This week I finished one audiobook and started my next audio venture (also my non-fiction pick for January; it is 12 discs long). I barely completed one book (see I am not that quick of a reader!).
So far I’ve read a total of 6 books and listened to 2 audiobooks this year. Maybe I should make a graphic to show my progress? We will see if I have enough energy for that. It’s been so good working toward my reading resolution by using monthly mini goals. I have been promoting reading resolutions with the preteens and teens that attend my library programs. I hope we will encourage each other to meet our goals!
Lockwood & Co.: The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud
Finished this one. I was correct on who was behind this ghost outbreak BUT Stroud just had to throw a wrench in the plot and has everything nicely set-up for a fifth story in this ghost-fighting whodunit series. I couldn’t be happier as Lucy is back on the team with the addition of another member. Lucy and Holly have become chums but the tensions between the Fittes Agency and Lockwood & Co. are fired up. The skull is back with Lucy and I really wonder if it fancies Lucy after all (for a reason I can’t tell you!). The way those two banter together, George and his nerdy heroics, Lockwood becoming a more warm and relatable person, Holly getting out of her shell of perfection and that new member just being there…all I have to say is “Well-done, Stroud!” My favorite one of the bunch…probably until book 5.
White Trash: The 400-year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg
Although I am always using the word “fascinating” to describe the non-fiction books I get, I can’t think of another adjective to yet describe this one. My POV on the birth of our nation is being turned on its head and hopefully this book will be made into a young reader’s edition so we can share yet another layer of our country’s history. In school we are only taught two perspectives on our American history: religious and racial. But social class gets left out. I understand why, however, because America is touted as “liberty and justice for all.” But the raw truth is America was created not merely for religious freedom but as a way to get Britain rid of the unsightly poor and idle and to make money off the land. In other words, it was to exploit those in poverty and in a life of crime by shipping them off and turning them into free labor. Those who were in such a situation couldn’t rise above without help. Some people did. They tried to make the idle poor accountable to work and family and to create more of a middle-class. But, by and large, most in power saw the poor “white trash” as expendable commodities at best. Most of the progress west was in the hope to spread those poor folks out.
I am currently listening about Davy Crockett and Andrew Jackson, two “crackers” as they were called. Andrew Jackson sounds an awful lot like our new president; some outsider who just did his own thing. I still have 7 more discs to go. It is just so fascinating to see what most people value today isn’t much different from what was brought over from Europe: land, a name, money, and someone upon which to look down.
The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd
Lloyd is very lauded author. I purchased this story after its raved review. And it turned out Lloyd used to write for Brio. I received this Christian girl magazine as a teenager and I really appreciated it. So I knew I should read Lloyd as I like to find literature that more conservative, religious folks would enjoy. The Key to Extraordinary also turned out to be on the new 2017-2018 Bluebonnet Award Booklist. So, it rose to the surface in my TBR pile.
Emma lives in an old church with, as most old churches have, a large cemetery. Her family owns a bakery that is situated in the church. The women in Emma’s family get something called a Destiny Dream. Once in their lives they will dream of a field of blue flowers and a sign will be given that indicates what they will accomplish in their lives. Emma is 12 and hasn’t had her dream yet.
She gives tours of the cemetery, hoping to bring in business for the bakery. Because of the tale of The Conductor, everyone thinks that a ghost is around. The Conductor is a mysterious person of lore who has hidden treasure. Emma wants to locate the treasure to help save her family’s property from a man who wants to buy it. After her Destiny Dream, she feels that she will find the treasure.
In the end she does so with the help of her friends. She also discovers who The Conductor is, why people think the cemetery is haunted, and what the real treasure is. Matthew 6:21 is quoted (not explicitly mind you): “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be.” Emma and her friends reinforcing the reality behind the scripture makes the book so sweet. The surprise of who the treasure was in the past and why it was a secret also makes the book worth the read.
I honestly hope no one shyies away from trying this one out because of the ghost talk or the mystical dreams and talking plants. Well, okay that last one was the oddest thing in the story for me, but still. It is a good story promoting bravery, loyalty and loving people, not things.
These books are not counted toward my resolution goal; they are just books we read with our preschooler.
Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse by Torben Kuhlmann
Kuhlmann is such a gifted artist-author. I first discovered him with Moletown. Lindbergh is a hefty picture book and a bit dark. I mean, I had to explain what a mousetrap is and now Theo points to the mouse caught in the trap and says dead. BUT that’s not the point. The point is this little mouse Lindbergh wants to go where other mice are, perhaps in America. He sees a bat and thinks that he could fly and makes different contraptions. Eventually failure after failure produces a machine that does what he wants. He discovers America and most importantly, other mice. There are a few wordless spreads and the art speaks volume. Love it.
My son’s preschool class did snowmen and popcorn this past week. It was actually difficult finding books about popcorn for the preschool level so I just focused on snowmen. Even then there weren’t too many. These were the ones I picked out:
- Snowballs by Lois Ehlert
- Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner and illustrated by Mark Buehner
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (winner of the 1963 Caldecott–side note, that year had a lot going on!)
- There was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow! by Lucille Colandro and illustrated by Jared Lee
- The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll and illustrated by Jeni Bassett
Jbrary, a duo who are rhyme and song experts, recently posted a flannel about snow people and a discussion about the word “snowmen.” To be more inclusive and to change the rhyme during the countdown, ask your child or kids in your group what kind of snow people can we have. Here is the link.
What did you read this week? Share even if you just read a little!