5 (5-15 minute read)
The Story About Ping (By Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese)
We enjoyed this short little story about the duck, Ping. Ping lives on a houseboat with his rather large duck family. Each day, the ducks are given freedom to wander the shores of the Yangtze River. Each evening, however, each duck must report back to the houseboat promptly as they are called by their master.
One evening, after missing the call, the door to the houseboat is shut, and Ping is resigned to sleep outdoors for the night. In the morning, his home is nowhere to be found. Ping spends the day meandering the Yangtze River in search for his home. We explore the Yangtze River along with Ping until evening, when he finds his home, and happily rejoins his family on the happy houseboat, on the Yangtze River.
Ping made a choice, and suffered the consequence. Was his choice worth the consequence? Did he learn his lesson?
The Yangtze River is a famous river in China. This book gives a fun opportunity for a little geographic exploration. Ping also experiences some unique cultural customs upon this famous river. We enjoyed this opportunity to learn a wee bit about China, and the famous Yangtze River.
5 (5-15 minute read)
Irena’s Jars of Secrets (By Marcia Vaughan, Illustrated by Ron Mazellan)
If you’ve not yet learned about Irena Sendler, and her efforts that rescued over 2500 jewish children during WWII, this is a must read. As a social worker, Irena fabricates excuses to breach the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto for one purpose- to rescue the jewish children from their impending execution. The story is tear-jerking, and heart-warming. Within the book, several stories are shared of how she smuggled goods into the ghetto, and even better goods out of the ghetto. Her heart of courage is inspirational, and prompt toward some great discussion opportunities.
(There is also a movie based on her story called The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler which I highly recommend).
As with any WWII account, this book offers much in the way of discussion. Irena risked her life, she was well aware of the brutality of the nazi’s, and yet chose to defy them for a purpose greater than her own life. Did she make the right choice? What would you have done if you were Irena? While being tortured, do you think she was tempted to give the information about the children to the officers? Why do you think she chose not to share this information? Do you think she made the right choice? If you were in her shoes, do you think it would have been tempting to share the information to end your suffering?
And so much more.
As a result of Irena’s choice and efforts, 2500 children were spared during the Holocaust. These stories live on today through the children and grandchildren of the rescued. Irena had the opportunity to meet some of the children after the war, and they were able to thank her. The end of the book offers a few pages sharing some historical details, and a glossary guide. I found both to be educational and a worth while read. Along with your children, you will learn the medals and awards that were presented to Irena after the war. It is very encouraging and inspiring.
3 (5-15 minute read)
The Red Sash (ByJean E. Pendziwol, Illustrated by Nicolas Debon)
This is short story based on the Fur trade in Canada. It takes place in Fort William where the Voyageurs and representatives of The North West Company would meet after the winter to trade goods and materials. This book offers a glimpse into some very special aspects of Canadian history. Along the way, we learn such terms as, Metis, Voyageur, The NorthWest Company, and more.
Though this isn’t necessarily categorized as a “favourite”, I still recommend reading this book as an opportunity to learn a little bit about Canadian history, and the efforts that helped build our country.
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