**spoiler alert** This is a book I was tempted to give up on by page 25, but I decided to keep going until page 50. By then I had decided it was worth**spoiler alert** This is a book I was tempted to give up on by page 25, but I decided to keep going until page 50. By then I had decided it was worth finishing, because I'd begun to get into the funnier stories. This is sort of an Armenian version of Tom Sawyer, but the cultural sense of humor is a bit different, and the setting is in Fresno, California from 1915 to 1925.
Aram has plenty of family, and most of them don't have a lot of regard for formal education. Aram is one of them. He hangs out with his cousins a lot, and they have various adventures, including a number of informal wrestling events when they have disagreements. Aram's school adventures are not usually happy ones, and most seem to result in strappings by the principal. One of these takes place when he and his friend leave school after class starts to go "help out" and hang out on the day the circus comes to town. Aram usually doesn't go to school at all on circus day, but on this particular day he had forgotten, so his friend Joey came to get him out of class:
...One day Joey came tearing into the classroom...ten minutes late, and without so much as removing his cap shouted, Hey Aram, what the hell are you doing here? The circus is in town.
And sure enough I'd forgotten. I jumped up and ran out of the room with poor old Miss Flibety screaming after me, Aram Garoghlanian, you stay in this room. Do you hear me?
I heard her all right and I knew what my not staying would mean. It would mean another powerful strapping from old man Dawson. But I just couldn't help it. I was just crazy about a circus.
This is the sort of book a teacher would not want to read to her class because it might give the class clowns some new ideas.
Some scenes, like the chapter about religion, are funny, but could also be considered irreverent. Aram is baptized Catholic who does not attend church except for Christmas and Easter. A neighbor lady hears Aram's friend swearing outside her house and invites the boys in to try to save them. She first asks them to move her organ into the living room, and then asks them to sing hymns with her -- something they don't take to well, but do to please her. They draw the line when she wants them to get on their knees so she can pray for them, but they do agree to close their eyes. She discovers that Aram sings well, and wants him for the Presbyterian choir -- something he wants no part in. She finally bribes him to sing for $1.00 each Sunday after his friend negotiates the price. But Aram still says he won't do it unless his friend Pandro will sing with him. The problem is that Pandro has an awful voice, so after much negotiation it is decided that Pandro will go stand in the choir with Aram and pretend to sing (for fifty cents) while Aram actually does sing for one dollar. The humor is in the negotiations.
Although Aram is supposed to be a lovable character, he reminded me all too much of certain students I've had who were ever-so-innocent trouble makers, who could be politely insolent. So these kinds of incidents that were intended to be humorous didn't always seem funny to me. I probably would not suggest people read this book, though I'm sure many people are fans of this author and would appreciate the book more than I did. ...more
This was the first book I read by this Swedish author. It's a cookbook built around family stories. Every recipe is displayed in it's family context.This was the first book I read by this Swedish author. It's a cookbook built around family stories. Every recipe is displayed in it's family context. I didn't try all the recipes, but I did try one or two. It was the stories that got me hooked on this author. I highly recommend this book if you like to read about the traditions of other families. Many of the recipes are related to Swedish holidays and celebrations. Reading it gave me the warm feeling one gets chatting in the kitchen over tea while waiting for something that smells good to come out of the oven. ...more
From the time she was a young bride in 1853, Phoebe Judson searched for the "ideal home." She crossed the plains from Ohio to the Puget Sound area ofFrom the time she was a young bride in 1853, Phoebe Judson searched for the "ideal home." She crossed the plains from Ohio to the Puget Sound area of Washington Territory, and settled in more than one place before she discovered her "ideal" location for a home at the head of the Nooksack River, almost on the Canadian border. Phoebe's diary details the hardships and beauty of the journey west, holing up in a fort during the Indian wars, and gradually learning to live in peace and friendship with Native Americans. Phoebe's writing vividly portrays her faith in God which sustained her through the many dangers and tragedies she faced. When life gets hard, read this book! ...more
