Isabella of Castile and our Exploration of Spain -- Global Learning for Kids

Disclosure: I was sent these books to review free of charge from Goosebottom Books. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links to each item for your convenience but do not receive anything if you purchase them.

This month the Global Learning for Kids group focused on Spain. We have already looked at Spain with Around the World in 12 Dishes: flan and gazpacho. That exploration included stories, crafts and cooking. We have also spent some time exploring Pablo Picasso since Hazel loves his work. Even more exciting was that her art was hanging at a local museum this month and her class's art was their Picasso-inspired self portraits. Here is Hazel's.

Earlier this month I shared the amazing Thinking Girl's Treasury of Real Princesses series as well as sharing Hatshepsut of Egypt for Multicultural Children's Book Day. Well there is one more book in the series and it is Isabella of Castile by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustrated by Albert Nguyen.

This book is Hazel's favorite in the collection especially once she realized Isabella of Castile was Queen Isabella of Spain--the one who sent Christopher Columbus to the Americas. Isabella is a strong woman for a role model. In a time when women were not suppose to speak up and were suppose to be submissive, Isabella refused any of the choices her brother gave her for a husband, because she wanted to marry the prince of neighboring Aragon to unite Spain. At the time Spain was divided into various kingdoms and her family reigned over Castile. All but Grenada were Catholic, but Grenada was ruled by the Muslim Moors. Her brother refused this marriage, so Isabella made the arrangements herself secretly. She and Prince Ferdinand met a few days before the planned wedding and fell in love. Isabella however insisted on a legal agreement similar to a pre-nup in our time. She insisted on having shared power and keeping Castile as hers. Ferdinand did not take it too seriously and signed it away. When her brother Henry died, Isabella did not wait for Ferdinand to come for her coronation and she had the mark of king in her procession. This is when Ferdinand began to understand the agreement terms. After a bit of time though he enjoyed ruling with her and when he inherited Aragon they continued to rule jointly. They also decided to attack Grenada and push the Muslim Moors out so they could unite Spain. Isabella realized the need of medical care on the front lines and established medical tents on there for the soldiers. They became known as the Queen's Hospitals. She also led the Castilian army in person. They eventually won the war and united Spain. 

Isabella was the one who believed in Christopher Columbus or at least was willing to take the risk of financing him. In the long run it was a huge success. He brought back many riches from the Americas as well as tomatoes, potatoes and peppers which became staple foods in Spanish cooking. The reign of Isabella and Ferdinand is considered Spain's golden age. She was a strong woman in a time when women were not suppose to be heard or have opinions. This book like all the others in the series is wonderful. It gives all the information from what she wore and ate to where they lived as well as relevant background of the time period. We recommend the entire series and Hazel especially recommends this one!

We have also looked at a few other aspects of Spain. We read some books on flamenco dance. Hazel even posed for a picture with her fan to try it out.
 We also looked at Francisco Goya. We picked him based on a DVD I got from the library. Then we read a couple of books about him and his art.

We also read a bit about bull fighting and the running of the bulls. Hazel was a little upset about the idea of bull fighting, but it was interesting for her to read about it. We also read a bit about the country itself and a couple of stories from there.
This has been our exploration of Spain this month. Be sure to check out all of these other lessons, crafts and more about this country and share any posts you have about Spain!