Posted in Book Reviews

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Famous Family Trees: Kari Hauge



SYNOPSIS:Explore the fascinating family histories of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Charlotte Bronte, John F Kennedy, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Maria Tallchief, and many more with 30 family trees from around the world.
This accessible, visually-stunning compendium of family trees features some of history’s most loved — and loathed — famous faces and is great fun for the whole family to explore.
Genealogy and history combine to make a fascinating, fact-filled treasury of family trees belonging to famous people throughout the ages.
Here are some samples:



MY THOUGHTS: OH MY GOODNESS! How I Love This Book!! From the first page, I was smitten. It is the most comprehensive, engaging genealogy book I’ve come across- adult or children’s. It’s not simply a book full of family tree pictures, either. Each family tree contains historical information about the family members and explanations of often used genealogical terms.

This is, simply put, a must-have for every homeschool library. The illustrations are adorable and will keep even early-elementary readers entertained. Older students can follow the examples in order to create their own family’s tree. Homeschoolers can create a lesson off each family given in the book for endless discussions and learning. I give it an absolute 5 stars! Bravo!

*Pic & synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.
**I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

ISBN: 9781786032263

https://www.quartoknows.com/books/9781786032263/The-Famous-Family-Trees.html

 

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Posted in Book Reviews

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: I See the Sun in the USA: Dedie King

SYNOPSIS: I See the Sun in the USA tells the story of Stella and the children and families she meets, with a variety of ethnicities and cultures, while on a family vacation.  Each child is also presented by a family tree depicting the blending of their families, hence the blending of American culture.  Glorious illustrations express and enhance the storyline.

MY THOUGHTS:  This book, for grades 1-5, offers a little bit of everything. We have a fictional family who goes on vacation to real, geographically accurate places. The pictures are fabulous and will add to the adventure. Readers will not only experience different, cultural representations, but also history & geography. I love when books combine subjects for this age bracket.

With all that their minds an absorb, it’s good to get a little extra education in with their reading. I also appreciate the introduction kids get to genealogy. There’s a lot of talk nowadays about DNA & family histories. It just may inspire younger students to chart their own family trees.

I give it 4 stars.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Author Dedie King was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the mid-sixties in Nepal where she taught school.  She uses her world travel experiences past and present as the basis for the stories in the I See The Sun series.  Presently, Dedie practices Classical Five Element acupuncture both in Hardwick and in Amherst, Massachusetts.

 

Illustrator Judith Inglese designs and fabricates ceramic tile murals for public spaces such as schools, healthcare facilities and nonprofit organizations.  In the I See the Sun books, she combines photography, cut paper and drawing in her collage illustrations. Like her ceramic tile murals, her illustrations are colorful and detailed with strong forms and line work.  Judith Inglese resides in Western Massachusetts.

Find it on Amazon.

*Pic & Synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.

**I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine/

Posted in Arts/Crafts/Hobbies, Book Reviews, Homeschool Lessons, Homeschooling

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Picturing America: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Art: Hudson Talbott

SYNOPSIS: The story of an immigrant from England who arrived in America 200 years ago and – through his passion for art, landscape, and the Hudson River Valley and the Catskills – came to define America’s visual identity and set in motion an artistic legacy that continues to impact art and culture to this day. A major international exhibition of Cole’s work, organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is now on view at the National Gallery, London.

Thomas Cole pictured for the world an America that would become known as “America the Beautiful.” Until then, there was not a clear succinct image of our country. In the process, he became a pioneering advocate for environmentalism, raising the alarm over industrial destruction of our landscape long before there was an environmental movement.

Hudson Talbott has written and/or illustrated more than 25 books, including Newbury Honor Book Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson, ALA Notable Book Leonardo’s Horse by Jean Fritz, and We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story, adapted into an animated film by Steven Spielberg, starring the voices of John Goodman, Jay Leno, and Martin Short, among others.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hudson Talbott is a resident of the Hudson Valley and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, NY. In many ways, Picturing America is a companion book to Talbott’s River of Dreams: The Story of the Hudson River, which was named the New York State Children’s Book of the Year in 2009.

MY THOUGHTS: There is so much to love about this book! For homeschoolers, this book touches on multiple classes. Art (of Course), geography, & history are all part of Thomas Cole’s story. Students will also experience a biography about an immigrant who worked hard for his success. Those who are looking to get into a career in art or excel in the subject will find Mr. Cole’s story inspiring and worth their time.

