HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Eyeopeners! How to Choose and Use Children’s Books About Real People, Places, and Things
Author: Beverly Kobrin
Publisher: Viking Penguin Inc., 1988
ISBN-13: 9780670820733 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0670820733 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 9780140468304 (Paperback)
ISBN: 0140468307 (Paperback)
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Intended for adults (primarily parents and teachers–as homeschoolers, we are both!)
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Kobrin, Beverly. Eyeopeners! How to Choose and Use Children’s Books About Real People, Places, and Things (published in 1988 by Viking Penguin Inc., a member of the Penguin Group, 40 W. 23rd St., New York City, NY 10010). Beverly Kobrin is a former elementary school teacher and a university professor of children’s literature specializing in non-fiction. In his introduction, author Jim Trelease wrote, “For nearly fifteen years before the Commission on Reading (in Becoming a Nation of Readers) was calling for fewer textbooks and more real books in classrooms, Beverly Kobrin had been doing it the right way in her classrooms.” Of course, homeschoolers have known this for a long time. Admittedly when this book was written the modern homeschool movement was still in its infancy, but it seems as if many classrooms have been slow to catch on.
In the first ten, rather short, chapters, Kobrin explains the importance of using good, readable non-fiction, provides encouragement to parents, grandparents, teachers, and librarians, and explains how to choose a good non-fiction book for children. The rest of the book consists of over 200 pages listing non-fiction books available at the time categorized by subject with suggestions on how to use them. Beginning in 1980, Kobrin began editing The Kobrin Letter, the only peridical to review and recommend children’s non-fiction literature exclusively. I do not know whether it is still being published because a Google search turned up no information about it.
An updated edition of the book, Eyeopeners II: Children’s Books to Answer Children’s Questions About the World Around Them, which may have been either an updated version or an entirely new book, was published in 1995, but according to Barnes and Noble, new copies of both books are not available. The only objections I had were references to one book by Planned Parenthood on Sexuality Education (that is letting the fox guard the hen house!) and to another book that talks about things which happened fifty million years ago. Otherwise, if you ever come across a copy of this book, you will find many suggestions on how to use non-fiction books in teaching children, which especially fits in with the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling.