Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Slice of Life: Two Year Olds and Trucks!

It’s Slice of Life Tuesday!
Click over to Two Writing Teachers to read more slices!

Last week I mentioned that my grandson Jack asked for truck books on my most recent library trip. Unfortuanately some other truck enthusiast must have beat me to the shelf. The closest I could come was Chugga-Chugga-Choo-Choo! Any self-respecting two year old will tell you that a train is not a truck!
After hearing his plea several times, "Grandma, I wanted truck books," we went to the library web site and did a search for truck books. Then we scrolled through the list and he would point to the ones he wanted (which happened to be all of them). 

Unfortunately, none had arrived before his Friday time at our house. So I went to the library on Thursday evening once again in search of truck books. And I'm happy to report that I was successful!
I went to the library last night since more than a few truck books have now arrived on my holds shelf. I'm covered for truck books for the next several weeks.
I bring at least three books each day I watch the boys in our special book bag. And one of Jack's first questions is always, "Grandma, did you bring any books?" And those words are music to my ears!
(I always sneak in at least one book that isn't truck related. I love Henry Cole's Spot & Dot, a new-to-me wordless picture book.)

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Slice of Life: 3,000 Steps Needed!

I stopped by the library to return two bags of picture books with instructions from Jack to check out some books about cars and trucks. After picking up books on the holds shelf and spending some time in the children's section, I head to the car with (you guessed it) two new bags of books. Glancing at my fitbit and the evening sky, I decide I have time to pick up 3,000 steps in order to reach my 10,000 step goal. You probably think that 3,000 steps shouldn't take long, unless you realize how smitten I am by the splendor of fall. While I have many pics of these same spots over the course of the past decade, today's pics capture a typical gray, misty Seattle evening.

 I begin with this splash of color just outside the library.
 Two and a half blocks away
at Emanuel Episcopal 
is one of my favorite trees.
 I meander the paths around the church.
 I return to the library, one of my favorite places,
for these last three shots.
Lucky me, that I had these gorgeous colors
to fill my soul as I walked!
It’s Slice of Life Tuesday!
Click over to Two Writing Teachers to read more slices!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Beauty

It's the first Thursday of the month
and time to show up with my friends 
for Spiritual Journey Thursday. 
Karen is hosting this month and
selected the word beauty for our theme.

The first thing that popped into my mind when I read Karen's choice of beauty as our theme for this month was the hymn "For the Beauty of the Earth." I love the simple rendition of this hymn in the movie "Little Women." I love thinking of all the beautiful things mentioned in the hymn - earth, skies, love, each hour, day, night, hill, vale, tree, flower, sun, moon, stars of light, love of family, love of friends. 

The second thing that I thought of was this scripture, when Isaiah speaks of the Messiah: "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." (Isaiah 61:3) The refrain to the first hymn, "Lord of all to thee we raise, This our hymn of grateful praise," and the words from the scripture, "the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness," remind us that praise to the Lord can indeed lighten our burdens, something that all of us need.

I can't write a post about beauty without reflecting on the difference between the world's definition of beauty and the beauty that is reflected in the face of a life well lived. It's a beauty that isn't defined by the world's standards, but rather by what is given in service to others. This philosophy is best summed up in a quote by Marjorie Pay Hinckley: "I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sisters Schenk's lawn. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor's children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived."

My "beauty" google search reminded me of this quote I love by Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting." And there's also this favorite quote by Lucy Maud Montgomery: "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."  And so I close with a dozen pics of October's beauty and magnificence!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

#MustReadIn2019: Fall Update

I'm always hesitant to show up for these updates because I rarely have made the progress I intended. (see blog post, Why I should Stay Away from Reading Challenges).

But in the interest of accountability, here I am with the four books I've completed listed in blue.

Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford - read this with two friends who I meet with virtually for a book club, a wonderful wintertime read

A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord - so glad that I finally got around to this. I immediately passed it to my niece who's teaching 3rd grad this year.

 Just Like Jackie by Lindsey Stoddard - one of the ARCs I picked up at NCTE.  You'll cheer for Robinson, the scrappy heroine of this story.

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart - also picked up at as an ARC, so happy to add this one to my completed list. I've yet to meet a book by Gemeinhart that I haven't loved!

On my list, but still unread: 
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass
Matylda Bright and Tender by Holly M. McGhee
Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech
Looking Back by Lois Lowry 
Wonderland by Barbara O'Connor (this one is autographed)
The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith
The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson
A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck 

So what have I been reading recently instead of my #mustreadin2019 booklist?
  • Two books selected by our summer tween book club: Breakout by Kate Messner and The Explorers by Katherine Rundell
  • Newbery possibilities: New Kid by Jerry Craft, Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga, and The Line Tender by Kate Allen (my newest "favorite" book)
  • The global read aloud for middle grades: The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
 Until our final update . . . happy reading (even if you're not reading from your list)!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Slice of Life: Why I Should Stay Away from Reading Challenges!