Younger students will marvel at the stunning pictures. Mr. Cole was beyond talented. His vision of American is one worth imitating. He found it beautiful and desired for the landscape to remain rural. This is the perfect resource to discuss the Industrial Revolution, immigration, and art history.

Brick-and-mortar students will definitely benefit from having a seldom discussed artist’s biography. It would be a unique book report and/or history project. Even parents/guardians will love this book. From the pictures to the story itself, this book is phenomenal and gets 5 stars from me.

*I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

**Pic & synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.

Posted in Book Reviews, Homeschooling

Book Spotlight: Warriors in Mr. Lincoln’s Army: Quita V. Shier

I received a copy of the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.
“Warriors in Mr. Lincoln’s Army”
By Quita V. Shier
ISBN: 978-1-5320-2716-1
Available at iUniverse and Amazon
SYNOPSIS: Anyone who has taken a grade-school history class may be able to recall dates and battles from the American Civil War that ended 152 years ago. What those history books probably did not include, was a group of sharpshooters called “Company K.”

Company K was the only company in the First Michigan Sharpshooter Regiment with only indigenous men on its roster.

In “Warriors in Mr. Lincoln’s Army: Native American Soldiers Who Fought in the Civil War,” author Quita V. Shier presents comprehensive profiles of these little-known soldiers, and why they wanted to enlist to fight a war in a country where they were not even recognized as citizens.

“Most stories we read about the Civil War are centered on generals and their experiences,” Shier said. “I’m concerned with the enlisted men, the ‘grunts’, who did the fighting and dying for this country. These are their stories.”

Shier’s book contains the profiles of 140 Native American men of Company K and the company officers, based on military, pension and census records, as well as information and pictures from some of the men’s descendants, including military experience, medical treatments of wounds and diseases, and biographies.

“My grandfather loved to read about American history,” Shier said. “He felt strongly about the Native Americans’ marginal existence in U.S. society and the failure of the treaties that the government did not honor. He asked me to do something for the American Indians and this book is the fulfillment of that promise.”
MY THOUGHTS: As a person with some Native American ancestry, I’m thrilled that an entire book was dedicated to those who are often overlooked. The magnitude of our author’s research and commitment is staggering. This is also one of those cases where a book shouldn’t be judged by the cover. Its exterior may be humble, but, the pages between contain a wealth of information.
While anyone who serves in any type of Armed Forces deserves the utmost respect, students are often taught only about the ‘big name players’ in our nation’s history. Thankfully, author’s such as Ms. Shier, are changing that. As a homeschool mom, I feel good about letting my son read through ‘Warriors’. Here we have credible, little-known history without embellishments or fabrication. There’s no bias here, either. Facts and the author’s fantastic grasp of her subject matter make this a must-have for your home classroom. While most history textbooks are good, I can almost guarantee that they don’t have these 140 proud service members in them.
As an avid reader, I can say that this book, although non-fiction, combines quite a few genres. There’s history, military, Native American heritage- the list goes on. Even if you don’t have a high school age student at home, this book will be just as captivating and enjoyable for adult readers. It isn’t specifically a textbook companion.
I can’t sing its praises enough. I highly recommend it for all readers! 5 stars!
About the author
Quita V. Shier is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and a resident of Michigan, who has a lifelong interest in American Indian cultures and life ways. She taught a course about Michigan Indian history and culture at Delta College, University Center, and is a frequent guest speaker. She is experienced in archival and family genealogical research, and is a member of the National Society Daughters of the Union 1861-1865. Some of the pictures and stories in her book were supplied by the descendants of the Company K men. For more about Shier or her book, visit: http://www.iuniverse.com.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Spotlight: Hell’s Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men: Harold Schechter

SYNOPSIS:“In the pantheon of serial killers, Belle Gunness stands alone. She was the rarest of female psychopaths, a woman who engaged in wholesale slaughter, partly out of greed but mostly for the sheer joy of it. Between 1902 and 1908, she lured a succession of unsuspecting victims to her Indiana “murder farm.” Some were hired hands. Others were well-to-do bachelors. All of them vanished without a trace. When their bodies were dug up, they hadn’t merely been poisoned, like victims of other female killers. They’d been butchered.
Hell’s Princess is a riveting account of one of the most sensational killing sprees in the annals of American crime: the shocking series of murders committed by the woman who came to be known as Lady Bluebeard. The only definitive book on this notorious case and the first to reveal previously unknown information about its subject, Harold Schechter’s gripping, suspenseful narrative has all the elements of a classic mystery—and all the gruesome twists of a nightmare.”

