SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS

Just like TV programming in the 50s and 60s, Saturday mornings are reserved for kids on PWR.

Although this is a kid’s book, I found it informative and entertaining as an adult reader. Elizabeth Haidle wrote and illustrated this fine book in 2019, and is a must for every school library. There is something for the very young kids as parents and grandparents read the section on Dr. Seuss aloud, and even a current comic and graphic novel author, Gene Luen Yang, for those older.

10 famous authors are covered.

My specific interest in the book was the chapter on Madeline L’Engle, my topic for a personal “research project.” The book reminds me of a biography series I read as a kid, which featured famous people as children and pointed out how childhood interests and experiences foreshadowed their success as adults. As Pablo Picasso is supposed to have said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain one once he grows up.”

The illustrations are excellent, and the book boils down to a series of ten “graphic biographies.” Also, “Writing Wisdoms” and “First Hand Quotes” add to the reader’s pleasure.

The following authors make appearances: Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, Dr. Seuss, Sandra Cisneros, Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, Gene Luen Yang, Beatrix Potter, C.S. Lewis, and Madeline L’Engle. Besides Madeline L’Engle, Maya Angelou and C.S. Lewis were my favorite chapters. This is a MUST read for any young person who loves to read and loves books!

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FRIDAY FIRST LINERS

First Line Fridays was created by Hoarding Books. Thanks to them for the meme above.

Today’s Friday First Liner comes from A Light So Lovely by Sarah Arthur. This examination of the spiritual legacy of Madeline L’Engle is a gift from blogger Deb Nance of Readerbuzz. She knows about my undertaking to read books by and about Madeline L’Engle and passed this one along to me. Thanks, Debbie.

Here is the first line:”Sitting on my desk is a signed copy of The Rock That is Higher from one of L’Engles Wheaton College visits…” The author recalls her conservative parents having named her “Sarah,” making her one of two “normally” named women attending Wheaton, rather than a hippie-parent’s offspring named something like “River”

“Into that mix came Madeline L’Engle, a giantess in a great flapping dress of patchwork colors…What I do remember is a tall woman sitting at a table in the bookstore blinking her large eyes like a wise and vigilant owl.”

I am already intrigued and can’t wait to start this book.

MANY WATERS by Madeline L’Engle

This review was written in the early days of PWR. I enjoyed this novel as part of the Murray Series, which started with A Wrinkle in Time.

Book four in the time travel quintet

Published in 1986       Takes place sometime after the Wrinkle in Time Trilogy

Sandy and Dennys Murry, twin brothers of Meg and Calvin Wallace Murry (from A Wrinkle in Time) are the “dull,” “ordinary” ones in the family until they interrupt their physicist dad’s computer experiment.  Then, they are in trouble, not just with their dad, but in cosmos-changing trouble.  Many waters were coming soon to the dessert oasis where they “landed”, and stories their mother told them as small children from the Bible, as well as many mythologies and folktales of a world-wide flood come rushing to their minds.

Unknown to them, their dad was experimenting with time travel, and the Genesis (from the Bible) people’s reaction to them, as well as their reaction to the people of “this other place” is the premise for the story.  Unicorns, mammoths (miniature size ones), seraphims, and nephils all appear in this book. Both boys, young teens, fall for the same girl, Yalith, and for the first time, the twins do not tell each other “everything.” Will they get themselves home in time to avoid the “many waters?”/The Great Flood? Will they get home, period? L’Engle’s philosophy shines through as the boys engage in conflicts both on a personal level and on a universal level.

The writing, plot, and characterization are brilliant. This is one of my favorite authors whether she is writing YA novels, memoirs and philosophy, or anything. I highly recommend this book.

This flashback to an old post is part of my Madeline L’Engle “project.”

STARTED IN 2018, FINISHED MAY, 2021, THE BROKEN EARTH SERIES by N.K. Jemison

This is the best science fiction series I have read since reading Dune in the 70s. I had been “off” sci fi in general for some time, but saw this first book in the trilogy reviewed by my blogging friend, Sarah at Brainfluff. I ordered the first book, which I reviewed back in 2018:

This was my introduction to this wonderful author.

