Tuesday, April 30, 2019

41. Maneuver by Chelle Bliss

(Men of Ink: Southside #1)
listened on Audible
read by Erin Mallon and Lance Greenfield
Unabridged audio (5:29)
2018 self published?
Audio only
Adult Romance
Finished 4/30/19
Goodreads rating:  4.13 - 3054 ratings
My rating:  1/Crappy

My comments:  What a ridiculously silly piece of sexy fluff.  There is so much better out there!  Probably the un-believable story I have ever read.  The female reader was abominable, the ending to all of her words were long and drawn out tna just horrible to listen to.  Horrible.

Goodreads synopsis:  This isn’t how fairy tales typically begin, but it’s where mine starts…
     No money, no phone, and abandoned on the streets of Chicago.
     With my baby in my arms, I wander into a bar in a shady neighborhood and ask to use their phone.
     When my father turns us away and completely disowns me, the bar owner, and total hottie, offers us a place to stay…no strings attached.
     I’m leery at first.    
     Hot alpha guy.
     Down on her luck single mother.
     I mean, who wouldn’t be wary?
     Lucio Gallo isn’t like most men, though. He’s fiercely protective, loyal, and did I mention he’s covered in nothing but muscle?
     Above all else, he’s everything I need but never knew I wanted.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

39. The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

Listened on Audible
read by Andrew Wincott, Esther Wane, Sarah Feathers, Anjana Vason
Unabridged audio (10:32)
2019 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
352 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 4/28/19
Goodreads rating: 4.06 - 2669 ratings
My rating:  3.5
Setting: Contemporary England

First line/s: "If you'll permit me, said the Stranger, I'd like to tell you a story."

My comments:  I've read other Eli Griffiths books and greatly enjoyed them...and I enjoyed this one too, just not quite as much.  There were three major voices in the story, and three different voices narrated it, which was nice.  It kept skipping quickly between those voices and would probably have been a little more confusing without the change of speaker.  A fourth voice was that of a deep, old-fashioned British male voice reading the short story, "The Stranger," divided into four or five short parts, which were inserted here and there throughout the book.  Plot points overlapped, they didn't flow - each speaker didn't pick up and continue in the same place that the previous speaker stopped.  This was disconcerting at times.  And I had deep uncertainties about Claire which were difficult to let go - how many mothers would happily let their 15-year-old daughter date a 21-year-old man, no matter how much of a sweetheart he was?  Having this sort of cloud hanging over the head of one of the protagonists was hard to shake.  And even though everything was wrapped up by the end, it seemed as if something was missing.  Hmmmm.  Oh well.  It was in interesting mystery.....

Goodreads synopsis:  From the author of the beloved Ruth Galloway series, a modern gothic mystery for fans of Magpie Murders and The Lake House.
          Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favourite literature. 
          To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn't hers, left on the page of an old diary: "Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me." 
          Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?

Saturday, April 27, 2019

A Parcel of Poems: An Anthology of Poems Volume II

A Second Anthology of Classroom Favorites
Limited Edition, 4 copies, 2011
self-published
31 poems
Ocotillo Publishing, Tucson AZ

Asch, Frank:  Sunflakes
Baylor, Byrd:  Coyote
Bryan, Ashley:  Song
Curie, Robert:  The Home Place
Dotlich, Rebecca Kai:  Classroom Globe
Farjeon, Eleanor:  A Dragonfly
Field, Rachel:  If Once You Have Slept on an Island
Fletcher, Ralph:  Poetry
Florian, Douglas:  Don't!
Frost, Robert:  The Road Not Taken
Hahn, Mary Lee:  Reading is Breathing
Hindley, Judy:  Green
Hughes, Langston: Dreams
Klein, A. M.:  Orders
Lansky, Bruce: Lost
Livingston, Myra Cohn:  The Night
Mansfield, Katherine: Butterfly Laughter
Nye, Naomi Shihab:  The Traveling Onion
Ozer, Kemal (Turkey): At the Beach
Paul, Ann Whitford: California Missions
Prelutsky, Jack:  Alligators are Unfriendly
Rossetti, Christina:  Who Has Seen the Wind?
Schertle, Alice:  Lizard
Schroc, Priscilla:  Grandmother's Parlor
Shields, Carol Diggory:  The First Americans
Singer, Marilyn:  Desert
Spinelli, Eileen:  When Grandma Comes
Teasdale, Sara:  May Night
The Only Cin: Overload
Thompson, Dorothy Brown:  Maps
Sarah, a fourth grader in PA:  One Class

A Packet of Poems: An Anthology of Poems Volume I

An Anthology of Classroom Favorites
Limited edition, 4 copies, 2005
self-published
29 poems
Ocotillo Publishing, Tucson AZ
Editor (C. Graves), D. Garaventa, F. Howley,

