Books at My Bedside (4)

~Books at My Bedside will be a series of posts wherein I will share books I am currently reading and enjoying.

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We’ve got a lot of studying to do ūüėČ



homeschooling moment: done reading!


We finished reading¬†The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Yey! I read it aloud to Q sporadically for maybe a little over a week, in between chores, homeschool work and traveling. This one is a page-turner so it didn’t take us very long to finish it. We would wonder what was going to happen to Edward next and we couldn’t wait to find out. (Q would also read a few pages ahead on his own and when I resumed reading aloud, he would tell me what’s going to happen next and excitedly asked me to continue reading aloud, including the parts he has already read. ūüėÄ )


Books At My Bedside (3)

~Books at My Bedside will be a series of posts wherein I will share books I am currently reading and enjoying.

This post will be short and sweet. Just had to capture in a post my excitement over an enlightening and beautiful book I just finished reading (and will definitely reread!), Rome Sweet Home by Kimberly and Scott Hahn. I borrowed this from my father-in-law (one of our angels in growing in our faith) and it made our (Daddy O and I) hearts sing joyously! Kimberly and Scott Hahn’s journey was agonizing. The dark tunnel they passed through in search of THE Truth (and the difficult challenges their marriage had to endure in the name of truth!) was long and painful but the moment they saw the¬†light at the end, the triumph was sweet and nothing short of heavenly. I cried and rejoiced with them. We are so inspired by this book! A MUST-READ!!!


A truly unputdownable one! (See the white tabs? haha. I could have just tabbed every single page! It is THAT good!)

Books at My Bedside (2)- pre-reading children’s books

~Books at My Bedside will be a series of posts wherein I will share books I am currently reading and enjoying.


18235928_10155409529029171_1934131272_oSince our little Q is not so little anymore and is gradually taking on longer books, my job as “board of censors” has become bigger. I have a pile of books waiting to be pre-read before Q gets his hands on them. (This is another reason why I have very little extra time for reading my own grown up books anymore). When Q’s reading options were just limited to board books and picture books, I used to just scan and read them while standing in a bookstore and then decide whether to buy them or not. Now, since he is taking on longer picture books and some chapter books, I do some research beforehand to get a general idea of a particular book before I go to the bookstore or online to buy it because reading it in the bookstore while standing will already be time-consuming and sometimes, just close to impossible. After I get the books, I start pre-reading them when I have the chance. Though painstaking, I enjoy this task tremendously. So many great children’s books out there and I am very excited to introduce to Q some of the ones I have already pre-read.

Books in pre-reading queue:

The Twenty-One Balloons РWilliam Pène du Bois

Fairy Tales – E.E. Cummings

Homer Price – Robert McCloskey

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – E. L. Konigsburg

Fog Island – Tomi Ungerer

Ginger Pye – Eleanor Estes

Books already pre-read*:

A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle **
The Cricket in Times Square – George Selden
26 Fairmont Avenue – Tomie de Paola
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me – Roald Dahl
James and the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl
Fantastic Mr. Fox – Roald Dahl
The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
The Whipping Boy – Sid Fleischman
The Steadfast Tin Soldier – Hans Christian Andersen
Many Moons – James Thurber
Mirette on the High Wire – Emily Arnold McCully
Island of the Blue Dolphins – Scott O’Dell
The Sign of the Beaver – Elizabeth George Speare
*I’ve pre-read most of these books quite some time ago and I’m afraid the stories and the themes (and underlying themes) are already hazy to me. Also, in the last year or so I have learned and read more about guidelines and the right criteria in choosing children’s books (with Church teachings in mind) so I might have to pre-read one more time or review right before I give it to Q just to check if I have overlooked something.
**A Wrinkle in Time is one of several children’s books reviewed by author Michael O’ Brien in his book, ¬†A Landscape With Dragons, one of¬†the resources I am using in selecting children’s¬†books.¬†¬†Read more here why A Wrinkle in Time will not make it to Q’s bookshelf.

