Since World Book Giving Day earlier this year we have been collecting books, sent to us by our readers from all over the world. We cannot thank you all enough.
I always say at the start of our library project that you can build a library book by book… and then I worry just a little, that no books will arrive… and slowly but surely the books always come in… package after package has been arriving and we drop the books in a box and pop them in the garage. Well yesterday when we got all the books out of the garage we had twenty big boxes of books. I had no idea we had managed to accumulate so many books… just goes to show: Little by little you can really make a difference and the proof is in the pictures, you can build a library book by book…
We settled in the library with piles of books and a group of children… and every one was very polite and formal… at least one person couldn’t believe the boxes were full of books…
And then we opened the boxes up and there were piles of books, books for everyone…
And the more we unpacked the more everyone got involved…
If you are wondering if the books you donated were received with excitement…
Just take a look at these pictures…
We discovered packages from far away friends… thank you all so much!!!
So many treasures and so many of our own favourites were donated…
A round of applause and thank you to all for sending books…
I always see reading as a chance to go places, to escape the here and now and go anywhere in the world, not to mention anywhere in time. But today these books did so much more, books brought these young people together.
Every year we carefully choose a school that really needs some help to build a library. A school that without our help would not have a library at all. This year we chose the Red River School in Manenberg, that recently moved into lovely new buildings. So new that the plants are just beginning…
The moved from a previously inadequate and dilapidated school into their new facilities… unfortunately a school does not come equipped with resources. So they have a library but not nearly enough books to put in it, and because they have received funding for the school buildings there is absolutely no chance of any more funding for resources to fill it, like books.
This school is in one of Cape Town’s most poverty stricken areas, these children do not come from a culture of reading there are no books at home and there is no chance of there being room in any family budget to buy the odd luxury, like a book.
We arrived at break time and there was a playful atmosphere…
The smiling happy faces belie the reality that is the world that these children live in.
This school is a island in an area that is one of the gang capitals of the world, a neighbourhood notorious for poverty, gangsterism, drugs and domestic violence… the school is a haven for these children. Where just outside the gates the reality of their lives is awaiting them.
I set our readers the task to fill the shelves and believe it or not, I think we have done that. Together you have given these children far more than a pile of books, you have given them a dream to hold onto. A library, literally a place to escape, in the middle of a crazy and confusing world… Once all the books have been catalogued and placed on the shelves… together we will have put a lot of books on these shelves…
We can’t change the world, none of us can, but we can make a difference and even a little difference is good. The excitement amongst the teachers and children today, the eagerness to dive in and enjoy all their books was thrilling… I cannot express how much fun we had delivering these books on behalf of our readers… to all of you who joined in and took part, thank you so very much!!!
Previous Posts in this Series:
Libraries Our Readers Have Created in the Past
Living on the Southern tip of Africa, we are in a part of the world where reading isn’t actually the standard protocol and many many children have no access to books, let alone the luxury of books in their own language or books about their own culture, not for school, not for fun and certainly not at bedtime. We can change that, book by book… I firmly believe that wherever you are, and whatever situation you are in, you can always escape into a book… but that is only if you have an opportunity to connect with a book. The project that we choose will have children that need to be able to escape the world around them, more than most of us.
We would like to thank Biblionef South Africa, for helping us to find a community in our area that needs a library, over the years they have provided us with unprecedented support in helping us to pursue our dream to provide books for children just like ours, who otherwise wouldn’t have access to books. We would like to thank the St. James Educational Trust, that did all the organising and the communicating and liaison that we needed to keep this project rolling. And we would like to thank Pan MacMillan South Africa for their fabulous donation of books to our project. Most of all we would like to thank our readers for joining us on this adventure again!!!
Tags: Brilliant Books · Caring and Sharing
Welcome to Snow World… you know we are a family of winter wimps. We come from a world of sunny skies and our winters are mild compared to many of our followers. Our winters are for us, cold and wet and a fairly good reason to hibernate for a couple of months of the year.
