Posts tagged ‘community’

B.D. BEFORE THE DIGITAL AGE

Stories of Elders: What the Greatest Generation Knows About Technology That You Don’t

Written by Veronica Kirin

This book is a fascinating study conducted by a trained anthropologist who became an entrepreneur. Kirin traveled across America to interview members of what she calls The Greatest Generation, Americans who were born before 1945. She wanted to discover what it was like to live before the advent of technology from the mouths of those who grew up living without it.

Kirin developed a list of fifteen interview questions which covered basic demographic information as well as the type of childhood, their occupations, and how technology has changed their lives and those who are growing up in a world dominated by technology. Her questions touched on poverty, economic issues, family, religion, safety, and community. Her conclusions discuss the advantages and disadvantages of growing up with or without technology. Kirin provides a list of participants in an index.

I believe that millennials will find this study interesting and enlightening. As a person who grew up between these two groups, I found the information fascinating.

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FAMILY FUN VACATION PLAN

Mommy Camp (For Dads Too) Plan the Best Summer Ever

Written by Barb Asselin

MommyCamp,pic

Practical planning guide for moms, dads, grandparents, and caregivers. This planning guide is really for any time of the year that a family knows they will have to share together. The key is to do the research and plan ahead including both indoor and outdoor activities. Camp does not have to be sleep away, and vacations need not be expensive with hotels and airfare. Depending on budget, there are numerous ways to have a great time.

Some of the ideas included will be familiar to readers like going to the beach, building a fort, or picnicking, or visiting with family members. Others stress finding inexpensive community resources like local theater, museums and libraries. Families may visit local fairs, farmer’s markets and yard sales. Asselin includes many recipes for cooking in the kitchen and crafts like home-made play dough. Gardening and volunteering opportunities can be found in any neighborhood. While the author does not reinvent the wheel, she does a good job of presenting suggestions and then providing a template that the reader can download free to implement their own ideas after discussing with their own families.

Recommended for moms, dads, grandparents and caregivers who don’t want to spend another summer or school vacation faced with children who say, “I’m bored, what can we do today.?”

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Thought Soup: A Story for Youngsters and the Adults Who Love Them

Written by Lyle Olsen

Illustrated by Marnie Webster

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This short e book packs a lot of punch in a few pages. A stranger ambles into a small town carrying an iron kettle on his back. He unloads it in the middle of the town square and proceeds to set up cooking. The townspeople distrust him, having been tricked into contributing to strangers many times before. When the mayor confronts the stranger as to what he intends to cook; he answers, “thought soup” and offers to demonstrate.

The stranger says that he will solicit thoughts from them and pulls out a large sack from his belongings. He requests each of the townspeople place his head in the sack and deposit his thoughts within. Once they are finished, the stranger empties his sack into the boiling water and asks that each bring a bowl and spoon to taste the soup. Much to their surprise, the soup is so bad that many believe themselves to be poisoned. The stranger admits that the soup tastes bad. All the citizens want to run him out of town, but the stranger convinces them to give him another chance with dinner. If they will only think delicious thoughts, he will produce a wonderful soup. So they throw him into jail until supper.

During that same day, the townsfolk reflect on what could have made that soup taste so bad. Each of these colorful characters remember how negative their thoughts were that morning and think about how to make their lives better. For example, the candlestick maker realizes how greedy she has been and resolves to make better candlesticks quicker using cheaper materials while offering better prices. The town crier admits to himself that he has been spreading gossip and should concentrate on positive things. Even the mayor recognizes that deep inside he has not lived up to his campaign promises and owes it to the citizens to do a better job.

Dinner time arrives and the soup-maker is released. Each of the townspeople once again add their thoughts to the sack. There were so many positive thoughts they had to use a basket to keep the sack from flying away. How do you think the soup will taste? What will happen to the stranger and the members of the town in the future? Our author ends the book with the caveat, “This is Not the End.”

This book is really a delightful read for children and adults. I would recommend it as an independent read for ages eight and up, but parents and teachers can certainly use it as a read aloud and valuable teaching tool to discuss how our negative feelings can poison ourselves and others. My one regret is that the pictures were not larger and more detailed because the nostalgic setting and characters are charming, and if illustrated in detail, would really bring this book to life.

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THERE IS A WAY OUT

No Exit: The Apple Grove Gang Vol.1

Written  by Hamilton C. Burger

NoExitpic

This is the first in a series of books about the Apple Grove Gang. The mystery adventure tale chronicles a group of friends who live in a small town forty or fifty years ago when children played outside and teamed together to solve common problems. The two main characters named Benny and Bug are about to begin summer vacation when they make a startling discovery. Not only is Exit 23 on the toll highway about to be closed, but this major loss of town revenue will force the closing of the community center where the local kids hang out. So the gang becomes determined to get to the bottom of this issue by sneaking into the mayor’s office to get the lowdown. But the mayor refuses to listen, and nothing seems to add up. Together with the help of a few adults, the gang use their detective skills to get the answers they need, finding many surprises along the way.

The characters are well developed and the story line moves along quickly in this book of approximately one hundred twenty five pages. The written dialogue is age appropriate with just the right amount of conversation and background description. Readers are given an authentic glimpse of small town life and local politics. However, in this story, the children come up with the solutions. Lessons of friendship and community loyalty are well developed.

This tale is a quick read for tweens and teens. Older adults will love the nostalgia and feel good vibes. Members of this gang are not into themselves and stand together as friends who need to make a wrong right. Nothing complicated here, just a story that will appeal to both girls and boys empowering them to believe they can also be problem solvers. A few more illustrations of  action scenes in the book might make the read more appealing to younger readers. This is a perfect lazy afternoon read and the quick pace encourages reluctant readers. At the end of the book, there is a bonus chapter introducing Gold Fever, the second adventure in the Apple Grove series.

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