As we head toward the weekend, I am pretty satisfied with the work I’ve gotten done on our China unit Study. But being Lit Mama, I couldn’t leave my readers with just a post about researching for a unit study. I have to tell you about the books I’ve chosen to go along with our Asia study.
I am fortunate enough to have a room walled in bookshelves (thanks to my beautiful husband) and I have filled them over the years with a plethora of both fiction and nonfiction. So the first place I go when I’m looking for literature to add to our curriculum is my own bookshelf. Good thing I’m always picking up new books to add. There’s usually something I’m looking for right there, already in my house. (I should catalog these books, but who has time for that?!)
One of the books I’m going to utilize from my own shelf is The Star Fisher by Laurence Yep. This is a beautiful novel about a Chinese-American family who comes to West Virginia in 1927 and faces prejudice and persecution. We’re going to read it so that the Littles can be reminded why prejudice is perhaps the Worst Human Flaw Ever, as well as to gain insight into Chinese culture.
The other book I’ll be using off my own shelf is The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. Since we’ll be studying Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism as part of Asian history, and the Littles read the complete A.A. Milne line of Pooh books this year, I think it will be a fun and insightful addition to those lessons. If you’re unfamiliar with this wondrous book, it uses quotes from Pooh and Pooh stories to teach the basic tenets of Taoism. If you love Pooh at all, you will find yourself not only laughing out loud at his antics, but reflecting on how just how powerful a story Winnie-the-Pooh is. Good stuff.
My wishlist on Amazon is overflowing with books I want to buy, but I assume we’ll only have time for maybe three before we move on to Africa, depending on their length. My top pick for a second fiction book is The Road from Home by David Kherdian. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s a YA book about the Armenian Holocaust at the hands of the Turks. I think it will add a rich history lesson to our curriculum as well as preparing the Littles to learn about the World War II Holocaust in years to come (hopefully the 2016-2017 school year, but my plans Do tend to change over time).
The Caravan to Tibet by Deepak Agarwal is also on my wishlist, because it is set in India and Tibet (which is a province of China) and looks like a good action story. The caravan journey is one which was actually undertaken by Indian peoples in times past, and I get the impression there will be lots of descriptions of India and Tibet and the mountains that separate them. You can’t really ask for more from a book young boys will be reading.
A Royal Diaries book, Lady of Ch’iao Kuo, Warrior of the South, Southern China A.D. 531 by Laurence Yep, rounds out my list of hopefuls. It tells the story of a young girl who proves herself to be a great leader and military strategist when her world is threatened by war. I love that it is set in such a long-ago time and the protagonist is female.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions as to which book you would include in a China unit study. If you have any other suggestions that are near and dear to your heart, please let me know about them, too. I’m so excited about getting all of this together, and it feels like choosing the lit is one step closer to done!