Monday, September 16, 2019

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly was published in 2016, and I have not yet viewed the movie. I listened to the audio version, and it was excellent.

I found this book interesting even though the subject matter (advanced math) can be quite dry.

I loved how Shetterly followed each of the women and told their stories of how they fought against racial discrimination and sexist policies. I like that this story was written by a Black author as it reads truer.

Shetterly writes well and makes what could be a confusing story understandable. Without Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, NASA would have taken a lot longer to put a man on the moon, if at all. These women were smart, strong, and ahead of their time. They helped forge a path for others to follow.

I would love to see more books that show what happened behind the scenes and gives proper credit for many of the accomplishments of the last two plus centuries in the United States.




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

Our NICU book project is still receiving books. Here are our latest donations.

These are from Renee Bond. I love the classic board books. They are perfect for babies.


The United Way dropped these off with Angie for our project.


Teresa gave these books to our project. I sure appreciate all these donations. I think we may be able to add a new hospital if this keeps up.



Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit so their parents can read to them while they grow. 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 can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

A Fire in My Hands by Gary Soto

A Fire in My Hands by Gary Soto and illustrated by James M. Cardillo was published in 1990 and contains 22 free-verse poems along with questions and answers about poetry. The poems are loaded with imagery and accessible to children of today even though they were written a while ago.

I found this book at a little free library, but now that I've found it, I'm keeping it. At the beginning of each poem, he shares his inspiration for the poem. The illustrations by James M. Cardillo add to the poetry and are well done. This is a great book for a classroom or for a child who enjoys writing poetry. He is Latino, yet his writing speaks to all ethnicities.

This is the copy I found, but there is an expanded  newer version that I now need to buy.

This is the cover of the expanded edition.


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 so their parents can read to them while they grow. 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 can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Golden Egg by A. J. Wood and Maggie Kneen

The Golden Egg by A. J. Wood and illustrated Maggie Kneen was published in 2000 and is perfect for Easter. It is fun to read with it's rhythm and rhyme, and the pictures are incredibly beautiful. This is a lift the flap book, but the pages are very sturdy and the flaps are extensions of the pages, so they should hold up well. The eggs have sparkly foil on them and were made to delight children (and this grandma).

"Little Duck, Little Duck what have you found? Looking here, looking there, searching all around?"

"I've found a lovely shiny egg. I've found an egg, it's true. But this egg isn't gold at all . . . "

'"Oh, no,' says Chick. 'It's blue?"'

The child lifts the flap to find the egg and see the color. The rhyming helps them know what color to guess and little bits of color peek through the cut work on the pages.

This book has been grand kid tested and approved.








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 so their parents can read to them while they grow. 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 can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Too Many Bunnies by Matt Novak

Too Many Bunnies by Matt Novak was published in 2005, and this book is absolutely darling. The grandkids love it.

This little book has a hole in the front of it showing a bunch of bunnies. When you open the book, there are two holes. One is empty and one it full. The bunnies are too crowded, so they one by one hop over to the other hole as you turn the pages, but soon the new hole is too full of bunnies.

There is a cute little ladybug that lives between the holes and it constantly cleaning their footprints off her walkway. At the end, she gives up and puts her house up for sale.

This book is so cute, and the pages are quite sturdy, so it can get a lot of love by little hands.




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 so their parents can read to them while they grow. 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 can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

A Fantastic Week for NICU Donations

This week has been wonderful for our NICU book project. The week began with my neighbor, Jennifer Staley, dropping off a bag of books. I use the books I can for the NICU and other books head into local Little Free Libraries.

Here is what she brought over.

This picture is of books that will go into my little free library. I have a lack of early chapter books (and adult books) because I taught middle school, so the neighbor kids thank you for these, Jennifer.


These books will head to the NICU. The skull ABC book is very cool. I need to get one for my own library. The Math-terpieces is also a very cool book.

Then on Saturday, the NICU had its reunion and people brought books for our project. There was also a box of books that will be headed to local Little Free Libraries.

 The United Way also gave us books on Saturday at the reunion.


On Sunday, my son's best friend, Justin, and his family, Carrie, Annalisa, and Brittney, brought over four boxes of books. I was able to use 101 of them for the NICU. The rest will be appearing in local Little Free Libraries.




I really appreciate getting books for our NICU project. With your help we reach a lot more babies than I'm able to reach on my own.

If you have used books, I am happy to take them, use what I can for the NICU and rehome others in Little Free Libraries. I am really good at rehoming books. :)

If you'd like to visit a Little Free Library, here is a link to the map. You can give to, borrow, or keep books. You never know what will be inside. I love seeing what each steward does to make their library unique. My grandson, Vincent, has a favorite one as do some of my grand daughters. We are lucky that we have many in our area.

"It is like the take a penny, leave a penny only better because its books," my daughter, Caitie, says of Little Free Libraries.

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 so their parents can read to them while they grow. 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 can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

What Am I? Christmas! by Alain Crozon

What Am I? Christmas! by Alain Crozon was published in 1999 and is a darling riddle and lift the flap book. The pages of this book are sturdy, and the flaps are an extension to the page, so they shouldn't rip off with normal handling. Each riddle has a small glimpse of what is behind the flap.

