Thursday, January 17, 2019

Silver Seeds by Paul Paolilli and Dan Brewer

I collect poetry books, and Silver Seeds written by Paul Paolilli and Dan Brewer and illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher is a beautiful addition to my collection. Published in 2001, each page has a word written vertically, and the first word of each line begins with the letter.

For instance:

Down goes the moon
And up come the sun,
Welcoming the
New day.

Folds and Folds
Of soft spun sugar, like a soft
Gray blanket over the land

Huge elephants
In a row,
Lying
Low and
Sleeping.

Each poem has something to do with nature, and the pictures are beautiful. I only wish it was twice as long.



Sarah sent these books for the NICU book project. Thank you, Sarah.

Hollie and Tanya brought this group of books over for the NICU book project. I appreciate everyone who contributes to our 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.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence by Nick Bantock

On a recent visit to a local thrift shop, I found the book Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence by Nick Bantock for 50 cents and it is in like new condition. I also found out it is the first of six books. I want to finish this artsy series, so I'll be on the hunt for the next five.

This book was published in 1991. Every page is a work of art featuring a post card or letter with art on it. The letters are in envelopes and you actually have to take them out, unfold them and read to continue the story.

The story begins with a fan contacting an artist. The fan, Sabine is also an artist, and the two begin a correspondence, which leads to their friendship; only there is a twist and it ends with a mystery, so you can see why I need the next books.

The art alone is one reason to purchase this book. This is a quick read that looks more like a picture book, but it isn't for children.






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.

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

Monday, January 7, 2019

2018 Totals NICU Book Project

I started collecting books in 2014 for the NICU where my daughter works to honor the lives of my own twins and also of two grandchildren who did not survive pregnancy. As a reading teacher, I saw that children who were read to, had better attention spans and did better in school. It took me a year to gather 150 books sorted into packets of 5 books each. I delivered them in September of 2015. I had only planned on making this one donation, but the books were so needed by the parents, that I kept on gathering books.



Other people started donating books so we could attempt to make sure every baby went home with a packet of books. Parents read these books to their babies during their often lengthy stays, helping their baby's brains and creating bonding moments full of love. 

Here are two boxes of packets ready to go:


Each packet has a half sheet handout explaining why it is important to read to your baby. I put at least one board book in each packet, and we also create packets for families whose first language is Spanish. 

This year we had 1,630 books donated to the NICU. I purchased 613 of them, so that means over 1,000 books came from friends of our NICU book project. My sweet mom donates all the two-gallon zipper bags. 

Our 2018 donors are:
Michelle Schwendiman
Cayli and Brandon Johnson
Christy Tucker
Michelle Bulow
Valarie Schemk
Meredith Malan
McKay Dee Hospital Foundation
Child Life Services at McKay Dee Hospital
Tanya and Hollie
Alysen Jeffries
Sharon Hall
Krista Young
IHC
Britney Shaw
Rolean Peterson
Angela Jensen
Caitie Jolley
Marla Daniels
Jacki Simper
Angie Moore
Janet Gleue
The Other Side Thrift Boutique
Usborne Book Drive
Cami Allen
Heidi Voorhees
Heidi Crezee
Michelle Horne
Liam Gregory's Wish List
269 books came from Anonymous donors.

In 2018, we gave 42 packets to Jordan Valley Hosptial and 284 packets to McKay Dee Hospital. I believe we were able to serve almost every baby who spent time in McKay Dee's NICU. We may have missed a few, but with your help, we are getting close to helping every single baby at the McKay Dee NICU begin their reading journey. 

We've had two donations so far this year, 2019:

Michelle S brought these books over:

My mom, Rolean, donated another 100 two-gallon bags to help keep the books safe at bedside:

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, January 2, 2019

The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather

The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather was originally published in 1915. Cather's books are often sad and this one has sad parts, it's also a story about hard work, perseverance, and the willingness to sacrifice for one's art.

Thea is the star of this book, and it covers her life from childhood into middle age. She is the daughter of a Swedish minister. Her mother wants her to grow up to be a music/piano teacher because she feels Thea has a gift for it.

Cather paints pictures of the time period and the characters are well developed. Thea isn't always likable, but she is always relatable. This book is more of a saga as the reader learns what it will take for Thea to develop her talent.

This book is book 2 of her Great Plains Trilogy, but it stands well on its own, and you don't need to read any other book to understand this one.

I enjoy Cather's work because she writes well, she is good at creating characters that feel real, and she makes me care about her characters.



