Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines

A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines was first published in 1983. Reading this book brought to my mind the killing of Ted Fields and David Martin, two young black men who were walking with two of their white female friends after dark. Joseph Paul Franklin, a serial killer and white supremacist, was later convicted of this crime that happened in my home state of Utah.

Ernest J. Gaines tells a story that will make you squirm with uncomfortableness. He challenges our thoughts and beliefs. He puts down on paper, the deepest, darkest thoughts of people regarding race and prejudices. He doesn't paint people good or bad, but he allows the reader to determine what they believe. He has also joined my list of authors who don't disappoint me as a reader. I'll buy and read anything he writes.

My only complaint with this book was that I wish it was longer. I wanted more, more back story, more days, and more about the characters after the story ended.

This book gives the reader a glimpse into the lives of several people in a community - those who are white and those who are black.

The story begins with the part owner of a plantation sending a young black male to run get certain people. Candy Marshall, the white owner, confesses to the murder of a white male, Beau Boutan. Of course, no one believes her, and before the sheriff can get there, she has assembled a gathering of old men armed with the same caliber of gun that killed Boutan. All of them are willing to confess to Boutan's killing. All of them have reason to have killed him as he and his family did a lot of things to hurt them. Candy swears she killed Boutan because she is trying to protect the people who work her plantation, one of them even helped raise her. If a black person goes to jail for killing a white man, he will be executed.

Gaines builds tension well in the story that is told from many different points of view. Each chapter begins with the name of who is telling the story. Each narrator enriches and deepens the story. The truths in this story still holds true today. We are each a part of our own personal history and that of those who came before us. In order to understand one another, we much also understand the history of those around us. This book makes me want to be a kinder person and to do more to reach out to understand and help people.

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit. You can also donate gently used books to our project by sending them to me or to Angie. Email me for a mailing address. We are in need of Spanish books at this time, especially board books. 

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield was published in 2006. I just finished this book, and it kept me guessing almost all the way through the story, something I love in a book and especially in a mystery.

In this story we meet Vida Winter, and prolific writer who is now nearing the end of her life and wants Margaret Lea, a young woman who lives above and works in her father's bookshop to write her biography. Vida has lied to all other biographers who have attempted to tell her story. Will she tell the truth to Margaret?

This story twines classic literature into the story, but that still didn't help me figure out the mystery even though the clues are there. There are many unlikable characters in this book, but they are mostly well developed, although I would have liked to know more about Charlie and Isabelle's motivations and why they were such a mental mess.

Blurb from "The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself -- all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter's story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission. 

"As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire. 

"Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida's storytelling but remains suspicious of the author's sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves."

I found this feeling of this story reminiscent of Du Maurier's Rebecca. The beginning was a bit slow, but once I got into it, I couldn't put it down. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit. You can also donate gently used books to our project by sending them to me or to Angie. Email me for a mailing address. 

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Loving Spirit by Daphne DuMaurier

The Loving Spirit by Daphne DuMaurier was her first novel and was published in 1931. Even then, she was a good storyteller.

I struggled with this book and almost didn't finish it, but I ended up enjoying the story that follows Janet Coombe, and three more generations of her family. I didn't care for Janet Coombe's part of the story. She was a strong woman, which I like in a character, but she was messed up. Her section of the book is uncomfortable to read. She is obsessed with her son Joseph, and talks about him as if he is her lover instead of her son. She treats him like he can do no wrong, and he is a spoiled boy who isn't very nice a lot of the time. Janet's obsession with Joseph has a negative impact on one of her other sons who becomes quite jealous of Joseph, and his anger will be a part of the entire story.

I enjoyed Joseph's section of the book more, but still didn't feel compelled to keep turning pages. However, at this point, I was beginning to enjoying seeing how the actions of a previous generation affected the next generation.

He in turn favors one of his children, but luckily, this child has a mother who creates some distance between the two, and Christopher grows up to be a fine man. Because DuMaurier is telling the story, be sure to expect tragedy. She loves to tell a dark story, which may be one reason I like her storytelling so much.

The last section of the story, is about Christopher's daughter, Jennifer, and she is my favorite character of the story. She is strong, brave, and headstrong, although at one point, I wish DuMaurier had allowed her to rescue herself. She believes in revenge, but goes about it in a kind but strong way.

This book made me think a lot about people and how the actions of others change them, and how part of who we become depends on who our ancestors were. This is not DuMaurier's best work, but it is thought provoking, and if you enjoy her work as I do, you will want to add this book to your collection.