"I become a special tree when you trim and decorate me. What am I?"

"Snuggly fur red and white I keep Santa warm on a cold winter's night. What am I?"

"Who plays a horn and sweetly sings, has a golden halo, and two wings?"

This book has been tested with my grandchildren and they love it.



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 so their parents can read to them while they grow. 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 can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Do You Know Liam?

A couple of times a year, I receive a box of books for our NICU book project in honor of a little boy named Liam. As I go through and put book plates on these books, I think of him, and I am thankful to be part of his story.

His life matters. He is one of the guardian angels of this project, and as the years go by, I think of him getting bigger in heaven and watching over those who love him.

These thirty-one books are all marked with his name, and they will go to thirty-one different families along with four other books in a packet of five. Thirty-one families who will spend time with their babies in the NICU. Thirty-one families who will see his name, think about Liam, and know that he is making a difference.

Thank you to Liam's family for supporting our NICU book project so that other families can read to their babies and benefit from story time.  I love your little guy and wish you all the best.

Book plates with Liam's name.

If you haven't seen that Peek-a Who? book, it's adorable and my grand kids love it. 

The Giant Jumperee is another favorite of my littles. 

 Good Night, Gorilla is so much fun to read. 


 Duck! Rabbit! is a wonderful book to help a child see things from another's point of view. 


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 so their parents can read to them while they grow. 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 can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Numberlys by William Joyce and Christina Ellis

The Numberlys written William Joyce and illustrated by Christina Ellis was published in 2014. I collect alphabet books and this is the perfect combination of numbers and letters.

When the book begins, there are only numbers and the world is orderly - everything adds up, and it's numberly. "Streets were called by their numbers, as were towns, countries, everything. But there weren't any books, or colors, or jelly beans, or pizza."

Five friends get together and decide to create something different. They take numbers apart and arrange them into letters. As the letters form into words, the world becomes a whole new place complete with colors.

The illustrations in this book are quite fun. This one is a hit with the grandkids. They love the jellybean page.


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 so their parents can read to them while they grow. 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 can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.


Monday, August 19, 2019

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas was published in 2019 and is the story of a young rapper named Bri. I began reading this novel, but I struggled to get into the rhythm of it, so I listened to the audio version that was expertly narrated by Bahni Turpin. She made me feel like I was listening to a movie.

Angie Thomas’s characters are well written and I loved how they grew  and changed but managed to stay in character. Thomas does well with setting, character development, and themes. She is a master of realistic dialogue.

I loved the mother’s journey of healing and found it realistic. Bri’s and Trey’s fears of her relapsing were relatable and realistic. I also liked that Jay kept it real with her job search. She was still working the steps. I wish my own father had found sobriety when I was young.

This book contains a lot of mature language, but it fits the story. I liked the code switching and found it realistic. I also liked the romance and found it age appropriate, tender, and sweet. I liked that it wasn’t the focus, but it was still there.

Thomas addresses the power and unpredictable/predictable nature of social media. She shows the nature of poetry and lyrics and how the author’s intent/ meaning can change based on the audience. Once an author sends out a work, it can take on a life of its own based on the connections people make and the connotative meanings of words.

Although there are many things in this book I don’t relate to, there were many that I do. I can relate to the single parent family, the poverty, the hunger, the being afraid to tell your parent your needs because you don’t want to put more of a financial burden on her. I also have good siblings and loved the relationship between Bri and her brother, Trey.

I think this is an important book for many reasons. Angie Thomas is an important voice for today. She addresses problems in society without being didactic. I look forward to reading more by this author.



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 so their parents can read to them while they grow. 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 can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

Friday, August 9, 2019

When the Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi

When the Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi was published in 2015. The story begins in Kabul where we meet Fereiba who is in a Cinderella situation. Her marriage is arranged by her step-mother. Part of the novel is narrated in Fereiba's voice and part is narrated in her son Saleem's voice.

This story tells about the war in Afghanistan and Fereiba's and her children's' flight from that war zone. They become illegal immigrants. This story shows how they are preyed on by others and how sometimes people were kind and helpful.

I liked the story being told from each voice. At times they didn't know what was happening with each other, but the reader was told. Saleem had to grow up way too young, but he was a good son and a good brother. Fereiba made mistakes, but she loved her children.

I felt a bit detached from the characters until close to the end and then the emotion hit me. I wanted one more chapter at the end.

I love the cover of this book.

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 so their parents can read to them while they grow. 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 can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter

Spilling Ink: A Young Writer's Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter and illustrated by Matt Phelan was published in 2010. I was lucky enough to find this book in a Little Free Library. This book would make a great gift for the young writer in your life. It would also make a great addition as a class set in a creative writing classroom.

Anne and Ellen trade off sections of this book and they cover everything from first drafts, character development, plotting, finding ideas to write about, creating setting, building suspense, writing dialogue, the writing process, writer's identity, and many other things.