It's fall and that means it's time for an update to my #mustreadin2019 list. I've been dragging my feet because, well, I'm behind a bit. I tried to scale back my list this year by choosing only 12 books, one for each month. That's a realistic goal, right? Except I've only read four of the twelve books on my list and this is September, the ninth month of 2019. So why am I behind on the list of books that I selected to read this year?

  • I get easily sidetracked by organizational/self-improvement books (ever hopeful that this might be my year to finally get my act together).
  • I'm always distracted by middle grade Newbery possibilities.
  • I belong to two book clubs: one I've belonged to for more than twenty years and the other one is a book club with two friends who have moved away (we get together and chat about our books on google chat or when we can't get it to work, we just do a three way call). 
  • I have ARCs from NCTE and from our local indie bookstore that I still want to read.
  • I lead a middle school lunchtime book group. We met twice during the summer.
  • I love reading books about spiritual growth.
  • I'm working on the KCLS 10 to Try Reading Challenge, (7/10 completed).
  • And I have a steady stream of picture books that I request based on blogger friends' recommendations.   

Perhaps it's too difficult to decide what I'll read in a given year when I know there will be so many new books that will lead me astray, books that jump off the library shelf into my arms, and constant recommendations from bookish friends. So maybe next year will be my year of no book challenges. I'll just meander from book to book, giving in to whatever tickles my bookish desires. 

And yes, I promise to post my pitiful #mustreadin2019 update soon!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Poetry Friday: The Scarecrow

Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids
is hosting this week's round-up of poetic goodness.
Laura's post celebrates her newest book, "Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle" and includes a chance to win a copy of the book,
a nonfiction rhyming text about animals getting ready for
and surviving winter. Claudine Gervy's lush illustrations
are the perfect accompaniment for Laura's rhyming couplets.
It's dangerous when your local indie bookstore knows your reading preferences so well that they can point you to your next unforgettable read. But that's exactly what happened when I stopped by Island Books this past week and opened to the first page of The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry with gorgeous illustrations by The Fan Brothers (Terry and Eric).
 The first lyrical words captured this lover of fall:
"Autumn sunshine.
Haystacks rolled.
Scarecrow guards the fields of gold."

And so the story unfolds of scarecrow and a special friend. The beautiful language reminds me of another picture book favorite, Owl Moon. It may make you think of friends who, like Scarecrow's friend, became "friends ... right from the start,". 

This is a book that deserves a spot on your bookshelf and it's sure to find a spot in your heart too!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Slice of Life: Number Fun

Some weeks I'm in search of a slice. This was one of those weeks, until I noticed something my brother posted on Facebook about Palindrome Week (actually it's ten days of palindrome fun).

And then of course I had to take today's numerical palindrome. 9/10/19 and relate it to my reading life.  I forced myself to do this quickly, so you'll notice I used the label "books I love" rather than "favorite books," which is far too difficult to determine. And if I made this list tomorrow, it's a sure thing that the books would be different. 

Nine poetry books I love:
 1. Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young selected by Jack Prelutsky
2. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Car by Kate Dopirak 
3. One Today by Richard Blanco
4.  Sketches from a Spy Tree by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
5. Autumnblings by Douglas Florian (and all the other seasonal books in the series)
6. Clackety Track by Sheila Brown
7. Jumping Off Library Shelves selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
8. The Great Frog Race and Other Poems by Kristine O'Connell George
9. The 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury selected by Jack Prelutsky

Ten middle grade books I love:
 1. The War that Saved My Life
 2. A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen
 3. The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. by Kate Messner
 4. Ida B by Katherine Hannigan
 5. Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
 6. Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate
 7. Gossamer by Lois Lowry
 8. The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall
 9. One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt 
10. The Liberation of Gabriel King by K. L. Going 

Nineteen picture books I love:
 1. A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin
 2. Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco
 3. A Kite for Moon by Jane Yolen & Heidi Stemple 
 4. Vroom! by Barbara McClintock
 5. Owl Moon by Rosemary Wells
 6. Honey by David Ezra Stein
 7. The Maggie B. by Irene Haas
 8. Laura Charlotte by Kathryn O. Galbraith
 9. The Story Blanket by Ferida Wolff
10. Baking Day at Grandma's by Anika Denise
11. All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan
12. I Know Here by Laurel Croza
13. What is Given from the Heart by Patricia C. McKissack
14. The Stars Will Still Shine by Cynthia Rylant 
15. The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster
16. Loving Hands by Tony Johnston
17. On the Night of the Shooting Star by Amy Hest

The last two on my list are brand new discoveries. That's what's wonderful about books, there are always new ones to love!
18. Pick a Pumpkin by Patricia Toht (just checked out from the library this week)
19. The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry (just discovered at my indie bookstore, Island Books, this week)

I'm forcing myself to stop this numerical madness and share this post about books I love. How about it? Let me know about the books you love in the comments.