Wednesday, February 28, 2018


I know that it's long past the time that my other book-loving friends have posted their must read lists for 2018. But, the last time I checked, Carrie hadn't closed the gate yet. So here I am, on the last day of February with my stack of books that I must read in 2018.

1. Chicken Boy by Frances O'Roark Dowell
a leftover from a summer of reading chicken titles several years ago
2. How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor 
How can it be that I still haven't read this book?
3. A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff
Highly recommended by my middle school readers in book club
4. Matylda Bright & Tender by Holly M. McGhee
Won this book from a giveaway on Linda Baie's blog
5. A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord 
Purchased after I heard Cynthia Lord speak at Western Washington University's Children's Literature Conference in 2017
6. Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass
a title I've started twice and loved but never finished
7. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
my one nod to YA, unread from last year's list
(Can you tell that I love mostly middle grade?)
8. Hello Universe by Erin Estrada Kelly
this year's Newbery winner!
9. Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech
a parent told me once that this was the book that made a reader out of her son.
10. Greenglass House by Kate Milford
a title I discovered from a list of cozy books for winter reading
11. Looking Back by Lois Lowry
an ARC that I borrowed from our middle school librarian and promised to pass on to one of the classroom teachers
12. Poems Are Teachers by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
a book that made me break my promise to self to not buy any more professional books 
13. Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers by Ruth Ayres
Not in the stack of books pictured because I just have the electronic copy. I gave my print copy of the book to my niece.

Last year was the first year that I joined this group. I'm keeping my list to a baker's dozen of thirteen titles because I'm an easily distracted reader. Except for the two library books in the stack (#s 8 & 10) and the electronic version of book #13, all the other titles were pulled from my own bookshelves. I want to read these books so I can share them with teacher friends still in the classroom and make room on my shelves for more books.  My want to read list grows with every blog post I read, every visit to a bookstore, every list of books that I discover on the web, and every time I visit my local library. I want this list to be something that I might attain in 2018!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Slice of Life: Dear Library Patron, Sorry to Make You Wait a Bit Longer!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

I had the best of intentions. Truly I did. I checked my library account to see which books were due. I tucked all the books into my book bag. Except for one title which I placed on the front seat to remind me that it needed to be read before I returned it.
After a movie and lunch with friends, an appointment, and a haircut, I would swing by the library to return my books that were due. But first, somewhere in this busy day, I needed to find the time to read this book that had sat in my picture book basket for almost a month, unread. 

And that time came when I pulled up to the library. I sat in the car to read it. Are you wondering why I didn't go in the library? It was certainly warmer in there. However for a bibliophile like me, the library contains too many distractions. So I sat in the car, book in hand, and read Martin Rising:  Requiem For A King by Andrea Davis Pinkney with paintings by Brian Pinkney.

And somewhere during this stunning poetic presentation of Martin Luther King, Jr's life, I knew that my resolve to return the book was weakening. I would pay the fine and keep it for at least one more day so I could share it with the students tomorrow at our after school book club. 

I just checked to see how many holds are on the book. As it turns out, there are two other people waiting on the book. I tried once again to renew the book and was rewarded with a renewal! I'm not sure why that wasn't possible yesterday, but I'm not complaining about a one day fine and the chance to share this book with a few more people before it's due back at the library. 

Be sure to read the Author's Reflections and the Artist's Reflections at the end of the book. Andrea explains how to use selected poems along with the "Now Is the Time" history to tell Martin Luther King, Jr's story. This final paragraph from this section captures the power of her words:  "When we vote, we rise. When we march, we rise. When we speak out, seek peace, teach the truth, we all rise to a better tomorrow And the time is now."

If you haven't read this book yet, the time is now. Request it from your library or head to your local indie bookstore for this look at the final months of MLK's life brought to life by Andrea Davis and Brian Pinkney.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Procrastinator's Year End Update: #MustReadin2017

I managed to read eleven of the twelve titles I selected and two of those I finished since the fall update.  The blue print shows my original thoughts about the book and the green shows my response to the book after reading it. Watch soon (before the end of February, I promise) for my #MustReadin2018 post.

7.  When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin - This is a title that I considered when I was selecting titles for our Mock Newbery 2017.  And I read and loved so many dog stories in 2016!
Finished! I was surprised by the depth of this book. I fell in love with the characters. Marcus Zusak sums it up with these words from the cover, "Full of pace and laughter, bruises and heart."

