Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Everything On It (Shel Silverstein)

Every Thing on It

I never met a Shel Silverstein book I didn't like....until now. This one is really not up to the caliber of his other poetry books.

Enemy Pie (Derek Munson)

Enemy Pie

This is a great story about a boy who discovers his neighbor isn't that bad, and actually, can be a great friend!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

An Everlasting Meal (Tamar Adler)


I love this book. It's a recipe book in the form of a chapter book. It's one of those books that is like how Grandma would have taught you to cook. Tamar Adler starts off with how to boil water. She talks about the great things that can be done with water and how one meal leads into another meal. Her ideas are practical, frugal and sound absolutely delicious. She is a master of knowing what herbs to add, how to add oil and veggies to make any sandwich amazing, and more.

My big take away from this read is to have a bunch of vegetables that you bake and use those throughout the week. I have tried it a couple times. Her suggestions need a little refining (er, perhaps expanding) to work for me. The first time I did it I bought a bunch of vegetables and baked them up in 3 big corning ware rectangle dishes. My family ate them all up in one sitting. So much for a week's worth! Then again, it might have been the novelty of it all. I'm not daunted. I will try it again. Well worth it.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westbro Baptist Church (Lauren Drain)

I had that same guilty feeling reading this book that I get when I drive by and really crane my neck to check out a bad accident. This book is a sad tale of a twisted religion. The author is still recovering from growing up with a father who emotionally abused his daughter, a mother who never stands up to her husband, and a group of religious fanatics who allowed the to join their closed circle. I hope Lauren Drain can get the counselling she needs. The tie abused people have to their abusers is readily apparent in this story. It is quite fascinating. She ends up getting kicked out for questioning.

I find the clever ways the Westboro Baptist Church uses the law to spread hate and fear a sad reality of the US constitution. I hope their organization continues to have people question and leave.

Here is a video with her parents talking about banishment.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Great Blog Posts

Here are some great blog posts I have read this week.

  • Nerdy Book Club does it again. The problem with reading that blog is that it leads me to other people's blogs, and next thing you know I have a handful more added to my feed list. Good problem! I was inspired by this guy's idea to read all the books at the library to his son. I don't think I could try to do that with our public library. They add books too often. t made me wonder if I could read every book in our school's library!
  • I use a lot of websites as reviews - but have also learned you have to be careful too. You can't believe everything you read. This post shows that so well! Turns out it is a regular feature on this blog. Oh oh! Another one to subscribe to. 
  • Here is another one of those lists of great books kids should read. Sme of them are a little too complex for my Gr. 3 kids, but a great resource for sure!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Quiet (Susan Cain)

Since I couldn't wait until I had finished the whole book to start talking about it, I wrote about this book on my other blog already.

There are a few things I can add though.


It was refreshing to read this book. It made me realize I don't need to feel guilty about my need for quiet. I was reminded of when our family moved to the city. We had lived on an acreage up until I was in Gr. 6. When we moved to the city kids would call after school and invite me to play. I clearly remember hiding to avoid the invitations. I just wanted some time to myself.

I also found myself having to hide, sometimes, to enjoy some of the things I truly enjoy, like reading. I remember well being at family reunions and having people grab my book away and say, "What are you doing?!" Clearly reading wasn't socially acceptable in that situation. So, instead, I would find ways to steal away and read now and then without people noticing. I still do it as an adult, actually.

In our society, we tend to lean towards idolizing the extrovert ways. This book does a great job of showing the value of being an introvert and talks about how extroverts would do well to learn some of the quiet skills that come naturally to introverts.

It isn't just in family situations where this occurs in my adult life either. My kids are swimmers. A lot of our extra time gets absorbed in our swimming world. When we first started I quite enjoyed sitting and visiting with other parents at practices or at meets. After a few years, however, a "new cool" group started to rise. They volunteer a lot (that's good...we need people to be involved), they sit together and cheer for everyone in the club (that is nice), they have tail gate parties in the parking lot (that's's a free world, right?), they wear matching t-shirts (still not sure why), and they are loud and much so that I find myself saying, "I'm out!" Recently, at an out of town meet, I went for a walk and could hear one loud gregarious member of this group even after walking for 15 minutes....this guy is loud! I have  found this group to be rather overwhelming. If I'm totally honest, I have to say I don't want to be part of that crowd at all. After reading this book, I understand why. It's not that they're so bad to hang around, it's just too much for me. I like our swimming friends, but I also need space. While some of them are pretty happy to have their lives quite intertwined together, I have another world, besides my swimming world, that I want to be in.

I really liked how the author addressed the need for situational extroversion and the need to plan for time to re-energize if all that extroversion doesn't come naturally to you. You don't have to be a banker or a statistician if you're an introvert. Nor do you have to avoid jobs where you interact with people a lot if you tend towards being introverted.

She also talked about how to parent or work with kids who are introverts, and how to help them learn to live happily amongst extroverts.

All in all, a great book!

Sarah's Key (Tatiana de Rosnay)


Goodreads Summary:

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

This book totally captivated me.  I found myself being totally irritated when things came up that interrupted the story. "What??! You want something to eat right now??! Can't you make your own sandwich??!"

Julia Jarmond finds herself pregnant in this story. I think that was one reason I was so struck by the story. She is older, her husband does not want another child, but she does desperately. I remember feeling that way when I was pregnant with Destiny. Only it wasn't that my husband didn't want a baby, it was that I was so torn. I was excited, but unsure that I wanted to start over again. Then, when our baby was stillborn, I felt so guilty for ever being unsure.

It's interesting how stories touch your own emotions and mesh with your own story. Somehow the well crafted words that created images of the soldiers tearing Jewish children away from their mothers felt like it felt when Destiny was stillborn and all the possibilities of another child in our family were torn away.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Great Blog Posts

Here are some great blog posts I read this week:

  • I read the Nerdy Book Club posts daily. Love that blog! I especially enjoyed reading about this blogger's read aloud experiences. I'm so excited to read books out loud to my class this year! I've got it all planned. 
  • Kate DiCamillo is amazing. She recently won The Kerlan Award (which I really knew nothing about previous to watching the video). I loved this video. She has a great sense of humor. She provides some great insight into the work required to write. I also loved the banter between her and the other people there. I'll definitely be reading some more of her books to my Gr. 3's this year!
  • I have come across many posts about planning read alouds. I have ever put that much thought into it, but these posts made me think maybe I should be a little more thoughtful about it! I'm really excited to embark on some read alouds. All of this has made me think that perhaps we should be talking about this more in our school to get other teachers excited about read alouds! Check out this post,  or this article, or this post with its great list of suggestions. I put all the ones I haven't read on hold! I would agree.....humor makes for a great read aloud. 
  • This is kind of a fun website. I'm always googling lists of books kids should read when it is time to pick a new book club book. You can share your results from these lists on Facebook and then get your friends to see how many they've read.