THE FIFTH SEASON by N.K. Jemison: A Review

This is the first book in the Broken Earth series, which was published in 2015.  I found it reviewed on Brainfluff, and it seemed like a really good story. As soon as the other two books came out, I also ordered them, and last summer My Better Half and I finally got around to reading the books. We decided to read it aloud to each other at night, and it has been an excellent experience.  We finished Fifth Season at the end of the summer and have moved on to Book Two, The Obelisk Gate. We hope to finish by the Holidays.

It is a strange, intricate and fascinating book, which includes a map of The Stillness, which is the known earth in The Fifth Season.  Seasons are eras, some a few hundred years, some thousands in the earth’s history, usually indicated by tectonic plate shifts, earthquakes and weather phenomena. The book begins,

“Let’s start with the end of the earth, why don’t we? Get it over with and move on to more interesting things…”  “This is the way the earth ends, for the last time.”

There are difficulties in reading the book, a vocabulary of words: “roggas,” “sessapinae,” “orogenes,” etc. that we had no idea how to pronounce, but we overcame this problem with pronouncing them however we wanted. A glossary in the back explains many of the words, but if the reader is good at context clues he/she can usually figure out what is going on without stopping and turning to the book’s end. NPR described the series as “astounding.”

Another challenging aspect is that the characters and times shift back and forth, and the reader can get confused.  This, however, was one of our favorite parts of the book, for as we read, it was revealed that main characters in different chapters were actually the same characters we had read about earlier as adults in their childhood days, or that a certain character was a character we had read about previously, but he/she/it ws in a different form.  All of this confusion is worth it to enjoy the beautiful, often poetic writing which makes the reader feel the movement of the earth or see the beautiful power of the gigantic obelisks.

The narrative itself is a “grabber,” which carries the reader along with the action throughout the twists and turns of the plot. We often exclaimed, “Oh, that’s the…” or “Wow! That’s why (the character) said or did so and so…” We felt so intelligent (LOL) that we figured out the revelation just before it became obvious in the “tale.” The author’s way of writing is unique. She feeds the reader information on a need to know basis and lets him/her draw the conclusion on matters just as the character concludes the same thing. The style is masterful, the word choice and phrasing original and spot-on, and the author’s imagination unlimited.

This is a must read.

This was a magnificent book with amazing descriptions and action-packed scenes as well. And while all of this was going on in the author’s writing, the characters were developing into ones the reader really cared about.

It took another year or more to finish the second book, The Obelisk Gate, and I didn’t review it, but looking back there are several mentions in old posts of an ongoing engagement in reading the book. I would pick it up and read for several days, then put it aside as I found other books that piqued my interest. Finally, when I did the Alphabet Challenge, Title Edition, I needed a book beginning with an “O,” and started the book from the beginning again.

In January of 2021, I took out the third book, the final book, which I completed in May of 2021.

The concluding book lived up to the promise of the first volume, something few series achieve.

THE STONE SKY by N.K. Jemisin: A Review

The third book in this powerful sci fi trilogy was published in 2017. Here are the opening lines: “Time grows short, my love. Let’s end with the beginning of the world, shall we? Yes, we shall.” The narrator continues, “The person who witnessed these things firsthand is me, and yet not.” The story continues in this strange, eerie way to tell of strange and eerie events. Essun, the mother from The Fifth Season, an orogene, who has passed down this trait to her daughter, Nassun, has gained control of the obelisk gate. She is also beginning to turn into a stone-eater, with her arm solid stone, after completing her mission with Alabaster of the fulcrum. She has a job to do–“Just catch the moon.”She also has a personal quest–to find her daughter. She is wounded, ill, and carried by stretcher as the book opens.

