Posts tagged ‘farmers’

MAGNIFICENT MALI

If Lou were Me and Lived in… the Ancient Mali Empire

Written by Carole P. Roman

Illustrated by Mateya Arkova

Take a step back in time to the 1300’s into The Kingdom of Mali, the most powerful empire in the Western Sudan. Imagine yourself as a child in a wealthy family living in the capital city of Niani at the crossroads of the caravan road that led to Mecca. Your grandfather and father are important advisers to the king. There is no written language. As the griot, your grandfather’s job is to hold in memory and recite the history of the people.

This book details the story of the Mandinka people. Learn about the culture and religions of the people, the farmers, artisans, and slaves who kept the economy functioning. The roles of family members differed greatly according to gender and order of birth. Foods, customs, and manner of dress are examined. At the end of the story, the author provides portraits of many of the individuals discussed as well as vocabulary words unfamiliar to readers from other parts of the world.

Arkova does a marvelous job of capturing the essence of the text in simple, colorful illustrations that portray its meaning in visual terms. There is an extraordinary amount of information packed into this picture book. Younger children will enjoy the illustrations, but I highly recommend it for children in grades five through eight as well. Wonderful classroom reference resource for teachers to place in their bookcase.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and voluntarily chose to review with my honest opinions for no monetary compensation.

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THE BUZZ ON BEES

A, Bee, See: Who are our Pollinators and Why are They in Trouble?

Written by Kenneth Eade

Photographs by Valentine Eade

A,Bee,Seepic

The author decided to write a children’s edition of his adult book. You might expect it to be written by a biologist, but Kenneth Eade is a lawyer with the vision to look ahead toward environmental responsibility. He begins by explaining the interdependence of plants and animals and then introduces the bee as our most important pollinator. Bees have been at work for more than one hundred million years. There are thousands of kinds of bees, but Eade concentrates on the most common types like the honey bee and the bumblebee, and how they accomplish their work. Most of us are aware of the bees work, but are less familiar with the fact that moths and bats pollinate plants at night. Did you know that bats pollinate three hundred kinds of fruit and cacti?

The reader will learn how the honeybee colony is organized into queen bee, workers and drones. Did you know that honeybees have five eyes that help them navigate with light, color and direction? For years I have been telling children to stand still when any type of bee flies near them. I felt vindicated that this is the right action. What I found really interesting is that worker bees have two stomachs, one for eating and one for storing the nectar they gather, They even have tiny bags on their hind legs for carrying the pollen to the hive. I was never aware of the processing bee that puts nectar into a honeycomb cell nor that she adds an enzyme that allows it to ripen and dry into honey. Such a perfect food for the bees which lasts for years and provides nutrition for humans as well.

Bees are endangered now because excessive land clearing depletes home-sites for bees as well as other animals. At the same time the wildflowers are disappearing. Many farmers treat their crops with pesticides that kill bees. Children can help by urging their parents to plant wildflowers in their gardens and writing to government representatives to make them aware of environmental concerns.

This book contains beautiful photographs and is well written. It belongs on the shelves of every elementary classroom. Younger children can learn a lot about plants, animals and the environment by using this book as a reference. Older children might use it as a starting point for more advanced study. This book is enlightening and informative for all ages.

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