Showing posts with label Egypt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Egypt. Show all posts

Be a Scribe! Working for a Better Life in Ancient Egypt -- Book Review


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Have you ever wondered about what life was like in ancient Egypt? We hear stories of the royalty like Cleopatra. We hear stories about the slaves in the Bible. But what was life like for the average person? What were the better jobs? How were people treated? Today I get to share a book that is about a father taking his son up the Nile to a school far away from home in hopes that his son will have a better life. The original story was written in ancient Egyptian language but has been translated to English. The book is Be a Scribe! Working for a Better Life in Ancient Egypt by Michael Hoffen, Christian Casey and Jen Thum. It is recommended for ages 8 to 12.

Egyptian Lullaby -- New Multicultural Picture Book


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

This is an exciting week for picture books. I get to review four beautiful new ones that all are coming out today. You have to tune in each day to see all three. Today's is a multicultural book about visiting extending family and bringing the culture of your family's roots to you. The book is Egyptian Lullaby by Zeena M. Pliska and illustrated by Hatem Aly. It is recommended for ages 4 to 8. 

Learning Black History Prior to Slavery


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Have you seen the Facebook meme about learning about Black history before slavery? It discusses how Black people have the longest history of humans and how there is beautiful history well before slavery. Today's book will help you do just that. The book is African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History by Tracey Baptiste and illustrated by Hillary D. Wilson. It is recommended for ages 10+.

Ibn al-Haytham -- the Father of Optics and Modern Science #STEM

Do you use a camera? Do you know how we see? Perhaps you use or have used the scientific method? The man behind discovering ideas behind these things and more is Ibn al-Haytham or Alhazen (his name in Latin). He was born in Basra, Iraq in the 10th century. He was a scientist, mathematician, and engineer. He lived during the Golden Age of Islam and benefited because of the knowledge being studied and shared. 

Multicultural Coloring Books -- A Relaxing Saturday Review

Disclosure: I was sent these books free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

It has been awhile since I have done a Relaxing Friday review, so today I am sharing three coloring books with you. These books each help teach a bit about cultures. Join us as we take looks at Asia, a Japanese garden and Ancient Egypt. Our first book is A Touch of Asia from Tuttle Publishing. 

Hatshepsut of Egypt -- Multicultural Children's Book Day Review

Disclosure: I was sent this book 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.

Today we are honored to review a book about a very strong woman, Hatshepsut. Have you heard of her? I hadn't, so I found this book fascinating. The book is Hatshepsut of Egypt by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustrated by Albert Nguyen. It is part of The Thinking Girl's Treasury of Real Princesses.

This is a series of books that share real princesses with girls. These are not your average fru fru princesses who wear pretty dresses and sit around waiting to be saved by a prince. These are women who had strength and guts to rule countries.

Saint Anthony the Great -- Book Review

Disclosure: Wisdom Tales Press gave me a copy of this product free of charge. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Recently we decided to switch churches. As a family we are going to an Episcopal Church now. Steve is Catholic and I was raised in a United Church of Christ church and have always gone to one. We found the Episcopal Church to be a combination of the two and fit us all. We love being able to go to one church as a family and go almost every week together. Not having grown up in a church that focuses on the saints I do not know much about them. Now that we go to a church that focuses on them more I would like to learn more about them and teach Hazel more about them. I was happy to see this new book at Wisdom Tales Press, Saint Anthony the Great by John Chryssavgis and Mailyn Rouvelas and illustrated by Isabelle Brent.

Travel with Books at Home Product Reviews

Disclosure: Candlewick Press gave me a copy of this book free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Do you love to travel? Or do you dream of traveling without hassles? We love to explore the world from home with dreams of someday getting to see more of it. For now we like to explore with books and posters and such to see and learn about the world without leaving home. Candlewick Press has some products that makes this really fun and easy. The first three books are from a series called Panorama Pops. We got to explore The Louvre, Australia and Venice in this form. It was so much fun. These books are like pocket guides with pop-up pictures. The book is double sided since it folds out and has the pop-ups on both sides.