Dickinson, Emily: If I can stop one heart from breaking
Farjeon, Eleanor:  There Isn't Time
Field, Rachel:  Some People
Fisher, Lillian M:  My Desert Home
Frost, Robert:  Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Ghinga, Charles:  Pigs
Giovanni, Nikki:  knoxville, tennessee
Greenfield, Eloise:  Things
Hopkins, Lee Bennett:  The Museum Door
Hubbell, Patricia: On My Island
Hughes, Langston: April Rain Song
Katz, Bobbi: Poems
Kuskin, Karla:  Rules
Lamm, C. Drew:  Watercolor Maine
Lear, Edward:  There Was an Old Man with a Beard
Lee, Dennis:  Muddy Puddle
Lesser, Carolyn: A Walk in the Woods
Livingston, Myra Cohn:  Why?
Merriam, Eve:  How to Eat a Poem
Mora, Pat: This Big Sky
Prelustky, Jack:  Homework!  Oh Homework!
Prelustky, Jack:  My Gerbil Seemed Bedraggled
Richards, Laura E.:  Eletelephony
Sandburg, Carl:  Fog
Shakespeare, William: Sonnet 18
Siebert, Diane: from Mojave
Silverstein, Shel:  Eighteen Flavors
Williams, William Carlos:  This is Just to Say
Zolotow, Charlotte:  People

Thursday, April 25, 2019

40. Desert Run by Betty Webb

#4 Lena Jones, Scottsdale, AZ Investigator
read on my iPhone
2006, Poisoned Pen Press
346 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery
Finished 4/25/19
Goodreads rating:  3.90 - 332 ratings
My rating: 3.5
Setting:  Contemporary Scottsdale, AZ

First line/s:  "It was a good day to film but a bad day to die."

My comments:  It took me awhile to get into this story, but it grew on me as more and more information about the characters unfolded.  In 1944, 28 German POWs escaped from the American prison camp called Camp Papago in Scottsdale, AZ.  This is the story of the murder of one of those prisoners 60 years later, and the domino effect that had Lena Jones hot on the trail.  It also includes a bit of romance for herself, albeit with a great deal of untrusting on her part, and the loss and near-loss of two friends essential in her life.  Decent storytelling.

Goodreads synopsis:  Things are never easy for Scottsdale private eye Lena Jones. Her partner in Desert Investigations, Jimmy Siswan, is leaving for an upscale wife and a job at Sun Microsystems. Her old Captain at the Scottsdale PD is off home to Brooklyn. She's doing security for Warren Quinn, director of a documentary being shot at Papago Park about the German POW camp and the ""great escape"" of Christmas Eve, 1944, when some prisoners tunneled out and fled. And one surviving escapee, Kapitan zur Zee Erik Ernst, a man in his nineties confined to a wheelchair after a boating accident, has just been murdered. Worse, his Ethiopian care giver begs Lena to clear him.
          Lena, experienced in probing the past for answers to the central mystery of her own life--who is she?--learns that Ernst and two other POWs hid out in the rugged Superstitions. Nearby, on Christmas night, a whole farm family, the Bollingers, was slaughtered. A jury didn't convict the only survivor, the teenage son. What might Chess Bollinger know about Ernst--and vice versa? And how much can Lena trust Quinn, either as a client, a witness, or a lover?
     A complex, stunning case based on real Arizona history, journalist Betty Webb, author of Desert Noir, Desert Wives, and Desert Run, spins an evocative, haunting story.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

PICTURE BOOK - The Book With No Pictures by B. J. Novak

Illustrated by NO ONE!  There are not pictures, duh!
2014 Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Group
HC $17.99
44 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.35 - 18,099 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers:  Silly words in light gray on white
Illustrations:  None!
1st line/s:  "This is a book with no pictures.  It might seem like no fun to have someone read you a book with no pictures.  It probably seems boring and serious.  Except..."

My comments: This books BEGS, BEGS, BEGS to be read aloud!  What a fun, funny book.  Three cheers!