Well this year Winter has come to us in the form of SNOW WORLD and we were invited to the launch last week… and we got an understanding of why our wintry followers love winter… We loved it… Now a picture paints a thousand words, so prepare yourself for a picture rich post and we have… A Family Ticket to GiveAway, all the details are at the end of this post.
We arrived to a warm welcome of Glühwein and cookies…
The Alpine Village
Our first stop was at the Alpine village to set the scene, and to have a quick snack supper for the adults and giant hot dogs for the kids. Supper was quick because my kids knew the rides were waiting for them, and a little lingering was never part of their plan.
The Ice Bar
Off the from the Alpine Village is an ice bar (serving drinks for adults), we all had to take a look at the ice sculpture and the furniture made from ice…
Ice Age Animals
Scattered around the event are animals from the Ice Age, a mammoth or two and a sabre toothed tiger, to name a few. If you have a little tremulous person with you, then you can easily avoid them and slip past… but if you have a keen prehistoric lover then they will enjoy them and the fact boards that go along side them.
The Party Fun
There is a party zone, that can be booked for parties and the gang tried it out for you, while they weren’t snowboarding. There was plenty of fun to be had… clowns and mimes, facepainting… and chillaxing…
And let’s be honest a wintry world requires a special kind of ice-cream… Where have we been, welcome to the world of the N2IceCream Lab. Ice cream made with liquid ice-cream… totally totally cool!!!
And Onto The Slides
The Small for Teeny Tots
Next to the snow play area there is a little solid slide of 1.2 m slide that my kids didn’t even glance at, but little people will love. My guys stopped to make a few snow balls and moved on…
This slide is called the radical dipper… and it is fast and furious and fun…
And the downward spiral… this slide is grand in every way, up you go and down you spiral… I thought my kids would never go home… adults and kids were spinning their way down and dashing up again and again and again. There are plenty of helping hands standing alongside… at the top and the bottom to help you launch and to catch you at the finish… you will notice even the lesser spotted father person could not stop himself from joining the fun…
The Snow Box
And finally, the reason why you dress warmly for this event… the Snow Box… Oh My!!! You can join a 20 minutes snowboarding class and do some snowboarding – they have all the gear right there. My gang were happy to fling themselves down the slippery slope again and again and again… and dare I say again. Snow tubing for the win.
The Details and the GiveAway
The show is at GrandWest… you can buy various tickets: the non-rider pass (snow play), the mini-pass (includes snow play and the ice slides), the snow and ice-rider pass (Snow play, the ice slides and the snow tubing), and the snow boarding pass (includes snow play, ice slides, snow tubing and snow boarding, which is not for under 6’s and comes with a 20 min snowboarding lesson). Everything you need to know about SNOW WORLD is up on their website…
We are giving away a family ticket: Four Ice-Rider Passes… for you and your kids to enjoy.
This GiveAway works in the usual way, leave a comment, before the end of play on Saturday 14 May, 2016. We will draw and publish the winners in the Fabulous Fun Post after that. I won’t respond to your comments as I do on our other posts because we don’t want to be included in our own giveaway. Naturally this GiveAway is open to Cape Town readers, who can easily get to Grand West… but never fear to our World Wide Readers… we have a couple more Give Aways for you all later on in the week.
We would like to thank Hippo Communications and Snow World for inviting us to the fabulous launch and for the GiveAway Tickets. This is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are entirely our own.
Tags: Cape Town · GiveAways and Swaps · Outings · Saturday Spot
Well, on this wild a stormy day, Happy Mother’s Day. Wishing all the moms who read along a special Mother’s Day, hug those little people closer… Sending love to all the Moms who, for whatever reason, find this day a difficult one, extra buckets of love to you.
Lovely Links from This Week
- Finally something to create with all the tiny left over scraps that we call “the bag of felt:” How to Make a Fun Felt Beaded Necklace on Handmade Charlotte.
- For all my reading friends… Why I Read Every Day on the Beautiful Useful Project.
- Since we are talking about reading: How to Take a Reading Vacation on Penelope Loves Lists.
- When Someone else says something you really think and they say it better than you ever would: When you just really want to Start Homeschooling on Simple Homeschool.