Around the World in 12 Dishes: Exploring Egypt Part 2

Last week we shared our first Egyptian cooking, which was Date Cake. Today we are going to share our Egyptian Dinner recipes. Our dinner recipes came from Foods of Egypt by Barbara Sheen.

Around the World in 12 Dishes--Egypt Part 1 Date Cake

Today we are starting our exploration of Egypt. Since there are so many wonderful resources out there, we will be sharing our adventures over several posts. The first recipe we tried was for a date cake. The recipe came from A World of Recipes Series book called  Egypt by Sue Townsend and Caroline Young.
Dates are plentiful in Egypt, so they are used often in Egyptian cooking.

Egyptian Woman
Source: Phillip Martin
Date Cake
11 oz fresh dates
5 oz blanched almonds
4 oz soft brown sugar
1 orange
4 eggs, separated
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 oz butter
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp confectioners' sugar to dust

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease a 9-in cake pan with butter or margarine and line it with wax paper.

Cut dates in half and remove pits.

Put almonds and brown sugar into a food processor and chop/blend them until coarsely chopped. (The recipe called for a blender, but I found my blender didn't do the job and I needed the food processor.)

Add the dates and chop until finely chopped, but not ground. Put aside.

Using the fine side of a grater, grate the rind from the orange and set the rind aside. Then cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice from half of it.

Whisk the egg whites until they make soft peaks and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the yolks, granulated sugar and cardamom. Stir in the date mixture, butter, orange rind and 1 tablespoon of orange juice, and cornstarch.

Carefully fold in the egg whites. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes until the cake springs back when pressed.

Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes and then place it on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.

Here are some of the resources we have been exploring. The first are a set of books that were definitely stories from modern times. Some are meant to take place in ancient times and/or explore ancient times. Hands Around the Library Protecting Egypt's Treasured Books by Karen Leggett Abouraya is a wonderful modern book about the student led protests they had a few years ago. It is really one of the only children's books I found about more recent events in Egypt. Mummy Math and Count Your Way through Egypt I shared as our math exploration on Sunday with activities to go along with them. The other two are modern twists on seeing the sights and understanding Ancient Egypt.

Here are our non-fiction reference books. These books give a good look at Egypt both present day and ancient and also offer quite a few great crafts to go along with them. One of my favorites is What Did the Ancient Egyptians Do for Me? by Patrick Catel. It really explains how some of the things we use in every day life came from Ancient Egypt.

So far we have played with pyramids. We made one out of Legos and made some out of paper nets we found at Activity Village. We are hoping to make the sand clay ones from The Crafts and Culture of the Ancient Egyptians by Joann Jovinelly and Jason Netelkos, but have not had time yet. Hopefully we will have them to share next week.
I hope you will join us next Tuesday for our second adventure in exploring Egypt. We will share more food, ancient tales and music. Here is a great Egypt placemat to color for the younger children. Here is the four page passport for Egypt. Now you can check out these great Egyptian posts or add your own.

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures--Rimonah of the Flashing Sword

Since we are exploring Egypt this month with Around the World in 12 Dishes, I thought I would take us back to Egypt for a fairy tale. Since we already shared the Egyptian Cinderella, we are sharing today an Egyptian Snow White. First a few details about Egypt. Since the history of Egypt is so long and intense I will not do it justice, but this is meant to be an introduction.
The Arabic Republic of Egypt is in two continents: Africa and Asia. Egypt is the fifteenth most populous country in the world. The majority of the people live along the Nile River. The Nile River is the longest river in the world and flows to the North. The only land that is arable is found along the banks of the Nile. The rest of the land  in Egypt is desert.

Egypt has the longest history of all modern states since it has been continuously inhabited since the tenth millennium BC. With the advances of the ancient civilizations to include the pyramids, the Great Sphinx, among other amazing discoveries. The Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to codify art and architecture. They also are given the invention of paper from the papyrus plant and among the first to have an written alphabet.