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.

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

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Butterfly Alphabet by Kjell B Sandved

I just added a new ABC book to my collection. If you have a butterfly lover, consider The Butterfly Alphabet by Kjell B Sandved, which was published in 1996. This beautiful book contains full color pictures of close-ups of butterfly wings that contain letters of the alphabet.

In the back of the book the author has included facts on butterflies and a biography of each of the twenty-six featured butterflies and moths.

Each page has a poem with a word featuring the letter.

"On wings aloft across the skies - An alphabet of butterflies."

"Each butterfly in secret brings a letter hidden in its wings."

"The rainbow gave to butterflies spots of color just their size."

"They dance among the forest lights like floating flower petal sprites."

"Each lifted by a gentle breeze, they soar above with simple ease."

I love butterflies and poetry, so this is a great book to add to my collection.

Front Cover


Back cover


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.

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

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C O'Brien

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C O'Brien was published in 1975 and won the Newberry award. I was not excited to read this book; however, once I started reading it, I realized there was a lot more to it than a mouse on the cover and was deserving of the literary prize.

Mrs. Frisby is a single mother with a very sick young mouse. She has to find a way to help her child, and is led to the Rats of Nimh, a group of highly intelligent rodents. I don't want to give things away, but imagine if the mouse from Flowers for Algernon wrote his own book - it would be this book. I found myself wondering if O'Brien was inspired by Daniel Keyes.

Quotes I liked:

Page 129 "By teaching us how to read, they taught us how to escape."

Page 171 ". . . a thief's life is always based on somebody else's work."

I love that this story shows the importance of learning, knowledge, persistence, timing, friendship, and reading. This is a great middle grade chapter book with wonderful illustrations by Zena Bernstein.



Here is a picture of the differences between a preemie's brain and a full term baby's brain. This is why we give books to babies in the NICU. We want them to have every chance possible.


I've been low on books lately, but yesterday, I found 50 brand new Usborne books at one of my local thrift shops. I paid $35 dollars for all of them. If you are cleaning out bookshelves, we are always happy to take your gently used books for use in the NICU. Those we can't use, we send to classrooms or Little Free Libraries.

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.

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

Friday, December 21, 2018

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was published in 2015. Madeline, the main character, has a medical condition that makes her allergic to everything, so she lives in a plastic bubble. Her plastic bubble is her home that has filtration systems and limited people. She sees her mom, her nurse, and once in a while her teacher.

She is nearly eighteen, and she is tired of living - or not living - her life this way. When a cute boy moves in next door, she wonders if meeting him in person might be worth risking her life.

This novel had an ending that I suspected but it was concealed enough to keep me guessing.

I enjoyed the characters and they way they grew, helped one another, and stood together when needed.

Quotes I liked:

"I was happy before I met him, but I'm alive now, and those are not the same thing" (181).

"You don't exist if no one can see you" (246).

"Olly's math says you can't predict the future. It turns out that you can't predict the past either. Time moves in both directions - forward and backward - and what happens here and now changes them both" (261).




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

Heidi sent a box of books to our book project. Some will go to local little free libraries, and these will head to the NICU to be gifted to the babies. Thank you, Heidi. 



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, December 14, 2018

Emma and Julia Love Ballet by Barbara McClintock

Emma and Julia Love Ballet by Barbara McClintock was published in 2016, and I love the diversity is shows. McClintock's illustrations are absolutely beautiful and she shows ballerinas of all colors. The author was inspired by the amazing Judith Jamison whom she saw dance on stage. 

This story follows Emma, a young red-head who loves to dance, and Julia, an older Black professional ballerina. The story is simple and shows their day. Emma gets to go see Julia in a performance later that night. 

This book includes the magic of going to the theater to see a live performance. If you love dance, you will like this book. I love that the dancers are both male and female as I have a son who loves dance. I also love that all colors of people are included from pasty white, glow in the dark people like me, to people with beautiful dark skin, and all the colors in between. 




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.

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

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Dark Pond by Joseph Bruchac

I can count one Joseph Bruchac to write stories that combine Native American lore with good writing that keeps me interested.

In The Dark Pond that was published in 2004, Armie senses something strange in the dark pond in the forest. Something is terrorizing the animals and even humans in the area. Armie has a gift with animals; they seem to trust him.

Armie turns to the tales of his ancestors to help him find a way to fight the creature and keep his own life. He learns that he must also rely on others - something hard for him to do.


