A couple of firsts.

Life, Writing

Tell me how you first learned to read.

I am remembering the day I read a book the entire way through all by myself. It was the book, The Summerfolk by Doris Burn*. I was by myself and I seem to recall books on the floor all around me. The house was very quiet. Most of the family was out. I think it was after school in the afternoon. I remember being very engrossed in the story and the world around me seemed to disappear  At the end of the book I closed it and realized I read the words all by myself. I remember how elated I felt! It was such an amazing feeling. It was the beginning of a whole new part of my life.

As I write this I am amazed at the detail I can recall during this event. I mentioned earlier that I have a hard time remembering certain things but those things that I do remember are with such stark clarity. I can almost take myself back to that moment.

Riding a bike was the same way. I was a little bit older than my friends by the time I was able to ride a bike; it didn’t click for me until I was in 2nd grade.  It seems like my attempts at this ended in failure and I was more and more jealous of my friends when they gained this secret knowledge because it meant they were free to explore the farthest reaches of the neighboorhood. The day it clicked for me was a magic moment. Again, I was alone when this happened. It was in front of our house on our gravel street. It was a cloudy, chilly  fall afternoon. After trying a few times it finally clicked for me and It was the most amazing feeling! I was so happy! I rode the shit out of that bike, too. All over the neighborhood.

*Doris Burn was an AMAZING children’s book illustrator. He medium was pen and ink and she drew intricate scenes of children doing interesting things. When I was little  I would pore over the pages of her books for hours, looking at the illustrations.  If you can get your hands on the 1969 edition of, “We Were Tired Of Living In A House” do it. That book is a reason why I learned to read so easily (and Richard Scarry played a part in that too. I heart Richard Scarry).

“Remember then that there is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one your are with. And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing at your side. For these, my dear boy, are the answers to what is most important in this world.”

– From the book The Three Questions: based on a story by Leo Tolstoy. Written and illustrated by Jon J. Muth.

There is great wisdom in children’s literature



Books, Music, Art, Movies

Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Jonah begins receiving strange letters with cryptic messages in the mail. He thinks it is a prank until his friend from school receives them also. They find out that they are two of a group of “missing” babies that were adopted out when a plane filled with them appeared mysteriously late at night at an airport 13 years ago.

What a page-turner! This is the first in a series called, “The Missing” and I’m looking forward to reading the next one. This is a great one for those 5th grade through middle schoolers in your lives who like series books. Or adults like me who just love children’s literature :).

I finally got my copy of New Moon from the library! Yay! I’ve been dying to start reading it!

Book Talk Saturday: Little Women

Books, Music, Art, Movies

Little Women Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
rating: 3 of 5 stars

There were parts of this book that made me cringe just the tiniest bit. As a modern day woman, I kind of rolled my eyes at the message that I felt the book was portraying, “women are happiest when they are good mothers and wives.” But I have to admit, I really liked it. I found myself enjoying all the characters and I absolutely loved the story. I guess there is a reason why it is a classic. It really is a good book.

I now have an account at Good Reads and am totally addicted! Are you a member there? If so, come and friend me!

Book Talk Saturday: The Willoughbys

Books, Music, Art, Movies

The Willoughbys by Lois LowryA couple of weeks ago I read a delightfully funny book called The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry. It had me laughing out loud in the lunchroom and I had to tell all of my co-workers about what was making me laugh so hard. Books like this are few and far between, I believe, and it is always fun to find one.

The Willoughbys is a satire on all of those old old classic children’s books we all know and love. It is about an “old fashioned family” who likes to do “old fashioned” things. And they like to remind themselves of this all the time. The have parents who decided one day that they don’t like their children and so decide to find a way to get rid of them. The Children catch on to this and they decide to figure out a way to “get rid of” the parents. Luckily they have a cape-wearing nanny to take care of them AND there is a rich old bachelor down the street who saves the day at the end.

As you can see Lowry pulls out all of the children’s lit tropes. There is even an abandoned baby on a doorstep.

This book is even more fun for me because I decided this summer to read all of those old classics (because I never have and am ashamed to admit that as a children’s librarian). Reading these books having The Willoughbys in the back of my mind is a treat.

So go to the library and check it out! It’s a very quick read. It took me about an hour to get through it. And let me know what you think!