The official language is Modern Standard Arabic. Ninety percent of the residents of Egypt identify as Muslim and the other ten percent are a form of Christian. Islam arrived in Egypt in the 7th century. At that time Egypt emerged as the center of politics and culture in the Muslim World. 
In more recent times there has been an on-going revolution. It started with protests in 2011 and continues in our current news today.

Now onto our story. We are sharing Rimonah of the Flashing Sword adapted by Eric A. Kimmel. In the Author's Note, Kimmel mentions he came upon the traditional version in Miriam's Tambourine by Howard Schwartz. He knows the tale is from North Africa and Schwartz said it came from Egypt.

This story begins with a queen who is eating a pomegranate. She wishes to have a child with skin is as dark as the pomegranate, eyes as bright as its seeds and voice as sweet as the juice of the pomegranate. Soon she has a daughter with these qualities and she names her Rimonah which means pomegranate. Rimonah grows up in a loving household until her seventh birthday when her mother dies. Upon her deathbed, Rimonah's mother gives her a vial with three drops of her blood to wear around her neck. She tells her if they blood turns red and to liquid (after drying) then Rimonah is in danger. Then the mother dies.

The father who vows not to remarry ever, is married before his first wife is in the grave. The new wife is a sorceress who want to increase her power by becoming queen. She used her magic to kill the first queen and to make the king not have control of his mind. She keeps her special magic tools in a tower that only she is permitted to go in. She has a magic porcelain bowl that when she fills it with water, she can ask it any question and get a truthful answer. She asks if she is the fairest of all. One day it answers that Rimonah is fairer. She gets angry and orders a servant to go kill her.

The servant takes Rimonah out and pulls out his dagger, and Rimonah begs for her life. He tells her to go far away. Rimonah escapes leaving behind her cape which the huntsman uses as proof of her death. He covers it with blood of a gazelle first. 

Rimonah finds a group of bedouin. Since they do not follow the rule of the king and queen she is welcomed. She learns to ride and use her sword with them. She becomes well known for her skill with the sword and dagger. One day the queen hears someone discussing Rimonah of the desert's sword skill. The queen is shocked to hear she is not dead. She goes to her bowl to check and learns that she is still alive. She uses a magic cape to dress as a bedouin prince and brings a magical scorpion necklace. It turns into a real scorpion at sunset. She leaves it at Rimonah's tent with the other suitors' gifts. Rimonah gives it to one of her friends, but notices the blood in her necklace turn red and liquid. She grabs the necklace from her friends neck as the sun sets and kills the scorpion. At this point her friends urge her to leave since she has been found. 

Rimonah leaves and finds a cave with a huge stone blocking the entrance. She hides and sees its inhabitants, 40 thieves, enter using the words, "Open Sesame." She tries it and goes in.She leaves her horse in the stables and discovers a beautiful castle. She finds the forty beds and lies down for a quick rest, but falls fast asleep. The thieves find her and want to kill her, but bring her to their leader. They think she is a spy for the queen. She tells them how the queen has tried to kill her twice and they allow her to join them. They call her Rimonah of the Flashing Sword after seeing her skill. All of the thieves were honest men who were destroyed by the queen (all of their belongings taken by the queen's servants). 
My Rimonah

The queen discovers that Rimonah is still alive and uses her magic to find her. This time she brings a poisonous ring. She convinces Rimonah to put it on after she rolls it under the locked castle door saying the leader of the thieves wanted her to have it. She falls to the ground instantly. However she does not die since her mother's love is protecting her.

