Our Books & Bagels book group met a couple of weeks ago to discuss The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon. When I pick the books for this parent-child bookclub, I’ve usually read them in advance and know they will be good for discussion. This one I picked before I’d read it. I’d read reviews and whatnot, of course, but I think it was actually the cover that made me sure this would be a great book for our group.… more
Poor Oona — she’s always the last duck to the pond…. But then her frog friend Roy reminds her: you’re good with gizmos… And so Oona the duck goes to work in the barn on her gizmos, pouring her creative and determined self into getting to the pond before the faster ducks. Along the way, she learns there is more to life than just being fast and getting somewhere first.… more
I’m writing this on the birthday of my dear friend, Molly. She is one of my bestest friends from college days. It’s a big birthday — well worth celebrating, which she’ll do next week with a rollerskating party complete with musical hits from the 1980’s. This is very Molly — the kids immediately said, “Only Molly!”
Molly is, quite possibly, the coolest of our friends.… more
When our kids were small and we were building our Christmas book collection, the night on which we brought out the holiday books that had been in storage since the previous year was always a very special night.
With #1 Son, this was but a handful of books at first; but once we added Darling Daughter to the family, and St.… more
Earlier this week I pulled out our small stash of Thanksgiving picture books. The kids are older now, but they seem to like it when the old favorites come out. I got lost, as I always do, in The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau, illustrated by Gail de Marcken. I’ve written about that book for Red Reading Boots — you can find that here.… more
Last week, I was working on my WIP, a sprawling mess of a novel. I’d hit a rough patch and I set myself the assignment to just type away for ten minutes — ten minutes of nonstop typing just to Get Words Down — I wouldn’t let my fingers stop. I simply needed some words to work with, I told myself. … more
I am extraordinarily lucky in that I have a group of wee ones who join me for storytime most weeks. They’re little — age three and under, with several babies in the mix — so we don’t tell long stories or read great doorstopper books. But with picture books, some of the best ones are pretty spare in terms of words.… more
I have a mixed history with The Penderwicks books by Jeanne Birdsall. The first book, The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale Of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy came out in 2005 when #1 Son was eight and Darling Daughter was three. It won the National Book Award that year and there was much flurry over it.… more
I’ve been anxiously awaiting the book birth of The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ekua Holmes. I heard the text a year ago and forgot to breathe while the author read it out loud. And then I heard who the illustrator was. Let’s just say, what a pairing!
When I opened my much anticipated copy — after oohing and aaahing over the cover — and read the first page, I heard cello.… more
A couple of weeks ago, Darling Daughter and I made our way to the Farmers Market. I’ve been recovering from a bit of surgery, and truth be told, I wasn’t feeling great that morning, but needed to get out and about. We wandered the stalls, got our veggies, our goat cheese, our sunflowers…then some coffee and lemonade and cardamom donuts so as to sit down and rest a bit.… more
Darling Daughter and I watched the recent PBS version of Little Women last weekend.I was out of town when the first episode aired, but she waited for me and we streamed it Friday night so we’d be caught up to watch the final two episodes Sunday night.
I liked Little Women just fine as a kid. I read it tucked between the banisters and “the old book cabinet” at the top of my grandparents’ stairs when I was probably nine or ten.… more
Recently, I was invited to a baby shower. I love shopping for baby showers, because I almost always give books and knit a wee little hat — two of my most favorite things. I had the hat all done except for the top little curly-cues, but I was fresh out of board books and so went on a happy little jaunt to one of my local bookstores.… more
I had the pleasure this past weekend of accompanying an energetic eight-year-old boy down Washington Avenue on the University of Minnesota campus. We were on foot — his feet faster than the rest in our party, but we easily caught up at each of the pedestrian intersections because he stopped at the light at each and every one.… more
There are books I read with my eyes leaking beginning to end. Counting by Sevens…Swallows and Amazons…The View From Saturday…Because of Winn Dixie…Orbiting Jupiter…. I don’t mean to say these books make me cry — that’s another category, the ones that make you ugly cry so you can’t read it outloud. Rather, these leaky-eye books are stories read through a watery prism from the first page on.… more
This past weekend, Darling Daughter and I participated in a parent-teen book discussion about The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas. This book has won many awards, received fantastic reviews, and is a hot topic of discussion in both the book and teen world — especially where those worlds overlap. It’s about the aftermath of a police shooting of an unarmed black teen.… more
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