Middle Grade March- Books I Read; Gifts to Give

April 19th, 2016 · books, Reads

4 books perfect for middle graders to readI finished reading 4 books in March, all middle grade (or younger) stories.

1. Cheaney, J. B. 2015. I Don’t Know How the Story Ends:

Our story begins in a dusty little town in California, a bustling place called Hollywood…

Isobel Ransom is anxious. Her father is away treating wounded soldiers in France, leaving Izzy to be the responsible one at home. But it’s hard to be responsible when your little sister is chasing a fasttalking, movie-obsessed boy all over Hollywood! Ranger is directing his very own moving picture… and wants Izzy and Sylvie to be his stars.

Izzy is sure Mother wouldn’t approve, but scouting locations, scrounging film, and “borrowing” a camera turn out to be the perfect distractions from Izzy’s worries. There’s just one problem: their movie has no ending. And it has to be perfect – the kind of ending where the hero saves the day and returns home to his family. Safe and sound.

My take: This would be nice to give to a young reader interested in history and especially the history of Hollywood.

2. The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts:

An artfully playful collection of unexpected and remarkable facts about animals, illustrated by Swedish artist Maja Säfström.

Did you know that an octopus has three hearts? Or that ostriches can’t walk backward? These and many more fascinating and surprising facts about the animal kingdom (Bees never sleep! Starfish don’t have brains!) are illustrated with whimsical detail in this charming collection.

My take: A charming book for all ages, my husband and I actually read this together, discussing the tidbits about animals.

3. Benjamin, Ali. 2015. The Thing about Jellyfish

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting-things don’t just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory–even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…

My take: Heartbreaking and beautiful, a wonderful book I would give to any sensitive middle grade student navigating the difficult lessons of growing up.

4. Shevah, Emma, and Helen Crawford-White. 2015. Dream on, Amber

My name is Amber Alessandra Leola Kimiko Miyamoto.
I have no idea why my parents gave me all those hideous names but they must have wanted to ruin my life, and you know what? They did an amazing job.

As a half-Japanese, half-Italian girl with a ridiculous name, Amber’s not feeling molto bene (very good) about making friends at her new school.

 My take: I adore spunky Amber who needs encouragement to stand up in the face of racial insensitivity and confront bullying. She creates her own world and works through insecurities by drawing. I wish I had read a book like this in my early years.

“Read a Middle Grade Novel” is part of the Book Riot “Read Harder” challenge for 2016. Read more about the challenge here.

Do you have any middle grade books to recommend?

 

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Last Minute Handmade Valentines

February 13th, 2016 · Celebrations, Valentine's Day

Color the beautiful Johanna Bashford heart and give it to your Valentine.

Or…

Do one of these other Valentine’s Day crafts I’ve collected on my “Be MinePinterest Board.

Me? I’m furiously knitting away prepping for my usual shenanegans.

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Read: Gloria Steinem – My Life on the Road

January 29th, 2016 · books, Reads

Quote Gloria Steinem My life on the Road

 

Favorite Quotes:

“When humans are ranked instead of linked, everyone loses.”

“What we’re told about this country is way too limited by generalities, sound bites, and even the supposedly enlightened idea that there are two sides to every question. In fact, many questions have three or seven or a dozen sides.”

“Decisions are best made by the people affected by them.”

“We might have known sooner that the most reliable predictor of whether a country is violent within itself—or will use military violence against another country—is not poverty, natural resources, religion, or even degree of democracy; it’s violence against females. It normalizes all other violence.”

I was angry because young men in politics were treated like rising stars, but young women were treated like – well, young women. I was angry about all the women candidates who put their political skills on hold to raise children – and all the men male candidates who didn’t. I was angry about human talent that was lost just because it was born into a female body, and the mediocrity that was rewarded because it was born into a male one.”

 

“…One of the simplest paths to deep change is for the less powerful to speak as much as they listen, and for the more powerful to listen as much as they speak.”

—-

My take: The last quote sums up what you will read in My Life on the Road, much less a memoir than a look at who Steinhem listened to along the 80+ year journey that has shaped her view of the world. She lifts the voices of women young and old, people of color, immigrants, truck drivers, taxi drivers, hell’s angels, and many many others. I am grateful that she’s shared these people with the world and keeps fighting for their voices to be heard.

Related links:

Emma Watson has a feminist book club and you should join here.

Gloria Steinem on NPR talking about her life on the road here or below.

 

 

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