Thursday, April 30, 2009

Picture Books: Wonderful story-telling!

We use picture books alot around here -- for helping the kids learn about all manner of things from math to science/nature, history to geography, religion to sociology. Picture books, well-written and/or well-illustrated are much more beneficial than hours of lecturing or dry reading from a text book.

Two such books require special attention today. We read these yesterday and have re-read them three times since. Yes, they're that good! The books, Molly's Pilgrim and Make a Wish, Molly are about the same family -- a mom, dad and daughter who immigrate to New England from Russia to avoid the Jewish pogroms at the beginning of the 20th century. Molly's Pilgrim shows that the celebration of Thanksgiving is just applicable for the modern-day pilgrim, coming to the United States for freedom, as it was for the very first Thanksgiving. Make a Wish, Molly shows that religious beliefs are important to keep and not a secret to hide; that religious differences or cultural differences can be shared and cherished while melding into American society.

Either or both of these books would be fabulous for a study on immigration, different cultures, Russian history, Jewish customs (great descriptions of Tabernacles and Passover), Thanksgiving, birthday celebrations, home-made gifts vs store-bought, etc. Further, these stories are just very well written -- with sad parts and happy parts and the writing evokes emotions from readers of all ages (yes, we were all boo-hooing in parts!).

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