Connect Your Summer

This post contains suggestions for how to earn your Explore History: Super Bookworm and Keep It Real: Super Bookworm badges.
Learn more and earn badges on the Connect Your Summer page.

There are a number of books that deal with similar stories or events in history that have been adapted for younger audiences. Several other topics are covered by multiple ages for multiple age ranges. Pick one of these for yourself and one for your child, and discuss aspects of history as a family.

 

 

Extraordinary Zoo Stories During WWII

When Germany invaded Poland, bombers devastated Warsaw-- and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into the empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants and refusing to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, even as Europe crumbled around her.

An elephant in the garden by Michael Morpurgo

Lizzie and Karl's mother, Mutti, working at a local zoo in Dresden, Germany, during World War II while their father is away fighting in France, brings home Marlene, a baby elephant that is slated to be destroyed as the Allied bombing grows closer, and when they are forced to flee, Mutti feels they must take Marlene with them, adding even more danger to their journey.

This post contains suggestions for how to earn your Animal Lover: Super Bookworm badge.
Learn more and earn badges on the Connect Your Summer page.

These kids books about animals can give a little bit of insight about the care and ownership of furry friends. These books can also teach kids about the humane ways to treat animals. 

A kid's best friend by Maya Ajmera

Describes the special relationship that exists between children and their pet dogs all around the world.

Dogku by Andrew Clements

A haiku poem about a loveable dog.

This post contains suggestions for how to earn your Hit the Road: Super Bookworm badge.
Learn more and earn badges on the Connect Your Summer page.

Earn your Hit the Road badge while you travel the world with these real-life stories by women travelers. 

Alone in Antarctica by Felicity Aston

"In the whirling noise of our advancing technological age, we are seemingly never alone, never out-of-touch with the barrage of electronic data and information. Felicity Aston, physicist and meteorologist, took two months off from all human contact as she became the first woman -- and only the third person in history - to ski across the entire continent of Antarctica alone. She did it, too, with the simple apparatus of cross-country, without the aids used by her prededecessors - two Norwegian men - each of whom employed either parasails or kites. Aston's journey across the ice at the bottom of the world asked of her the extremes in terms of mental and physical bravery, as she faced the risks of unseen cracks buried in the snow so large they might engulf her and hypothermia due to brutalizing weather. She had to deal, too, with her emotional vulnerability in face of the constant bombardment of hallucinations brought on by the vast sea of whiteness, the lack of stimulation to her senses as she faced what is tantamount to a form of solitary confinement. Like Cheryl Strayed's Wild, Felicity Aston's Alone in Antarctica becomes an inspirational saga of one woman's battle through fear and loneliness as she honestly confronts both the physical challenges of her adventure, as well as her own human vulnerabilities. "--.

In Around the Bloc, Griest relates her experiences as a volunteer at a children’s shelter in Moscow, a propaganda polisher at the office of the Chinese Communist Party’s English-language mouthpiece in Beijing, and a belly dancer among the rumba queens of Havana. She falls in love with an ex-soldier who narrowly avoided radiation cleanup duties at Chernobyl, hangs out with Cuban hip-hop artists, and comes to difficult realizations about the meaning of democracy. 

Like Jack Kerouac’s intrepid little sister, Ariel Gore spins the spirited story of a vulnerable drifter who takes refuge in the recesses of the human heart. With just a few pennies and her I Ching, a change of clothes and a one-way ticket to Hong Kong, a perceptive, searching Gore makes her way through the labyrinthine customs of Cold-War China, wanders bustling, electric Katmandu, and hunkers down in an icy London squat with a prostitute and a boyfriend on the dole. Yet it is in the calm, verdant landscape of rural Italy where, pregnant and penniless, nineteen-year-old Gore’s adventure truly begins. An illuminating glimpse into the boldly political Gore—creator of HipMama.com and Hip Mama magazine—this unflinching memoir offers a poignant exploration of the meaning of home, and surveys the frontiers of both land and heart.

This post contains suggestions for how to earn your Explore History: Super Bookworm badge.
Learn more and earn badges on the Connect Your Summer page.
Black dove, white raven by Elizabeth Wein

Having moved to Ethiopia to avoid the prejudices of 1930s America, Emilia Menotti, her black adoptive brother Teo, and their mother Rhoda, a stunt pilot, are devoted to their new country even after war with Italy looms, drawing the teens into the conflict.

