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.… 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
It’s Read Across America Week this week and I had the privilege of hauling a bag of books to a local elementary school and reading to five different classes — K‑2nd grade — last Tuesday. A truly wonderful way to spend the afternoon, I must say.
#1 Son’s 21st birthday was Tuesday, which made me all nostalgic for the days of picture books, and so I’d packed a bag full of his long-ago favorites (and a couple newer ones, too).… more
At my local library, a couple of weeks ago, I flipped through the books that were for sale by the Friends of the Library. These are mostly books that have been removed from the shelves for one reason or another. The kids’ books cost $.50—fifty cents, people! I’ve found some great ones in these bins.… more
I first heard of Jean Merrill’s The Pushcart War in grad school. I read it because a fellow student spoke with absolute glee about it. I’ve not heard a book recommended with such laughter and vigor before or since. And I fell into the book just as she insisted I would. Fell, I tell you.… more
It was a dark and stormy night.
When I read this aloud one chilly fall evening on the porch to my kids, I laughed out loud. It was Banned Books week and we were “celebrating” by reading Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, one of the perennial repeaters on banned books lists. #1 Son was in fourth grade, which is when I’d been introduced to A Wrinkle in Time.… more