option to toggle between reading and listening in English and Chinese.

For Younger Readers

Bowls of Happiness: Treasures from China and the Forbidden City by Brian Tse  teaches children about Chinese artwork and culture and their universal spirit of generosity, love, and respect for nature. The loveable illustrations are coupled with photographs of porcelain art found in the Palace Museum’s collection.

After reading the story, my kids both wanted to create their own bowl of happiness. We went to a local pottery studio and painted our own. I’ll be posting pictures about this experience on Facebook and Instagram very soon.

Brian Tse has also authored This is the Greatest Place! The Forbidden City and the World of Small Animals. This charming book teaches children about Chinese architecture, how nature’s influence can be seen around us, and how people and animals can live together in harmony. The illustrations capture the majesty of both the natural world and the Forbidden City and are enhanced by interactive components for readers, including a gatefold spread and lift-flaps.

multiculturalbooksdayFor Older Readers

In the book What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? Life in China’s Forbidden City by Chiu Kwong-chiu and Eileen Ng readers will journey through the average life of an emperor and learn about the real people who lived in the palace, including the prince who fought off a rebel invasion, the palace maids who lived in the Inner Court, the emperor who ruled twice, and the emperor who loved crickets. This book can be enjoyed by children and adults alike, with lively illustrations that encourage reader interaction.

In the Forbidden City by Chiu Kwong-chiu is a large format book which conveys the grandeur of the Forbidden City through highly detailed line drawings of its buildings, gardens, and courtyards with numerous foldout spreads. Each page is populated by a large variety of characters and peppered with entertaining anecdotes. Every book includes a plastic magnifying glass for looking at the drawings more closely.

Be sure to check out the lesson plans and interactive activities that accompany these delightful books.

forbiddencity

Multicultural Children’s Book Day

The Mission

The mission of the Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCCBD) is 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.

The annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day is made possible by a team of 12 amazing Co-Hosts (you can view them here), the initiative’s non-profit status, and 200 participating bloggers like me.

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.

The Reading Challenge

The Multicultural Children’s Book Day Classroom Reading Challenge is a special project connected to Multicultural Children’s Book Day ~ 26th January 2016 ~ that gives classrooms the opportunity to earn a FREE Diversity Book for their class!

The goal of the reading challenge is to help teachers build their classroom library with diverse, inclusive and multicultural books! This special project is free of charge to all teachers and schools and helps MCCBD achieve their mission of getting multicultural books into the hands of young readers and teachers. The MCCBD 2016 Classroom Reading Challenge has begun, learn more here.

MCBookDay-white-21-300x234Special thanks to all our Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2016 Medallion Level Sponsors:

Platinum: Wisdom Tales Press * StoryQuest Books * Lil Libros
Gold: Author Tori Nighthawk * Candlewick Press
Silver: Lee and Low Books * Chronicle Books * Capstone Young Readers
Bronze: Pomelo Books * Author Jacqueline Woodson * Papa Lemon Books * Goosebottom Books * Author Gleeson Rebello * ShoutMouse Press * Author Mahvash Shahegh * China Institute.org

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #22

CKCbloghop22

Welcome to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop!

The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place where bloggers can share multicultural activities, crafts, recipes, and musings for our creative kids. We can’t wait to see what you share this time!

Created by Frances of Discovering the World through My Son’s Eyes, the blog hop has now found a new home at Multicultural Kid Blogs.

This month our co-hosts are: Multicultural Kid Blogs, Crystal’s Tiny Treasures, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, For the Love of Spanish, Eva Varga, and Tara Kamiya.

My Favorite Post

I am excited to co-host for the first time and look forward to being a part of the wonderful group. A global world view is important to us and we learn so much from all of you.

My favorite post from last month is from by Cindy at The Art Curator for Kids. In the month of November, she posted everyday [an amazing feat in itself] – Art Around the World in 30 Days – focusing on a different country each day.

She selected a piece of artwork to focus on and shared a little bit of information about the art, provided at least 3 art discussion questions to use with your kiddos to help you talk about it, and suggested at least one idea for an art learning activity or art project you could do to help teach about the artwork in question. I love this!

China_Shen_ZhouAs you know, Mandarin is a huge part of our homeschool and we are always looking for ways to integrate Chinese culture lessons into our lessons. Cindy’s Around the World: China post is wonderful. My kids enjoyed the lessons and the discussion questions really helped us to focus and look at the details. I am excited to continue with her Art Around the World series.

Guidelines for the Hop

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place for you to share your creative kids culture posts. It’s very easy, and simple to participate!