Goodreads:   A book with no pictures? 
     What could be fun about that?
     After all, if a book has no pictures, there's nothing to look at but the words on the page.
     Words that might make you say silly sounds... In ridiculous voices...
     Hey, what kind of book is this, anyway?
     At once disarmingly simple and ingeniously imaginative, The Book With No Pictures inspires laughter every time it is opened, creating a warm and joyous experience to share--and introducing young children to the powerful idea that the written word can be an unending source of mischief and delight.
 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Later-in-April 2019 Postcards Received

1963.  Sunny California
Hello from Sunny California!  I work for the post office here and Postcrossing is like job security :)
Best wishes, Elizabeth

1962.  Mason City, Iowa
Greetings from Mason City, Iowas, in the iddle of the corn belt.  Mason City is the birthplace of Meredith Willson, the composter of "The Music Man" and "The Unsinkable Molly Brown."  Needless to say the community is nuts about music.  I refer to Diet Coke as "My Preciousssss!"  Best wishes from the Priaire, Gary

1959.  Germany
Mary Cassatt (1844-1926)
Young Lady Reading
Hello Chris, I hope you'll like this card.  I like reading on my sofa, too.  Only I wear much more comfortable clothes!  Best wishes, Sabine

1958.  Bremen, Germany

1957.  Greetings from the UNITED KINGDOM
Greetings from England, Chris!  I'm Adam, I'm 24 and i'm currently studying for master's in Latin American Studies  On the 24th I'll go to Brazil to do some research.  Happy (early/belated) Birthday!

1951.  Chatham, Kent, ENGLAND
Pillar to Post (1980-new-style box)
Reproduced from a stamp designed by Silk Pearce, engraved by Czeslaw Slania and issued by Royal Mail on 8 October 2002
Hi, I am a retired high school teacher.  I volunteer once a week to help children with their reading.  That gives me time to indulge my love of travelling.  Julian (who has sent and received over 10,000 postcards through Postcrossing!)

1950.  St Petersburg, RUSSIA
Postcrossing Meet-Up
 23.03.19

1949.  Old Jewish Cemetery in Wroclaw, POLAND
Stary Cemntarz Zydowski Muzeum Sztuki Cmentarnej
Odzial Muzeum Miejskiego Wroclawia
I am sending you a postcard depicting The Old Jewish Cemetery in Wroclaw, old medieval city in southwestern Poland.  I lie and work in Warsaw.  Best, Marek

Thursday, April 11, 2019

38. The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

Listened to audio - borrowed from CCLS
read by Imogen Church
Unabridged audio (8:58) borrowed from CCLS
2018 St. Martin's Press
304 pgs.
Adult CRF
Finished 4/11/2019
Goodreads rating: 4.06 - 8976 ratings
My rating:4.5
Setting: contemporary York, England

First line/s: "A book is the match in the smoking second between strike and flame."

My comments:  This story was told by hopping back and forth between 1999, 2013, and 2016.  Intricate characters were developed as the protagonist, Loveday Cardew told her story.  Abusive relationships, mental illness, foster care, grief and despair, forgiveness and love of all sorts are the main themes of the fascinating story  Another winner.  The only not-so-great part was that the reader's voice sounded much older than that of a 25-year-old.  Quite disconcerting, although she read it beautifully.

Goodreads synopsis:  The Lost for Words Bookshop is a compelling, irresistible, and heart-rending novel, perfect for fans of The Storied Life of AJ Fikryand The Little Paris Bookshop.
          Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never, ever show you. Into her hiding place - the bookstore where she works - come a poet, a lover, and three suspicious deliveries. Someone has found out about her mysterious past. Will Loveday survive her own heartbreaking secrets?

Picture Book: A Castle on Viola Street by DyAnne DiSalvo

Illustrated by the author
2001 Harper Collins
Looks like it may be out-of-print
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.07 - 56 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers:  White

1st line/s:   "In the old days, before I ws ten, we rented an apartment on Emerald Street.  It was a small place to live in for one whole family, but somehow we made the room."

My comments:  To find such a lovely picture book about Habitat for Humanity-type building and receiving is a real treat and a wonderful treasure!  Great story AND illustrations that depict a wonderful family of five.

GoodreadsAndy is so used to his family's small, run-down apartment that he has never imagined living anywhere else--especially not in a new house with a garden and a porch. Such houses seem like castles to him.
          But when he hears about an organization that turns abandoned houses into homes, he discovers that his castle isn't in the clouds--it's on Viola Street. And with some hard work and community caring, it could be his very own.
          DyAnne DiSalvo combines new faces with familiar ones from earlier stories in this warm, vibrant tale about the good things that come when a whole family pitches in to make a better life for themselves.

Books that Talk about Artists

Haring, Keith
Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing (Haring/Neubecker) 2017 (5)
     A wonderful biography for kids about Keith Haring that includes lots and lots of his original work, and is beautifully illustrated by Neubecker.  A favorite.
The Stories of the Mona Lisa (Barsony) 2012 (4)
          Barsony shows how he thinks other famous artists would have painted the Mona Lisa, including Keith Haring.

