Sunday, March 30, 2008

California history and geography

We're starting our next state in geography later this week: California! We're using "Discovering the Geography of North America with Books Kids Love." We have studied Washington State and Oregon so far and have loved all the picture books with Native American fables, stories of the Oregon Trail, learning about Mt. St. Helens, and much more about the Pacific Northwest that this mid-western mom didn't know anything about.

Today I sat down at my computer to put in my interlibrary loan requests for the California books. I wasn't nearly as happy with the recommendations for California as I had been the other two states. There were a several books on race riots in Los Angeles, more on the poor conditions for Mexican immigrants and migrant workers, still others on Japanese internment camps. Not that these aren't important issues, they most definitely are. And I don't believe there is anything to be gained from studying our history through rose-colored glasses. In fact, the dumbing down and outright rewriting of public school history is on my list of reasons to want to homeschool.

But the list of recommended books seemed too heavily weighted towards these topics for my comfort zone reading them aloud to an 8 year old. I would have liked to see more on the Native plants and animals of the state, the environment, the geography and the landmarks of the state. I did put a few of the others on hold. And I searched for others on topics I could think of, like the Redwoods, California Condors, and the Gold Rush. I have some books to look for when I'm at the library next week.

I am still looking for ideas. It is such a large state, I know there is more to it than was represented in the list from the book. If you have any ideas, either specific books or just topics please let me know.

Thanks!

4 comments:

thislittlepiggy said...

I admire your enthusiasm, but I don't have a clue! Sorry.

FatcatPaulanne said...

Have you read any books by Pam Munoz Ryan? We've read 2 of her books as read alouds, Paint the Wind and Becoming Naomi Leon and loved both of them. She even has a nonfiction book on California.
http://www.pammunozryan.com/cal.html

sunshineperri said...

visit www.gale.com/DiscoverAmerica/guides
It lists a book by state and I love them. The web page is how I look up the book to get at the library.

sunshineperri said...

check out the us mint they have some really cool stuff for each state quarter and also lists books to use.