Tuesday, April 21, 2015

To Feel the Presence of the Great Creator

To Feel the Presence of the Great Creator @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

[Today is the birthday of John Muir, so let’s celebrate. Who needs cake when one has books?!]

:: The 1000-Mile Hike That Shaped the National Park Service @ Mental Floss

Deeply religious, Muir blended science and spirituality deftly. When he noted his discovery of two new species of ferns, he wrote, “Every tree, every flower, every ripple and eddy of this lovely stream seemed solemnly to feel the presence of the great Creator.”

[My friend is currently visiting Yosemite, so we’ll have to enjoy the park vicariously through her pictures while I dream about our next vacation destination.]

I was thrilled to find five beautiful picture books about John Muir at our library, so we are reading them today!

1. John Muir Wrestles a Waterfall

This picture book with vivid illustrations tells the short story of one of Muir’s close encounters with a waterfall in Yosemite Valley. I love that it has an action-packed engaging story on one page (“Quickly, John scoots behind the tumbling, rumbling, twisting, misting, foaming, thundering waterfall”) and more detailed biographical information in a separate paragraph. This book could easily be experienced by reading through twice (and by a wider range of children).

John Muir @ Mt. Hope Chronicles


2. John Muir: America's Naturalist

This is a peaceful, serious biography about John Muir with elegant oil-paintings. Each two-page spread features a quote by Muir, and more quotes are listed in the back of the book. The author concentrates on Muir’s love for Yosemite.

“One learns that the world, though made, is yet being made. That this is still the morning of creation.”

[Slightly off-topic, the illustrator, Tom Locker, has also illustrated another book I love, The Boy Who Held Back the Sea, with moody oil paintings reminiscent of Rembrandt. I’m interested in checking out some of this other books such as Sky Tree: Seeing Science Through Art.]

John Muir picture book biographies @ Mt. Hope Chronicles


3. John Muir: America's First Environmentalist

Kathryn Lasky covers Muir’s whole life, from Scotland to Wisconsin, Florida, the Alaskan tundra, and Yosemite, in this comprehensive picture book biography. The acrylic paintings by Stan Fellows are lovely.

John Muir picture books @ Mt. Hope Chronicles


4. Camping with the President

This is a detailed and delightful account of Muir’s camping trip with President Theodore Roosevelt in Yosemite in 1903, which led to the creation of several national parks. The author includes more biographical notes in the back of the book.

John Muir biographies @ Mt. Hope Chronicles


5. The Camping Trip that Changed America

This is a shorter picture book retelling of Muir’s and Roosevelt’s camping trip paired with delightful illustrations—perfect for younger children.

John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt @ Mt. Hope Chronicles


[I want to check out three more picture books that I was unable to find at the library: John Muir & Stickeen, John Muir: My Life With Nature, and Squirrel and John Muir. John Muir is also featured in Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #28: Heroes for All Times: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #51: High Time for Heroes, which I checked out for Leif, who still loves Magic Tree House books.]


Julie said...

I love these book suggestions! Thanks! I am a fellow CC mom with a kindergartener, first and fourth grader. I know that you don't " do it all!" But I have a question... How do you build in read alouds in your day??? There is a lot of core material ( reading, writing, spelling, math, memory work) and I am struggling to do the core plus good times for read alouds? Any suggestions!??!

Heidi said...

That is a fantastic question, Julie, and I don't think I'm the one to answer it well. ;) I have been extremely blessed to have boys who read early and well, so much of what would have been read-aloud material became independent reading. It is a good thing because I don't have children (particularly the youngest two) who sit and listen well (and they are disruptive in general when I read aloud). We've been hit and miss with literature read-alouds over the years. In general, our day has not been well structured, so I'd be hard pressed to give you a general time or approach that has worked well for us. Summers can be a good time for catching up on literature. Grab a picnic blanket and read together in the sunshine (or shade :)).

Ohio12 said...

Thank you for these suggestions. We are studying the late 1800's and these will fit in perfectly with our history.

Not sure if Julie will check back, but I wanted to give her my two cents. When my kids were little I decided that our Bible time and reading time were the most important parts of the day. We always have Bible right after breakfast and don't skip just because "we have a busy day" because we ALWAYS have a busy day. And then reading aloud was right after lunch. I would also have my husband read some of the books to them before bed. And we listen to longer books in the car.

Heidi said...

Ohio12~ That's right where we are in history as well! :) I hope you enjoy the books. And thanks for sharing your read-aloud tips!

Ohio12 said...

so are you in the same boat..wondering how to get through both World Wars before CC starts in September? :)

Heidi said...

Yes, exactly. :D