MY THOUGHTS: It’s been awhile since I’ve read from the true crime genre. As a book offered via Kindle First, (it’s due out 4/5) it caught my attention. Unlike other true crime books that I’ve read, this one was based on a historical case. I’d never heard of Belle nor of her legendary crimes.

I’ll start by saying that Mr. Schechter has done an amazing amount of research & dedicated an extraordinary amount of time to this book. I believe he combed every possible research avenue. I found his writing to be more than thorough. It is an unbiased account in which he allows readers ,and encourages them to, draw their own conclusion as to how the story ends.

Yes, it tells of some graphically violent events and many are not pleasant to think about, let alone read. However, the entire story of Belle is so fascinating that it’s hard not to continue to read. What makes the story even more intriguing is Schechter’s storytelling abilities. He gives us bits of relatable history mixed in with the sensational crime. Readers are given a look at the events, facts, and archaic investigative techniques of the era.

Although it’s a non-fiction book, the ‘characters’ are capable of drawing the same cheers, jeers, head shakes, and smiles that fictional ones do. Though a clichéd statement, here, truth is stranger than fiction. Mr. Schechter has done a marvelous job of telling Belle’s story as well as the stories of her victims. I’ve gone back to find more of his works because this one is so impressive.

If you’re a fan of true crime or fictional mystery, give this one a go. I give it 5 stars.

*Synopsis belongs solely to the author.

Posted in Book Reviews

The Sword & Scabbard: Thieves and Thugs and the Bloody Massacre in Boston: Allen Woods

9780990884101_COVER.inddSYNOPSIS
In every basic U.S. History class, children and teenagers learn about the American Revolution and how the colonists came together to fight unfair taxation by their British counterparts, creating a country founded on the values of freedom, liberty and justice. One of the most notorious events leading up to this revolution was the Boston Massacre, which helped light the spark that fueled a rebellion. But what do we know about the events the paved the way to this historic moment?
The Sword & Scabbard: Thieves and Thugs and the Bloody Massacre in Boston by Allen Woods is the first in a series of novels that answers this question, weaving a story of crime, intrigue and politics to look at an unexplored section of history in a compelling new way.
The streets and taverns of Boston prior to ‘The Bloody Massacre’ were filled with brawls and scrapes, hot words and cold calculations. Nicholas Gray and Maggie Magowan run The Sword and Scabbard, a tavern that is the center of both criminal and political scheming. Each is a fugitive from a dangerous past and their relationship grows fitfully in the midst of historic events. The pair remain suspicious of politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, but are eventually caught in a world where politics and crime meet.
In this thrilling, yet in-depth look at life in the colonies and the onset of the American Revolution, The Sword & Scabbard reveals that:
•Samuel Adams and other leaders saw themselves at war long before bullets flew, and they were willing to use physical intimidation and threats by gangs of unemployed sailors and dockworkers to further their goals.
•The Sons of Liberty had no belief in freedom of the press if someone published information harmful to their cause
•Revolutionary Boston was a city in turmoil, not a mythical place of pure and uniform Revolutionary ideals, and was filled with both self-serving and heroic people, as well as many others who just wished they could be left alone.
•Resistance to the taxes of the Stamp Act (which led to the Massacre and eventually the Revolution) through an import boycott helped John Hancock and other large merchants run smaller competitors out of business.
MY THOUGHTS:
If, as a reader, you’ve skipped Historical Fiction as a genre, then ‘The Sword’ is for you. Many times these fiction works tend to spend too much time on facts & dates rather than plot & characters. ‘The Sword’ breaks that stereotype. Allen Woods has achieved a very fair balance between actual events & wonderfully crafted fiction.
The American Revolution is usually written about in a romance novel & while there is some romance, the majority of the novel involves action. Another plus is that, although the dialogue is correct for the era, it’s not overwhelming to the point where it becomes monotonous. Nicholas & Maggie are both intelligent & strong leads, completely believable for the time period. With the amount of action, ‘The Sword’ has changed my opinion towards historical fiction as a whole.
While there are both violent & sexual situations included, one would expect as much during a time of war. Neither takes away from the value of the book. It is worth a read. Look for more books in the series to come soon. I give it 4 stars total.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.
Synopsis was provided by publisher. Cover pic belongs to publisher.

