Jadwiga – King of Poland

I have been reading a book on the Polish Kings. I have currently read up to Władysław II Jagiełło.The one king that stood out to me was King Jadwiga – (Yad-veega) . This king stood out to me because she was a female.

Jadwiga was born in the year 1374, she was the youngest of three. Her father was Louis I of Hungary, and her mother was Elizabeth of Bosnia. Her elder sister Mary, became Queen of Hungary after their father’s death. While Jadwiga became King of Poland at the age of ten. She had her coronation on the 16th October 1384, at Wawel Cathedral in Kraków.

Jadwiga was taught to read and write, and she was able to speak at least six languages. (I think that is a great achievement, I have trouble learning two languages!) She was able to speak Bosnian, Latin, Polish, Serbian, Hungarian and German. (I’m learning Polish, I can say “Hello!” in German and a few other things, and I’ve always been interested in Latin. The reason I’ve been interested in Latin, is because I’m interested in the royal family from any country, but my heritage is a mixture of Polish, Irish and English, so I   am mainly interested the British royal family. Anyway, every British royal family member I’ve read about has learned Latin, so that has sparked a desire in me to learn Latin.)

Jadwiga was crowned a King to show that she wasn’t a queen consort, and that she ruled by herself. In 1386 she married Władysław II Jagiełło, who was the Grand Duke of Lithuania. At the time of their marriage he was 26 years old, and she was 12 years old. This marriage led to the creation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which happened a number of years afterwards in 1569. Though it was the marriage between Jadwiga and Władysław II Jagiełło which began this friendship between the two countries.

Kraków Academy went through a period of time with little funding, until King Jadwiga and King Władysław II restored it in 1399. Jadwiga gave her Crown Jewellery to the Kraków Academy to help it with its restoration process. Kraków Academy is now known as the Jagiellonian University. Jadwiga would attend cultural and charitable activities throughout Poland, and chose to donate her personal wealth to many different charities.

I personally think Jadwiga was a wonderful and thoughtful woman. The amount of devotion she had towards this country that wasn’t even her own, I believe is amazing. Jadwiga is now a saint, she was canonized on the 8th June 1997, in Kraków by Pope John Paul II.

Jadwiga gave birth to a baby girl at the age of 26, whose name was Elizabeth Bonifacia of Poland. A month later both the mother and daughter had passed away. They are both buried together.

Australian History – Learning Through Reading

Recently we have added some more books to our Home Library. These books are dedicated to our need to learn more about Australian History and what it would have been like to live in early Australia.

When learning Australian History sometimes we do the usual lessons etc, but the children always retain more when they learn through doing or reading. In fact it is when they are engaged in the learning purely for fun, that the most learning takes place, and the greater retention of information is achieved.

We have found that Jackie French is a wonderful author who engages us with her writing and easily brings to life the characters she creates within the historical periods she writes about. Jackie has written many Australian Themed books and we are working to collect them all – as well as many books by other authors.

Here are some of the books we have recently purchased or have in our collection that we are reading in 2012 as we explore our Australian History Journey (In no particular order).

Nanberry Black Brother White – Jackie French

Nanberry: Black Brother White

Tom Appleby Convict Boy – Jackie French

Tom Appleby Convict Boy

The Donkey Who Carried the Wounded – Jackie French

The Donkey Who Carried the Wounded: The Famous Story of Simpson and His Donkey - a True Anzac Legend (Animal Stars)


A Waltz for Matilda – Jackie French

A Waltz for Matilda

A Banner Bold Nadia Wheatley

My Australian Story: Banner Bold

Our Australian Girl

Now with the colder weather setting in, we have been reading a lot of books recently, always things come in fits and starts. Our learning about Australia and its history is ongoing. The children love reading books and learning that way about the past, its people, culture, expectations and journey.

Currently we are reading together as a family a series of books called ‘Our Australian Girl’. Within the ‘Our Australian Girl Series’ there are mini series. So far we have collected four out of the six mini series available. Each mini series has 4 books within them.

These books are definitely an easy read for Phinee, yet old enough to keep her entertained. Nik on the other hand is also enjoying them, even though she is too young to read them on her own.

We have almost finished reading the mini series called Letty. It is based around a young girl called Letty who arrives in Australia in the year 1841. Her journey is not one that she anticipated taking as she accidentally boarded the boat to Australia without a ticket to travel.

The first book in the series is called Meet Letty.

Meet Letty (Our Australian Girl)It’s 1841 and Letty is on the docks in England, farewelling her bossy older sister, who is about to take a long sea voyage to Australia. But then there is a mix-up,and before she knows it Letty finds herself on the ship too, travelling to New South Wales! How will Letty manage when her sister doesn’t even want her on the ship? And what will it be like on the other side of the world? Meet Letty and join her adventure in the first of four exciting stories about a free settler girl and her new life in a far-off land.

The girls and I enjoyed this story very much and could not wait to read the second book in the series called Letty and the Stranger’s Lace.

Letty and the Stranger's Lace (Our Australian Girl)Letty’s journey continues in this, the second of four books about a free-settler girl in a far-off land. Letty and Lavinia have arrived in Sydney as free settlers. They’ve made the long ship’s journey from England, but with no friends, no family, no jobs and only a hope chest between them, how will they survive so far from home? When Lavinia gets a job in the posh end of town, Letty is left alone, feeling sad and worthless. But a series of events leads her to a mysterious stranger who helps Letty realise that she is not as useless as she fears…

We have now completed the third book in the series called Letty on the Land.

Letty on the Land (Our Australian Girl)Letty’s journey continues in this, the third of exciting four books about a free-settler girl in a new land. Letty is finally making a life for herself in New South Wales when her world is thrown into turmoil again. The family she is working for are going back to their home in the country, and they want Letty to go with them to the Blue Mountains! Living in the harsh Australian bush is beyond what Letty could have imagined, and she soon starts to wonder if she’s made the right choice. But just when she is at her lowest point, someone appears from Letty’s past – someone marvellous…

Again the girls really enjoyed the continuing Journey of Letty and we are looking forward to reading the last installment in the series called Letty’s Christmas.

Our Australian Girl: Letty's ChristmasLetty’s journey concludes in this, the last of four exciting books about a free-settler girl in a new land. When times turn bad on the land, Letty must return to Sydney, leaving the Grey family behind. But what will she do once she gets there? Letty could never have imagined the surprises that await her…This captivating tale of love and adventure will have fans of Letty bursting with happiness. A memorable and satisfying end to this charming character’s story.

Each book is around 130 pages long, they are an easy read, yet quite engaging and give a sense of what it would be like to be in Australia around the year 1841.

We read the American Girl series years ago and enjoyed these, but it is great to have a series of books based around our own heritage and country. Once we finish Letty I think we will begin reading the next mini series together based around Grace in Australia in the year 1808.

So pleased that these books are actually part of our Home Library Collection!