9.  Flying Lessons & Other Stories by Ellen Oh - I rarely read short stories, so this is a good stretch for me.  I think I will enjoy sharing stories from this book at our after school book club.   Finished! This anthology, published in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, succeeds in its goal to provide ten diverse stories from ten great authors. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Celebrate This Week: Sunshine, Books, Boys, Flowers, & Snow!

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

Shelly and I headed to the outlet mall on Monday to make a return. But the real reward of our drive to the east was the snow on the mountains, the sunshine, and time to chat with a friend!

I finished Greenglass House by Kate Milford. I'm in a book club with two friends who have moved away. Once we've all read the book, we set about trying to find a time when the three of us are available for a google chat. I think I recommended this title because I saw it on Modern Mrs. Darcy's 16 books to cozy up with this winter booklist. I'm always excited when I can get friends to read kid lit with me. Be forewarned that references to hot chocolate are frequent, and I must admit to settling down with the book and my own mug of hot chocolate on several occasions. An added bonus to reading the book is that the sequel, Ghosts of Greenglass House, was published in 2017. 

I'm currently reading this year's Newbery winner, Hello, Universe by Erin Estrada Kelly. I'm loving this story of Virgil and Valencia and Virgil's guinea pig, Gulliver. I'll be meeting with our middle school book club next week, so I'll need to finish it by then. I have a box of award winning books (requested from our library as I listened to the ALA YMA webcast) to share with them.

My third bookish celebration is the bag of board books that I purchased for my boys this week. I love that I have books stashed for upcoming holidays, fun days, dreary days, and any day I want to share a book with my boys. And I'm thinking that since HomeGoods is on my way home from the dentist, a stop there after seeing the dentist might need to become a tradition. Every dentist visit needs a reward, right?
When Jack & I returned from story hour,
his first stop was to look at books!
Going for a ride in new friend's truck!
I snatched this pic of Teddy
from his mom's instagram movie,
"Looking like such a big kid today."
Posted by Dad on Instagram:
"Saturday morning bagel run with this dude."
I'll have the chocolate chip bagel Teddy's having!
Tulips from a friend
Our Thursday morning 
sprinkling of snow!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Slice of Life: Sometimes My Notes Need More Context!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

It was a mystery! This piece of printer paper pulled from my scrap paper drawer, folded in half with three lines written on it (definitely in my own handwriting) was meaningless. 

The first line was clearly a first and last name. It was a male first name. I read it over and over with no connection to it, except that the surname was the same as a family who had lived in our congregation several years ago. 

The next line was two first names linked with an ampersand. One male name and one female name, this line was probably the name of a married couple. Once again, I drew a total blank.

The final line, just like the first line, was a first and last name, but this time with a female first name. Once again, no connection except that the first name was the same as one of my paternal aunts, but the last name didn't fit. Why had I written these three lines of names down? I couldn't bring myself to toss the note. Periodically, I would pick it up, read the names again, and wonder why I had written them down. It was a mystery waiting to be solved. 

Sunday morning, as I walked down the hall of our church building, I found the missing link. I saw the name of our current missionaries serving in our congregation on a whiteboard. And the last name of one of them matched the last name of the first line on my mysterious paper. And suddenly all those names made sense.

We provide dinner for the elders serving in our area once a month. When they came to our home on the 11th, we chatted a bit about where they were from and their families. They are both new to our congregation.When I learned that one of them was from Twin Falls, I asked if he ever went to Burley. The other elder (who was from Salt Lake) immediately piped up that he was born in Burley. And so I asked him if he had ever heard of the Grahams, our good friends who live there. He replied that Dr. Graham had delivered him.

Mystery solved! The first and last name on the page was the name of this young elder. The married couple? His parent's first names. The last name on the list - his grandmother's name who still lives in the area. The missing link was the word Elder. You see, we rarely know the first names of our missionaries since they are addressed as Elder or Sister followed by their last name. And because he was relatively new to our congregation, I didn't remember his last name. Or if I had just included the name of our friends, the Grahams, I would have known why I had written down those three names. 

And now it's time to call my friends, the Grahams, to see if they remember this young man's family or know his grandmother. The next time I write myself a note, I'll remember that sometimes I may need more context in order to remember why I wrote the note. And while brevity is "... the soul of wit," (Shakespeare) and "...the sister of talent," (Chekhov), brevity (at least for this old gal) is not always the key to remembrance. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Celebrate This Week: Hamilton Joy & Valentine Pics

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

Sorry to be late to this week's celebration:

My celebrations for this week are overshadowed by the sadness of another school shooting and another funeral for a member of our small congregation. A friend's husband died after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. I'm grateful for the friends who pitched in to help with the funeral luncheon (even though it seemed that most of our congregation was out of town for mid-winter break).

