Friday, October 13, 2017

Birthday Buddies

Six or seven years ago, we incorporated the idea of birthday buddies into our family sponsorship experience. Yesterday was my youngest daughter's birthday (and also Joylyne's in Kenya!) and we worked on this story for a school project. I took a video of her practicing her presentation and thought I'd share it here.




Friday, October 6, 2017

Learning About Central & Southern Africa!

I learned last year that sometimes our local library does not carry many books about a particular country. So this year, when I was searching our library database for the books recommend in Give Your Child the World by Jamie C Martin, if I only found one or two on a country, I moved out and focused on a region.

For the month of September, we started in southern Africa, highlighting South Africa and Botswana, and then we moved north to central Africa, highlighting Chad.


Here is our booklist:

  • Elephants of Africa by Gail Gibbons
  • Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky by Elphinstone Dayrell
  • At the Crossroads by Rachel Isadora
  • My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken and Me by Maya Angelou
  • The Dove by Dianne Stewart
  • The Gift of the Sun by Dianne Stewart
  • Rain School by James Rumford
  • Calabash Cat by James Rumford
  • Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke
  • Good Luck Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke
  • Story of David Livingstone from Hero Tales by Dave & Neta Jackson

    I really loved Rain School, and decided to focus on Chad for our co-op (more what we did later). Rosie's favorite was My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken and Me (she was joking she couldn't tell us funny things because we're not chickens), and Juanito really enjoyed both South African stories, The Dove and The Gift of the Sun, and the Anna Hibiscus stories. In hindsight, Anna Hibiscus should be on the west Africa reading list!


    We watched some of the Human Planet, since it included people from Botswana. (I refer to Wikipedia for the listing of what is shown in each episode.) The kids always love watching Human Planet.

    We colored the South African flag, and we colored a scene from Botswana from the Dolls of the World Coloring Book.


    And then we played a South African sidewalk game, thanks to Sidewalk Games Around the World. Due to the young ages of my kids, we did have to improvise and switch from throwing a tennis ball to kicking a soccer ball! But everyone had fun, even José, who's only one!


    We also made a South African meal of meatloaf and cornbread with greens, thanks to my favorite cookbook: Extending the Table: A World Community Cookbook by Joetta Handrich Schlabach.


    I am working the kids into narrating in both English and Spanish. For English, I let them choose their book. For Spanish, I chose Rain School. Here are Rosie's:

    The story is about a girl. She puts beads on her and she has a chicken. She lets the chicken runaway and the boy screams. They paint with feathers from the chicken. The little girl's best friend is the chicken. The girl tells her secrets to the chicken.
    - My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken and Me

    El niño se llama Thomas. Thomas va a escuela. Los niños tienen que build, construir, la escuela. Ellos van adentro. Escribe la letra. Los niños usan lápiz y libros. La tormenta viene y la escuela se cayó.
    - Rain School

    And Juanito's:

    There was a hurricane and then it took away everything it could carry but one house was still built. Grandma Muloko's house. Grandma Muloko couldn't plan her crops until the rain stopped so she kept working on her beads instead. Then the rain stopped and the sun, pushed, pushed, pushed its way out of the heavy clouds. And then they saw the dove and Grandma Muloko said, "Go get some food for it." So Lindi did, so Lindi got the corn and fed it to the dove. It came back for a lot of days and then didn't come again. And then they had to leave and go somewhere else because of all the damage. And when they were on the rain, people were talking about the hurricane and all the damage it caused. And when they arrived, they walked to the bead store, but the girl said, "We have too many bead sellers here, why don't you go to the bead beach?" And then they went to the beach and then went home. And then when Lindi woke up one day, Lindi turned to her grandma, "Can you help me make a dove?" "Yes," said her grandma. And she helped sew everything together. And then Lindi said, "How lovely dove! Can you show it to the people in the art shop?" And then Grandma said yes and took it to show them. But they didn't;t buy the beads and then she remembered the dove. And then she gave it to the community art shop lady and she said, "Oh, yes! Can you please make more?" And then Grandma Muloko returned to her house and Lindi said, "Did they buy the beads?" "No, but they bought the dove and asked us to make more." And then they spent hours making more, more, more dolls. Y fin.
    - The Dove

    Thomas va a escuela. Los niños construyen su escuela. La construyen la paredes con palos y lodo y usaran césped para el techo. Thomas ayuda a traer las sillas. La maestra dibuja una letra, la A. Thomas dibuja la A con sus manos. La mataste trae los libros y los lápices para los niños. Thomas aprende las letras. Estaba el último día para escuela, y la lluvia viene. La escuela se derrumbara y nada queda.
    - Rain School

    For co-op, we are purposing to pray for a people group or missionary. Since we were focusing on Chad for co-op, we prayed for the Tunia people group and read about them in the Wycliffe book Around the World with Kate and Mack. Then, after reading Rain School, we colored the flag of Chad, along with scenes from daily life in Chad.