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, December 10, 2018

Dracula by Bram Stoker

I finally read Dracula by Bram Stoker. This horror novel was first published in 1897.

At first, I thought the story was a bit disjointed, but all the characters end up coming together. Dracula, is a vampire, and he is all evil. He makes people think he is a wealthy count and is able to convince some to do his bidding by taking control of their minds.

This story gave me the creeps, in a good way, while the characters tried to figure out why loved ones are getting sicker and sicker. The story is told using journal entries and letters. Now I understand references to Renfield in other works. He is an interesting character, and I would have loved to see more of him in the novel.

I liked the science part of the story. The friendship between Mina and Lucy is genuine and helps build the story.

Dracula is a good villain, but I find that I prefer the Creature from Frankenstein more because of the psychological aspects of him. Dracula is bad all the way through, but Frankenstein's creature is more of a puzzle, more of a product of his upbringing.

Dracula is worth reading, and I can see why it's become a classic.



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, December 7, 2018

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige was published in 2014, and in my mind is Dorothy: the Horror Years.

This book is pretty gruesome and not for the faint of heart. If you thought the Wicked Witch of the West was bad, you haven't seen anything yet. We all know the story of The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum. We know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, but in Dorothy Must Die, everything is turned around. Dorothy is the great and powerful, and as always absolute power, absolutely corrupts.

Amy Gumm, another girl from Kansas, must find a way to remove the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, The Cowardly Lion, and Dorothy from power before they destroy Oz completely. In this version of Oz the wicked witches may be her only allies. The magic of Oz is being stolen and causing everything to crumble.

This book turns OZ on it's head and shows what happens when people allow power to corrupt them.



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, December 3, 2018

Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn and Mark Buehner

Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn and Mark Buehner is part of the Snowmen series and was published in 2005. This book is fun to read because it is told in rhyme. In all of the Snowmen picture books, the snowmen go on an adventure but they make sure to get home in time before their creators awake.

"They're all back in their places
When Christmas Day starts,
But these folks made of snow
Have a glow in their hearts.
Their smiles are more tender,
Their eyes softly shine,
As the snowmen dream dreams
of their Christmastime."

One of my grand childrens' favorite things about all of the Caralyn and Mark Buehner books is that Mark includes hidden pictures on every page. This feature makes the books interactive and even more fun.




Michelle brought over a board book for our NICU book project. She's always thinking of our project.


We received another box of Christmas books and board books from Liam Gregory's wish list. Each of these books will include a book plate with Liam's name. Thank you to his friends and family for continuing to support our project in such a big way. 



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, November 28, 2018

The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman and Gris Grimly

The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Gris Grimly was published in 2008 and is the latest addition to my ABC book collection.

Neil Gaiman writes picture books the same way he writes all his other books - interesting and engaging. In this story, two children take a boat ride under the city or on an amusement ride - it could be either - and in their travels, they find many dangerous items.

This book is fun to read because it contains rhyme and rhythm. The illustrations are wonderful to look at. There is a lot going on without them being cluttered. Gris Grimly did an excellent job on the art.






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, November 27, 2018

Beowulf by Stepan Petrucha and Kody Chamberlin

Recently, I found a graphic novel of Beowulf by Stephan Petrucha and Kody Chamberlin at one of my local Little Free Libraries. I've not read Beowulf before, so I thought this would be a good way to introduce myself to it. 

Kody Chamberlin is the artist, and his pictures are strong and visually interesting. I enjoyed the story and think this would be a great addition to anyone's library, especially if you have teens in your home. 




We received more books from Liam Gregory's wish list and more are on their way. Thank you to Liam's family and friends for continuing to support our project. These books will all have book plates with Liam's name. 

Angela Jensen donated these cute board books. Thank you for supporting our project. 

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, November 24, 2018

The Lennon Factor by Paul Young

The Lennon Factor by Paul Young was published in 1972. I found this book at a book swap, and it isn't one I would have come across otherwise.

This book is presented more like a piece of art. The paper is thick, creamy, and of high quality. The font looks like each page was typed out on a typewriter. Punctuation and the arrangement of the words on the page make this book read like poetry.

This is a quick yet powerful read, written during a time of social upheaval in America.

Quotes I like: "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man" (g.b. shaw).

"Quite obviously it is the responsibility of everyone to be involved in his society in some way if he wishes it to progress."

This book has no page numbers and is put together like a handmade book. It is out of print, but you can find it online for a good price.




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.