The diviners by Libba Bray

Seventeen-year-old Evie O'Neill is thrilled when she is exiled from small-town Ohio to New York City in 1926, even when a rash of occult-based murders thrusts Evie and her uncle, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, into the thick of the investigation.

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

In an alternative London ruled by a young Queen Victoria, Dodger, a resourceful, homeless boy, unwittingly prevents Sweeney Todd from committing murder.

This post contains suggestions for how to earn your Hit the Road: Super Bookworm badge.
Learn more and earn badges on the Connect Your Summer page.

Explore a different culture with these fascinating teen books. 

Two teens from different ethnic groups in present-day Afghanistan must fight their culture, tradition, families, and the Taliban to stay together as they and another village boy relate the story of their forbidden love.

If you could be mine by Sara Farizan

In Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by death, seventeen-year-olds Sahar and Nasrin love each other in secret until Nasrin's parents announce their daughter's arranged marriage and Sahar proposes a drastic solution.

Under the persimmon tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples
This post contains suggestions for how to earn your Hit the Road: Super Bookworm badge.
Learn more and earn badges on the Connect Your Summer page.

Browse the titles below and find stories that will take you on a journey to a new place. Some fiction, some nonfiction, all focus on a story of leaving somewhere behind for a new life.

Click on the titles for location and availability. Check for other media formats (included below) to earn eLectrified badges.

 

90 miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis
Also available in: e-audiobook

When unrest hits the streets of Havana, Cuba, Julian's parents must make the heartbreaking decision to send him and his two brothers away to Miami via the Pedro Pan operation. But when the boys get to Miami, they are thrust into a world where bullies seem to run rampant and it's not always clear how best to protect themselves.

Also available in: e-book | e-audiobook

When the Sudanese civil war reaches his village in 1985, eleven-year-old Salva becomes separated from his family and must walk with other Dinka tribe members through southern Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya in search of safe haven. Based on the life of Salva Dut, who, after emigrating to America in 1996, began a project to dig water wells in Sudan.

Offers an account of the first fourteen years of the author's life in poems, telling of her time spent between her mother's native Cuba and her home in Los Angeles, until the revolution in Cuba dramatically alters relations between the two countries she loves.

This post contains suggestions for how to earn your Hit the Road: Super Bookworm badge.
Learn more and earn badges on the Connect Your Summer page.

The books below are set in many different places. Use them to take a trip, somewhere new and exotic, or somewhere familiar. 

When a man brings to a remote village two burros, Alfa and Beto, loaded with books the children can borrow, Ana's excitement leads her to write a book of her own as she waits for the BibliBurro to return. Includes a note on the true story of Columbia's BiblioBurro and mobile libraries in other countries.

The sky of Afghanistan by Ana A. de Eulate

A little Afghan girl dreams of peace spreading throughout her country.

Gauchada by C. Drew Lamm

A necklace is lovingly passed from one person to another, traveling much farther than the Argentine gaucho who made it will ever go.

This post contains suggestions for how to earn your Hit the Road: E-lectrified badge.
Learn more and earn badges on the Connect Your Summer page.

Check out a variety of musical stylings to play in the car. Warning: musical taste will vary, and not all albums are suitable for listening on repeat until a child finally tires of them.

This CD, designed to entertain babies in the car, contains a selection of classical music with catchy, yet complex musical patterns, without startling loud bursts or over-stimulating sounds.

Turn turn turn [sound recording] by Elizabeth Mitchell

Two of the foremost makers of handmade, independent, and family friendly music join forces for a collaborative album. Among the tracks is a new version of the classic song Turn Turn Turn written specifically for children by Toshi Seeger.

This post contains suggestions for how to earn your Keep It Real: Super Bookworm badge.
Learn more and earn badges on the Connect Your Summer page.

Many of these nonfiction titles include actual digging, but others just dig up the facts. Many could be used to earn your Make History badge instead. 

Examines how a team of scientists and historians unearthed a Maryland homestead from the 1600s and details the painstaking work required to restore the ruin to its former glory.

This post contains suggestions for how to earn your Keep It Real: Super Bookworm badge.
Learn more and earn badges on the Connect Your Summer page.

True stories can be especially compelling, but if nonfiction's not your thing, try a different format. Graphic novels can put a new spark in real life events. The following suggestions are either straight nonfiction or based on true stories. 

Human body theater by Maris Wicks

A humorous and informative skeleton introduces each system of the human body, gaining a layer of her "costume" by the end of each act, becoming a fully formed human by the end of the play.

Journey into Mohawk Country by Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert

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