Saturday, September 28, 2013

the shining people

I read Colby Sharp's review of The Real Boy by Anne Ursu and knew I had to read it. When Mr. Sharp says that a book has "it", you know that book is special.

Anne Ursu, who also wrote Breadcrumbs, gives us another beautiful fairy tale filled with magic and wizards, spells and charms, amulets, and packets of herbs.

The first paragraph:
The residents of the gleaming hilltop town of Asteri called their home, simply, the City.  The residents of the Barrow – the tangle of forest and darkness that encircled the bottom of Asteri’s hill like a shadowy moat – called the Asteri  the Shining City, and those who lived there the shining people.   The Asterians didn’t call themselves anything special, because when everyone else refers to you as the shining people, you really don’t have to do it yourself.
Immediately you are pulled into the Shining City of Asteri and the Barrow and all the shining people who live there. You will love Oscar, an odd and wonderful boy.

You must read this book. Like Mr. Sharp says... this book has "it".

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Hobbit

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love." -Gandalf 

 J.R.R. TolkienThe Hobbit

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare

This weekend V and I read The Selection and The Elite by Kiera Cass. V was finishing The Selection on Friday night and kept saying, "You have to read this!" She wouldn't finish until Saturday after we headed to our local bookstore to get The Elite. "I can't finish until I know I have the next book to jump into.", she said.

The books, described as The Hunger Games meet The Bachelor, are the perfect tween books. Where middle school is full of relationship drama, this book brings up great 'talking points' about relationships, caste systems, friendships, and civil unrest. We had some great conversations about caste systems in India, South Asia, and parts of Africa (V had no idea that there really were caste systems) and we compared them to the social positioning in middle school and elsewhere.

Also... these were fun books to read for pure entertainment. We are both looking forward to book three, The One... due out May 6, 2014.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I'm thinking... Caldecott

I just got the best picture book: Journey by Aaron Becker.


Get it for the children you know.

Get it for anyone who knows or needs to be reminded that freedom is a tremendous act of courage and kindness.

I loved this beautiful picture book.

But, be sure not to miss the back flap for Aaron Becker's biography...
"Aaron Becker has made several memorable journeys in his lifetime. He's lived in rural Japan and East Africa, backpacked through Sweden and the South Pacific, and, most recently, ventured from San Fancisco Bay to Amherst, Massachusetts, the town he and his wife, daughter, and lazy cat now call home. To this day, his favorite destination remains his imagination, where he can often be found drawing secret doorways and magic lanterns."

Like I say about so many authors, I think Aaron and I should be friends.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Why do I read?

Today I was asked, "Why do you read?"

And, I guess I haven't given it much thought. I just read; it's what I love to do.

So, after some contemplation, here's my answer...

Some people read for entertainment. Some people read to acquire knowledge. I read for both.

To me, reading is more than raw input. I read to increase knowledge. I read to find meaning. I read for better understanding of others and myself. I read to discover. I read to make my life better. I read to make fewer mistakes.

Why do you read? 

Monday, September 2, 2013

if you're lost you might need to swim against the tide

I started reading Counting By 7s  by Holly Goldberg Sloan and couldn't put it down. I finished it in one day. I knew from the very first chapters that this book would become 'one of my favorites'.  It made me smile and cry in the way that One For The Murphys and See You at Harrys did. I loved it.

Willow Chance is a very special 12 year-old girl. She is a 'genius' who finds herself all alone in the world.

The ending might not add up to an adult reader, but it will be magic for young adults.

Some of my favorite quotes:

A genius shoots at something no one else can see, and hits it.

I felt human. That was the only way I could describe it.

Everyone, I now realize, lives in a world of pain. But I'm certain that mine is greater than hers.

I would live here at Beale Memorial Library, if it were any kind of viable option. I walk through the double doors of this place I do wish that it were possible. Because books=comfort. To me anyway.

For someone grieving, moving forward is the challenge. Because after extreme loss, you want to go back. 

The world where we live so much in our head.

When you care about other people, it takes the spotlight off your own drama. 

The story of Willow Chance will grab you right from the start. It is a beautifully written story of triumph over tragedy.