book finds (1st quarter)

Yey! Getting the natural high again from books! These are our book finds since the year started:

To reinforce our Filipino and Philippine History learning (and still using literature-based approach) ¬†I ordered some children’s books ¬†from¬†The Learning Basket¬†and we are so happy with our purchases:


The Golden Loom (Palanca Prize Winners for Children)


back cover of the Golden Loom

A Lolong Time Ago: A Prehistory of the Philippines, Halo-halo Histories (Book 1) by Michelline Suarez, Joonee Garcia, Divine Reyes and Benjor Catindig

We haven’t seriously started on this book yet since we’re still working our way through The Golden Loom but I must commend the creators of this book for their effort to make an otherwise boring subject interesting and funny.

Si Jepoy Dyip at ang Siga ng Bayan by Jomike Tejido


A picture book that comes with fun 3D paper crafts

Read more about this 6-book series here.

Bandila: The Story of the Philippine Flag by Merci Melchor, pictures by Auri Asuncion Yambao

Having slept through all my history classes as a student, I’m sure many historical facts have escaped my attention. In this book about the Philippine flag, I learned many new and interesting things and one of them is that the person who designed our current flag was General Aguinaldo himself, during his exile in Hongkong. Speaking of Aguinaldo, ¬†I saw him in a much different light (not a flattering one) after I saw the eye-opening movie, General Luna. ūüė¶

(Last year, we also got the Reader’s Digest Kasaysayan books to better educate ourselves and¬†teach history to our son accurately. The reading level is not for young kids but since the photos are of very good quality, Q enjoys leafing through them. Great for parent-child reading time or as jump-off points for conversations about Philippine history.¬†We also purchased a very well-written and comprehensive book by Raissa Robles about a very important part of Philippine history that every young person needs to know about and every parent should make their kids read to supplement if not correct what’s being taught in schools now using revisionist history textbooks.)


Back home, while taking a respite from our traveling, we visited St. Paul’s¬†and got these:


I do not need to scramble for examples of role models when it comes to teaching my son good values and leading a Christ-like life and taking the path to holiness.

I also got these really inexpensive Emotional and Social Well-being Series booklets. They are short and straight to the point. When I am at my wit’s end in explaining things to a strong-willed 7-year old or just sapped by behavior issues, I pull out one of these for backup :D:


Last but not the least are the books we got from a gold mine of a second-hand bookstore, Booksale!


Barron’s Amazing Fact-packed Fold-out Atlas of the World


I don’t know but there’s something about book foldouts and pop-ups that is so enticing to me. ūüėÄ

A Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear


the title page

The idea for this book is quite interesting and is detailed on the Introduction page. DaddyO’s not a fan of this book. He agrees that IT IS nonsense. Hahaha

The Legend of the Blue Bonnet by Tomie de Paola

A folktale about the origin of the blue bonnet flower and a story of a little girl’s sacrifice that greatly helped her tribe, the Comanche People. I took extra care in reading and explaining this book’s story to Q¬†as it also depicts the Comanche tribe’s worship of many spirits.

The Magic School Bus Science Exploration and The Magic School Bus Science Plants Seeds: A Book About How Living Things Grow

To supplement and inject more fun and humor in our Science reading.

Dinosaurs by Gail Gibbons

I gave in to this one because Q said he wanted to copy the drawings. Every time we go out and buy books, Q has to get a dinosaur book which I have already put a limit to because he already has SO MANY dinosaur books and every newly bought dinosaur book offers no new information anymore. I think he pretty much knows everything there is to know about dinosaurs…at least for his age.

I’m Tyrannosaurus! A Book of Dinosaur Rhymes by Jean MArzollo, illustrated¬†by Hans Wilhem

I got this one not because¬†it’s a dinosaur book (although for Q, that’s a plus) but because Q loves making up his own rhymes, songs, and short poems. This might give him some ideas and make up more.