- You know how I love a challenge, well sometimes you just have to stop and say WOW!!! Take a look at the Width of Great Britain Family Triathlon on Meek Family Adventures.
- A friend sent me this link, and for all my friends that think that they are alone: Embracing the Grief of Miscarriage
- And for my mom friends who are battling with Mother’s Day this year: The Art of Pre-Grieving So Mother’s Day isn’t Ruined.
And the se7en + 1th link:
A Blast From the Past:
Marvellous Mothers Mother’s Day Breakfast at Cape Gate
Had a lovely treat at Cape Gate Centre yesterday, they had a mother’s day breakfast and I took my mom-in-law along for a spoil. She loved it!!! The were treats to eat, fantastic goody bags, beautiful flowers, lovely speakers… fashion and make up. Just loveliness for moms!!! Thank you so much to the Cape Gate Centre for a wonderful morning.
That’s us… Hope you all have a fabulous week!!!
Tags: Fabulous Friday Fun
A couple of weeks back we were invited to visit Intaka Island, for the launch of Tim Lundy’s new book Family Walks in Cape Town, published by Penguin Random House South Africa. A book launch with an outing to one of our favourite places is a galactic win. Anyway, a book of Family Walks in Cape Town… where was this book fifteen years ago when we were beginning our journey of looking for easy outings in and around Cape Town. We quickly learnt that with more than a few kids that we needed very economical outings, in fact free family outings. So we became a walking family, because walks are free… and eventually we became a hiking family.
Let’s Introduce the Book
The book is filled with thirty walks in and about Cape Town… urban walks and the great outdoors… lots of walks we have been on and lots of walks we are now looking forward to as well. This is not a book for folk who are trying to conquer the city in three days, but definitely for folk who are looking for a weekend amble with their family, somewhere where the folks can collapse and watch while their kids play. This book is not meant for endurance athletes that want to leap to the top of Table Mountain in a flash, but there are plenty of walks where you can vanish away from the hustle and bustle of the world, into the great outdoors all over the city… there are waterfalls to discover, trails through wetlands, beach walks and town walks… a walk through Simonstown or Kalk Bay sounds like the perfect weekend wander to me.
Meet the Author: Mountain Guide, Tim Lundy
Each hike comes with a two or three page spread and includes everything you could possibly want to know. With each hike there are basic details: neighbourhood, location, distance, accessibility for toddlers (and associated wheels/ride-ons), or grandparents and most important the estimated duration. How to get there, for instance some hikes are good to get to on trains… and what to do while you are there. If there is a fabulous museum, or five museums, in the area, great spots along the way… eateries or ice cream spots… you know fundamental details for family walks. The walk is described in detail and there is a map for each walk, the description includes plenty of points of interest and little historical factoids. Every detail you can think of is provided, included websites and descriptions of places of interest along the way. I have a feeling this is a book that every family should have as a quick reference when they are in need of a weekend walk, not just families with tiny children… I know a lot of grownups who wouldn’t know that some of these walks even existed and that would love to take a Sunday afternoon amble. I absolutely love that there are tons of walks that are waiting for us, in places that we pass each week… this book is a great adventure waiting to happen and an essential weekend survival tool for parents desperate to get outdoors and have fun alongside their kids. If you are looking for a gift for a family of friends, new parents or actually anyone spending time in Cape Town looking to explore a little deeper than the surface… then this is the book.
Let’s Visit Intaka Island
Intaka Island happens to be one of our favourite spots and we have blogged about visiting Intaka Island before, in the olden days when the Hoods were young…
They were very eager to go on a tour and get exploring all over again. You can take a virtual tour over here…
Intaka Island is a wide open space, a bird sanctuary in the heart of the city of Cape Town. It is situated behind Century City Shopping Mall, with stunning views of Table Mountain, and a piece of tranquility right where you weren’t expecting it. In fact, this little haven is one of Cape Town’s best kept secrets, and why more folk don’t know about it I just don’t know. There is a self-guided, circular walking tour through the sanctuary. It is very easy walk and full of interesting things to look at, not to mention plenty of places to stop and rest and observe the birds. It is very well sign posted and there are also plenty of helpful folk around to offer you any help you might need.