Picasso, Pablo
13 Artists Children Should Know (Wenzel) 2009 (5)
          A wonderful model for further research and writing...each of the thirteen artist pages include famous painting/s, kid-friendly information and anecdotes about the artist, tips, and further reading suggestions.  There's also a "try this' for each artist!
Emily's Blue Period (Daly/Brown) 2014 (5)
           A picture book about divorce...a young girl follows the example of Pablo Picasso and creates a collage of her "home."
Math at the Art Museum (Group Majoongmul) 2015 (4)
          Many famous artists are portrayed in this art book, which include works of art and perspective about the art and the artist. 

Picture Book: Emily's Blue Period by Cathleen Daly

Illustrated by Lisa Brown
2014.  A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press
HC $17.99
56 pgs. (5 tiny short chapters, still reads as a picture book)
Goodreads rating:  405 - 1204 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers:  pale slate
Illustrations:  Lots of white, very much like

1st line/s:  "Emily wants to be an artist."

My comments: An excellent picture book for kids who live in a divorced-family situation as well as a nice introduction to the artwork of Pablo Picasso.  Written in five teeny, tiny short chapters and although there are 56 pages, it still reads as a picture book in one easy sitting. Lots of discussion and art projects (including collage-making) can be created after reading this....

GoodreadsEmily wants to be an artist. She likes painting and loves the way artists like Pablo Picasso mixed things up.Emily's life is a little mixed up right now. Her dad doesn't live at home anymore, and it feels like everything around her is changing.
          “When Picasso was sad for a while,” says Emily, “he only painted in blue. And now I am in my blue period.”
          It might last quite some time.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

37. Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

I read the actual hard-covered book, only the second one so far this year.
2018, Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Random House
176 pgs.
Middle Grade Realistic Contemporary Fiction
Finished  4/9/19
Goodreads rating:  4.30 - 3971 ratings
My rating:  3
Setting:  Contemporary Brooklyn, NY

First line/s:  "We think they took my papi."

My comments:  Hmmm.  This book is beautifully crafted, with kids opening up to each other in loving, generous ways.  But I have a few misgivings about it.  The six kids portrayed all have different difficulties, experiences, ethnicities ... too many to make it seem at all real, just convenient for a good story.  It's never revealed why they are all put into a "special" class of only six kids.  There seem to be no (or very few) learning disabilities, physical disabilities or particular special needs.  So why are they "special?"  I taught fifth grade for years, and I can't quite imagine something like this taking place without more goofing around, hurt feelings occasionally, more misunderstandings....  I feel badly that I can't rate it any higher, there are just too many things I'm left bothered by.
     Note:  The dialogue was not put within quotation marks, but italicized.  I really liked this.

Goodreads synopsis:  Jacqueline Woodson's first middle-grade novel since National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming celebrates the healing that can occur when a group of students share their stories.
          It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat—by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for "A Room to Talk"), they discover it's safe to talk about what's bothering them—everything from Esteban's father's deportation and Haley's father's incarceration to Amari's fears of racial profiling and Ashton's adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.

Picture Book - Emmanuel's Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson

The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
Illustrated by  Sean Qualls
2015, Schwartz & Wade Books, Random House Children's Books
HC $17.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.38 - 2051 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers: A smudgy pinky, dusty solid

1st line/s
"In Ghana, West Africa, a baby boy was born:
Two bright eyes blinked in the light,
two healthy lungs let oout a powerful cry,
two tiny fists opened and closed,
but only one strong leg kicked."

My comments: ONE PERSON CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.  This true story shows this  completely.  Born with a useless leg, Emmanuel was treated as and considered a beggar with no worth, but he wanted to EARN his way in the world.  This story shows how he really did make a difference, by proving to everyone that physical disabilities do not change a person's worth.  He biked - with one leg - for 400 miles across Ghana and had it recorded.  Because of his persistence and drive, Ghana's disability laws were changed!  This book is written really well and I totally enjoy the accompanying illustrations. A surefire winner for any "Making a Difference in the World" study!

Goodreads:  This picture book biography tells the true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, who bicycled across Ghana--nearly 400 miles--with only one leg. With that achievement he forever changed how his country treats people with disabilities, and he shows us all that one person is enough to change the world.

POEM: Kids Who Are Different by Digby Wolfe

Kids Who Are Different

Here's to the kids who are different,
The kids who don't always get A's.
The kids who have ears twice the size of their peers',
And noses that go on for days . . .

Here's to the kids who are different,
The kids they call crazy or dumb,
The kids who don't fit, with the guts and the grit,
Who dance to a different drum . . .

Here's to the kids who are different,
The kids with the mischievous streak,
For when they have grown, as history's shown,
It's their difference that makes them unique.

                                     ~Digby Wolfe

Monday, April 8, 2019

Picture Book - Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay A. Haring

Illustrated by  Robert Neubecker
2017 Dial Books for Young Readers
HC $16.99
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.20 - 560 ratings
My rating:  5 (and NOT just because he's one of my favorite artists!)
Endpapers:  White background with Haring's people/animals, movement lines completely covering it.  There must be a name for this piece?
Illustrations:  Both Neubecker's illustrations of Keith and his life, with lots and lots of actual reproductions of Keith Haring's work.

