Textbooks – if we ruled the world

We want textbooks that make us pay attention  –

  • by captivating us with quirky information
  • by taking us behind the scenes, so that we gain a sympathetic understanding of the facts
  • by luring us in with intriguing graphics

textbooks 5

We want textbooks that we cannot wait to open each night.  Books like these:

  • Usborne Books – “Explorers”: so excellent
  • DK Eyewitness Books – “Gandhi”: perfection
  • Peter Sis Books – WHOA. Works of art with great information. We learned so much about Columbus, Darwin, and Galileo from the Sis books.
  • Bill Nye Books – information peppered with funniness and energy
  • Stephen and Lucy Hawking Books – “George’s Secret Key to the Universe” and “George’s Cosmic Treasure Hunt”, both make staggering concepts easy to understand by deftly weaving them into story format.
  • “Music Was It” by Susan Goldman Rubin – such an interesting biography of Leonard Bernstein
  • “Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space” by Dominic Walliman and Ben Newman – anybody who reads this blog knows that we LOVE-to-the-power-of-10 this book.
  • “Moonshot” by Brian Floca – spectacular book about the flight of Apollo 11
  • “A Child’s Book of Art” by Lucy Micklethwaite – my son LOVES this book. He reads it every day, and we are on our third copy.
  • “A Really Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson – quirky information delivered in enthusiastic Bryson style

tip jar

Last night’s story problem from “Le Fictitious Local Diner” – There are 3 waitresses working the morning shift at the café, and on Saturday, they split a tip jar that contained $57.  The 4 waitresses that work the afternoon shift split a tip jar that contained $78.  Who went home with more tip money – a morning or an afternoon waitress?

 tea cups

Last night’s music program celebrated TEA TIME. We learned about theme and variation and the concept of orchestration by focusing upon the classic American sweetheart melody, “Tea for Two”.

  • First, “Tea for Two”, written by Vincent Youmans and Irving Caesar for the 1924 Broadway smash-hit, “No, No, Nanette”.  ADORABLE (and makes us want to know what a sugar cake is).

  • Second, “Tea for Two” as interpreted by Dmitri Shostakovich in 1927. Long story short: Shostakovich won 100 rubles by re-orchestrating “Tea for Two” in less than one hour, after listening ONE TIME to a recording of the song. It SPARKLES!

  • Next, in 1939, jazz pianist great, Art Tatum put his spin on “Tea for Two”. FANTASTIC.

  • And then, oh my gosh, The Lawrence Welk TV Show (1951-1971) featured “Tea for Two” SIXTY SEVEN times during the course of its long broadcast run. I just don’t know what to say about this variation; I am still stunned on so many levels. On the plus side, my son was mesmerized by the two musicians demonstrating such skill on (the duck-billed platypus of instruments) the accordion.

 Welcome to the best part of my day!

– Jane BH


  1. Not only would it be great to have text books that would make us pay attention, but a teacher like you that would make everyone want to pay attention.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s