What I didn’t know before this visit is that if you call in advance you can book a ranger to take the walk with you and tell you all the details and plenty of back stories behind the sanctuary. The rangers that walked with us really added a depth of knowledge and understanding to our outing, they were obviously used to kids and millions of questions… they did a great job.
This ranger told us everything we needed to know about the plants and the natural vegetation that grows in the wetland. He rescued me from a viscous toothache with a leaf (I am not even slightly kidding), and he explained the source and natural purification of the water in their wetland. It was fascinating stuff…
And this ranger knew absolutely everything about the birds we were looking at… with lots of little anecdotes and snippets of information to help us remember the facts.
The Bird Hides
Scattered throughout the sanctuary are bird hides… places to take a rest and to just stop and quietly watch the birds in their natural habitat.
The Birds and Wildlife
The Educational Lapa
And apart from all the fun running about my kids favourite spot has to be the educational lapa, where on the day the rangers were ready to show them all sorts of goodies… and the microscopes were out for looking at teeny tiny creatures scooped from the waterways. And everyone likes a microscope.
Huge thank you to Penguin Random House South Africa and Struik Nature for a great outing. This is not a sponsored post, we did receive a copy of Tim Lundy’s Family Walks in Cape Town for review purposes, and all opinions expressed are entirely our own.
Tags: Brilliant Books · Cape Town · Outings · Saturday Spot
Every now and then a couple of books gather on our coffee table and they linger there for weeks and weeks, because everybody loves them… from the smallest person to the oldest there is something in these books for everyone. Today I am sharing two fabulous DK books that we have been reading lately… of course they are packed with facts and beautiful images, and pages and pages of “WOW moments.”
The Literature Book
Have you discovered the series of DK books we are just exploring, Big Ideas Simply Explained…
they are fabulous. A while back we reviewed The Shakespeare Book, we loved it
and they are so many more in this series. Right now our high schoolers are discovering the joy of exploring The Literature Book.
- Iconic Literature: The books represented in The Literature Book have been carefully selected from authors all over the world, and are spread over time from The Epic of Gilgamesh (2100 BCE) to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005). Packed with books you may have read, and books you wish you had read. Books you possibly read in high school and just can’t remember the details… never fear, the details are all here, tucked between the covers of this great book.
- Divided into Eras: Over a dozen books in each category, each selected to highlight the era and each analysed in detail to prepare the reader for their journey into classic literature. At the end of each era there is a “Further Reading List” of at least thirty more books, with a short summary for each of them.
- The Se7en Eras:
- Heroes and Legends: The Iliad, Beowulf, One Thousand and One Nights;
- Renaissance to Enlightenment: Dante’s Divine Comedy, The Canterbury Tales, Robinson Crusoe;
- Romanticism and the Rise of the Novel: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Moby Dick;
- Depicting Real Life: War and Peace, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Tess of the d’Urbervilles;
- Breaking with Tradition: The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Great Gatsby, The Little Prince;
- Post-War Writing: Nineteen Eighty Four, The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird;
- Contemporary Literature: A Suitable Boy, The Blind Assassin, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
- About the Author: Knowing about the author provides so much insight into the story itself. There is a biography column for each author including their main life events, their background and other key works that they wrote.
- Timelines, Infographics, Maps: Each work includes very easy to interpret illustrations to highlight and explain the main features of the texts… there is nothing like reading a simplified version of a complicated plot to put a story into perspective and to encourage you to keep on reading.
- At A Glance, Overview: Each of the books has a synopsis, written in plain language, providing the background to the story, which is a great introduction to read before diving into the real thing.
- Digging Deeper: Not only does each story have an outline to read, but the outline provides background to the political and social events of the day and insight into the life and times of the author. All this background provides context for the story and is often essential to understanding the meaning that the author intended.
- Quotable Quotes: I love that each book is introduced with a quote… something to remember the book by and to carry with you long after you have read the book.
