Sunday, December 23, 2012

Germany, Land of Poets and Thinkers: Discover Germany Through Children's Literature

One way to experience other cultures is through children's literature. Here is a list of our favorite children's authors. For a more extensive list of children's authors from Germany you can go here.

As with any unit study, begin with a map of the world and locate the country you are studying.

Until I did a google search, I did not know that Germany is a land of poets and thinkers. I don't think there are too many children's books on the German poets, but there are many biographies of Albert Einstein, including Childhood of Famous Americans.

Select a Favorite Children's Author:

Under a Changing Moon is one of many books written by Margot Benary-Isbert. Bethlehem Books has reprinted this lovely edition of Under a Changing Moon.

The Brothers Grimm are perhaps the most famous authors from Germany. Many of their stories have been redone in picture book format.

Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner is a fun read that you won't want to miss.

Many people have heard of Curious George, the famous monkey in children's picture books, but few know the incredible story of Margaret and H. A. Rey's journey to freedom.

Another favorite author is really better to read when studying Ancient Rome. Henry Winterfeld's Detectives in Togas and Mystery of the Roman Ransom.


Pretzels found at Catholic Cuisine

Food: If you would like to round out a unit study on Germany with food, there is much to choose from. Besides your favorite cookbooks, you can find many recipes on the internet. Here is an odd assortment of German foods.

Wiener Schnitzel, Pretzels, Bratwurst, Spatzle, Black Forest Cake (torte)


Art: The one painter to study is  Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528). Ernest Lloyd Raboff has written Albrecht Duer as part of his The Art for Children series.

Music: Composers: Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Christoph Willibald Gluck, George Frideric Handel, Felix Mendelssohn, Clara and Robert Schumann, Richard Strauss, Georg Philipp Telemann, Richard Wagner.

Sampling of Music:

Bach: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Brandenburg Concertos, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor for organ

Beethoven, Fur Elise,  Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Moonlight SonataSymphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, Pastoral Symphony

Brahms: Lullaby, Hungarian Dances

Handel: Messiah

Mendelssohn: Hark, the Herald Angels Sing, Italian Symphony, Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64

Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra

More Music:

Bach for Book Lovers: A Soothing Companion for Reading (CD)
Beethoven for Book Lovers: An Intimate Companion for Reading (CD)
Brahms for Book Lovers: A Cozy Companion for Reading (CD)
Bach for Breakfast: The Leisurely Way to Start Your Day (CD)
Bach at Bedtime: Lullabies for the Still of the Night (CD)
And more!

Biographies: Music Masters CDs (Each CD weaves the composer's music throughout the story of his life. Additional music is included at the end of the story): The Story of Bach, The Story of Beethoven, The Story of Brahms, The Story of Handel, The Story of Mendelssohn, The Story of Schumann and Grieg.


Johann Sebastian Bach (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers) by Mike Venezia

Ludwig van Beethoven (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers) by Mike Venezia

Johannes Brahms (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers) by Mike Venezia

George Handel (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers) by Mike Venezia

Saints: Saint Albert the Great, Saint Boniface, Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Saint John Neumann, Blessed Karl Leisner, Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

Saint Edith Stein, Blessed by the Cross (Encounter the Saints) by Mary Lea Hill (Ages 10-Up)

Bring Me an Ax: The Story of St. Boniface of Germany (Dujarie Saint Book) by Brother Roberto and Carolyn Lee Jogodits

St. Albert the Great: Champion of Faith and Reason by Kevin Vost (high school and up)

German Customs: Customs from Germany that we practice today include the Christmas tree, Easter bunnies, Easter egg hunts, and Easter baskets. The songs "Silent Night," "Away in the Manger," "O, Christmas Tree" come from Germany.

Stories Behind Silent Night:

Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon 

Silent Night: The Song and Its Story by Margaret Hodges and Tim Ladwig.

Foreign Language: Culture

Count Your Way Through Germany by James Haskins
Look What Came From Germany by Kevin Davis
Germany: the culture by Kathryn Lane
Muzzy: German

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