Weekly Wrap-Up #9

I finished my February reading goal!!! In the voice of Chuck E. Cheese: Give yourself a high-five (the family went there recently for a birthday party so forgive me for the reference).

To wrap-up February, I listened to 6 Audiobooks and read 7 books: 1 Adult, 1 YA, 2 Non-Fiction, and 3 Juvenile Fictions, exceeding my goal of 10 total books for the month!

Here is what I read this partial week in February and partial week in March. I didn’t finish anything for my March goal, but that’s okay. Slow and steady.


Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

Jules Verne is pretty quirky. I had no idea that listening to this book would have me chuckling at times. In fact, this book being science-fiction had me in all sorts of uncertainties. However, I’m glad I did decide to do it. Tim Curry is the narrator! Next to Neil Gaiman, he is the best and so it made the listen even more thrilling. Next up will be Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in Eighty Days.

I’m about finished with this story of a German geologist, his 16-17 year old nephew and an Icelandic huntsman, Hans. The geologist, uncle Lidenbenbrock, discovers a scrap of paper written in nonsensical Runic by the scientist, Saknussemm. Axel, his young nephew, helps to decode it, much to his dismay. He is astonished with what the parchment states: by traveling down an Icelandic crater at a particular time will allow you to reach the center of the earth. Axel knows if his uncle learns this secret he will want to do it. Eventually Axel tells his uncle who was so distraught about not figuring out the puzzle on the parchment.

Axel is correct; his uncle decides for them to go and find the center of the earth.

They hurriedly make the travel arrangements. Auspiciously, they enter the exact crater on the exact day and time Saknussemm wrote about. The rest of the story details their journey with all the upsets, setbacks, and wonders they encounter. It’s rather strange for Verne to suggest in his fictional account that the center of the earth hides our past evolutionarily history. We have been taught the three parts of the center of the earth, so to think there are oceans, live creatures, wind, and storms instead is rather titillating. Not sure what this means or what will happen at the end, or if they even make it to the center.


Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskins

It was such a wonderful read I had to do a separate write-up. See it here.

Iggie’s House by Judy Blume

Let me just say that I love Judy Blume. I hope to read her entire line of Junveile and Adult books before the end of this year. Iggie’s House is more singular than the other ones I have read by her. Blume knows how to deal with sensitive topics. She tackles the sensitive topic (to some) of race relations in this book. Sadly, this book is still relevant today as it was in the original publication year of 1970.

Iggie, Winnie’s best friend, has moved to Tokyo with her family. Her house is bought by a new family, the Garbers. Winnie can’t wait to meet them. She is floored when she gets her first glance at them. They are Negro, as Winnie calls them. Winnie wants to meet them and tells her parents about them. They are less excited. In fact, you learn later on, the Garbers are the only blacks in the neighborhood (and will be at school once it begins again). A nosey neighbor wants “them” out of the neighbor and begins a petition to get “them” out.

Winnie tries to befriend all 3 of the Garber kids: Glenn, Herbie, and Tina. Herbie is skeptical of Winnie. Coming from Detriot where they were surrounded by blacks, the move to this part of New Jersey is difficult. Blume subtlely addresses the issues of white saviorship, hidden racism, and the need to honestly discuss race. Sometimes we don’t realize that institutional rascism exists because we aren’t like that. But just because I’m not, doesn’t mean a group of people elsewhere isn’t.

An easy read (I read it in 2 hours!) but full of depth.

Undefeated: Jim Thrope and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin 

I didn’t grow up watching or, for that matter, knowing anything about football. My dad didn’t do sports. But since Sheinkin wrote this book, I had to read it. I’ve been hooked on Sheinkin’s non-fictions for years ever since I read Bomb.

I’m half-way finished with this story of Jim Thrope. Thrope attend the Carlisle Indian School in the early part of the 1900s. After years of trying to escape close-to-home boarding schools for Indians (created the specific intent to “take the savage out of the Indian,” i.e. to strip their cultures from them to make them “American.”), his father finally has had enough with his shenanigans and sends him to Pennsylvania to attend the original boarding school for Indians, Carlisle.

Pratt, Carlisle’s creator, banned football from being played at the school. Football in its early impetus was pretty dangerous and Pratt did not want his students getting hurt, or killed, playing the game. It took awhile before he relented and Carlisle got a football club. Pratt had the expressed desire that this team would beat the Top Four Football teams at the time: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and University of Penn. Until they harnessed coach Pop Warner, they were unable to do that.

I’m right where Jim moves to Carlisle and Pop has been coach for a few seasons.


There’s a Bear on My Chair by Ross Collins

Our 2×2 read for the week (to learn more about 2×2 click here). A polar bear absentmindedly (or not?) sits in mouse’s chair. Mouse tries all sorts of different things to get him up, but polar bear is either ignoring him or is truly socially inept. In the end, mouse gets so frustrated that he just leaves the polar bear and his chair and sneaks somewhere else. Polar bear leaves the chair only to find mouse asleep in his bed.

(Personally, I think the polar bear is pranking mouse.)

Humphrey’s School Fair Surprise by Betty Birney and illustrated by Priscilla Burris

The final one in “Humphrey’s Tiny Tales” that my library has (I’m not sure how I missed the 5th one that came out in August 2016). I asked Theo if he wanted to read it and he said YES!

In this tale, Humphrey’s class gets to join a school-wide parade. The class with the best classroom spirit during the parade will win a prize. The class thinks about what makes their particular class the most remarkable. Of course, it is their classroom pets: Humphrey, the hamster and Og, the frog! They make signs, create a little chant, and make hamster ears to wear. Even, with the help of Aldo the janitor, Humphrey and Og make a presence during the parade at the school’s fair. Room 26 wins the parade!

It was Dr. Seuss’ birthday week at his school, so we had to dig out our Seuss books. He adored listening to Fox and Socks and One Fish, Two Fish. While I read these books, I have been pointing to some words and see if he can read them to me. He has picked up a few words, but I’m not systematically teaching him to read.

What have you been reading?


  1. Mostly audio books here: I finished Book of A Thousand Days. I was very happy with the ending. The predicament of the princess and her helper seemed so hopeless and depressing most of the book. I’m in the midst of a few other audiobooks: Mr. Popper’s Penguins is very well read. I really like the voice of reader. Also listening to Book 1 of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. The reader’s voice captures my attention, although many times, her tone is annoying to me. The story is only mediocre in my opinion. I can’t really relate to it. But, I might continue to listen to subsequent books. I started listening to Flora and Ulyssess by Kate DiCamillo but I stopped because my mind kept wandering to other things. The audio production could not keep my attention. I read Francine Poulet and the Ghost Raccoon to the kids and I loved it. What a funny character and I loved the pictures.

    1. Hey, Sarah! Yeah, I would not to read books that rely on pictures as Flora does. Shannon Hale’s new book The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl which is out now is a graphic novel and has an audio version. I just don’t know…Supposedly it works.

Leave a Reply