This book is a dipper, packed with many “aha moments” and “did you know…?” questions for the folk sitting around you. It has been on our coffee table for a while now and is already being used again and again, not only as a reference book for school but also just for fun. If you ever wanted a great list of classic books to read and were totally overwhelmed by all that there is to read, then this book not only provides a great book list, but the inspiration to explore more and read on…
You can take a look inside the book right here. This book was given to us for review purposes by Penguin Random House South Africa.
Another fabulous DK Book, that I wish had been around when I was a kid, because I would have loved it. In fact I do rather love it. This is one of those books that appears to be geared at children but has been picked up and browsed by almost every adult that has visited us in the last few weeks. While I have had this book out on the coffee table, it is definitely going to be added to our Family School as we read through it together page by page… there is too much good stuff on every page to miss anything.
- Nothing Like a Math Book: This book is totally accessible to all sorts of kids, even those that have developed a phobia to anything to do with math. The over-riding theme is fun, fun, fun.
- The Book is Divided into Three Sections: The Ancient World, The Age of Discovery and Modern Measuring, for the history loving students these divisions make it feel a lot less like a math book and a whole lot more like the sort of the book they are used to reading.
- It’s Very Readable: As a mom of many I know my kids will sit me down and ask to read through this book with me, I am going to be reading certain pages again and again… turns out this is one of those books that the reader can enjoy just as much as the listener, which is always crucial when you are the parent of non-fiction book lovers.
- Amazing Facts: I have yet to meet a kid that doesn’t love gleaning bits of trivia and then sharing their new found knowledge and the next chance they get. This book is packed with pages and pages and pages of trivia. The facts are clearly presented in an easy to understand manner. Lots and lots of bite-sized chunks to read, little snippets that are packed with a punch… enabling readers of all ages to read and remember the snippets.
- Packed with Brilliant Illustrations: Well it is a DK book, there are tons of photographs and brilliant diagrams and infographics to explain things… Illustrations to teach you how to build the colosseum, introducing you to scientists of the renaissance, and how to measure very big and very small.
- Lots to Do: There are puzzles to crack and problems to figure out, not to mention a couple of experiments to try out… really the kind of book that brings math to life, without making you feel like you are doing actual work.
- Understand Things That You Have Always Wondered About: Questions that you may have wondered about – how did ancient people figure out that the world was round? How to travel further away from the coastline… latitude, longitude…
- This Book is Just as Cool as it Looks: Forget dry old math books, this book its packed with intrigue and turning paging appeal… This is the sort of book that makes math accessible to all ages and stages. This book goes straight onto the “gotta keep it pile.”
You can take a look inside the book right here… This book was given to us for review purposes by Penguin Random House South Africa. This is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are as usual our own.
Tags: Brilliant Books · Se7en at School
And just like that the weather changed, forget about a nip in the air it has been downright cold. The days are warm enough, but I have noticed piles of books gathering in certain places around the house, waiting for the sun to reach them for a good read. We are definitely entering the season of searching for a sunny spot.
Lovely Links from This Week
- It’s a long weekend, let’s stretch our brains with some puzzlers: Some Brain teasers… from Lifehacker…
- And I had to chuckle at this… we are lucky if our post is delivered once a week, but if we lived in Finland things would be very different: Finland’s Postal Service to Offer Lawn Care…
- This is a fun project: How to make a butterfly feeder on PBS…
- For all of you in the midst of decluttering: On the heartbreaking difficulty of getting rid of books.
- War changes lives in a flash: The Day the War Came… in the Guardian.
- We have enjoyed Fred so much this year, here is a helpful pos: Everything you need to know about the Life of Fred…
- And for my mom… Happy Brilliant Birthday, this one is for you… All the leaves in the world.
