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That’s right. We’re still watching the Olympics at our house. Sometimes I feel like I should earn a medal for couch potatoing or remote control wrestling during this two week feat. But really, I do enjoy watching the sports and learning more about ones we don’t see often. My boys have loved watching water polo and fencing especially. And I’ll admit I’m a little worried about their pole vaulting obsession. I’m hoping none of their backyard attempts will require a trip to urgent care.

Another fun part of the Olympics is the geography. We keep the globe and atlas handy as athletes are introduced and their back stories are shared. Where they are from, where they train, what color their flag is, what the weather is like there – it is all part of the conversations we have.

If you also love geography and learning about people from around the world, here are a few books to check out:

russiaRussia in Private by Richard Yatzeck

From the very beginning of Russia’s history, discord has been prevalent thanks to the ruinous jealousy of the nobles, the Pecheneg and Tatar invasions, and lost wars (or brutally costly victories, as in 1812 or 1945). Autocratic government with serfdom, famine, and gangsterism have been the Russian lot. Two questions: “Who is to blame?” and “What is to be done?”, have plagued life in that one-sixth of the world’s land surface since its conception, roughly 988 AD.

During ten tours of Russia, between 1961 and 1997 (nearly thirty years in all), Richard Yatzeck was generously included in the political, kitchen table conversations concerning these very questions. Public discussion of such matters has never been safe. Russia in Private is an attempt to plumb the abyss between Russian and Western life, and explain how Russians understand and bear their history.

Read the reviews!

Far-Away-Home-COVER-375x600A Far Away Home by Howard Faber

This is the story of Ali, growing up in a peaceful Afghanistan, but later having to resist the control of first the Russians and later the Taliban, so he and his family could live at peace in their home. It’s the story of many young Afghans, a story of the Afghanistan that was, and a story with hope for a brighter future.

Read the reviews!



whereWhere In The World Will We Go Today? by Heather C. Toner

Let’s go on a journey! A tour of the world exploring Africa, Europe, South America, Asia, and the Middle East! Follow along on these pages to learn more about countries from all over the globe—countries that each have a story and a place on the map.

Read the reviews!




All books by BQB and WriteLife Publishing are available on Amazon, B&N or can be ordered from your favorite local bookstore.