1st line/s:   "There was a boy named Keith.  When he was little, his father taught him how to draw dogs and fish and funny things.  His dad would draw a line.  Then Keith would draw one.  Soon the whole page would be full.  From that time on, Keith never stopped drawing."  This end-part, "Keith never stopped drawing" was repeated throughout the book.

My comments: What a wonderful book to tell the story of Keith Haring to kids!  Not only do I love the way it's written, but I'm really taken with the illustrations...they compliment the story perfectly.  Including so many of Haring's actual artwork is a wonderful plus.  I've read this book over and over since it first came out, I really enjoy it.  And there's so much to learn about the person that Keith Haring was.  At the end there are four pages of author's notes, information about Haring, and photos of Keith and his siblings, the kind of additional information that will satisfy adult readers!

GoodreadsThis one-of-a-kind book explores the life and art of Keith Haring from his childhood through his meteoric rise to fame. It sheds light on this important artist's great humanity, his concern for children, and his disregard for the establishment art world. Reproductions of Keith's signature artwork appear in scenes boldly rendered by Robert Neubecker. This is a story to inspire, and a book for Keith Haring fans of all ages to treasure.

Picture Book - She Made a Monster by Lynn Fulton

How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein
Illustrated by Felicita Sala
2018, Alfred A. Knopf
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.02 - 396 ratings
My rating:  3.5
Endpapers:  Dark Green
Illustrations:  Mostly black & white with small amounts of faded-out color
1st line/s:  'Two hundred years ago, on a wild, stormy night, in a beautiful house on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, a young woman named Mary sat at her dressing table.  She and her friends were staying in the house for the season, visiting Lord Byron, the famous English poet.  Mary could hear the others still talking downstairs while she brushed her hair by candlelight, thinking of stories: stories she'd read, stories she'd heard, stories she wanted to tell."

My comments: Not only is this a book that can be used to introduce Frankenstein to a high school class, but also for elementary kids to get an introduction to the actual book - not the movie - of Frankenstein.  In my opinion it's a little choppy, but interesting and fairly easy to follow.  The pictures are dark, but so is the story of Frankenstein, so....

GoodreadsOn the bicentennial of Frankenstein, join Mary Shelley on the night she created the most frightening monster the world has ever seen.
          On a stormy night two hundred years ago, a young woman sat in a dark house and dreamed of her life as a writer. She longed to follow the path her own mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, had started down, but young Mary Shelley had yet to be inspired.
          As the night wore on, Mary grew more anxious. The next day was the deadline that her friend, the poet Lord Byron, had set for writing the best ghost story. After much talk of science and the secrets of life, Mary had gone to bed exhausted and frustrated that nothing she could think of was scary enough. But as she drifted off to sleep, she dreamed of a man that was not a man. He was a monster.
          This fascinating story gives readers insight into the tale behind one of the world's most celebrated novels and the creation of an indelible figure that is recognizable to readers of all ages.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Picture Book - Under the Bodhi Tree: A Story of the Buddha by Deborah Hopkinson

Illustrated by  Kailey Whitman
2018, Sounds True, Boulder, CO
HC $17.95
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.27 - 41 ratings
My rating:  4
Endpapers:  Three shades of simple bodhi leaves floating down the page of cream

1st line/s:  "In a long-ago time and a faraway place, a baby boy was born.  His name ws Prince Siddhartha."

My comments:  This lovely, simple, peaceful beginning-of-a-biography is a wonderful introduction to the Buddha.  It sets the stage for further inquiry and information, and it sets that stage with a certain mindfulness that perfectly accentuates the entire subject!  I'm a fan, and I want to learn more.

From the Jacket Cover (there is no GoodReads summary):  Who was the Buddha?  Once upon a time in ancient India, a prince was born.  His name was Siddhartha, and one day he would inherit a powerful kingdom.  His father tried to protect him from the suffering and hardship beyond the palace walls, but just like children everywhere, the prince longed to see the world.
     Under the Bodhi Tree is the story of a boy and his journey for understanding that eventually led him to the path of peace.  Told in lyrical language, this excellent introduction to the story of the Buddha is beautifully illustrated and perfect for children who are curious about the real people who made history.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

PICTURE BOOK - So Tall Within by Gary D. Schmidt

Sojourner Truth's Long Walk Toward Freedom
Illustrated by Daniel Minter
2018, Roaring Brook Press
$18.99 HC
48 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.51 - 282 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers:  Solid rusty cranberry

Dedication from the author:  For Ashley Bryan, with gratitude for a long friendship

1st line/sPoetry:  "In Slavery Time, when Hope was a deed waiting to be planted,"
Prose:  "Isabella lived in a cellar where the windows never let the sun in and the floorboards never dept the water out."