    Then we made mancala boards, thanks to instructions via Compassion's Explorer Magazine!


    Finally, for our snack, we had bananas and beignets soufflés, both of which are eaten in Chad!


    Then, before leaving Africa in our studies, we took a jaunt to the west to Kenya briefly and read The Marvelous Mud House by April Graney! April is a fellow Compassion sponsor and she wrote the story after visiting her sponsored child in Kenya!


    The story parallels the lives of Ben in the USA and George in Kenya, and how they meet and influence each other's lives. Since our family is so passionate about sponsorship and our kids are growing up writing to sponsored kids, this book really touched home. The story is beautifully illustrated and has become one of Juanito's favorite books!

    Next up, the Middle East!

    Here are the previous countries in the series:
  • China
  • Spain
  • Tanzania
  • France
  • Colombia
  • Ghana
  • Italy
  • Thailand
  • Peru
  • India & Pakistan
  • Mexico
  • Brazil




    About Hannah Hinojosa...Hannah is a long time Compassion sponsor and writes about her sponsorship journey at Because of Shamim. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is a part-time math professor and loves to read.
  • Thursday, July 13, 2017

    Summer Reading

    Happy Summer 
    (to those of you in the middle of summer....happy winter to the rest of you)

    I've come across some new book titles that I wanted to pop in and share with you. It's safe to say I'm an avid reader and I love finding books that take me to different places around the world. Some of these I've read, and some are still waiting to be read. Not all are in countries where Compassion works, but I still love learning about other cultures. 


    For the younger ones...All Aboard for the Bobo Road by Stephen Davies 
     This is a sweet story that takes place in Burkina Faso. Back when I was doing my country expert posts, I couldn't find any books about or set in this small, west African country. I was pleased to find this.


    For middle grade readers....The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney
     This one is on my list for our homeschool read-aloud curriculum this coming year. Set in South Darfur (Africa), this story is told through poetic verse.



    For teen readers....I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda
     This is the true story of an American girl and a boy from Zimbabwe who became friend through letters.




    For adults....The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled From India to Europe for Love by Per J Andersson
    "The remarkable true story of how love and courage led young PK to overcome extreme poverty, caste prejudice and adveristy - as will as a 7000 mile, adventure filled journey across continents and cultures to be with the woman he loved."



    Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight - An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller
    A memoir of the author's childhood in Africa. 



    And a couple more I have already read....


    Hope Runs by Claire Diaz-Ortiz and Samuel Ikua Gachagua
    set in Kenya - a memoir of how the author fell in love with the country and people of Kenya



     The Boy Who Runs by Julius Achon and John Brant
    set in Uganda - the inspirational true story of a boy soldier who became a world-renowned runner



    I'd LOVE to know what suggestions you have for me to add to my list. And I'd love to know if you've read any of these and what you thought. Happy reading!

    Saturday, May 20, 2017

    Bridgid's Cross


    First a little story....two years ago our family started playing music together. What started as an occasional appearance at farmer's markets grew into regular performances in our area. We named our group Bridgid's Cross after St. Bridgid - a patroness of Ireland and lover of the poor. When we started collecting tip money, we decided to use the money to sponsor another child through Compassion and I was able to find an adorable girl named Bridget in Uganda. Recently we've decided to use more of our proceeds to support Compassion's water of life program and were able to donate $100 from one gig in March. 

    This week the first hard copies of our first cd arrived. This is just a hobby for us, and the recording was done in our living room and garage over the past 6 months, but we are excited to share our love of music and Compassion with all sorts of people. 



    Bridget in Uganda



    If you are interested in hearing samples from the tracks, you can do that HERE. You can also download it digitally on that site. If you want a hard copy of the cd, I can get one to you for $13 (includes shipping within US) - just message me. 

    The main reason I share this with you is not to sell cds, but to share that you can get creative and combine your passions / talents with your advocacy!



    Friday, April 28, 2017

    Learning About Brazil!

    Brazil was our final country for the preschool year! I plan to recap our year with the complete reading list, and then hopefully I will share my plan for kindergarten. We really enjoyed learning a little about different countries so I have a whole new list of countries and/or regions to talk about in kindergarten.

