Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Skin I'm In by Sharon G Flake

I found The Skin I'm In by Sharon G Flake at a book sale at the library, ten cents for a book. I feel almost guilty about it, but at this point whatever feeds my book addiction and is legal, is good for  me. Finding sales like this helps to offset my $100 Barnes and Noble shopping sprees.

I enjoy reading books about cultures other than my own as I like to learn something new when I read. I didn't think I'd have anything in common with the characters of this story, but while this story is about Black Americans, anyone could relate to the themes in this story.

Every person on the planet has to learn to accept themselves and the skin they are in. Maleeka has very dark skin, like her father who has died. She is teased about being too dark. She gets a new teacher who has a white splotch across her face, probably vitiligo. Maleeka wants to fit in, she wants nice clothes, and she wants to be liked. All of these needs cause her to put herself in bad situations. Maleeka is a good person, though. She cares about her mother and wears the ill made clothing her mom makes for her because she feels like the act of sewing helps keep her mother sane. Maleeka is a good writer, and her writing gives her strength.

This book made me think about the skin I am in and how acceptance in most communities, black or white, often is hard to come by. I am white - pasty, Casper the Ghost colored white, so white that I was told I was a brunette albino. I used to look at Oprah Winfrey and covet her beautiful skin. And then the cult I was raised in, spread the rumor that my father was black because they were complete racists and wanted to hurt us. My mom was hurt by it, but my sisters and I didn't take it seriously and fortunately, we all made it out of that cult. Being the subject of that rumor helped keep us safe from those who normally would have wanted us for breeding purposes.

My oldest son has vitiligo, which isn't a horrible thing to have when you are the color of paste because the white spots are barely noticeable. He has to keep those spots protected from the sun, but otherwise he is not bothered by them. This made me think about how hard it must have been for Michael Jackson to have this skin condition and how people ridiculed him because of it.

The truth of the matter is that we all have to live in the skin we are in. We are born with the skin we have, and we have no control over the color of it or the skin conditions that may happen to it. All we can do is to value all people, no matter their skin color or condition, no matter their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. May we see the good in those around us and understand that everyone is just trying to live in the skin they are in.

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

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Although I probably should have read this years ago, The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom came into my life at exactly the right time.

You see, I've been questioning a lot of sad things in our world lately. There have been too many senseless deaths in my life, and I wonder why. . .why things are how they are. Why things can't be better. Why drug abuse takes so many, and why depression isn't cured yet.

Corrie Ten Boom was raised by remarkable people, people who embraced all. Their love of mankind was so deep that they risked their own lives to safe others during the Holocaust. Their love of God and Jesus Christ was so great that they were able to see others as good - even people who had done horrible things to them - and forgive, love, and help those people find the light.

Corrie's sister, Betsie was probably one of the best people who has ever lived. She gave thanks and appreciated everything, even thanking God for the fleas that tormented them in the concentration camp. I thought surely she had lost her mind, but those fleas played a role in her story. Her attitude has changed the way I think about things, and I can only hope that I can stay upbeat in times of stress.

Their love and study of the scriptures helped them know what God would have them do, gave them strength through time spent in concentration camps and prison, and gave them hope and vision of how they could change the world by helping others. I was impressed that they were willing to share the scriptures of other faiths and see those truths along with truths from their own scriptures.

I love this book. One of the stories Corrie tells is of how as a child she sees the word sexsin in a poem and asks her father what it means. He answers her with an object lesson. They are on a train and ready to disembark. He says to Corrie as he puts his heavy traveling case on the floor, "Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?"

"I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning."

"It's too heavy," I said.

"Yes," he said. "And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you" (26, 27).

Later in the story, Corrie is asked, "What kind of God would let that old man die here in Scheveningen?" (a prison).

"I got up from the chair and held my hands out to the squat little stove. I did not understand either why Father had died in such a place. I did not understand a great deal. And suddenly I was thinking of Father's own answer to hard questions: "Some knowledge is too heavy . . . you cannot bear it . . . Your Father will carry it until you are able" (163).

This really hit me. I need to trust in the Lord. I also need to study his words more thoroughly as peace, comfort, and answers are found there.

Read today as the book you read may be just what you need. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

To Market, To Market by Anne Miranda Illustrated by Janet Stevens

I'll admit that I bought this book for the wonderful illustrations but was glad I did because the story is fun.

To Market, To Market by Anne Miranda Illustrated by Janet Stevens was published in 1997. The story begins with "To market, to market to buy a fat pig. Home again, home again jiggity jig!"

The settings are done in black and white but the items the woman buys are in vivid color. Each time she goes to the market, the animals she has left at home have gotten into some type of trouble. Your child (and yourself) will wonder just what she is going to do with all these animals.

I like this book because there are plenty of opportunities for predicting what will happen next. Each page is full of different types of food and animals, which makes for fun observing and discussing.

Spend some time in a book with a child today even if it's just you and your inner child. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Small Pig by Arnold Lobel

Small Pig by Arnold Lobel was a big hit with Angie's kids. Small pig has a happy life until the farmer's wife get a little carried away with her cleaning and vacuums up his mud puddle. He runs away from home and gets into all sorts of scary situations trying to find a restful mud puddle.

At last he finds a mud puddle, but the children listening to or reading the story can see that the mud puddle is really wet cement. Will small pig be rescued? Will he be stuck in the concrete forever? The farmer and his wife are looking everywhere for their small pig. Will they save the day?

Arnold Lobel is a good storyteller and his cute pictures are just right for this story.

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

Friday, December 2, 2016

Eyelike Numbers by Play Bac Publishing

I have a daughter who loves numbers. When she was little, she counted everything including holes in ceiling tile. She knows who she is. She would have loved this book as a child as it explains numbers and how they work with beautiful photographs. Eyelike Numbers 

Here is a peak inside: Think of the number word power your child will have after reading this book.
 A pair, twins, a couple:
 A lot, plenty, a few, zero:
Counting and multiplying by ten:
 Smaller than, bigger than:
 Even and odd numbers:
 Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division all get a shout out:

Your child gets fifty-five beautiful pages of numbers and math vocabulary. If you have a numbers aficionado at your house, they will love this book. My two-year-old granddaughter, Aria, enjoyed reading this with me and identifying number and colors. She also enjoyed counting the items on each page.

Read to a child today because with reading, your child can learn everything.