The illustrations are fun and add just the right touch for students from elementary to high school age. Older writers will also find this book motivational. I can attest to that. :)

The writing process is broken down into understandable and bite-sized pieces. This book helps the writer see that although writing can be a lot of work, it is doable.




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 so their parents can read to them while they grow. 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 can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel was published in 2014 and is a Nation Book Award Finalist. I listed to the audio version of this book and it is well narrated.

The story begins during a production of King Lear, and the lead has a heart attack on stage. What follows is the beginning of a flu epidemic that wipes out 99.9% of the population world wide.

This story follows the what if in this scenario. It also goes back and forth in time and follows the actor who had the heart attack and the role the people close to him play in the new world.

I found this book interesting and was lucky to pick it up at a fill the bag book sale at the library. It cost me one nickle.


A lady at a yard sale donated these books for the NICU babies.


Michelle dropped these books by for the NICU. 




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 so their parents can read to them while they grow. 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 can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy

Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy was published in 2006. This is the fictionalized story of the author's aunt who was one of twelve children who survived the Lodz ghetto during WWII. Out of 270,000 Jews who were incarcerated there, only 800 survivors were left by the end of the war. Twelve were children, and her aunt was one of the twelve.

The author tried several ways to write this story and finally wrote the story as poetry. Because I am writing my own story in this format, I was happy to find this book at a Little Free Library. I hadn't heard of this book before, so a win to Little Free Libraries that help me find books I wouldn't have come across otherwise.

Syvia was only four years old when she entered the ghetto with her family. She was one day shy of her tenth birthday when they were liberated.

Roy uses strong imagery to tell this story and succeeds in getting the story across in the way a child might have seen the situations.  I have so many pages bookmarked.

Some examples -

From "Questions" page 4
My aunts are Jewish, my uncles and cousins, too,
Is my doll Jewish?

From "The Toilet" page 12
It is so dark in here. 
I feel so alone. 
What if I can't get out?
What if I'm trapped in this toilet, and nobody hears me?
At home they would hear and rescue me,

I remember as child having this fear of getting locked in the bathroom because of old doorknobs.

From "Women's Work" page 16
She said she was fourteen,
although she's really only twelve.
The Germans place greater value
on Jews who work,

"Am I not valuable to the Germans?"
I ask Papa.
"You are valuable to this family," he says,
"and that is enough."

"The Fence" page 17
A fence has been built
around
us.
The ghetto is now a cage
with iron wires.
We are
sealed in.

Mother says,
Good now we are protected
from the Poles."

Father says, "No,
now we are the mercy
of the Nazis.
They are holding us here until they decide
how they will
get rid of us."

"The Bad News" page 85
The searches and deportations
are over
because all of the children
are gone.

All of them?

The ghetto is a cage
holding parents wild with grief,
and all that can be done is
wait and hope and pray
that the Nazis are right,
that the children are in a better place.

"In This Moment" page 142
Later I have time to think about these things
and wish I could have said
Thank you
and
I'm sorry your child couldn't be here, too,
safely encircled 
for that moment. 

But in that moment
all I could do was cry and tell myself,
I'm alive. 
I'm alive. 

I love this book and how Jennifer Roy shares this story as poetry.


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 so their parents can read to them while they grow. 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 can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.


Friday, July 19, 2019

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George was published in 2008 and is an excellent retelling of a classic Norwegian fairy tale.

George develops the character of pika or lass well. She is the youngest and unwanted child of nine children. Cold has enveloped the land making it hard for her parents to feed their children. Her  mother refuses to give her a name because girls are worthless in her eyes.

Pika is strong, smart, and caring. Her father is kind to her, but her mother is cold. Her brother, Hans Peter comes back after years away at sea, but he is a changed man, depressed and melancholy. He teaches her a language of symbols that he learned while he was away. This language helps the lass when she is taken from her home to dwell in an ice castle with a great white bear. This story has magical elk and bears along with trolls and other magical folk.



I was left with some unanswered questions about the nature of Troll magic, but this story is a quick and light read that goes into more detail than a classic fairy tale. George paces the story so that I wanted to keep reading.



 Caitie donated these two books to our NICU book project. Thank you!


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 so their parents can read to them while they grow. 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 can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland

The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland was published in 2017. I was lucky enough to pick up a copy at my library for a dime. I listened the audio version narrated by Imogen Church. I love her as a narrator with her lovely Scottish/British accent.

This novel is set in a bookshop and shows how books can save us.

The main character, Loveday Cardew, loves books so much that from her favorite books, she tattoos their first lines onto her body. Loveday is without a family, and the story tells you why she is without them, so I won't spoil it for you. Butland gives wonderful descriptions that helped me feel like I'd walked right into her world with all the smells, sounds, and sights.

The characters are well written and come to life. They are flawed and so lifelike that you probably know people just like them. I found myself cheering them on. I love the growth of the characters and how they learn from poetry and all other genres of books.

I stayed up way too late listening to this book.

There is currently a copy of this book in my little free library.



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 so their parents can read to them while they grow. 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 can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.