Saturday, January 10, 2015

It's No Surprise: Books Teach Life Lessons by Lee Ann Spillane

I love the Nerdy Book Club! Since joining this reading community three years ago, I've been connected to hundreds of kindred spirits from around the globe. A group of people who live, breathe, and eat the written word as I do. Each post is filled with a wealth of information, knowledge, and book love. Though I sometimes fall behind on reading my emails, I make sure to catch up on all missed Nerdy news because I know that whatever I read will feed my soul. Posts such as Lee Ann Spillane's does just that. Not only does it drive home the power of books, but it also demonstrates the impact of an international network of individuals sharing, learning, and reading.

“Stories define us and nourish us–intellectually, emotionally–
stories teach us to be human.” – Linda Reif, NCTE 2014

Friday, January 9, 2015

2015...My Year of More

Nine days into 2015 may seem odd to proclaim a course for the new year, yet it's just the right time for me.  On New Year's Eve, in response to a post on Author Amy Harmon's Facebook page, I replied "My New Year's promise is to do more...exercise more...write more." Never one to take new year's resolutions seriously, breaking any I happened to make failed to register in my consciousness. However, a shift...a change had come.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Christmas Dolls

Carol Beach York. Scholastic: New York. 1967. 96 pp.
Rating: Striking + 5 Scoops

Book Blurb: Florabelle is an old rag doll without shoes. Lily doesn't have any shoes either, and her head is on backward. A little girl, who can talk to dolls, sets out on a dark, snowy night to find a way to make them beautiful again. 

Like any child, I looked forward to the Fall/Winter holiday season. For me it signified big family dinners, approaching birthdays for my siblings and I, colorful lights, homemade decorations, presents, and Claymation cartoons. More than anything else, it signaled time to snuggle up with my two favorite Christmas stories, The Christmas Dolls and The Nutcracker

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

In Country

Bobbie Ann Mason. New York: Harper Perennial, 2005 (originally published 1985). 246 pp.
Rating: Decent + 5 Scoops

"My mother never told me much about him, what he was like or what his favorite food were or anything. I don't even know how tall he was or what kind of personality he had. He's just a face in a picture, but now I'm getting real curious." (64) 

To eighteen year-old Samantha Hughes, the Vietnam War is everywhere, but nowhere. Surrounded by her Uncle Emmett and his war buddies and with the blood of a Vietnam soldier running through her veins, Sam is on a mission to piece together the Vietnam War. Devouring every book, newspaper article, video report, and personal story she encounters, Sam attempts to reconstruct the life of a Vietnam soldier traipsing through the dense jungles of Vietnam. Although she's searching for answers to understand her Uncle Emmett's behavior, she hopes to learn about the father she never knew, and in the process find herself.  However, the road to truth means making peace with the past.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Are You Rich?

Amia at three-years old in all of her
independent glory.
Though it's been almost a whole entire 365 days, literally, since the incident, the memory still haunts me. Oh, the shame, the shame. Last Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2013, I missed an opportune teachable moment.

Back in 2011, I purchased my youngest sister's children their first journals. At that time, my nephew was 7 and my nieces were 5, 5, and 3. As I explained to them the many uses of a journal (i.e. creating lists, drawing, writing about their day or their feelings, etc.) my nephew, in all of his seven-year old wisdom, proudly proclaimed, "You write secrets in your diary." Then Amia, one of the twins, said "Stephanie, let me see your secrets," rendering me momentarily speechless."

Friday, November 14, 2014

Top 10 Books For Reluctant MG And YA Readers by F.T. Bradley

Originally posted on Nerdy Book Club. Another great top 10 list!

When I set out to write the Double Vision trilogy, I wasn't all that knowledgeable on reluctant readers, what books appealed to them, and why. All I wanted to do was write a fun, fast-paced thriller. The kind of book I would like to read if I was still twelve (okay, if we're honest: the kind of book I still like to read...)

But when I found myself the parent of a very reluctant tween reader, I got serious about understanding what makes kids turn away from books. More importantly: I wanted to figure out how to get those kids to pick up a book again. For fun.