The thieves find her and put her in a glass coffin thinking she is dead. One day a prince finds his way into the cave and falls in love with the beautiful woman in the coffin. Even though she is surrounded by forty men asleep with their swords out, he opens the coffin to kiss her. The thieves wake up and threaten to kill him until they hear Rimonah's voice saying to spare him since he is the prince of her dreams. They are so happy to have Rimonah alive, but sad that she and the prince are in love. Rimonah tells the prince she will not be happy without her forty men. He agrees. As they journey to the prince's kingdom, they find a coffin in the desert and the leader of the thieves discovers it is the king. Rimonah wants to see her father once more and asks them to open it for her. She cries at her father's death and her tears awaken her father. He tells them how the queen used her magic to control him and then kill him. They decide Rimonah will not be safe with the queen alive so all of them go to kill her. When her people see them coming they abandon the queen. The queen having gotten knowledge that her end is near from the magic bowl tries to escape on her magic carpet, but leaves the bowl behind. Rimonah runs to the tower and throws the bowl at the queen. When the bowl hits the carpet and then the ground it breaks and the carpet unwinds. The queen dies. Everyone is happy. The thieves become the guards of Rimonah and her prince.

For this book I love how Rimonah is the best at the sword and becomes well known for her skill. She also does not need the men to save her as much as she can fight for herself. We made a sword, well actually a khopesh, an ancient Egyptian sword. I used the pattern from Storm the Castle. Our cardboard was a bit flimsy so we put duct tape on it. This made it a little better.

Math Lessons--Egyptian Math--Pyramids

Mathematical ScandalsToday I am going to share some math with you. If you have read the About Me section, you know I am a former high school math teacher. With so many kids going back to school now, I thought I would introduce a few math picture books and fun math lessons each week. Since this month's theme for Around the World with 12 Dishes is Egypt I thought I would share two books involving Egypt and math first. Plus I always like to include a little history with math lessons. I did this as a teacher as well. I loved sharing stories from Theoni Pappas' Mathematical Scandals with my classes.
Egyptian Man
Source: Phillip Martin

Some other interesting facts are that Egyptians developed a 365-day calendar--12 months of 30 days with 5 extra days, the decimal system, concept of zero, wrote in fractions, and the start of algebra. For information on the calendar click here, decimal system here, zero here,  fractions here, and algebra here.

Now the first book I am going to share with you is Count Your Way through Egypt by Jim Haskins and Kathleen Benson. This is a simple counting picture book. It introduces the numbers in both English and Arabic. It begins with a short introduction about Egypt and its language. Then it begins to count from one to ten and for each number they show something Egyptian. One canal, two parts (cut by the Nile) and each number has an explanation to go with what it is counting.
This book is very appropriate for young children who are learning their numbers. It also could work with older children with the many hieroglyph number problems you can find on-line. Discovering Egypt has some divided by ages. University of Chicago also provides some. Deciphering hieroglyphs is equivalent to decoding a message which is taught in algebra.

The next book is Mummy Math An Adventure in Geometry by Cindy Neuschwander.This book is about two children who go to Egypt with their scientist parents to help an archeologist find the burial chamber/pharaoh in the tomb he has discovered. The kids and their dog are the first to climb into the tomb and the door closes behind them. Since the kids are stuck inside without any adults, they decide to go see if they can find the burial chamber. The sister had learned to read hieroglyphics before they left home. The clues to finding the pharaoh involve faces. At first they assume the clues mean people's faces, but then they realize they mean the faces of the solids which are pictured all over the place. They manage to find the burial chamber and an exit by following all the clues and knowing their geometry solids.

Needless to say this story lends itself to lessons on the solids like a pyramid, prism, cone, sphere. It also uses words like tetrahedron and cube. Here is a worksheet with the definitions of these words. The faces of a solid are the polygons, the edges are where two faces intersect and the vertices are the points where the edges intersect.

Some Worksheets Found On-Line:
Source: Phillip Martin

Since we are focusing on Egypt, we made some pyramids. We made some out of paper. Since Hazel is only four, we used pre-made nets that I found at Activity Village.
I printed two out on cardstock and then let Hazel decorate one. I colored one brown to look like the stone in Egypt.

Then we glued them together. So I would not have to hold them while the glue dried I put rubber bands around them. This worked pretty well.

For older children, you could have them make the net or for a real challenge have them construct it with a compass and a straightedge (no measuring allowed). For more information on constructions visit Math Open Reference.