Crow Boy by Taro Yashima

A book about isolation and forming a wrong opinion of other people. It’s a wonderful story about embracing one’s uniqueness despite peer pressure or the need for most people to fit in and sometimes, standing one’s ground with dignity and humility despite ridicule. This is a common occurrence¬†everywhere and even more so among school kids.

I look forward to finding more great books and sharing them here in my future posts. We are also excited for the arrival of our school books from Kolbe Academy¬†(and some interesting ones from Amazon!) and start a new school year. So, that’s another thing to look forward to! Weeee!

reading aloud long books (and a quick amateur “review”)


We finally finished reading Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. I started loud-reading it to Q late in August and it was on and off after that. Sometimes it got overtaken by other shorter books (and other things to do) and sometimes forgotten completely and then got picked up again. We finally finished it a few days ago. I’ll try to write something brief here about what I think of the book. I am unsure where to begin though because it is a strange (but in so many ways, also wonderfully strange) book and some parts are a little disturbing. Not surprising given the author’s own eccentricity. Overall, I still enjoyed the book. One particular favorite of mine is the part about the twins, John and Barbara (who had the unique ability to talk to animals and to Mary Poppins and completely understood what grown-ups around them were saying but when they turned one year, they lost this ability and babbled like normal babies). The book was still a delight to read despite the peculiar things in it that bothered me a little. Here they are:

  • That Mary Poppins is always cross. Throughout the book, I don’t quite recall Mary Poppins exhibiting warmth and affection towards the children or anybody I think except for Bert the Match-Man but the adventures that she brings the children to definitely earn her cool nanny points. Towards the end of the book when the direction of the wind changed, signalling Mary Poppins’ departure from the Banks household, she gave Michael the magical compass they used in one of their adventures. This gesture- gift-giving- was, to the children, out of her character which led Michael to worry, saying, “Oh, oh, there must be something wrong! What is going to happen? She has never given me anything before.” Jane assured Michael that perhaps Mary Poppins was just being nice but she was as disturbed as Michael- “She knew very well that Mary Poppins never wasted time in being nice.”
  • The part about Mrs. Corry. She is sarcastic and demeaning towards her daughters, Annie and Fannie, who were obviously terrified of her.
  • That part when the children were led to the zoo at night and there was a reversal of roles: all caged animals were out and about and all the people (including Admiral Boom) were put in cages. Apparently this happens when Mary Poppins’ birthday falls on a full moon and all the zoo animals celebrate with her. The Hamadryad (king cobra) whom Mary Poppins called the “Lord of the Jungle” and who was “worshipped” in a sort of cult-like manner by other snakes and animals in the zoo and by Mary Poppins herself, was creepy. And when it gave Mary Poppins its shed skin as a birthday gift, I did not know what to make of it. Although I found humor in it when he suggested to Mary Poppins that the skin “may serve for a belt or a pair of shoes, even a hat-band”. While the Hamadryad and his followers were chanting something to the children, the other animals sang and danced and formed a ring and circled around Mary Poppins who was “rocking lightly from side to side” with the snake skin in her hands. Strange.

These parts bothered me because I was a little concerned as to how our 7 year old might receive them. The book is magical and unique. I give it that. I just feel that when read to a child, it should be coupled with parents’ explanations to guide the child and help him put things in perspective. Some websites recommend the book for ages 8+, some for ages 10-12. ¬†I did not check this beforehand but of course I already had a feeling that some parts may be confusing to a 7 year old. I skipped a few parts that I felt Q would be too young to understand. Why did we read this to begin with? Because of the movie version, of course. Haha.


Another chapter book we finished this week is the first book in the Magic Tree House series: Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne. Q and I took turns in reading it aloud and we finished it in one sitting. We loved it! It’s exciting, humorous, fast-paced and informative. It was an easy read. We couldn’t wait to read the second book of the series: The Knight at Dawn. Too bad we left our copy back home. Now we’re itching to know what Annie and Jack’s next adventure would be!