Born in 1874 on a primitive cattle ranch in what was to become New Mexico, Agnes Morley Cleaveland lived the reality of the "Wild West." With her youBorn in 1874 on a primitive cattle ranch in what was to become New Mexico, Agnes Morley Cleaveland lived the reality of the "Wild West." With her you learn to ride almost before you can walk, deal with outlaws, hunt grizzlies, and watch the many changes she regrets: the invasion of the country by writers and tourists, theatrical changes in cowboys, and government encroachment. Most of all you will enjoy the adventures this fatherless girl, her brother, and her widowed mother have as they all learn to handle the ranch that William Raymond Morley left them after he was shot. ...more
This is Sarah Royce's story of her family's trip across the continent in a covered wagon and her observations on the life style and morals in the variThis is Sarah Royce's story of her family's trip across the continent in a covered wagon and her observations on the life style and morals in the various mining camps she lived in afterwards. Sarah's Christian faith shines through her various struggles as she trusts God...more
The author shares various scenes from his father's life which portray his character and the way he lived out his Christian faith. This biography is seThe author shares various scenes from his father's life which portray his character and the way he lived out his Christian faith. This biography is set on a small farm near Arthur, Ontario, and the story begins when Father is born in 1883 and ends with a special Thanksgiving as Father is in his last years, maybe even year.
It shows a real man, from his unconventional conversion and discipleship experiences to his temptations and his conquering of them.(e.g. He discovers he has unknowingly signed a contract to build a house for the man who has refused to let him marry his daughter and has taken her out of town away from him. When he tells the proprietor of the lumberyard how upset he is, Pete, the proprietor, takes him aside and tells him how he can get even by using inferior materials, since the man who wants the house is too sick to come and supervise. He'd still get the money for using the good materials, but would not do what he'd promised. He is sorely tempted -- can almost see the devil on his shoulder. So he does what he often does when it's in an emotional state -- goes out to play the bagpipes. He is met by a passing peddler, who asked him to play some special songs for him. When the peddler thanks Henry and is ready to leave, he says: "Man, but I love to hear a man play the pipes. Back by Edinburgh my father used to tell me that it was a GOOD man who played the pipes -- a man of integrity. A bad man couldn't." This, of course, makes him think about what he had almost decided to do, and he ordered the devil off his shoulder and did what was right. Later God rewards him in a very fitting way.)
Henry Green, who could not give his children much materially, gave them a heritage of godly example and good parenting. His son H. Gorden tells his story in the first person, the way he remembers his father: fair, good, sacrificial , loving, and faithful to his God.
As of date of writing this review,10/30/08, this book can be purchased inexpensively at Tomfolio For best results, search by author and title. ...more
Katherine is a prolific writer and has won the coveted Newbery Award. She's probably best-known for her book Bridge to Terabithia. She was also a daugKatherine is a prolific writer and has won the coveted Newbery Award. She's probably best-known for her book Bridge to Terabithia. She was also a daughter of Presbyterian missionaries to China, where she was born in 1932. She spent her early years in Huaian. By the time she was eighteen, her family had moved 15 times, and during World War II they were finally forced to evacuate -- twice. This book does not provide as much information on China as the other two I have mentioned, since the focus of the author is to point to the factors that led to Katherine's becoming a writer. It was the last thing she had planned to become. When she was a child she had looked forward to being a missionary or a movie star when she grew up. In this book a lot of the China experience takes a back seat to Katherine's later life in America, but the flavor is still there at the beginning, as well as the cultural confusion of coming to America and trying to adjust when her classmates accuse her of being a Japanese spy because she came from China. (What does that say about the ignorance and prejudice of some American children?)