Of course you could also calculate the surface area and the volume of all the solids. has the formulas easily available. You can find some worksheets here.

We also made a pyramid out of a Legos. This was a fun activity to do together with Hazel. For someone slightly older they could do it by themselves.

These three books also have other ideas for making pyramids. Some out of clay, sand clay (with recipe), instructions on drawing the net of it, etc.  We are hoping to make one out of sand clay, but have not had the time yet to make the clay. Maybe you will see that in one of our Egypt posts coming later this month.

For now, I hope you have enjoyed our little math lesson and exploration of Egypt.

Craft It Up Around the World book review

Today I have the pleasure of review a wonderful book called Craft It Up
Around the World by Libby Abadee and Cath Armstrong.  Craft it Up Around the World by Libby Abadee and Cath Armstrong is published by CICO Books at £9.99 and is available from This book was sent to me by CICO Books to review here, and I have to say I am so pleased to do so. The book contains 35 craft projects from different places throughout the world. The crafts are meant for children to do, and if they are older than Hazel, they will not need much help from an adult. The authors are currently based in Sydney, Australia, but between the two of them they have lived in many parts of the world and are trying to inspire children to look at the world around them and learn more about other places. I have to say it is the perfect book to go along with our multicultural adventures between our Fairy Tales in Different Cultures, Virtual Flat Stanley and Around the World in 12 Dishes.

One of the things I really like about this book is several of the crafts use recycled materials. The first craft I want to share is this wonderful map bunting. You could focus your circles to be spots you have lived, visited or want to visit, or you can do what we did and just take any place to be included. Hazel enjoyed helping me sew these circles together into the bunting. As we did this I thought it would be neat for a birthday party with a world travel theme. Really this book would be perfect for it. Now to convince Hazel of this idea.

To make this bunting I used one of Steve's outdated Atlas books. I had planned on going to AAA for a free world map, but didn't make it there, so I asked Steve to see what he had. I figured it was even better to use a book he didn't need or want anymore. I did not have a big enough circle punch, so I traced a glass and cut the circle myself. It really took no time at all to make a pretty long bunting. Now we are going to hang it on Hazel's tree in her room.

After that we made some of the crafts to go with the countries we have already "visited" this year. We made the Easy Peasy Felt Tulips for the Netherlands. Hazel is using them as the centerpiece on her play kitchen table. Great craft for springtime.

We made the Saving for a Snowy Day for Finland. He is made from a recycled smoothie container. We will be saving him for the winter. This is a great craft for the winter.

For Spain we made Click Clack Button Castanets. Hazel hasn't tried them since the glue was drying, but I did. She will love them, and she got to pick out the scrapbook paper we used. I made them a bit smaller than the instructions called for, but I thought this would help Hazel use them. This would be a great craft for any Spanish themed lesson or party.
For France I made the "Ooh La La" Pretty Parisian Embroidery. We will hang it in Hazel's room. She probably could have helped with some of the sewing, but I made it while she was in bed. She did however help me cut the fabric for the project. Again, wouldn't this be a perfect decoration for a world travel themed party.

The final craft idea I will share is for Egypt (this month's destination for Around the World in 12 Dishes) and it is Howard's Treasure Hunt Bottle. It is a recycled jar filled with some Egyptian objects and sand. I added on it a print out of the Egyptian flag and map. We used objects from Safari Ltd. Miniature Replica Toobs. Some we had and we picked up the Ancient Egypt one the other day at Michaels with our 40% off coupon.

We also included a bird amulet and a cat statue.

So Craft It Up Around the World is a great book full of ideas for kids who are exploring the world. The book includes a picture of the country's flag and shape of the country as well as some interesting facts about the countries. There are a variety of crafts calling on different skills, so they will appeal to both boys and girls of different ages. Again Craft it Up Around the World by Libby Abadee and Cath Armstrong is published by CICO Books at £9.99 and is available from You can look for more great crafts from this book as we explore the world through all of our fun adventures as well!!