FIRST LINE FRIDAYS

Thanks to the blogger at Reading Is My Superpower for the awesome meme.




The idea behind this fun activity is to copy the first line (or so) of a current read or something you are looking forward to reading in hopes of encouraging someone else to read the same book.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a book-talk/presentation by Bluebonnet-nominated children’s author, Alda Dobbs at the Freeman Library at Clear Lake in Houston, Texas. It was right down the street from The University of Houston Clear Lake where I am an adjunct professor, so it was an easy trip to make. It was good to see Alda again, our last visit being at my home in Alvin last spring after My Better Half died. She and her beautiful, clever kids spent the afternoon with me and even brought me take out from Mr. Sombrero’s. I posted about it here on PWR as “An Afternoon with an Author.”

Alda was an excellent speaker, constantly engaging the audience with questions and urging them to guess how many or what percent of Mexicans were literate , owned land, etc. The actual facts were surprising. It made the kids realize why the Mexican Revolution happened. She first told about her grandmother, often showing old photographs of what she was describing from newspapers and other sources. Everyone’s attention was focused and engaged.

Her first book, The Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna covered the escape from the fighting in Mexico to the Other Side of the River (the second book) to safety in the U.S.

This book has one of the most exciting endings of any children’s book or YA book I’ve read. And the nice part is…

The sequel

…the second book begins at the exact point the other finishes. Here is the first line:

” Prologue”

“Thousands of us–the poorest of the poor, the underdogs–choked the bridge and begged for our lives to the gatekeepers, and despite the glistening over the smooth river below us, everyone including me, believed it was the end of our lives.”

How’s that for excitement at the very beginning of the book, and it’s all TRUE! These are the stories Alda’s Great Grandmother told her mother, who then told Alda. One of the most interesting parts of Dobbs’ speech was how she researched and read for years to validate the stories told to her with photos, newspaper articles and history books. It was an afternoon well spent!

The book will be launched September 2nd at the Brazos Bookstore in Houston, Texas. I plan to be in attendance.

Get your copy as soon as possible.

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS ON SATURDAY EVENING

Thanks, Carla, for the use of your illustration .

Saturday mornings on PWR (Powerful Women Readers) are reserved for recommendations of kids’ books, just like Saturday morning TV programming in the 50s and 60s (cartoons) was. Today’s recommendation is a whole series.

Gators are funny, and when they play detective, they become even funnier.

I found this particular 2020 publication in my Little Free Library and had a ball looking it over. John Patrick really knows what tickles kids’ funny bones. It is done as a graphic novel, and I’m glad I began with Book One. The illustrations are priceless and the word balloons are easy to follow. Any precocious 8-year-old could read it to himself, but a 5-year-old could appreciate the jokes as he was being read to. Even reluctant readers as old as thirteen are sure to enjoy the slapstick and even more subtle jokes and will enjoy following the plots.

I highly recommend this whole series after examining the first book, firsthand, and looking over the other books in the series online. It is a reader-starter for those who are independent, avid readers as well as those who prefer computer games to “plain old books.” Best of all–they are F.U.N.N.Y.

The Purple Booker has begun this meme were the blogger posts a “teaser” from his/her current read to see if he/she can entice someone else to read the book.

My Tuesday Teaser for 7/12/22 is from a kid’s book I’m considering for Saturday’s “Saturday Morning for Kids,” here on PWR.

This author also wrote Harriet the Spy, a favorite of my fifth grade Sunday Schoolers..

” ‘Just what is it you want to do?’ asked Mr. Sheridan.

‘I want to be a dancer…’

‘Son,’ Mr. Sheridan pushed back his chair, crossed his legs, and lit a cigar. ‘I want to tell you something and I want you to listen. There are many jobs in this world and some good decent jobs, for good decent men to have. Others are jobs that aren’t even to be thought about. Now these people who spend their lives running around a stage are just trash.’ “

Willie, Emma’s brother at seven years old dreams of the day he will dance on the stage. Obviously, his father has different dreams for him. Emma, too, has big dreams; she wants to “show them all.” Will these kids even have the opportunity to fulfill their ambitions? Emma learns that all kids need to have a voice and all kids deserve to have an advocate who will speak for them.

My wishes for you

HAPPY READING–How about sharing your teaser in the comments/replies?

MY (MUCH) YOUNGER BLOGGING FRIENDS

For the past year or more I have been following some teen blogging young ladies from various parts of the U.S., and even other countries, with interest. Their experiences at school, music tastes, photos, etc. differ greatly from my own. However, they are such a creative group that I have learned a great deal from them , and not only ideas for blogging.

