Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

I read this book in two days. I made everybody go to Seven Peaks and ride the slides so I could read and read and read by the wave pool. (Reading by the pool is my favorite summer activity. Every now and then I get hot enough to dip in the pool for a bit, then I head back to my reading.) 

Sweet story of true friendship, regardless of color, and what makes a true friend. Also a really good look at an imperfect mother/daughter relationship, but both are trying to make it better.  Loved it. Highly recommended. (I think it is considered a YA novel, but it would be appropriate for a thoughtful nine year old . . .I'm recommending it to Coconut who is nearly ten years old.) 

What We've Been Reading (June and July 2013)

Wow, I blink, and it's been months since I have posted!

Summer is here and the reading is FUN!
I've been inspired by Nancie Atwell's The Reading Zone.

I did learn some new things, but mostly she just reinforced my passion for reading. My children love to read, but we get busy, so this summer we have been setting the timer for 30 minutes every day, to make sure that minimum is met. Plus, even if we are getting to bed late (which happens 85 percent of the time, okay 90 percent!) I've decided to let them have at least 15 minutes of reading time in bed.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. StedmenI was lucky to have this count toward two different book clubs in a one month period. I liked this book. The struggle with the consequences of dishonesty is real and heart wrenching. The ending is shows justice and mercy . . . thought provoking summer reading!

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom I had an old friend pass away unexpectedly due to complications from childbirth at the beginning of the summer. I checked out her goodreads page and read the most recent book that she had discussed in some way to remember her and honor her. It was a compelling book. I kept talking about it with Mr. BookDiva. I tad on the depressing side (life was just hard for everyone in the Old South . . .), but a worthwhile novel.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 
I read this for my neighborhood book group. It was such a fun read. I knew Dancegirl would love it. There is nothing bad, except one or two swear words in the first three chapters, and the plot is unique, compelling and fairly clean (there is a kissing scene), yet complex and intriguing. So, I read it aloud to her for the first 70 pages (so we could skip over the bad words), and she's been happily snuggling up with it ever since. 

Dancegirl and I don't have a current novel we are reading together . . . we keep starting, but nothing is compelling enough right now for her . . . Sigh. I've got some good ideas going, there is still hope!

I've read several of the Harry Potter books this summer in anticipation of Scholar Lit, plus a ton of books ABOUT Harry Potter. Fascinating reading. I think I will do a complete post on it! 

Watership Down by Richard Adams 
I wanted to like this. It came highly recommend from a literary friend. It's on a ton of lists of classics children should read. And I get on some level that it isn't really about animals (rabbits), but I just couldn't get into it. I am not an animal lover. Maybe I will try again someday. 

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Cupcake typically likes me to read an entire book with her. Even if she is loving it, she prefers that we finish it together. (Contrast that with Dancegirl, who only likes some of the things I start reading to her, then eagerly grabs them away at page 50 or so to read on her own, leaving me to winnow out another book that will entice her to listen for an entire 50 pages.) But this book was different and  Cupcake wanted to finish on her own. She came up to my room bawling (This is the girl who prides herself on NOT crying at books.) "This book is really good. I mean REALLY good. Hurry and read it so we can talk about it." I did. Excellent book, great story, quality writing, happy, family friendly, feel good story. 

Now Cupcake and I are reading Straw Into Gold by Gary D. Schmidt.

Gary Schmidt is a FAVORITE author at our house.  (He wrote The Wednesday Wars and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy.) This is one of his early works.  Cupcake had a solo as the Miller's Daughter in our dance studio's annual show, so we are reading it in honor of that dance. It's quite good. We keep reading a little bit extra, because the twists in the story or so unpredictable and we need to know what happens next! 

Coconut and I are reading a Newbery Honor Winner, Bomb by Steve Shienkin. 
This is a non-fiction book that reads like an adventure novel. I feel like I'm learning so much. We are really enjoying it. 

Lala and I are reading two excellent books (just in case we are downstairs we have one handy, then another for upstairs) The Middle Moffat by Eleanor Estes (a Newbery Honor winner) and Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright 
Both books are such sweet stories of hard-working, good, loving families working hard and living their lives, making decisions, and helping others. Love them! 

We've also been reading a lot of Shakespeare. We are getting ready to head to Cedar City for our annual trip to the Shakespeare Festival (this year it is doubling as a family reunion celebrating Mr. BookDiva's 40th birthday.) We've read The Tempest and Love's Labour's Lost (the plays and the stories by Charles and Mary Lamb and Marchette Chute.) and Isaac Asimov's marvelous book about Shakespeare, probably the most used reference book on my shelves. 

Happy Reading!

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