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit. You can also donate gently used books to our project by sending them to me or to Angie. Email me for a mailing address or you can drop them off at the McKay Dee Hospital NICU Attention: Angie Moore in Ogden, Utah and we will see they get to the right place. 

Here are some recent donations to our NICU book project. Scholastic always has a $1 book each month, and Angie and I purchased thirty of these treasures. This allows us to get brand new books for the NICU at a good price and it allows your child's teacher to get free books for their classroom - win, win. 
 If you haven't checked out Mo Willems before, he is a wonderful author for beginning readers and younger children. He makes kids feel like reading is fun and possible. 

Brandy Peterson, a friend of the NICU, donated a big box of books to the NICU. The top pictures shows books that will go to the NICU babies. The bottom picture is books that are in good condition, but not pristine enough for the fragile babies. The nice part is that as a teacher, I have many teacher friends who are desperate for books to set up classroom libraries, so every book that is donated to our cause, finds the right place to help children on their lifelong reading journey. 

Thank you, Brandy. 

At the current time, our project is in need of Spanish books, especially Spanish board books. Children need to be proficient readers in their home language before they can become proficient in English, so we need Spanish or Spanish/English books for these sweet little ones whose first language is Spanish. We as always can use English storybooks. 

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr was published in 2014, and it has been on my radar since then. I listened to the audio version and found it well narrated.

This book follows a blind French girl, Marie-Laure and a young German orphan, Werner, during the time before WWII, the period during the war, and concludes after the war. Doerr shows us how these two people have such different paths, yet their paths will connect.

Doerr writes characters well. I cared about his characters. I loved how he developed them and how the story went back and forth from each character and in time.

This story is complex. Doerr shows the mind set of the young Germans who were recruited to fight for Hitler's vision and how he made these young men and women feel that they were someone.

I loved Werner's zest for learning and could understand why he didn't stand up for his friend when he was being bullied.

I love the characters of Marie-Laure, her father, her great-uncle, and his housekeeper. The vivid descriptions made me feel like I was in the story watching it happen.

I loved this story up until almost the end, but I wanted a better ending. I thought the rape scene at the end of the book back at the orphanage was unneeded. Yes, those things happened, but that wasn't the focus of this story, and it seemed out of place. I also wanted more for Werner and wanted to see him deal with what he had done toward the war effort.

I am glad I read this book, and I found it worthwhile, informative, and well written, but I may need to invent the ending I wanted for it.

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit. You can also donate gently used books to our project by sending them to me or to Angie. Email me for a mailing address. 

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

WeedFlower by Cynthia Kadohata

I've been continuing my quest to find "the" Japanese interment camp book. WeedFlower by Cynthia Kadohata is the one of the better ones I've read so far. Another one that I liked was Under the Blood-red Sun

The story begins shortly before the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the setting is California. Sumiko is a young American of Japanese descent who lives with her younger brother, her aunt, uncle, grandfather, and cousins on a flower farm that they run.

Kadohata showed the loneliness that Sumiko feels as she come to realize that she is the other. The scene with the birthday party was heartrending. Sumiko is a responsible girl who is willing to work hard and be be helpful. The feelings of being shunned by their community and country, of being scared nearly to death of the government and the authorities is well portrayed. Everything that was taken from Japanese Americans is well expressed. The change in the family dynamic is also well illustrated. They went from a multi-generational nuclear family, to one that was torn apart with members of the family ending up in different camps. She shows well what happens to the family dinner hour and the discipline of the children.

The interment camp that Sumiko's family is sent to is in Arizona on Mohave Indian Reservation and was called Poston. By reading this book, I learned about the relationship that the US Government forced onto the American Indians. They didn't want this camp on their land. I also learned that in Arizona, American Indians were not allowed to vote until 1948. I love books that teach me things I didn't know before.

Kadohota shows how the prisoners suffered from depression  "the ultimate boredom" and how important it is for our lives to have purpose and goals.

This book shows the danger of treating anyone as the other, and that if we will take the time to help  and get to know each other, no one needs to be the other.

I will admit to buying this book for the cover. It is gorgeous and the story is good.

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

I will admit to buying this book because I found the title funny. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler was published in 2003 and the story still holds true in today's world.

Virginia, the main character is overweight and her best friend has moved to the Northwest. She has horrible self esteem even though her mother is a teen psychologist. Virginia can't help but compare herself to her perfect parents, and her two perfect older siblings.

