Mysteries of History Part Three: Roanoke

October 8, 2020 at 11:30 pm (Education, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The world is full of things we’ll never know and one thing I do know is that the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.

As a child, the story of Roanoke was glossed over in history classes. It maybe earned itself a whole paragraph in a textbook… The colonists disappeared, most likely they were either slaughtered or absorbed by Native tribes. End of story. Now let’s talk about Jamestown and Pocahontas.

Wait, what?! That’s it!?

Jane Yolen’s picture book Roanoke addresses all the theories and just how big a mystery it actually is quite nicely, which I appreciate for my kid. At least she’s been given a bigger bit of bait than I had at that age. As a lifetime sucker for anything written by Jean Fritz, we’re also reading The Lost Colony together, it’s longer and one usually tackled by slightly older kids whereas Yolen’s picture book can be read in one sitting.

As far as information and writing style go, I prefer Jean Fritz––every time––and especially this time. Jean Fritz is my go to for all kids and young adult history books. We have a pretty extensive Fritz collection and still aren’t close to owning all the author’s work. I was so pleased to add The Lost Colony to our library, which in addition to beautiful illustrations, included all the most recent theories (as of 2001) and a summarization of Lee Miller’s Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony.

I read Lee Miller’s book and found it completely enthralling. As a homeschool family, we pick up and take our studies pretty much everywhere, and the week of Roanoke we had the luxury of spending on the Atchafalaya Basin. The only thing that could have been more perfect would have been if we had been in the Virginia and North Carolina swamps and beaches instead of the Louisiana ones––but the ambiance for the unraveling of a sixteenth century crime was perfect.

The book truly had me on the edge of my seat, due largely because of content. The writing style, which annoyed many reviewers on Goodreads, was superfluous at times, but I got the sense that it was the genuine excitement of the author jumping full swing into storytelling mode. I find the premise she suggested not only possible, but plausible based on her presentation of evidence. It’s a great book to read to get a big picture view of both sides of the pond when it comes to early American history. Too many books seem to focus on the colonies or Europe, but rarely truly show what is happening on both sides of the globe at the same time during the era.

Miller brings everything back to Elizabeth I’s Spymaster, so naturally I had to find out if her claims could be substantiated. Up next, my findings in Stephen Budiansky’s Her Majesty’s Sypmaster: Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Walsingham, and the Birth of Modern Espionage.

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Weekly Low Down on Kids Books – better late than never

March 6, 2012 at 9:53 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

How Do You Hug A Porcupine by Laurie Isop

I love this one, and so did Ayla, but I must admit that I’m a little nervous about insinuating that the practice of hugging porcupines is acceptable at all! It reminds me of Dora the Explorer having picnics with snakes and bears.  Possibly a silly concern, but that’s what pops up in my head nonetheless.  We read this several times this last week.

The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle

Eric Carle is always a good read, as I’ve said in the past, I love his illustrations and so does the kiddo (who doesn’t?).  This particular book is especially neat because Carle gives tribute to the idea being inspired by the kids he has visited in the past.  I thought that was a nice touch.

I Am The Biggest Thing In the Ocean by Kevin Sherry

Our absolute favorite this week! We read this over and over again and plan to purchase a copy first chance we get.  Its always great (even if a little shocking) when a kids book surprises even the adults in the room, every time, without fail.

How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends by Jane Yolen

We’re on a mission to collect all the Jane Yolen dinosaur books, so imagine my excitement when I came across this one at a school carnival! Of course, we both adored it, but Ayla still prefers the bedtime one best.  Because she’s familiar? Or because its better? I don’t know.

Lullaby and Goodnight by Jill Ackerman

Ayla discovered this at Half Price Books and just had to have it.  We bought it, brought it home, and she’s gone to bed with it every night since then.  She loves the light up moon feature, and rocks back and forth to the song.  If we tell her to ‘push the star’ she gets so excited, knowing it will start the song again.

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