    As I mentioned before, the main books we are covering are recommended by the Five in a Row [FIAR] curriculum and Give Your Child the World by Jamie C Martin.


    Our FIAR book was not about Brazil, but since we have Compassion kids in Brazil, I wanted to talk about the country! Here are the books we read:

  • The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan Mitchell
  • Amazon Alphabet by Martin & Tanis Jordan
  • Bugs for Lunch/Insectos para el almuerzo by Margery Facklam
  • Rain Forest Wildlife by Jinny Johnson
  • A Little Book of Sloth by Lucy Cooke
  • "Slowly, Slowly, Slowly," Said the Sloth by Eric Carle
  • In the Rainforest by Maurice Pledger
  • The Firebird of Rio by Christine Kohler

    Some of the books are not about Brazil specifically, but went along well with the other two books. (Bugs for Lunch/Insectos para el almuerzo went along because we watched some of Human Planet and watched kids hunting for tarantulas in the Amazon rainforest!) And of course reading about sloths is perfect for learning about the rainforest!

    We found the countries on the map and spent some time praying for our Compassion kids! And since we had the special opportunity for a friend to visit two of our Brazilian Compassion kids, we spent some time looking at the photos and watching videos of Gizelle and Estela.


    Juanito was very excited that he has a Brazilian soccer jersey and wanted our Compassion kids to see it!


    And of course we had to color Brazil's flag:


    Through reading Amazon Alphabet, we learned that X-Ray Fish live in Brazil, so we colored them, along with the Brazilian soccer team logo, the Amazon Rainforest, and a boy and girl in Brazil!

    We sent each Compassion child a letter, a photo, a sticker sheet, and a coloring page from Juanito and Rosie (remember the rule of 6 pages max!). And I fully intended to photograph the mailing (so you can get an idea of what to send your kid and to share the lovely coloring), but I completely forgot until the envelope was sealed. But if you want a visual, check out our Mexico post!


    We also watched some of the Human Planet, since it includes a few different locations in Kenya. (I refer to Wikipedia for the listing of what is shown in each episode.) The kids were fascinated...Juanito is now designing blow darts and Rosie is turtle hunting with her babies.

    We also watched some Compassion videos to learn more about Brazil! The first is specifically about Brazil, the second is just a fun video about extra-curricular activities in Compassion projects but BR-417, the project where 4 or our 5 Brazilian children attend, is featured!



    I made two Brazilian meals, thanks to my favorite cookbook: Extending the Table: A World Community Cookbook by Joetta Handrich Schlabach and a recipe that Compassion sent, which I had tried a few years ago. We had chicken and rice, and we also had Baio de Dois.


    We also made Bolinhos de Arroz for co-op, which the kids really enjoyed because they were able to mix the batter (although we made ours in patties instead of balls because they kept falling apart).


    And we made blue morpho butterflies in co-op since they live in the Amazon Rainforest!


    We've had a great time learning about Brazil! And I am looking forward to continuing our country studies next year!

    To view my complete plan for the year, click here. And here are the previous countries in the series:
  • China
  • Spain
  • Tanzania
  • France
  • Colombia
  • Ghana
  • Italy
  • Thailand
  • Peru
  • India & Pakistan
  • Mexico




    About Hannah Hinojosa...Hannah is a long time Compassion sponsor and writes about her sponsorship journey at Because of Shamim. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is a part-time math professor and loves to read.
  • Friday, April 14, 2017

    Learning About Mexico!

    We just finished a look at Mexico (along with Mexican-American culture)! As I mentioned before, the main books we are covering are recommended by the Five in a Row [FIAR] curriculum and Give Your Child the World by Jamie C Martin.


    Our FIAR book was not about Mexico, but I really wanted to talk about Mexico since my kids are Mexican-American and I love covering countries where we have Compassion kids! Here are the books we read:

  • De Colores and Other Latin American Folksongs for Children by Jose-Luis Oroz
  • Pío Peep! by Alma Flor Ada
  • Papá and Me by Arthur Dorros
  • In My Family/En mi familia by Carmen Lomas Garza
  • Calling the Doves/El canto de las palomas by Juan Felipe Herrera
  • Sweet Memories/Dulces recuerdos by Kathleen Contreras
  • Let Me Help!/¡Quiero ayudar! by Alma Flor Ada
  • Lucas and his Loco Beans by Ramona Moreno Winner
  • The Fiesta Dress by Caren McNelly McCormack
  • Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto
  • I Love Saturdays y domingos by Alma Flor Ada
  • Cinco de Mouse-o by Judy Cox
  • The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell
  • Borreguita y el coyote by Verna Aardema
  • The Goat in the Chili Patch by Lana Josefa Kratky
  • The King's Oranges by Caitlin Brooks
  • 'Twas Nochebuena by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
  • What Can You Do with a Rebozo/¿Qué puedes hacer con un rebozo? by Carmen Tafolla