Last Christmas, I joined them for Blogmas, posting some Christmassy thing daily for the whole month of December through January 6th, Old Christmas, and reading many, many of the posts on their blogs. This year I plan to do Blogmas again, with the moderation of just doing it twelve days. Some exceptions must be made for my advanced age. LOL

Today, after reading Sateja’s recent post on “The Last Book I…”

Thanks Sateja for the loan of your image.

I decided to accept the open tag because it looked like so much fun. All of the prompts are from a young, fresh, creative mind. The answers are strictly mine.

THE LAST BOOK I BOUGHT

An interesting novel recently reviewed on PWR

THE LAST BOOK I BORROWED

Borrowed from the library and one I am reading now

THE LAST BOOK I GAVE TO SOMEONE ELSE

Sending this book to Australia to help a friend, I hope it is as helpful to her as it was to me.

THE LAST BOOK I STARTED

I LOVE essays! This is my current favorite genre.

THE LAST BOOK I FINISHED

More essays Reviewed recently on PWR

THE LAST BOOK I RATED FIVE STARS

A Sci-fi favorite read earlier this year

THE LAST BOOK I DNF (DID NOT FINISH)

A Children’s book which was part of a series I did not look further into

THE LAST BOOK I LISTENED TO

Good, but I like print better

(I believe Diamond, one of the girls who follow each other’s blogs and whose blogs I follow was the creator of this topic. I just happened to catch it on Satjea’s post.)

Now, wasn’t that fun!

This little exercise provided by my young blogging friends provided joy in my life!

Wouldn’t you like to join in on this tag? Carla? Deb? Are you up to the challenge?

Thanks to my young blogging friend Evin for this sign off!

REVIEW OF A VERY HELPFUL BOOK

Literacy and Me

TheBest Yes: Making Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands by Lysa Terkeurst is a book that came to me via a friend who was downsizing and getting rid of books she had decided she just didn’t have time to read: her loss, my gain.

A self-help book that actually helps

This book was published in 2014, but its message is more relevant than ever today. It was written for those who have an “overwhelmed schedule and [are] aching with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.” It was written by the woman who created the Proverbs 31 Woman Ministries, so it is no surprise that her “message” is that there is a “big difference between saying yes to everyone and yes to God. ” Like Terkeust, I suffer from “the disease to please”–everyone, all the time. This, as the author points out, simply cannot be done. Her chapter …

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AT LEAST YOU HAVE YOUR HEALTH by Madi Sinha: A Review

I receive so many of the books I enjoy through trades with friends, donations from neighbors to my Little Free Library that I do not usually buy a book outright just for me to read. This one I ordered through Amazon because the magazine recommendation, for it sounded fresh and appealed to me.

Unusual characters, unusual plot, but familiar themes

This 2022 release begins with a peek at the home life of Maya Rao, a 36 year old gynecologist of Indian ethnicity, who is married to an unflappable college professor and has three kids under the age of 13. Like any mother, she wants only the best for her children, and will accept nothing less than greatness from them, putting pressure on them and on the family dynamic. To say Maya’s life is frantic would not be an understatement. She is driven, the typical type-A personality, ambitious, and feels guilt at not having enough time for her children. At her eldest daughter’s expensive private school’s car-pick-up line, she meets Amelia DeGilles. DeGilles is the wealthy, perfection-incarnate owner of a private health care company. She makes Maya an offer she can’t refuse, and even though Maya has misgivings about the new-age, very expensive health services, the money is too much to turn down. She takes Esther, her nurse-assistant from her current women’s clinic job and begins to practice women’s health services to rich, status-seeking, social climbing women.

When one of her clients takes Maya and Esther along as she seeks a “sea-birth” in Belize for her baby, things get exciting and dangerous for all involved. The ending is satisfying, and in the end Maya makes a good decision about her career and her family, and is even rewarded for rearranging her priorities.

I read this in a ebook, and it went very fast, always keeping my attention with action and touches of humor like the scene where Maya and the kids go through an automatic car wash with the windows down ,near the beginning, or the daughter’s description of a bullying mother as looking like the Little Mermaid. Overall, this book was refreshing and even delivered a couple of timely “messages” subtly as it unfolded an interesting plot.

SATURDAY MORNINGS FOR KIDS

Saturdays on PWR are like TV Programing in the 50s and 60s from about 6:30 a.m. until the 9:00 morning news–RESERVED FOR KIDS.

This Saturday have I got a book for thoughtful eight to twelve year olds! It is a two-time Newbery Medalist, Katherine Patterson’s novel who is a children’s author on the caliber of Madeline L’Engle. I remember the reactions of my sixth graders as they discovered her Bridge to Tarabithia when I was teaching kids in what seems like another lifetime.