My comments:  Okay, I loved this book.  Poetry, prose, and good storytelling. Lovely illustrations. Gary Schmidt makes this historical woman real, which is such a difficult thing to do.  Making real people from the past come to life is something not many people can do well, ti's certainly done well here.  What an inspiration!

Goodreads:  From celebrated author Gary D. Schmidt comes a picture book biography of a giant in the struggle for civil rights, perfectly pitched for readers today.
          Sojourner Truth was born into slavery but possessed a mind and a vision that knew no bounds. So Tall Within traces her life from her painful childhood through her remarkable emancipation to her incredible leadership in the movement for rights for both women and African Americans. Her story is told with lyricism and pathos by Gary D. Schmidt, one of the most celebrated writers for children in the twenty-first century, and brought to life by award winning and fine artist Daniel Minter. This combination of talent is just right for introducing this legendary figure to a new generation of children.

Movie - Five Feet Apart

PG-13 (1:56)
Wide release March 15, 2019: Streaming 6/11/19
Viewed April 6, 2019 with Ella Bella
IMBd: 7.2
RT Critic:  55  Audience:   79
Critic's Consensus:  Elevated considerably by Haley Lu Richardson's performance but bogged down by clichés, Five Feet Apart doesn't tug at the heartstrings quite as deftly as it should.
Cag:  4 Liked more than I care to admit, despite the tears....
Directed by Justin Baldoni
CBS Films
Based on the book by Rachael Lippincott

Haley Lou Richardson, Cole Sprouse

My comments:  I did not...I repeat I did NOT want to go see this movie, but Laura didn't want to either, so guess who took the person who really, really wanted to see it?  I knew it would be a tearjerker and I certainly wasn't wrong.  First half of the movie was great, learned a lot about cystic fibrosis.  I greatly enjoyed the splendid cast.  The second half of the movie is when all the tearjerking started.  Very poignant.  You could hear the sniffling and nose blowing throughout the theater.  Ella grabbed my hand many times.  She tried not to sob.  She'd read the book, so she knew what was going to happen and when I asked she said the movie was following the book fairly well.  I learned a lot, shed tears I did not want to shed, and was left terribly depressed.  How to rate?  Tough.  If I went with my emotions it would be very low, but it was well-done and memorable with terrific acting.

RT/ IMDb Summary:  Seventeen-year-old Stella spends most of her time in the hospital as a cystic fibrosis patient. Her life is full of routines, boundaries and self-control all of which get put to the test when she meets Will, an impossibly charming teen who has the same illness. There's an instant flirtation, through restrictions dictate that they must maintain a safe distance between them. As their connection intensifies, so does the temptation to throw the rules out the window and embrace that attraction.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

36. Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith

Listened on Audible - in my library
read by Anthony Mark Barrow and Karissa Vacker
Unabridged audio (8:23)
2019 Delacorte Press
271 pgs.
YA CRF
Finished 4/4/2019
Goodreads rating: 4.06 - 882 ratings
My rating:  4
Setting: England & NY State, then cross country from NYC thru Chicago, Denver, to SF.

First line/s:  "Mae wakes, as she does each morning, to the sound of a train."

My comments:  When I read the synopsis for this book I was quite excited because traveling cross-country is my all-time favorite thing to do, or read about, or even think about.  The book was a lot more than that.  It was full of emotion and thoughtfulness, family and love.  Two very different families from two different parts of the world - a girl raised by two dads and her loving Nana in New York; and a boy from Surrey, England, who is the youngest in a group of famous sextuplets who has never - ever - been on his own.  Once I let go of the idea that this would be an adventurous summary of the sights and sounds across the United States, I let myself become absorbed in the thoughtful reverie of these two wonderful young people..  It was a good read, although not at all what I had anticipated.

Goodreads synopsis:  Having just been dumped by his girlfriend, British-born Hugo is still determined to take his last-hurrah-before-college train trip across the United States. One snag: the companion ticket is already booked under the name of his ex, Margaret Campbell. Nontransferable, no exceptions.
            Enter the new Margaret C. (Mae for short), an aspiring filmmaker with big dreams. After finding Hugo's spare ticket offer online, she's convinced it's the perfect opportunity to expand her horizons.
            When the two meet, the attraction is undeniable, and both find more than they bargained for. As Mae pushes Hugo to explore his dreams for his future, he'll encourage her to channel a new, vulnerable side of her art. But when life off the train threatens the bubble they've created for themselves, will they manage to keep their love on track?