And the se7en + 1th link:
A Blast From the Past:
The Book of the Week…
The Crossroads of Should and Must: I’ve had this book on my wishlist for ages and ages and then last week I was gifted a voucher and grabbed it. It was nothing like I expected, it was everything that I needed. Pure fun and absolutely no bossing around at all. It is a mini break, a holiday almost and the first step in the journey of doing things that you would rather be doing… I read it in a sitting and then when back and read it again, just in case I missed anything. I don’t know if this book will make you find your passion, but it will make you stop and take a good look at where you are standing right now. This book inspired me to think about the things I would like to do and then compare that with the things that I actually do… A huge part of the appeal of this book is the pure loveliness of watercolour inspiration and colourful lettering throughout it… it is a bit of a “jump in and explore” kind of a book. There are a couple of pure gems of inspiration in-between the covers… I think if you are in a bit of a meh place, then this book could well be the one to lift you up and get something done. I loved it, it is the sort of book that you buy and then realise your best friends all need to read it too…
That’s us… Hope you are enjoying this fabulous long weekend…
Tags: Fabulous Friday Fun
A Couple of our readers have asked us how we use our calendar posts for school. These posts began, and have grown, simply because it was interesting to see what events were occurring on a particular day. We don’t celebrate everyday – but we could!!! At the beginning of each month we print out a new calendar (click on the image and print it landscape, works better that way). Then we read through the blog post and pick the days that we would like to celebrate. We write those days out onto our calendar and pop the calendar onto the fridge. On the particular date we visit the website and have a look at the links or create some fun to post on our blog, like our recent Shakespeare post on his birthday.
If you would like to now more about how we use our calendar for school as a fabulous resource of famous people and events then do pop over to the Almanac page for an explanation… Meanwhile, we hope you have a marvellous May!!!
Dozens of Days to Celebrate
1 May: Save the Rhino Day.
2 May 1844: Elijah McCoy Inventor (1844 – 1929).
4 May 1971: GreenPeace launched.
4 May National Weather Observer’s Day.
4 May: International Firefighter’s Day.
4 May: World Asthma Day.
5 May: Cinco De Mayo
5 May: Children’s Day (Japan).
7 May 1937: Hindenburg Disaster
7 May 1840: Tchaikovsky’s Birthday (1840 – 1893).
7 May 2014: Space Day.
8 May 1884: Harry Truman’s Birthday (1884 – 1972).
8 May 1945: VE Day.
10 May: Clean Up Your Room Day
11 May: Salvador Dali’s Birthday (1909 – 1989).
11 May: Edward Lear’s Birthday (1812 – 1888).
12 May: Kite Day.
12 May 1820: Florence Nightingale’s birthday (1820 – 1910).
14 May 1847 : Webster’s Dictionary First Published.
14 May 1804: Lewis and Clarke Began their expedition (1804).
14 May 1727: Thomas Gainsborough (artist) born, 1727
15 May 1856: L.F. Baum’s Birthday (1856 – 1919).
16 May: National Chocolate Chip Day.
18 May: International Museum Day.
18 May 1980: Mt. St. Helens Erupted.
19 May: Circus Day.
20 May 1927: Amelia Earheart’s TransAtlantic Flight.
21 May 1844: Henri Rousseau’s Birthday (1844 – 1910).
21 May 1927: Lindbergh Flight Day.
21 May 1799: Mary Anning’s Birthday (1799 – 1847).
22 May: International Jazz Day
22 May 1570: First Atlas Published.
22 May 1844: Mary Cassatt’s Birthday (1844 – 1926).
23 May: World Turtle Day.
24 May: The Brooklyn Bridge Opened in 1883.
24 May 1844: First Morse Code Message Sent.
25 May: Missing Children’s Day.
26 May: Blueberry Cheesecake Day.
26 May 1951: Sally Ride’s Birthday (1951 – ).
27 May 1907: Rachel Carson’s Birthday (1907 – 1964).
27 May: Masking Tape patented.
28 May 1959: MonkeyNauts Able and Baker in Space.
28 May 1859: Big Ben arrives in Westminster.
29 May 1953: Hillary and Tenzing conquer Everest.
29 May 1917: John F. Kennedy’s Birthday.
You can’t beat this list of links from About.com
From Garden of Praise – with links and worksheets.
Great snippets, puzzles and games from Apples for the Teacher.
Tags: Celebrity Calendar