She obeys the "fat girl code of conduct" with the boy she has a crush on, but she fails to give herself or him the credit they deserve. Things go from bad to worse for her when her father receives an upsetting phone call, and her world falls apart. Can she find the strength to put herself in her own orbit or will she remain the doormat for her family?

Her parents want to help her fight her weight problem, but they go about it the wrong way. I'm not sure what the right way is.

This book deals with older teen issues: discovering sexuality, make-out sessions, weight problems, date rape, teenage drinking, bullying, eating disorders, self-harm, teen rebellion, and body piercing. This book has the potential to be triggering for some but to also be a great dialogue starter.

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Cryptid Hunters: the series by Roland Smith

Cryptid Hunters by Roland Smith is the first book of the Marty and Grace series. This four book series is complete, so you can start reading it without having to wait for more books to be published.

I read the first book a few years ago for Brown Bag and Book at our school and all the kids enjoyed it. They were so angry with the villain and felt attached to the main characters. Roland Smith is a good author for middle grade and middle school aged students. His stories have a lot of action, contain humor, and have good character development. He creates a lot of tension in the stories, which will keep you turning pages.

In the Marty and Grace series, the story begins with a thirteen-year-old set of twins finding out their parents' helicopter has crashed and they are missing. They go to live with their Uncle, Travis, who hunts cryptids (animals who are thought to not exist). He hunts them to try to preserve their lives. Unfortunately, another cryptid hunter tries to catch them to kill them.

Marty and Grace are both very smart and Marty is an excellent cook. In Cryptid Hunters, Travis is on the trail of a dinosaur, and Noah Blackwood - the villain of the story is close behind him. Travis wants to leave the twins behind, but they find a way to crash the party.

As you can see, the covers of these books are appealing.

In the second book, Tentacles, Travis is trying to be the first to catch a giant squid and bring it in alive. The trio set sail to find the squid. Blurb from the back: "But their huge freighter may be haunted, and someone on board seems determined to sabotage the mission. If Grace and Marty follow the clues, will they get to the bottom of all this fishy business or end up at the bottom of the sea?"

The third book is called Chupacabra and things in this story get pretty scary. Grace has been kidnapped by Noah Blackwood. Marty and his friend Luther are determined to rescue her, but Noah is conducting evil experiments in the basement of his animal "sanctuary". If he can't find a real cryptid, he is not opposed to using genetic experiments to create his own. In this installment we learn just how dangerous Noah really is.

The fourth book is Mutation, and the threads from the first three books find resolution in this one. The danger is greater than ever as Marty, Grace, and Travis are on the trail of Marty's parents in Brazil. When all technology is blocked in their area, they must use their ingenuity to rescue their friends and loved ones from Noah Blackwood''s evil ways. They will face creatures unknown in the real world, and real evil in Blackwood and his henchmen.

All of these books combine adventure, science, technology, and a bit of the fantastic to create a fast paced fun series for the reader. These books have a little larger type size and more white space which make them perfect as Hi/Lo books. Roland Smith is one of my go to authors when recommending books for the 10 to 18 age group.

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The False Prince by Jennifer A Nielsen

The False Prince by Jennifer A Nielsen is a newer trilogy, and the first book was published in 2012. The entire trilogy has been published, so you can start this series without waiting for a new one to be published.

Blurb from "In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point—he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well. As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together. "

I enjoyed the first book of this series and will read the next one for sure. I liked the characters in the book, especially Sage, who is strong willed but likable. His character grows throughout the story, which is something I like. This is an action packed book complete with battles and violence making it a good story for any reader who enjoys a tale of a kingdom from times of old. This is also a story about the importance of friendships, family, and loyalty.

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

I've mentioned recently that we have been running low on books for the NICU. Michelle and I found an amazing sale at one of our local thrift shops and we were able to find many treasures. I found over forty books, and Michelle found these beauties. I was happy that we both found some Spanish books as we are critically low on those.

Dani Phipps sent these to my daughter, Angie, and there is a bilingual book in there. Thank you, Dani.

Heidi Crezee  found these fun books at Seagull book. They are always a good option for low priced children's books. Thank you, Heidi.