Books about the Jewish Life and Experience

Adult:

Novels:
          Sotah (Ragen) 1992 Hasidic Jerusalem (4)

Historical Fiction:
         Museum of Extraordinary Things, The (Hoffman) 2014 (5)
          People of the Book (Brooks) 2008 (5) Back & Forth into History

Mysteries:
          Book of Names, The (Gregory & Tintori) 2007 (3)
           Invisible City (#1 Rebekah Roberts) Dahl, 2014 (4)
           Moses Expedition, The (Gomez-Jurado) 2010 (2)
           Run You Down (#2 Rebekah Roberts) Dahl

Young Adult:
         Bottle in the Gaza Sea, A (Zenatti) 2005 (5)
          Hired Girl, The (Schlitz) 2015 (4.5)
          Hush (Chayil) 2010 (4) OLDER YA

Middle Grades:
          Anne Frank Case, The (Rubin) 2009 (3.5)
          Brooklyn Bridge (Hesse) 2008 (5)
          Hereville (Graphic Novel) (Deutsch) 2010 (5)
          Who Was Albert Einstein? (Parker) 2002

Picture Books:

Hanukkah
          All-of-a-Kind-Family Hanukkah (Jenkins/Zelinsky) 2018 (4)
          Hanukkah Moon (daCoste) 2007 (3)
          Papa's Latke's (Edwards/Shuett) 2004 (5)
          Trees of Dancing Goats, The (Polacco) 2015? (4.5)
Holocaust
          Always Remember Me: How One Family Survived World War II (Russo) 2005 (5)
          Benno and the Night of Broken Glass (Wiviott/Bisaillon) 2010 (5)
          Let the Celebrations Begin! (Wild/Vivas) 1991 (5)
          Secret Seder, The (Rappaport/McCully) 2005 (4)
Immigration/Emigration
          Anna & Solomon (SnyderBloss) 2014 (4)
          Emma's Poem (Glaser) 2010 (4.5)
          Gittel's Journey (Newman/Bates) 2019 (4)
          Yuvi's Candy Tree (Simpson/Porter) 2011 (3.5)
Just for Fun/General
          Beautiful Yetta, the Yiddish Chicken (D. Pinkwater/ J. Pinkwater) 2010 (4.5)
          Hat for Mrs. Goldman, A (Edwards/Karas) 2016 (5)
          Someone for Mr. Sussman (Polacco) 2008
          Snow in Jerusalem (daCosta/VanWright & Hu) 2001 (4)
Passover
          Longest Night: A Passover Story (Snyder/Chien) 2013 (4)
          The Passover (Ziefert/Gudeon) 2010
          Secret Seder, The (Rappaport/McCully)
          Tale of Two Seders, A (Portnoy/Sis) 2010 (4)
          Yankee at the Seder, The (Weber/Gustavson) 2009 (4.5)
Purim
          Story of Queen Esther, The (Koralek/Holderness) 2009 (4)
Shabbat
          Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher (Snyder/Goldin) 2010 (5)
          Shabbat Puppy, The (Kimmelman/Zollars) 2012 (3.5)
Sukkot
          Shanghai Sukkah (Hyde/Tsong) 2015 (4)
Tashlich
          Tashlich at Turtle Rock (Schnur & Schnur-Fishman/Steele-Morgan) 2010 (5)
Tzedakah
          How Dalia Put a Big Yellow Comforter Inside a Tiny Blue Box (Heller//McQueen) TZEDAKAH, 2011 (4)

PICTURE BOOK - Gittel's Journey: An Ellis Island Story by Leslea Newman

Illustrated by  Amy June Bates
2019, Abrams Books for Young Readers
HC $17.99
40 light brown pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.18- 114 ratings
My rating:  4
Endpapers:  Woodcut ship/waves/sky/statue of liberty on blue
Borders of each page look like woodcuts, and there are larger prints of candlesticks and the statue of liberty on their own endpages.
Illustrations:  
1st line/s:  " 'Gittel, will you write to me from America?' Raisa asked."

My comments:  This is a touching story, one that has been told in some version over and over.  This time, however, it's not a family coming to a new land, it's one single nine-year-old girl.  I can't even imagine, but it's based on a true story, although the "true story" girl was a few years older. Local illustrator Amy June Bates did a wonderful job with the illustrations, which include some lovely block prints (I do enjoy block prints!) Quite a bit of text, but the story is told well so that even quite young children will understand.