Posted in Book Reviews

A History of Loot and Stolen Art: Ivan Lindsay

LootandStolenArtBannerstolen art“Since World War Two, audacious art theft has continued at a steady rate. Interpol’s dedicated art theft department circulates a list of stolen works which now contains over 30,000 items, the top fifty most valuable of which comprise a staggering selection: Rembrandts, Vermeers, Caravaggios, Rubens, Picassos, Renoirs, van Goghs and Monets.

When we think of looted art, the Nazis often spring to mind. Between 1939 and 1945 Germany removed 592.48 tons of gold from the occupied countries and looted an estimated twenty percent of Europe’s finest artworks. This art was distributed for Hitler’s benefit, including as gifts to henchmen such as Hermann Göring, who kept a staggering 1,500 paintings at his country estate Karinhall. However, as A History of Loot and Stolen Art grippingly reveals, looting of treasures and artworks has been rife since the earliest days of man.

Examining the motivations of the world’s leading looters and art thieves, and the efforts that have been made at restitution of valuable works, A History of Loot and Stolen Art traces an astonishing line in history. Starting with the Ancients; Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Moors and Charlemagne, the author reveals the lust for pride of ownership and power over vanquished enemies that has driven conquerors throughout history to ruthless pillaging. From Sargon II who ruled Syria between 721 and 705 BC, Alexander the Great, Cesare Borgia, Pizarro the Spanish conquistador who defeated the Incan Empire; to Francis Drake, Napoleon Bonaparte, Joseph Stalin, Hermann Goering and Adolf Hitler, we eventually reach the twenty ?rst century, in which hardly a day passes without news of another serious art theft.

The author, Ivan Lindsay, says: Researching The History of Loot and Stolen Art allowed me to study the looting exploits of some of history’s leading warlords. This subject continues to fascinate people, as shown by the recent release of the film, The Monuments Men which recreates the actions of art historians saving art from destruction at the end of WWII. And in late 2010 a hoard of 1,280 Nazi-era looted artworks were discovered in the Munich apartment of 82 year old Rolf Nikolaus Cornelius Gurlitt, the reclusive son of an art dealer.’

Sumptuously illustrated with more than two hundred images, A History of Loot and Stolen Art is a fascinating plunge into an undeniably tantalizing, intriguing world.

Purchase the book:

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Telegraph

About the author:

Ivan Lindsay, who has researched the history of stolen art over many years, deals in old master paintings and Russian Twentieth century art. His enthusiasm and knowledge of his subject is highly evident in this book, which aims to become one of the seminal works on the subject.

These are certainly historical accuracies that you won’t hear about in school. I find it fabulous that authors are stepping outside the box to present us with a more truthful telling of history. In this case, our author has done a painstaking amount of research & to his credit, it shows.

If you are a homeschooler, considering adding this book to your highschooler’s Art class. They will definitely benefit from the wealth of information provided. It may end up being a great project for them too. Art history is a subject lacking in the educational system. It’s great for parents to have a resource that is so well done to turn to on their own.

A major plus to this work is the inclusion of beautiful pictures of art work. Some of them such as 1473’s ‘The Last Judgment’ are simply too stunning for words.

If you have a student majoring in Art or Art History, then this is the ideal gift for them. They’ll appreciate the author’s hard work, too. It’s a highly recommended, 5 star work.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

In his new book, The History of Loot of Stolen art, Ivan Lindsay examines the subject of art theft, listing the major art thieves through history and what they stole and why. Alexander the Great campaigned out of necessity to avoid Macedonian bankruptcy, removing 1,500 tons of gold alone from the Treasuries of the Persian Empire at Susa and Sardis, whereas the Vikings found undefended English monasteries full of gold and silver too tempting to ignore.

Ivan Lindsay is an art dealer specializing in European and Russian paintings. He was educated at Eton College and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. After four years in the British Army in South East Asia, he worked in the City of London before becoming an art dealer. He writes and lectures on art and the art market and is currently a Contributing Editor at Spears Magazine.

ivan lindsay

Ivan Lindsay (Photograph courtesy of Sophie Lindsay Photography)

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