We are now in a new millennium and heading toward many more new and incredible events and discoveries.  When you look over the last two thousand years, you find that the most amazing changes took place over the last thousand years and in the last part of that century.  I think it's hard for children to grasp all of the changes and the way people lived over the previous hundreds of years.  "Turn of the Century", by Ellen Jackson and illustrated by Jan Davey Ellis, is the most encompassing picture book to cover this type of information for children.  The author has very ingeniously described what children wore, where they slept, how they played and where they went to school.  Your child will find it interesting to note that children weren't expected to go to school until around the 1700's.  And during the 1800's, pioneer children stayed home to help out on their farms instead of going to school.

I found it fascinating, and learned so much that I never really thought about before reading this book, with how people really lived and looked throughout the ages.  This book does an excellent job depicting a child and how that child lived.  Each page portrays a new century and that child's lifestyle. On one side, it tells about how a certain child lives in his or her town.  On the opposite side of the page, there is a list of facts relating to that century.  For example, in the year 1000, 10 year old John, son of Stephen, lives in "Angle-land".  His family works the land all but one day of every week.  They do not own any land and only own the clothes on their backs.  His lord owns the only book available, a Bible, that was copied by hand and Stephen cannot read.  His family lives in a "two room hut made of mud, straw and animal hair."  John sleeps with his family on a straw mattress in one of the rooms and the pigs and chickens sleep in the other room.

This is how the book begins.  From there, a child is shown for every 100 years.  This factually based book will have you and your child beginning to see how people lived long ago and how progress affected each century.  The pictures demonstrate as much information of the times as the written text.  For instance, John is shown trying to sleep in a small hut that is covered with straw and "glass-less" windows that latch with wooden planks.  The whole picture is covered with hues of brown and earth tones. 

By the time you get to the 21st century, you really begin to understand how people have lived and struggled to survive throughout the ages.  If this doesn't have your child appreciating all that he or she enjoys with today's technologies, I don't know what will!

All right, girls, here's a book just for you.  "Princess in Love", by Meg Cabot, is her third book in the Princess Diaries series.  This book seems to really hit the mark for all of those 11 to 14 year girls that are looking for a book that embodies the way they think and feel.  Mia Thermopolis feels like school is harder than ever, even though she's recently discovered that she is a princess, because she is the only girl in school who doesn't have a boy friend.  As she struggles to deal with school exams, kids making fun of her, trying on formal gowns for the upcoming tour of her country, finding out a boy she doesn't like wants to be her boy friend, you easily begin to identify with her thoughts and reactions to each of her dilemmas.  The story is told in a journalistic style and has the time and date on each of her entries.  This doesn't distract from the story at hand, but rather helps with the humor of some of the entries as she makes lists and examples of homework throughout the book.  There was a movie made about the first book in this series, but I think girls everywhere will find this book even better.

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