Our family was fortunate to have much coveted tickets to Hamilton on Saturday. I was blown away by this musical, even though I'd done little to prepare for the event. There were people all around me who knew all the lyrics.

As usual, I have to celebrate the grand boys!
This pic of Teddy & Mama was taken awhile back, 
but my son shared it on Valentine's Day.
Teddy on Valentine's Day
Jack & Mama on Valentine's Day
Grandma requested this pic
of Jack & Dad beside the seed pods of the magnolia.
I can see these bright red seed pods from my kitchen sink.
I love that splash of red against the green in the winter.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Slice of Life: ALA Youth Media Awards by the Numbers

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

# of appointments rescheduled so I could listen to the live webcast 
of the ALA Youth Media Awards

# of award winning books that I own

# of award winning books currently checked out from the library
(prior to the award announcements)
I love Big Cat, Little Cat!
Hello, Universe, this year's Newbery winner, 
 just moved to the top of my WTR(want to read) pile.

# of books I picked up today after requesting them yesterday
I keep the library site open while I listen to the webcast 
so I can put books on hold as they are announced.

#of titles not ready yet (too many holds on them already)

# of award winning titles I've already read
Out of Wonder
Big Cat, Little Cat
A Different Pond
When a Wolf is Hungry

# of titles I've heard about and wanted to read
(prior to the award announcements)
The 57 Bus
Eyes of the World
Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora
The First Rule of Punk
La Princesa and the Pea

# of award winning titles I've previously 
checked out, caressed, and hoped to read
(but returned to the library unread)
Vincent and Theo
The Hate U Give
Grand Canyon
Lucky Broken Girl
Piecing Me Together
Hello, Universe

# of award winning books in transit
I'm not as greedy as it seems, our book club meets on the 27th of this month and I plan to share as many of the award winning books as possible with our middle schoolers. And no, I won't get all of them read before they have to be returned.

# of books I read in 2017 that I wish had received some award love
(While they didn't receive ALA YMA award love, I did discover some award love for some of my titles after I posted. Updates are in red.)
Train I Am
Beyond the Bright Sea
(Just saw that Refugee made the
2018 Notable Books for a Global Society list.)
The War I Finally Won
Forever, or a Long, Long Time
Midnight Without a Moon
(Wishtree did receive some love -
Just saw Grace Enriquez's post at SLJ.
It's a Charlotte Huck Recommended Book & was included
as a 2018 Notable Book for a Global Society.)
Orphan Island
Georgia Rules
Can I Touch Your Hair? 
(Linda Baie pointed out that this book is a 2018 publication.)
So I'm adding one more book to keep my list to ten titles.
Dreamland Burning

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Celebrate This Week: Snips of Joy and Pics of Boys!

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

Tea and treats and talk with good friends!

Loved reading this book that I won by commenting
on the winter issue of Talking Story!
This issue focused on The Cold War.
Spring issue focus will be prejudice.

Finding my favorite cozy sock!
It was in the rubber gasket
around the door of the washing machine.

Signs of spring and blue skies!
Service project for our church women's conference on Saturday!
We tied 66 fleece blankets for the Linus project.
Jack plays with Grandpa's talking birds!
Jack and Grandma at Island Books story time!
Teddy at gymnastics with Mom!
Teddy enjoys Saturday morning donuts with Dad
while Mom relaxes!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Poetry Friday: Moon Verse

Head over to Sally Murphy's blog,
for this week's round-up of poetic goodness. 
She's sharing terse verse from her dentist list. 
Thanks, Sally, for hosting this week!

When I wrote my Spiritual Journey First Thursday post, I got all wrapped up in moon shine. This week The Man in the Moon As He Sails the Sky and Other Moon Verse, a book I requested from the library arrived. Our system only had one copy of this book, published in 1979, in its Central Storage location. It's a sweet collection of twenty-one moon poems, collected and illustrated by Ann Schweninger. I'll share the first and the last poem in the book along with Ann's delightful illustrations.

The Man in the Moon as he sails the sky
Is a very remarkable skipper,
But he made a mistake when he tried to take 
A drink of milk from the Dipper

He dipped right out of the Milky Way
And slowly and carefully filled it;
The Big Bear growled, and the Little Bear howled
And frightened him so that he spilled it!

I see the moon
  And the moon sees me;
God bless the moon
  And God bless me.
       - Mother Goose

When I googled Ann Schweninger, I recognized many of the books that she has illustrated, especially the Oliver and Amanda Pig books. This book of moon verse is one that I want to own and share with my grandsons.