As always, we give each baby a packet with five books and a handout that tells about the benefits of reading to babies. You are welcome to donate in remembrance of someone you love or to honor a family member. We are thankful for those who send books for this project and help these tiny babies begin their literary journey. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit. Or you can bring or ship books to me or Angie. Yes, we can use gently used books as well. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley with Ron Powers

Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley was published in 2000. I listened to the audio version and while I found the beginning a bit slow and documentary/textbook like, I soon found I couldn't stop listening. I also own the printed book, and felt the pictures that were included added to the story.

In Flags of Our Fathers, James Bradley tells about the five servicemen who raised the flag on Iwo Jima during one the of the bloodiest and most brutal battles of WWII. We've all seen the picture, and James Bradley tells us about these men, one of whom was his father.

We learn why so many of the soldiers of that time could not talk about what they went through. They saw things that no person should ever see, and endured the unendurable. Although I'd heard about Iwo Jim, I didn't really understand the battle that was fought there and why it was so important to win that island, but this book explains all of that. This book also shows that our politicians have a long history of sticking it to our servicemen, and if they would do the right thing, so many of these men and women would be coming home alive instead of in a box or not at all. If the military had been given what it needed, this would have been a far less life costly battle.

I am glad I listened to this book as I feel it is a story well worth knowing. It gave me an even deeper appreciation for our military and their willingness to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Read to a child today even if that child is you in order to understand more about our country, the world, and history. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit.

Friday, September 22, 2017

NICU Book Harvest

Our NICU books project has been low on books. We had a lot of packets, but many babies have been born and are currently using the packets during their stay in the NICU. The babies who have graduated, have taken their packets home to enjoy story time with mom and dad.

However, our neighborhood had a community yard sale, and I found 33 books that I paid 25 cent or less for each book. Check out these treasures.

Angie called me and told me that Scholastic had a Mo Willems book as the $1 special, so I ordered twenty of them. Angie ordered ten, and Michelle bought 28 books, and just like that, we have packets again.

Thank you, Michelle.

I'm grateful to have books coming our way for the babies. Parents appreciate having these books at bedside to read to their sweet littles. I love getting babies started on their literacy journey.

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit. You can also donate gently used books to our project by sending them to me or to Angie. Email me for a mailing address. 

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

I'm a bit late to the party, but I finally read, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Actually, I listened to it and probably liked it even more because I adore listening to British accents, and the three narrators were divine.

This story pulled me right in as Rachel takes the train each day and tells about Jess and Jason, the couple she watches when the train stops at the traffic signal. She loves their perfect life and invents an entire backstory for them along with the names Jess and Jason. We soon learn that Rachel is an unreliable narrator because she drinks herself into blackouts.

But when a woman comes up missing, and Rachel is the only one who may know what happened, will anyone believe her? Will she even be able to believe herself?

This book is filled with some highly unlikable characters who show us that life is not always as it appears. Something sinister may be hiding behind those beautiful faces. This book kept me guessing for a long time. My brain was constantly trying to predict the outcome, but I was wrong until almost the end. I was satisfied with the ending and enjoyed the ride with all of its twists and turns.

This book is for adult readers as it contains adult language and situations.

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Olivia by Ian Falconer

I was introduced to the Olivia series by my daughter Angie. When she was pregnant with her fourth child, we knew our very own Olivia was coming, so I bought several of the books in this series for my unborn grand daughter. Our Olivia is just as busy as Falconer's.

If you haven't read Olivia yet, you are missing out. This is a series that both children and parents will enjoy. The illustrations, also by Ian Falconer, are darling and very funny. Any parent who has a child full of energy, love, and sass will see their own child in these books.

The story begins: "This is Olivia. She is good at lots of things. She is good at wearing people out. She even wears herself out."

The first book is called Olivia and introduces you to this adorable pig, but the other books really allow you to get know her. Our kids love these books and every one of them in the series is adorable. 

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit.

Cayli and Alysen bought these books for the NICU babies. I really appreciate it because we are nearly out of books. Check out these cute books.

The board books all have moving parts allowing the baby to interact with the books. Thank you, Alysen and Cayli. I can make two more packets with these books. 

If you have new or gently used books to donate, you can bring them to me or to Angie. I am happy to come pick them up if you live nearby. The parents of the NICU babies appreciate these books so much. It allows them to do something normal with their babies while they are growing in the NICU. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Woodsong by Gary Paulsen: Companion books

As an educator, I often look for non-fiction that complements fiction works. I recently read White Fang by Jack London and found that Woodsong by Gary Paulsen makes a great companion book for White Fang.