A new girl in a new school, facing a new life, Birdie desperately wants to make friends.

This 2021 novel finds Elizabeth, aka Birdie, making a deal with God that she will “stop acting like a jerk” over her dad’s deployment to Iraq if He will protect and look out for her family, and above all not let her dad come to any harm. She goes to great lengths to keep her end of the bargain, even wearing a “I heart Jesus” T-shirt under her clothing at all times. Her prayers, her attempts to act like Jesus are stymied when she meets an aggressive girl in her new school class, Alicia Marie Suggs, whose insistence of using this name instead of the name the teachers and students referred to her by, and who immediately announces to Birdie that they are going to be best friends. Alicia constantly reminds Birdie of promises that Birdie knows she never made, and puts words in her mouth and ideas in Birdie’s head. Unsupervised and mysteriously alone most of the time, Alicia tells what obviously is not the truth, but Birdie makes excuses for her because she longs for a friend, any friend. Inside Birdie knows something is wrong at Alicia’s house, but she sluffs off any misgivings and suspicions.

All of us have been through a crisis of faith, but usually not at Birdie’s age. Fortunately, she has her wise grandmother, with whom she, her mother, and her baby brother have moved in with, to guide and support her.

This is a thought-provoking tale for modern times which is unusual in that it deals with spiritual beliefs and matters in a down-to-earth way.

RAE

Saturday July 9, 2022.

MEMOIR FOCUS

I am focusing for a moment today on memoirs. I have read over seventy memoirs since 2019, at one time requiring my Advanced Writing students to read one and to write a short one. I am about to ask my fall class (which is already full and hopefully, champing at the bit to begin writing) to read a memoir and write a good review of it. If things work out, especially if some turn them in early, I will share some with my readers.

One that appeared as a donation to my Little Free Library is Shasta Martin’s 2015 memoir, Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness. I didn’t know what to expect, except probably recipes, of which I was not disappointed, but the narrative itself was very moving and memorable–that’s where the “forgiveness” came in.

This was an honest memoir which presented the bad along with the good.

To say Martin had a “rough childhood” is putting it mildly. She lived in more than one foster home and was rejected from one which was supposed to become her forever home, a crushing blow. The book narrates a “journey of self-acceptance and discovery,” as Martin finds that cooking helps create her own happiness . At times, the author refused to trust her good luck in life, not accustomed to having good luck in her childhood. At times this memoir is heartbreaking, but at times it is redeeming as well.

We follow Martin’s “culinary journey” as she sets out to cook (and eat) food from every country in the world. This results in a “Global Table” event which is amazing and fulfilling to both the author and the reader. 195 recipes, 195 countries, 195 weeks made up her culinary endeavor, and as a reader, I was rooting for her along the whole way… You will too.

This turned out to be a darned good read!

There’s a lot to be learned about life as well as about cooking in this fascinating memoir.

HALLELUJAH ANYWAY by Anne Lamott: A Review

Anne Lamott writes honest, often humorous, always witty essays. She is one author I intend to read more of.

This 2017 publication, subtitled “Rediscovering Mercy” is one of Lamott’s bests. She defines mercy as “the promise to receive relief and forgiveness,” something we all need after the years of pandemic and shutdown. She also defines it as ” the medicine, the light that shines in dark places” and “lets us soften ever so slightly.” The purpose in this book is to help us understand each other, but in so doing, we come to understand ourselves.

Overall, it is a joyful book, and it is also (as Lamott always is) an honest one. I think it is a good tool to help us navigate scary, unsettled times that we find ourselves in currently. It “reveals through truths a path home.” And, that is where we all desire to go. Her words of wisdom are tempered in humor, and Lamott makes us want to find the joy she has found and shout, ‘Hallelujah Anyway!’ “

Borrowed image from another blogging friend who also spreads joy.

READING UPDATE: July 4th, 2022

This was finished yesterday.

A wonderful gift book whether you have a business or not. The principles work in business and in life.

From the author of The Lilac Girls, Martha all Kelly, Lost Roses.

STAND BY SOON FOR A REVIEW HERE ON PWR.

Reading this daily.

This author is always a favorite and never fails to deliver.

Still reading the daily selections and still enjoying them. I have learned so much from this book.

I have started two other books, but will not feature them at this time. One is non-fiction, the other memoir.

There are several books I WANT to start, just not enough time.

One I intend to look into soon is this one, written by an author I always admire,

HAS ANYONE READ THIS BOOK? HOW IS IT?

DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT PARIS IN JULY AT READERBUZZ!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz is doing Paris in July. Enjoy!



THAT’S A WRAP…