Inspiring Children to be the Best That They Can Be

For: Primary Educators, Parents, and Kids Inspiring Children To Love Learning And Be The Best They Can Be

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Birds of Prey, Reviews, and My Backyard

Time to Explore
Birds of Prey - Up close & personal
     We've all looked up to watch a hawk soaring high overhead or stopped the car short when vultures are picking over a dead carcass. The Birds of Prey center in Awendaw, South Carolina, takes our knowledge a step further.
     The one pictured is a red-tailed hawk. It is well trained to fly between posts and land on the trainer's leather guard. The midieval sport of falconry (as early as 2000 BC)  is practiced by some in the area, usually targeting rabbits. Hawks are now used rather than falcons. Most raptors seek rats, mice, dead carcasses and insects. 
    One of my favorites at the center was the African yellow-billed kite. It soared, hovered, and took food from the trainer in 'fast' flight - eating as it flew. (pictured on the left) Local varieties include the Mississippi and swallow-tailed kites.   
    Probably everyone's favorite nocturnal bird is the owl. His ears are along the side of his face. The one pictured is from Siberia. The center takes in about 400 injured raptors a year. A center in your area is a call away should you find one injured.

Book Reviews for Kids

Saving Kabul Corner by N. H. Sensai   (Ages 9 - 12) 
     Digging into a new culture through fiction is a painless way to discover values, traditions, and family life. Our heroine, Ariana,  lives in a Afghani California neighborhood helping often in her family's grocery store. When a cousin, Laila, arrives from Afghanistan, with perfect manners, talent, charm, and command of the Pukhtun language - and moves into her room, Ariana finds herself feeling unworthy and rebellious. 
     A new family opens a rival grocery store in the same center and trouble begins. Ariana brings together an unlikely peer group and carefully pieces the clues together when serious catastrophic events begin to happen to both grocery stores, blamed on a feud from long ago. It is a wonderful story of friendship, family  - and a 'cliff hanger' mystery.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson  (Ages 9 - 12)
    Woodson has written her childhood memoir in touching and powerful poetic prose. She tells her sensitive, factual story through the historical lens of the 60's and 70's segregation and racial tension. Her family becomes segmented, but their heritage remains strong, as they move from Ohio to Greensville, South Carolina, and finally New York City, documenting historical moments along the way. It's a beautiful story of a writer finding her voice from a child's perspective.

When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens   (Ages 9 - 12)
    The subtitle, First Daughters Just Wanna have Fun, suggests the difficulties a young teenage daughter, living in the shadow of her mother, 'Madam' President, may face under pressure of the public eye, being uprooted to a new school, and trailed everywhere by Secret Service. Audrey arranges a special 'film' showing for classmate friends, but they are turned away at the last minute because of a security breach in the White House.
     She discovers a long lost diary of Alice Roosevelt, hidden under a secretive floorboard, which becomes her creative guide. She attempts rebellious antics to express her individuality which lead to hilarious results. There is a thread of history as we view life in the 1900's through young Alice's eyes, whose motto was: "To thine own self be true." 

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Parks   (Ages 9 - 12)
     This Newbery Award winner is a delightful way to explore 12th century Korea's customs and values. It is a glimpse into an ancient society through the eyes of a memorable young orphan boy, with the unlikely name of Tree-Ear. We meet his foster father, an elderly hermit, and the angry, 'unappreciative' master potter, that  he works for. 
     It is a timeless story of a boy with a dream of one day sitting at the potter's wheel and creating a beautiful vase - and how he changes life's 'anticipated' chain of events. 

In My Backyard    (I Wish)

The African Yellow-billed Kite
                                                                 by Joan Bock

A yellow-billed Kite is a sight to behold,

Its beautiful markings, a barred brownish gold.

See it gliding and searching, far low and up high.

Its long pointed wings help it soar through the sky.

Its sissors-like tail can maneuver 360 degrees,

Looking for bug, frogs, and snakes in tall trees.

It hovers quite motionless, hanging far up in the sky,

Sharp talons grab termites it eats on the fly.

Until next time. . . . . . .

Be Creative             Inspire Others                   Enjoy Life