Tag Archives: Big Ideas for Curious Minds

Nonfiction Gems for Exceptional Children

Teatime Around the World, by Denyse Waissbluth and Chelsea O’Byrne

Tea is a beverage that has been enjoyed all over the world for a very long time. Every nation and culture has rituals surrounding the service and consumption of tea. Some people drink tea in glasses with lots of sugar, others add spices and milk, and some countries enact elaborate rituals to honor their guests with cups of tea.

I grew up drinking tea. My Scottish grandmother drank tea with milk and sugar, and my mom would occasionally have a cup, as well. My best friend, Eithne, whose parents were from Ireland, lived next door to us in New Jersey in a house of perpetual teatime. Her father was a professor, and the whole family was bookish, as I was. At any time of the day or night, one or more of the six family members would be sitting at the large kitchen table with a book, a cozy-covered teapot in the middle and scones or some other baked treat close at hand. When my own son was growing up, I could usually be found with a big mug of Earl Grey in my hand, with sugar and milk, of course. I remember how my Japanese friend jumped and exclaimed, “Oh, no!” when I offered her some tea, anxious to avoid her family’s complicated tea ceremony, and then she wondered aloud when I just poured some boiling water onto a teabag. Some friends who were African missionaries taught us to make chai, and these days my tea of choice is a spicy rooibos blend that needs no sugar.

Bring a world of tea culture to your home with this Canadian import filled with artwork depicting children and parents around the globe enjoying the many varieties of this delicious beverage.

Big Ideas for Curious Minds: An Invitation to Philosophy

Why did you yell at your mum and knock over your little brother’s blocks? Think about it. Are you really angry at your mum or your brother? No, something that happened at school is still bothering you. Let’s see what Socrates had to say about that.

This very accessible volume from Britain’s School of Life Press presents the main ideas of twenty-five philosophers from a child’s-eye view. While there are many elementary philosophy books on the market, generally ranging from dry to dessicated, this clever text introduces a story about a child’s life first, engaging children to take a closer look at their own thoughts and behaviors. Once the child becomes curious about the reasons for her emotions or actions, the authors offer two or three pages about a philosopher who ruminated about these very same problems. Just enough, not too much, and totally relevant. Some of these names will be familiar, and some more obscure. The editors take care to present thoughts from the east and the west, from men and from women.

The pages presenting situations in the child’s world are generally plain with perhaps a hand-drawn chart or graph, but the two-page spreads about the philosophers are richly illustrated with pictures of the subjects and their world. Don’t be fooled by the somewhat uninviting cover. This is an excellent, kid-friendly introduction to philosophy.

Disclaimer: I read library editions of these titles. Opinions expressed are solely my own and may not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews