Sunday, July 20, 2014

Did you just call me Gandhi?

Last week I read the third Justin Case book, Justin Case: Rules, Tools, and Maybe a Bully. I absolutely love the Justin Case books written by Rachel Vail and illustrated by Matthew Cordell.

Maybe I love these books so much because I adore the character Justin Case and everything he teaches me about parenting…   or maybe I love them because I have my very own Justin Case:

In this new book, Justin begins fourth grade and there are new friends, new teachers, new rules, and playing the recorder. It's a lot for one "worried kid" to manage. 

The books are written in 'diary style' or journal format.

December 13, Monday is one of my absolute favorite entries! Here's a little sample:
"Plus," I said, "wouldn't it just be wrong? To say I would hurt him, and especially to then actually hurt him? Because, remember? Violence solves nothing. Right?"
"Sure, Gandhi," Mom answered. "But meanwhile, here you sit, my baby, with a black eye, so …"
"Never mind."
"Did you just call me Gandhi?"
She sighed.
"My name is Justin."
"I know," Mom said. She kissed my cheek. "You're a good boy, Justin."

And December 26, Sunday:
Mom was standing at the back door, holding her coffee mug, looking out into the yard, where everything was glittery white. The snow was falling in fist-size flakes.
I stood next to her and watched too. First snow of the whole year.
She put her arm around me, so I leaned against her. She didn't ask, How's everything going? or Did anything weird happen at school this week? We just stood there in the quiet and watched the snow come down together.
If you are a fan of the Justin Case books, this third book is not to be missed.

If you haven't met Justin Case yet, be sure to begin at book one: Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

a story helps folks

I just read The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier. You may have already read his amazing debut novel, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes.

The Night Gardener has just the right mix of spooky tale, intriguing mystery, and moral fable all rolled into one story. 

I loved it.

Have you ever been brave? Have you ever had to face your fears, or deal with grief? 

Have you ever wondered about the difference between getting what you want and getting what you need? Have you ever been tempted by greed?

Have you ever thought about the affects of lies vs the effects stories have on us?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, then this book is for you.

Here are some of my favorite parts:
"Stories come in all different kinds." Hester scooted closer, clearly enjoying the subject at hand. "There's tales, which are light and fluffy. Good for a smile on a sad day. Then you got yarns, which are showy - yarns reveal more about the teller than the story. After that there's myths, which are stories made up by whole groups of people. And last of all, there's legends." She raised a mysterious eyebrow. Legends are different from the rest on account no one knows where they start. Folks don't tell legends; they repeat them. Over and again through history. And the story I have for you" - she sat back on her stool - "why, that one's a legend."

"What's a storyteller but someone who asks folks to believe in impossible things? And for one perfect moment, I saw something impossible. And that's enough for me."

"A story helps folks face the world, even when it frightens 'em. And a lie does the opposite. It helps you hide."

Be sure not to miss the Author's Note at the end of the book. It is a wonderful example of how creativity and ideas are a mashup, or a collage of influences. It begins…
Writing this story was a story in and of itself. Nine years and countless drafts stand between the original idea and the book you now hold.
Also, be sure to read the author's Nerdy Book Club post

This is a fantastic book for readers of all ages.