As books arrive to their mission coordinates (i.e. your homes), I wanted to share with the grownups a bit about the content of each book and let you know what kids will learn. We have also prepared some discussion questions you can use with your kids (below), and don’t forget that there are tons of lessons based on this book in the Teacher’s Lounge. If you’ve not yet purchased the books, you can learn more about them here.
Up first: FINLAND
When researching Finland, one of the first things that struck me was how the culture leads with intellect. This is personified with the mysterious triplets in the story: Aurora (the smart one); Alice (the emotional one); and Borie (the gluttonous beauty queen). Kids will see what goes wrong when the wrong one leads, as well as learn how important education is to Finnish society.
Another interesting aspect of the Finns is their preference for quiet and saying only what needs to be said (Finns are not much for small talk), as well as their dislike for descriptive words such as “awesome!” and “incredible!” To many Finns, descriptions of an experience can never come close to recreating what actually happened and can never impart to the listener the same level of feeling that was originally experienced. In fact, trying to describe and share these things lessens the memory of them.
All of this smarty smartness and quietude does not mean the Finns are always boring and serious. In fact, The Finns have a penchant for inventing some rather bizarre sports. These include wife carrying, cell phone throwing, swamp soccer, and sauna endurance competitions.
For some great conversation questions, short answer questions (to give the kiddos practice in finding their words), games and activities, check out the workbooks for Finland in the Teacher’s Lounge.
Recap of Adventure:
Having just experienced a life-changing adventure, Crameye skips self-introductions as he needs to get right into sharing his story. Starting off in Helsinki, where he is joined by Neva and her family, Crameye’s talkative self runs head on into the stoic Finn culture. Fortunately, Marco and Matias spice things up by laying out clues for Neva and him to use to find them in a secret location. They figure out that their dads are holed up in a spooky old bookstore, where their very impressed fathers give them an opportunity to take their very first mission. They seize the opportunity, of course.
The two embark on an adventure that takes them way up north to Lapland, within the Arctic Circle. Accompanied by an extremely odd set of triplets (one an emotional wreck, another a gluttonous beauty queen, and the third a blindfolded, bald woman who is all logic), the kids must not only handle them, but also deal with a food vendor bent on thwarting their plans. The illuminating ending and the struggle to get there have a profound effect on Crameye and on his relationship with Neva.
Breakdown of what kids will learn:
Finnish culture is at the forefront, particularly the quality of saying only what needs to be said. Finnish history and language are also introduced, as are the Nobel prizes, Finnish education, and the importance of leading with intelligence. Daily Finnish life is also introduced, including the national love of saunas and strange competitions. Northern climates and the Aurora Borealis also feature prominently.
1. In this book, you learned that Finns tend to be very quiet people. Why are they so quiet? Do you admire this trait, or do you think it is rude?
2. What kind of people are Crameyeand Neva? What do you make of their relationship?
3. Who do you resemble the most: Aurora, Borie, or Alice?
4. Would you want to visit Finland in the future? What seems interesting about it?