Hoa, the stone-eater, Tonkee, the old woman, and Lerna, the doctor, all of whom were introduced in the previous book, are carrying her. Nassun, in the meantime has killed her father in self-defense and has been staying at the Moon Compound, a sanctuary and training school for young orogenes. She, too, must take a journey.

The reunion of the mother and daughter, each set on opposite missions to carry out their destinies–one to save the earth, one to destroy it–provide a dramatic, exciting, breath-holding climax.

Author: Rae Longest

This year (2021) finds me with over 50 years of teaching “under my belt.” I have taught all levels from pre-K “(library lady” or “book lady”–volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the “difficult years.” I had some of the “funnest” experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the “young, fun teacher,” I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a “dream-fit” for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is “in my blood,” so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to “come out and play.” View all posts by Rae Longest

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DEAR READER: The Comfort and Joy of Books/A Review

I read this 2020 publication on my Kindle, and I know I would have found more comfort and joy in reading it were I to have read it in a good, old-fashioned, print volume.

Cathy Rentzenbrink has done a marvelous job here of explaining and examining her love of books.

Another Book about Books, one goal of my “read-more-of’s” for 2021 has been called ” a love letter to stories and reading.” (Nina Subbe) There are endless recommendations of books the author read and loved. As she describes her journey from bookseller to author, Ms. “R” comments, “Reading has saved my life, again and again, and has held my hand through every difficult time…” Part memoir, part advertisement for the joys of reading, the book presents a “funny and joyous exploration of how books can change the course of your life.” My Advanced Writing class wrote their Essay #2 on a Cassandra Claire quote that warned them that “Books are dangerous…because they can change your life.” The author, here, preaches the same message, illustrating how books shaped her early years, chose her career path, and brought about her destiny. Dear Reader is a “celebration of the written word.” It is “a life told by and through books.” My TBR list expanded by several British authors and many “must reads” titles. What a fine reading experience for anyone who loves books!

READING IN BED by Sue Gee: A Review

If a book is about books or reading, it hits my TBR pile or folder. Reading in Bed’s cover grabbed me immediately, as did its title–something I do frequently.

I started this book during Dewey’s Readathon in April and finished it a few days afterwards. I never reviewed the book, however, and it deserves at least that for being a “darned good read.”

Georgia, recently widowed, and Dido have been best friends for years. The novel opens with the two women returning from a book convention/fair/retreat. As they separate and return to their homes in different towns, each re-evaluates their everyday, “normal” life apart from the literary world they have just left. Georgia is lonely, odd-friend-out at all gatherings, struggling with her relationship with her daughter; and Dido finds “evidence” that her husband of so many years may be having an affair. Through all the details of their lives, their connection with each other remains sturdy and strong.

Georgia has a side-plot, an eccentric, elderly cousin of her late husband”goes completely off the rails,” and it is up to Georgia to step in and “do something.”Dido also has a side-plot, the marriage and family life of her children and grandchildren, and shockingly, the true story behind the “assumed” affair of her husband. There are enough twists and turns in the plot to titillate the most demanding reader. Both women find themselves “…turning to a well-loved book or a true friend” to get through the situation.

As one critic cited, Reading is “an insightful, witty book about life, friendship, and love.” I loved the book and everything about it, making it a darned good read!

TUESDAY TEASER

TUESDAY TEASER is a meme started by The Purple Booker. Thank you to that blog for the image above.

Tuesday Teaser’s originator, The Purple Booker, encourages readers to copy a couple of sentences at random from one’s current read to “tease ” others into reading the same book. My Tuesday Teaser is from John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down:

Davis and Noah’s billionaire father has disappeared and Aza, the protagonist is trying to get a lead on him to collect the reward money for giving information to his whereabouts. Noah speaks of his fears and concerns for his non-involved parent: “Nobody wants to find him…It’s like I can’t think of anything else. I…it’s…Do you think he would really disappear and not even text us? Do you think maybe he’s trying and we just haven’t figured out how to listen?”

I am at the point where Aza and her best friend, Daisy, are getting clues and have received a large sum of money from Davis and his lawyer NOT to give those clues to the police.

