Monday, September 10, 2018

Collings Foundation: Battle for the Airfield

The Collings Foundation will be hosting their second event of the year Saturday and Sunday October 6-7 8:30-4:30. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children. You can find more information here.

The Battle for the Airfield is a World War II event that includes the opportunity to tour the Collings collection and to participate in World War II themed activities. There are tents for Allied and Axis troops that you can tour, see and speak with reenactors to get an idea of what life was like for a World War II soldier. The Battle is fought twice once at 11 and again at 3 each day and by all accounts the outcome is pretty much the same all four times with minor alterations that always occur when anything is live. Just a hint the allies always win.

I feel fortunate to live in an area that celebrates history. Growing up I always had opportunities to explore Colonial and Revolutionary War history, sometimes in my school's backyard. Last year I had the pleasure of bringing family to a World War II experience at the Collings Foundation. Despite the pounding rain, it was an amazing day. The younger kids in the family got to explore exhibits and visit and talk to renanactors from allied and axis camps. Considering the pounding rain visiting the tents was a relief from the wet. Again despite the weather what impressed me most was how willing the reanactors were to answer the children's questions no matter how basic. They treated them with respect and answered them, providing the kids with age appropriate information based on the questions aksed.

The rain delayed the Battle as the planes were having trouble getting into the air. However the kids were interested in pointing out where they'd noticed the tanks from our previous visit during the Spring tour. They wondered if they'd get to see them in action during the fight.

It is a war, people do get killed in the battle although nothing too gruesome. For those with noise issues it gets loud at times with the artillary going off. I suggest chairs or blankets for watching the Battle although with the rain nothing made it too comfortable.

We are planning a trip back this year hoping for better weather and the opportunity to really see and take in all the experiences offered. If the kids enjoyed it this much in the rain I can only imagine it will be even better if we can get their on a rain free day.

That being said the rain did get one of the older kids to comment how awful it must have been to live like that when it rained, so perhaps the rain helped bring some reality to the situation.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Secrets of American History World War I

I keep coming back to the Secrets of American History titles to review because I find myself drawn to a history series that tries to write independent readers for children to read about history on their own and dives into areas often not found in other children's books on the topic.

Fearless Flyers, Dazzle Painters, and Code Talkers!: World War I (Secrets of American History)has probably the best introduction to the time period I've read in the series to date. World War I is a tough topic to cover with children. Clearly within a leveled reader format much has to be condensed and left out, but I thought this book did a good job of picking and choosing what to write about in the introduction to World War I.

From the introduction the author moves on to a discussion of camouflage. The author discusses the difference in needs between army camouflage which was already being employed and the needs of the Navy who were struggling to avoid German U-boat attacks. The writing was quite engaging and while reading I texted a family member with information on the book as her sons have been fascinated by this topic and would enjoy reading the book. The author describes various experiments that failed and then describes how zebras and Picasso led to a break through. I'm not going to give it all away. You need an incentive to check out this book. While I'm well past the target age, I rather enjoyed it.

From Dazzle Camouflage we move on to Choctaw Code Talkers. This is one of the many things I love about reading and reviewing history books, there are always new things to learn. I've always associated Native American Code Talkers with World War II. However, it turns out the original Code Talkers solved a communication problem the American command was having with intercepted messages. The first recruits were from the Choctaw tribe. By utilizing their own language and creating a code for words that didn't exist in their language they were able to communicate in a code the Germans couldn't understand. I was so interested in this story I went online to read more.

The last story reflect the diversity the series has been known for and it tells the story of Eugene Bullard, an African American pilot who flew for the French since he was not allowed to fly for the Americans. His story is an amazing one, but again what I love about this series, one not often found in a children's series on World War I.

I believe this is the strongest book in the series I've read to date. The introduction was tighter and the individual stories remain strong and engaging.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Sudbury Colonial Faire

The Sudbury Militia will be hosting a Colonial Faire on the grounds of the historic Wayside Inn On Saturday September 29. The Faire runs from 10-4 and you can visit a colonial encampment, meet militia members, see period military, craft, and dancing demonstrations. The cost is $2 for adults and free to children under 12.

At noon watch a parade of the invitation only fife and drum corps followed by a friendly competition as each group is then invited to perform individually for the crowd.

I've brought several family members out to the event and the kids especially enjoy visiting the camps and asking questions from both sides. It's a great chance to see a bit of history off the pages and a fun event for the family.

For more information check here and here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Medea Tells All

Medea Tells All: A Mad, Magical Love (The Other Side of the Myth)is a great companion for students reading Jason and the Golden Fleece as it attempts to tell the story from Medea's perspective with a little bit of humor.

I find these "other side of the story" type books to be useful in teaching perspective. Some are better written than others and this falls into the good category. Medea begins the story by explaining that she didn't even like Jason when this whole story began. However, she got caught up in a revenge plot of Hera's who then used Aphrodite to cast a love spell on her. She puts all the blame for the rest of her actions to help Jason on the Gods suppressing her free will.

While the story does give a summary of the original Jason story, I think it would be best to read the original myth before reading this one as it will increase the child's ability to compare and contrast the two stories. There are a variety of options available for children.