Goodreads:  Gittel and her mother were supposed to immigrate to America together, but when her mother is stopped by the health inspector, Gittel must make the journey alone. Her mother writes her cousin’s address in New York on a piece of paper. However, when Gittel arrives at Ellis Island, she discovers the ink has run and the address is illegible! How will she find her family? Both a heart-wrenching and heartwarming story, Gittel’s Journey offers a fresh perspective on the immigration journey to Ellis Island. The book includes an author’s note explaining how Gittel’s story is based on the journey to America taken by Lesléa Newman’s grandmother and family friend.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Early April, 2019 Postcards

1942.  Bonn, Germany
Kaiserliches Postamt Bonn 1879 (Old German Post Office)
Moin Chris,  I'm 45 y.o. and live with my lovely family in the 6th largest town of Schleswig-Holstein (SH) in the northernmost federal state of Germany.  Last week I visit with my husband and a girlfriend the "Leipziger Buchmesse."  (note from cag:  this is the Leipzig Book Festival, a huge event) It was really nice, but also really busy.  Best wishes from Mannela

1941.  Jacksonville, Florida
Ralston, NB:  92-year-old Grandma Hayes attributes her long life and good health to the fact that five pipefuls of tobacco are daily smoked by her!"  1925
Hello Chris, My name is Casey and I live in Jacksonville, FL.  I work as a tugboat captain along the Atlantic Coast.  Peace.

1940.  Southern Coast of England
Johannes Vermeer "Woman in Blue Reading a Letter" c. 1664
Hi Chris  I hope you like this painting.  The woman may not be reading a book but it looks as if she's completely engrossed by her letter.  I live, very quietly, in a small town near the sout coast of England.  I enjoy crochet but I've completely failed to get my mind (or my hands) around knitting!  I hope you're ejouying the spring and that you have a very happy birthday.  With best wishes, Serena

1936.  Cimetiere de Saint-Gilles, Uccle BELGIUM
Hi Chris, I am Lieve from Retri, a village in the north of Belgium (cag note: very close to the southern Netherlands border).  It really is spring weather today.  My laundry is drying in the sun and I washed my car, wil...I went to the carwash.)  My husband is away to his parents for an hour so time to write some cards.  Mustn't forget my laundry.  All the best, Lieve

1935.  Los Angeles, California
Hi Chris.  Greetings from Los Angeles, a city famous for its warm weather and bad traffic.  I was so happy to receive your contact info since I am also a retired teacher (K/1) and reading specialist.  It's always been a dream of mine to work at a library.  In fact, years ago I took an interest inventory and I scored really high as a librarian.  Like you I am fond of reading and am never without a book.  Have you ever visited the website Goodreads?  It's a wonderful resource for people who like to read.  Have you ever read Vacationaland by John Hodgman?  Lots of reference to you native Maine!  Take care, Mia

1934.  Lisboa: Campo de Ourique
Card sent from the Netherlands
Hello Chris,
Nice to meet you.  I got this card while on holiday in Portugal.  Their doors and windows are so much more colorful than the ones we have.  Sending greetings and all the best, Jeroen

1933.  Mystery card from Singapore
I love the shape of this card - a book - titled My Gtalian Pulldoyer.  Alexander McCall Smith has just published a new book called My Italian Bulldozer.  I wonder if this is related to that?  The card had no message at all, only my mailing address.

Postcards from Singapore

1933.  Mystery card from Singapore
I love the shape of this card - a book - titled My Gtalian Pulldoyer.  Alexander McCall Smith has just published a new book called My Italian Bulldozer.  I wonder if this is related to that?  The card had no message at all, only my mailing address.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Postcards Received from Iowa

1962.  Mason City, Iowa
Greetings from Mason City, Iowas, in the iddle of the corn belt.  Mason City is the birthplace of Meredith Willson, the composter of "The Music Man" and "The Unsinkable Molly Brown."  Needless to say the community is nuts about music.  I refer to Diet Coke as "My Preciousssss!"  Best wishes from the Priaire, Gary

35. Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

listened on Audible
read by Kathleen Wilhoite
Unabridged audio (9:35)
2012, Little Brown
330 pgs.
Adult CRF
Finished 4/1/19
Goodreads rating: 3.90 - 341,732 ratings
My rating: 5
Setting: Contemporary Seattle, WA

First line/s: "The first annoying thing is when I ask Dad what he thinks happened to Mom, he always says, 'What's most important is for you to understand it's not your fault.' "

My comments: What a funky, funny, unusual novel.  (I can't say I was enamored with the reader, her voice got a little excessively overstimulated/excited in too many places.)  However - clever, over-the-top, and extremely humorous, the story kept me giggling, rolling my eyes, and completely hooked.  Written mostly as emails, letters, faxes, etc., the glimpses of Microsoft, Seattle, private schools, TED talks, architecture, the Antarctic, and five unique personalities are an absolute delight!

Goodreads synopsis:  Bernadette Fox has vanished.
          When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces--which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades. Where'd You Go Bernadette is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter's love for her mother.