What are you reading currently? What is happening? Copy a few sentences to “tease” us into wanting to read the book. What? You have no blog to post on? That’s ok. Use the reply box to post your “teaser.” Be sure to mention the title and author, and PLEASE, no spoiler alerts to the plot.

SUNDAY SUMMARY

I had a good two weeks for reading. This second week has been rainy each day, so the weather was perfect for snuggling in and reading up a storm. (I guess that’s why the rain gauge had 5 inches in it.)

Book selected for the Third Tuesday Book Club at the Alvin Library for May. We met face to face for the first time in over a year. It was so good to see everyone.
Part of my Madeline L’Engle project
I had this on my Kindle for some time. I finally got around to reading it.
A tiny book which was a delightful collection of essays about the various things that make up a home
My favorite kid-read so far this year
I am using this to find an inspirational thought to begin each day.

The grades are posted; the semester has ended, and I spent most of my time this past week writing my summer school course. As usual, I have changed the course entirely (as I end up doing every semester), which is a good thing because it keeps the course fresh to me, and also to my students. Summer school begins June 6th, so I had better get a hurry on finishing my online asynchronous (where students can work at their own pace) Advanced Writing Class. I am having a dear friend over for coffee this coming week, and visiting with two former students as well. It promises to be a busy week.

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS ON SATURDAY NIGHT

Thank you Carla of Carla Loves to Read for this fine illustration for this meme.

I was feeling puny this morning, what with the current rain event which makes me ache from the nape of my neck to the soles of my feet, plus my arthritic fingers would not cooperate. I got off to a rocky start this morning with one bad thing happening after the other. It reminded me of Alexander’s no-good, horrible, bad day. LOL Because of this, I did not write my recommendation this a.m.

Instead, please accept this excerpt from the best grades 5-8 book I have read since serving as a Cybil’s judge a couple of years ago.

I met the author and even had her come to my house for lunch. It was a lovely afternoon discussing a lovely book.

On her way to the United Sates during the Mexican Revolution, after meeting Pancho Villa’s soldiers, and meeting a woman general, Petra guides her family towards a bridge they need to cross. It stands between them and the town where they are to take a train to the international bridge separating Mexico and the United States–their destination. A huge storm threatens to ruin their plans.

” …we were at the start of the bridge.

The harrowing winds blew so strong it seemed to be raining sideways. Gusts whipped our hair into our faces and bumped us against each other…Abuelita (her grandmother) tapped my shoulder…’We’re going to have to crawl,’ she said.”

Petra puts her little sister on her back, tells her to hang on, and ties her baby brother to her grandmother’s back.

“The bridge was a ladder of wooden crossties with gaps wide enough for a person to fall through. The splinters in them snagged my skirt and dug into my hands and knees…Amelia’s legs squeezed into my sides, and her arms, clamping around my neck, made it hard to breathe. Every time the wind threatened to push us over, I held on to the crosstie until my knuckles hurt. Slow as a snail, I crawled inch by inch, looking back every so often to make sure Abuelita was still behind me.”

Scenes as scary as this one fill the book, and tell the story of how the author’s great grandmother came to the U.S. This is historical fiction at its very best.

MY FRIDAY FIRST LINER

Hop over to Hoarding Books and see her first line Friday rules. In the meantime, read mine.

Today’s first lines are from Home Body written by John Thorne and illustrated by Russell Christian:

A tiny, but delightful collection of poetic essays, illustrated in a charming manner.

From the first “chapter,” “The Keyhole”:

“At the head of the corridor, a closed door led to other corridors, unfurnished rooms, stairways and attics. The chill of unknown things entered through the door’s keyhole.” (Golfredo Parise Abecedary)

” On my way from here to there, young and broke, I arrange to spend the night with a friend at his Manhattan apartment…My friend is not at home. “

This is a delightful read with exquisite sketches and original word choice, word-images, and phrasing. I find myself reading some parts again and again. I definitely will want to keep this book.