Both books talk about sled dogs, dog training, treatment of dogs, and the brutality of nature. White Fang is fiction and told from the dog's point of view. Woodsong is autobiographical and told from Paulsen point of view.

If you ever wondered why Paulsen writes adventure stories so well, this book will answer that question. Paulsen is not a writer who sits while doing his research, He lives it. He has sleds and dogs and has run the Iditarod. This book gets real with the dangers of being out in the elements for long periods of time. He lets the reader in on the cold, exhaustion, hallucinations, and even death that can come from facing extreme elements of nature.

I loved the stories of his angel that helped him during some pretty scary times. He shows the near humanity of his dogs, and any child who loves animals will enjoy these stories. Hatchet was always my most loved book in my classroom, so if you have students who love that book, they will enjoy this one. If they love this one they will love The Call of the Wild and White Fang.

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit.

Last week, two of Angie's friends donated books for out NICU project. I really appreciated their generous donations as we are very low on books right now. We need books, so if you have new or gently used children's books and would like to help us spread the love of reading, please send them our way. 

This first group of books came from Christy. Thank you!

Angela sent these cute Elmo books. Thank you!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Doll Bones by Holly Black begins with the reader meeting Zach, Poppy, and Alice who have vivid imaginations as they create worlds to play with their dolls and action figures.

Blurb from Goodreads: Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends forever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. 

But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the groundup bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity.

This story contains just the right amount of creep factor, friendship, and fun to keep the reader turning pages. There is a mystery of course, a bit of a haunting, and Zach dealing with a father who hasn't quite figured out the parenting thing. I enjoyed the friendships and the problems in this books. Holly Black created a realistic world and added a touch of anything may happen. 

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit. We can also use gently used books if you have them. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved by Toni Morrison won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize and is well worth reading. I listened to the audio version read by the author. She has a wonderful reading voice, but I found myself stymied by the storyline at first.

Luckily for me, famous books are generally on, and so I went and read about the plot of the first three chapter, and then started the recording over from the beginning, and I was hooked. I struggled again at chapter 23 which is told in stream of consciousness, which is my least favorite type of storytelling. Once again, Sparknotes came to my rescue and helped me see that this chapter was much more than repetition and weirdness. It can be seen as the thought process of a slave during the middle passage in the hold of a slave ship.

The story begins with Sethe (the mother and former slave), Denver (the living daughter born when Sethe was on the run), Baby Suggs (Denver's paternal grandmother), Paul D (a former slave from Sweet Home), and an angry ghost of Sethe's murdered baby.

Baby Suggs' son, Halle purchased her freedom from his kindly master, but after the master dies, his wicked brother and nephews take over his slaves and life becomes unbearable for Halle, Sethe, and the other slaves living at Sweet Home. They decide to make a run for freedom, but their attempt doesn't end up turning out well.

Toni Morrison goes deep with this story. She will make you think, make you question, make you reevaluate everything you thought you knew about yourself and other people. I love this book for all of those reasons. I felt like I was learning, almost as if I was back in school. I can't stop thinking about the characters, their thought processes, and the role slavery has played in the dynamic of our country and the formation of our families. If we don't think about these things, we may continue to misjudge and get things wrong for another 200 years.

I loved how Morrison incorporated identity and the perceived value of each person into this narrative. She shows the long term damage of slavery and how it can take generations to recover from that damage. I found this book to be a literary masterpiece.

The next paragraph contains some slight spoilers. Proceed with caution if you don't like spoilers.

This book left me with questions that aren't answered, which in turn makes me continue to think. I want to know where Beloved went. I want to know what happened to her baby or if there even was a real baby. I loved that it took the community to set things right for Sethe and Denver, as I think that is what it will take to heal the wounds of our conflicted history - a community coming together and recognizing their shared blame in the narrative. Each of us is connected to those around us, and we need each other. I liked how Morrison showed that by our inaction we can also be guilty for failing to protect and shelter. Inaction is also a choice and has consequences. I loved the intergenerational aspects of this story that left me wondering if Beloved was Sethe's daughter or her mother. I also loved the dimensions of Sethe's character, how she struggled because the loss of her own mother and the fear of seeing her own daughters in slavery. I was saddened that her son's never returned and this reminded me of Gaine's A Lesson Before Dying where he tells of the males of Black families leaving.

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit. We also love gently used books if you would like to donate books from your own child's library. We are currently in need of books as there has been a baby boom in the NICU.