Just follow these simple guidelines:

  • Follow us via email, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook. Please let us know you’re following us, and we will be sure to follow you back.
  • Link up any Creative Kids Culture post, such as language, culture, books, travel, food, crafts, playdates, activities, heritage, and holidays, etc. Please, link directly to your specific post, and no giveaways, shops, stores, etc.
  • Please grab the button code below and put it on your blog or the post you’re linking up. You can also add a text link back to this hop on your blog post.
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Note: By sharing your link up on this blog hop you are giving us permission to feature your blog post with pictures, and to pin your link up in our Creative Kids Culture Feature board on Pinterest.

The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop will go live on the 3rd Sunday of the month. It will run for three weeks. In the blog hop the following month we will feature a post that was linked up. If you’re featured, don’t forget to grab the button below:

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Thank you for linking-up, and we can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to!

Through Mine Eyes: Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was a great American. Few have ever illuminated our nation as honestly and accurately as he. His recognition of its ugliness is always tempered with love for it.  I first discovered Hughes as an undergrad at Lane Community College. My writing professor introduced me to the literary world in ways I had not anticipated.  It was here that I first experienced the world through the eyes of the minority.  It was here that I discovered Black American Literature.

This post contains affiliate links. 
langston hughes

As we approach the new year, I selected Langston Hughes as the first author for our new literature focus, “Through Mine Eyes: A multicultural literature unit“.  Langston Hughes is one of my favorite authors.  I first introduced Langston Hughes to the kids by reading aloud Langston’s Train Ride by Robert Burleigh, a non-fiction narrative, describing the early life of Langston Hughes, and how he became inspired to write poetry. It was a joy to read; Leonard Jenkins’ jazz-like artwork blends well with Robert Burleigh’s text, both integrating with the style of Hughes himself.

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

I’ve known rivers:

I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.

I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.

I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.

I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve see its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:

Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

~ Langston Hughes

James Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. His parents divorced when he was a young child, and his father moved to Mexico. He was raised by his grandmother until he was thirteen, when he moved to Lincoln, Illinois, to live with his mother and her husband, before the family eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio. It was in Lincoln that Hughes began writing poetry. After graduating from high school, he spent a year in Mexico.  On the train to Mexico, he was inspired to write the poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” shown above.   You can listen to Hughes speak of this moment here, voice of Langston Hughes.

Throughout the month, I sprinkled in other poems Langston Hughes wrote.  Many of which are found in the series Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes.  The kids enjoyed his work and reveled in the power of his words.  They were even inspired to pen their own poem:

Buddy’s poem I’ve Known Rivers

Sweetie’s poem I’ve Known Rivers

 Through Mine Eyes, is a multicultural literature unit that will span the globe and address a variety of topics.  Each month, I will be selecting a different culture, time period, genre, or style of literature with which to view the world. In January, our focus is Black American Literature. Join me again in two weeks when I share the other authors we enjoyed this month. If you are also exploring the world Through Mine Eyes,  I will also include the link to share your posts. We’d love to hear about the books you have enjoyed.

multicultural literature unit

Cultural Faire 2012

Each year, the local Sheriff’s Association sponsors a Cultural Faire at the mall.  The Sons of Norway takes part each year … and we were delighted to participate. There were numerous cultural groups represented with booths around the mall … each staffed by volunteers to share with the public a little about what they do.  A stage in the center of the mall was the highlight for volunteers and visitors alike.  There were dancers, singers, and performers all day. 
There were many groups of children dressed in their national dress.  Several groups showcased folk dancing.  I was very impressed with the diversity of the area and was also inspired to incorporate folk dance as a part of our Barnesklubb.  I would really like to have a group of youth dancers on stage next year. 

The kiddos dressed up in their Norwegian festdrakt bunads and helped to staff the lodge booth.  They taught a few people how to weave Scandinavian heart baskets.  However, we were surprised at how little the people interacted with the booths.  The big draw of course was the entertainment on the stage.  I’ll have to think of a way to help encourage the public to engage more with the booths … perhaps a scavenger hunt or passport to enter a drawing.

 One of the most popular entertainers were the Scottish Bagpipes.  They played on stage for about 15 minutes and then led many of the groups around the mall in a parade.  Just behind the bagpipes were American veterans carrying the United States flag and thereafter a volunteer from each group carried a flag for their ancestral country.  We walked around the mall twice and then ended in the center whereby the veterans led us in the National Anthem.  I thought the parade was very well done.

There were two distinctly different Native American groups at the event.  The above photo (taken during the parade – so sadly I don’t have a better picture) is of a local Wintu tribe.  I was fascinated with the woman’s skirt, the design was done entirely in seashells and it swayed and jingled as she walked.  The group below is not local … but I believe a group that travels to different venues like this one to educate the public about their culture.  I wish I had caught their name and the region they represented.  They reminded me of the Warm Springs tribe but I’m not certain.