Category Archives: Libri

Books: noteworthy and otherwise.

And…we’re back

Re-opening the blog attempt #…

yeah, I don’t know either.

The whole keeping-up-frequent-posts-with-no-home-internet thing is a bit of a drag.  It requires discipline.  Which I sometimes lack.

But here goes again, anyway.

I went to my first writer’s conference this weekend.  The Louisiana-Mississippi region of SCBWI held its first ever KidLit conference Saturday at Sacred Heart Academy in New Orleans.  It was lovely.

The take-away:  Write for yourself, revise for your readers.  Thank you, Cheryl Klein.  

We also got to meet Angie Thomas, four days after her debut novel The Hate U Give hit #1 on the NY Times bestseller list.  Needless to say, she was glowing.  Though I suspect that is usual for her.  She was definitely an inspiration.  Yes, I bought the book.  No, I haven’t read it yet.  Really have to finish Octavian Nothing Part II before I take on anything else.  And that may be a while.  

I also got to meet Carrel Muller, who is the lower school librarian at Sacred Heart.  I want my girls to go to school there so she can be their librarian.  She is lovely!  She convinced me I need to go back and fill in all the holes in my folklore and mythology education.  And read do the same with my kids.  She also read a piece of mine (in the First Look part of the program where they read and critique the openings of several submissions), and it was exactly as I would dream of a children’s librarian reading it to little ones.  So that was a very cool moment.  Now if I can just convince someone out there to publish it…

Right.  So on that note, I could use prayers for persistence – to keep showing up at the page, and to keep sending things out, despite the piles of rejections.  Blah.

For those of you who are here less for the minutiae of my writing life, and more for cute baby stories, the lovely children are well.  I’ve picked up two Latin classes at JPG in the mornings, so they are spending the mornings with a friend and coming home for lunch, naps, etc. in the afternoons.

Just through May.  If the headmaster asks, you can assure him I still do not want to come on full time next year.  This experience has been a good reminder of where I want to be.  Home.  Period.  Which, of course, includes the library and the park.  But mostly home.

I thought our chickens had stopped laying, but it turns out they laid all their eggs in the bushes for a while.  Under the blackberry brambles, to be precise.  We found 24 one day, and 7 the next.  We have three chickens.  Three eggs a day, at best.  So it was a jubilee.  They seem to have figured out the purpose of the nesting boxes again, though.  Which is easier, but less exciting.  You can’t have everything, I guess.

We planted some vegetables and flowers last weekend.  (Thanks to Fr. Sam for the seeds!  The wildflower bed is well on it’s way!)  Hopefully there will be pictures…when I get better at technology.  Maybe next spring.  
Book of the week: This Is Not My Hat by John Klassen.  Hilarious.  It should be used in film classes as a study in dramatic irony, and in writers’ workshops as and example of how the pictures and text work together.  No redundancy – each does its own part towards a flawlessly integrated whole.  And it’s soooo funny.

I hope that there will be more posts soon.   And that is not intended as ironic, but whether it is or not remains to be seen.

Review: Dangerous!

Dangerous! by Tim Warnes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. I think Isaac loves it even more. Sweet little mole is labeling everything…until he meets something lumpy, and bumpy, which doesn’t fit into just one label. The conflict which ensues, and the resolution, are touching. And the labels made me giggle. (Rhododendron was my favorite!)

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Review: Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Stretch It, Shape It

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Stretch It, Shape It
Your Fantastic Elastic Brain Stretch It, Shape It by JoAnn Deak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a good introduction for the girls to what the brain does. I like its emphasis on the elasticity of the brain (though it’s possibly over-done…but maybe it’s worth repeating so many times) and the fact that trying new things and making mistakes is how you strengthen your brains processes. My crew needs to hear that…often. Not too detailed (short enough for a 2-year-old to survive) and plenty colorful, and easy to understand. But definitely just an introduction.

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Review: A Good Day

A Good Day
A Good Day by Kevin Henkes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Kevin Henkes’ work. This is a delightful little book, short enough for Isaac (age 2) to listen to over and over again. It’s uplifting, and (gently) sends a message that I want my kids to learn – a bad day will always get better. And of course the illustrations are fantastic, because it’s Kevin Henkes.

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Review: On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein
On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautiful and inspiring. A great introduction to the life of Albert Einstein with lovely illustrations. Totally engaging for my 5- and 7-year-old, and led to more detailed questions from my 9-year-old. Hard topics – his work being used for nuclear missile research, for example – are relegated to the author’s notes at the end. I love that this book challenges young readers to carry on the questioning and imagining that led Einstein to many of his discoveries.

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Review: There’s a Wolf at the Door

There's a Wolf at the Door
There’s a Wolf at the Door by Zoe B. Alley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Repeat, repeat, repeat library check-out for us. I really should buy this book. (Christmas! Hint! Hint!) Some of the comic-book style dialogue gets annoying to read out loud, but these reworkings of five classic wolf-centered fairy tales are funny for kids and adults alike. And I’m a sucker for R. W. Alley’s artwork. Just too much fun.

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Review: The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs

The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs
The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs by William Joyce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story had some dark moments for my taste in picture books, but the illustrations were fantastic, my kids loved the plot line, and it came full-circle beautifully. Three cheers for Louisiana authors!

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Review: Miss Nelson Is Missing!

Miss Nelson Is Missing!
Miss Nelson Is Missing! by Harry Allard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My girls thought this was fantastic. They loved the lightbulb-turning-on feeling when they got the twist in the story.

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Homeschool Highlights

Lucy and her friend were practicing multiplication tables this morning (not my idea – I love having extra kids around sometimes!) and they decided it would be fun to make it into a Go Fish! game.  So they did.  And spent half an hour or so playing 6 Times Table Go Fish.

Just caught Clare explaining to another friend about how difficult it was for Michelangelo to carve David (“and if he made a tiny mistake, just this big, the whole thing would be ruined!”) and retelling the story of The Library Mouse.  Narration?  Done.

And as I type, Isaac is trying to put an apple slice in my pocket.  Earlier he was working on building train tracks.

In other news, I should be putting my first children’s book manuscript in the mail in the next couple of days.  Pray hard!  Asking St. Therese of Lisieux for special help, since it is about her, after all.  (And if you want a preview, let me know and I’ll send the text along.)

The Courage of Sarah Noble: Lucy’s book review

🙂 You should read The Courage of Sarah Noble.  You should read it because it is about a little girl named Sarah Noble and she goes into the woods with her father to build a house near Indians.  She had to leave the rest of her family behind because there wasn’t enough room to bring everybody.  The Indians turned out to be nice.  So when her father left to bring the rest of their family home, Sarah stayed with the Indians.  Their closest friend was Tall John so she stayed at Tall John’s house.  The Indians of the North were the other Indians’ enemies.  The most interesting part was that the Indians at the North passed by the Indians at night and did not disturb the Indians.  Sarah Noble taught the Indian children many things, and they taught her new Indian games.
the end
this is one of the best books ever! 🙂