    I really enjoyed Pío Peep! and actually bought the book and CD combo after borrowing it from the library. I did not grow up with nursery rhymes in Spanish, so it's been fun to learn them along with my kids! And for English speakers, these are written and sung in both Spanish and English.

    We really enjoy the books by Alma Flor Ada. Let Me Help!/¡Quiero ayudar! takes place in San Antonio, where some of my in-laws live, and Rosie really enjoyed the parrot as the main character! And it was fun seeing Juanito drawing connections from I Love Saturdays y domingos to his own life and grandparents!

    We also really enjoyed comparing and contrasting some folktales with a Mexican flare to those we read from Peru. Juanito noticed that the antagonist in Peruvian tales is a fox, whereas in Mexican tales, it is a coyote. The Three Little Javelinas, a three little pigs tales set in the American Southwest, was one of Juanito's favorite stories, along with Borreguita y el coyote.

    But my absolute favorite book out of the lot was What Can You Do with a Rebozo/¿Qué puedes hacer con un rebozo?! It was such a fun book and the kids loved it. It makes me really want to read What Can You Do with a Paleta/¿Qué puedes hacer con una paleta?.

    We found the countries on the map and spent some time praying for our Compassion kids, Jose and Elsa.


    Juanito loved Jose's hair and so he styled his and our baby Jose's hair to look the same! He also found his Mexican soccer jersey and wanted to make sure we could see the shirt in the photo we're sending to Jose.


    We also watched some videos about Compassion's work in Mexico! I really love when Compassion just uses subtitles for English because it makes my kids work on their Spanish!



    We colored the Mexican flag, and then I found some fun coloring pages (boy and girl) and paper dolls (boy and girl)!


    The kids wanted to send their art and the paper dolls to Jose and Elsa, and per Rosie's request, I helped with Elsa's doll. If you want to send letters to your Compassion sponsored kids, just remember to send at most 6 sheets of paper and label everything with your child's name and number!


    For our co-op, we played a game from Mexico, sent to us by our very own Jose who we sponsor through Compassion! I know he will be so proud that we shared his game with friends! We also created Mexican Mirrors, which was so much fun! The kids really took a lot of time and worked carefully. And I had another coloring page with a piñata for the kids who finished early:


    We also ate some chilaquiles (or migas, per my husband's family, although I know migas as ham and cheese sandwiches thanks to Argentina...), courtesy of my favorite recipe book Extending the Table: A World Community Cookbook by Joetta Handrich Schlabach. We have also been eating other Mexican meals over the past few weeks. We've had fish tacos and beef tacos, bean and cheese quesadillas (our typical lunch staple), gallo pinto (black beans and rice, our other lunch staple), and toasted flour tortilla topped with cinnamon and sugar!


    Both kids narrated What Can You Do with a Rebozo/¿Qué puedes hacer con un rebozo?.

    Juanito said,
    Mamá pone el rebozo en los hombros. Hacelo into a parque. Usalo para un bebé. Jugar con un rebozo. El tío lava el piso pero usa el rebozo de mamá. La niña baila la Gamba. La niña duerme con el rebozo. La niña ponelo para una capa de héroe. Tapó los ojos para su cumpleaños. El babé le gusta jugar el escondite. La hermana mayor ponelo en su pelo y viste más bello.


    And Rosie said,
    She's silly. She was sleeping too. She danced. They played. She put the rebozo on the girl. They put it on her. They danced with the Bamba.


    We've had a great time learning about Mexico! Next up, Brazil! It doesn't go along with our FIAR book, but I have some fun books we'll read. Brazil will be our last country for preschool, but I plan on continuing our country studies for Kindergarten!

    To view my complete plan for the year, click here. And here are the previous countries in the series:
  • China
  • Spain
  • Tanzania
  • France
  • Colombia
  • Ghana
  • Italy
  • Thailand
  • Peru
  • India & Pakistan
  • Kenya




    About Hannah Hinojosa...Hannah is a long time Compassion sponsor and writes about her sponsorship journey at Because of Shamim. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is a part-time math professor and loves to read.
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