Although Katherine's family was evacuated at the beginning of the war, they were allowed to go back to Shanghai in 1939, and during this time, Katherine and her sister were almost trampled to death (accidentally) by Japanese soldiers who were practicing their maneuvers on the beach where the girls were playing. If you are interested in the World War II experience outside of Europe, this might be a good book to read. Though the American missionaries and their children were more sheltered than Chinese nationals, and the children less aware of what was happening than the adults, there is still a lot of information here on what is was like for a primary-age child to live in a city occupied by the Japanese. In 1940, the family returned again to the United States. ...more
This book suitable for ages nine through adult, and is very appropriate for unit studies on China in the 1920's. Jean makes the Yangtse River come aliThis book suitable for ages nine through adult, and is very appropriate for unit studies on China in the 1920's. Jean makes the Yangtse River come alive with its coolies hauling water, women washing clothes, swarming houseboats, and junks with eyes painted on their prows. She lets us know how it felt to be a proud American (though one born in China) in a British school, forced to sing "God Save the King" every day. And she gives us her child's eye perspective on the growing turmoil in China, especially in Hankow and Wuchang, as the Chinese people became more and more suspious of foreigners, and warlords, Nationalists and Communists vied with each other for power. Being called a "foreign devil" took some getting used to, and several times the family had some very narrow escapes. Thoughout all her Chinese adventures, Jean never forgot that she was an American, and she was very eager to return to her native land. What she didn't expect was how difficult it would be to fit into American culture when she got home to her grandparents' farm in Pennsylvania. She was shocked when American children asked her what it was like to eat a rat. And she took offense when her classmates referred to the Chinese as "chinks."
I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about either Jean Fritz or China. It would make an excellent book to read to the entire family, for there is much to discuss. From Chinese culture to the tactics of Communists in taking over a country, to how to fit into a new culture, there is much to learn.
Nina Kossman spent her early childhood in Russia. She learned that if her beach ball floated way from her on the Black Sea and went toward the TurkishNina Kossman spent her early childhood in Russia. She learned that if her beach ball floated way from her on the Black Sea and went toward the Turkish border she would never get it back. Later she tried to erase all the borders on the map so that nothing would separate the world's nations. In school she learns it's heroic to betray one's parents to the government if they are not politically correct. In these memoirs, Nina relates 13 personal anecdotes that show us first hand what life was like for children in the Soviet Union in the '60's. This book can be understood (if read aloud) by primaries and adults alike ...more
The author was born in Shanghai in 1954 and grew up as a dedicated follower of Chairman Mao. She was an outstanding and gifted student and her futureThe author was born in Shanghai in 1954 and grew up as a dedicated follower of Chairman Mao. She was an outstanding and gifted student and her future looked extremely bright until word got out that her grandfather, dead since her father was seven, had been a landlord -- an exploiter and enemy of the people. Though she had started as a supporter of the Cultural Revolution, which was in full swing while she was in junior high, Ji Li and her family become its victims. Ji Li tells this story of growing up, loyal to her family and to the Revolution, during this turbulent period. And she describes the ransacking of people's homes, including her own, by the Red Guard, and the persecution of innocent people who had politically incorrect associations. Her father himself was finally detained, and she was given a chance to regain all the status she had lost in the eyes of her peers, all the honors and privileges that had been taken from her, if she would only denounce and accuse her father publicly in a struggle meeting. Faced with this conflict of loyalties, she knew her first duty was to her family, and she took the consequences of making the right choice courageously.
This book will take readers straight to the center of the Cultural Revolution as it was experienced by a junior high girl and her family. Readers will feel the emotional anguish brought about by conflicting loyalties, class consciousness, and having to be politically correct when what is politically correct changes from one day to the next. On a deeper level, this book opens the door to some lively discussions on how the schools are used (as well as peer pressure in the workplace) to indoctrinate an entire generation of young people -- even to the point of breaking with their families. We've heard how this works in our history books, but this memoir by one who has been there brings it to life. ...more
This is the true story of Nanny Alderson, born in the South in 1860, who married a cattleman in 1882 and traveled with him to Montana to start a littlThis is the true story of Nanny Alderson, born in the South in 1860, who married a cattleman in 1882 and traveled with him to Montana to start a little ranch. Though the reader will learn a lot about ranching, she will learn even more about the alues of those who settled the ranch country during that period. ...more