Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Library and Educational Services {review}

As a reader and a homeschooling parent, books are certainly important to me! I am always looking to build our home library both for homeschooling and so that we may share books together as a family.  Naturally, I was thrilled to be able to review the services of Library and Educational Services LLC, a wholesale supplier that offers 30%-70% off retail prices!  As part of this review, I was able to choose from a large selection of materials, including What Were the Twin Towers? from the popular Who Was series, a CD of Lifehouse Theater The Princess and the Pigs, and several titles from their Reinforced Hardcover Library Binding Nonfiction Books.

Who Was . . .?
This series is very popular among kids ages 8-12 years old, and is known for its biographies on people ranging from historical figures to current pop culture icons.  The series has also expanded to include famous landmarks, battles and events throughout history.  I let my 9 year old choose the book from this series, because he is right in the target age range.  He decided on the title What Were the Twin Towers? by Jim O'Conner.

This book offers a decent amount of background information, such as the history of New York as a trading post, how the towers were built, their size and purpose . . . before getting to the hard stuff.  It wraps up with information about the years following 9/11 and The Survivor Tree, memorials, and the 9/11 Museum.  I do appreciate that the book gives more context--knowing what happened to the Towers is important, but understanding the significance of choosing them as a target is important as well.  Emory found the book interesting, often telling me facts that stood out to him.  The book was full of black and white drawings like others in the series, but it also includes 16 pages of black and white photos of the city and the Towers through the years, ending with the memorials.

While these aren't books that I would normally use or assign as part of our homeschooling with living books, I don't mind them for free/independent reading if the kids choose them.  They are quick and easy reads, and I think the popularity of the series is due to the simple text, easy-to-read format and variety of topics.

Lifehouse Theater CDs

Lifehouse Theater On-the-Air gives us fully dramatized versions of popular stories from literature, history and the Bible.  I chose the Princess and the Pigs primarily for my four and six year old daughters, because most of the time, they just end up along for the ride, listening to audio books for their older brothers.  They love princesses, and we adore our pet pig, so I thought it would be a fun treat for them, and a great way to connect with a story before it even started.

The Princess and the Pigs is a modernized dramatization (42 minutes) of the Grimms story King Thrushbeard, and has voice actors and sound effects to bring it to life.  Princess Mirabel is spoiled and entitled, and is a cruel bully who makes fun of all her suitors.  One suitor demands an audience for an apology, the frustrated King declares that his daughter shall marry the first person to come to the kitchen door, and suddenly a singing beggar appears!  Mirabel's new husband introduces her to starting a fire, cooking, pottery and of course . . . to some pigs!  We listened to this in the car as a family, and all of my kids (ages 4-12) ended up liking it!  The language is clean, but the story is rated ages 8+ and I suspect that is because of Mirabel's attitude and words like "brat and "heck" sprinkled throughout. While my family appreciates the quality of well-written original fairy tales, and doesn't particularly need everything "modernized," we liked this enough that I suspect we will enjoy others in the series as well.

Reinforced Hardcover Library Binding Nonfiction Books
Finally, we had the opportunity to choose $60 worth of Reinforced Hardcover Library Binding Nonfiction books.  There was such a huge variety of books offered individually, as well as sets. From animals, to biographies, careers, to pirates . . . ranging from Kindergarten through 12th grade material there was most definitely something for everyone! I ended up trying to choose books that would have wide use or appeal in our homeschool library.

True Ocean Rescue Stories by Susan Jankowski ($3.99)
This is a great book for kids who like true disaster and rescue stories.  It has a brief introduction of ocean rescue facts, then five chapters of ocean rescues that involve shipwrecks, submarines, and even dolphin rescues!  Along with the actual stories, there is historical information woven in, such as facts about maritime safety changing after the Titanic sinking and about the Navy SEALs.  This book is appropriate for upper elementary and middle school, but because disasters are involved, including some deaths, younger/sensitive children may need guidance.

American History Arts and Crafts - set of 3 ($18.63)
Learning about the Civil War with Arts & Crafts
Learning about Westward Expansion with Arts & Crafts
Learning about World War I and World War II with Arts & Crafts

These are short books, about 32 pages with the index, so they are just an overview of the topic--with graphics, maps and photographs enhancing the text.  Each book also includes a handful of craft ideas tied to the material.  For instance, after learning about Trench Warfare in the World War book, you'll find a little information about a Periscope with craft instructions.  Other crafts in that book include War Posters, a Military Airplane, and The Red Poppy.  The books are recommended for ages 8-12, and I think that's accurate for the text, but I think the crafts will likely appeal more to the youngest of that age range.  I really like how at the end of the book are ideas for further reading, and a website with a collection of online resources.

Graphic Careers - Set of 6 ($44.46)
One of my boys doesn't like to read, but if he has a choice in what he reads, he would typically choose comics or graphic novels.  He doesn't have a clue what path he might want to take after school, and while I certainly don't think he will make a career decision based on a graphic novel, I chose these because I liked the idea of presenting factual information in a format he'd likely find more palatable for light summer reading!  The books include not just information about the career, but a look at people in that field of work.  The careers represented are particularly interesting to my boys (9 and 12) but are certainly appropriate for girls of course.

We could order more than the $60 if we paid additional costs, and in full disclosure, I paid about $4 (the cost of True Ocean Rescue Stories) out of pocket for the hardcover books.  These books are high quality, and should certainly withstand the regular use of a home library.

Final Thoughts
For the last 43 years, Library and Educational Services LLC has been a wholesale supplier for educational and inspirational books, Bibles, CDs, and DVDs.  They sell primarily to Christian schools, churches and speciality stores, and they give homeschoolers the same discount as other schools!  They carefully review items to ensure they do not contradict Biblical values; I even noticed on their website that books with potential problems (like containing the word "heck") are noted on many descriptions.

We are happy with the wide selection just in the categories we chose from, but they have so much more to offer beyond that.  Just in the CD section alone, they carry the Adventures in Odyssey series, Focus on the Family Radio Theater, Boxcar Children CD series, Your Story Hour, Bibles on CD and Music.  They also carry Homeschool Resources, the popular Childhood of Famous Americans series, Crafts and Hobby supplies and again - so much more! 

Ordering was easy, and and the books came carefully packaged and in great condition!  I would most certainly order from them again!

Reviewers have had the opportunity to review more titles in the Who Was and Lifehouse Theater series, as well as choose from the multitude of reinforced hardcover library binding nonfiction books, so be sure to check out more reviews!

Wholesale Books for Your Homeschool {Library and Educational Services LLC Reviews}

For more information about Library and Educational Services LLC, visit their website or find them on social media!

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1 comment:

  1. Love your choices. Twin Towers - isn't it crazy how to our kids this is "history"?? I'll have to check out those arts & crafts learning books. That's how I prefer to teach! LOL Thanks for sharing!