Friday, July 13, 2018

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez was published in 2014. I listened to the audio version that was narrated by several different voice actors, all of whom did an amazing job. Their voices and accents made the story come alive.

This book tells the stories of several people whose families immigrated to America for different reasons. Each family gave up much to get to come here where they hoped to have a better life. Often the lives of the immigrants connect to each other.

The main story is of Maribel. Her parents come to the USA to gain medical care for her after she suffers a traumatic brain injury.

Blurb from Goodreads: After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave México and come to America. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel's recovery--the piece of the American Dream on which they've pinned all their hopes--will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles.

At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panamá fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not: that beyond her lovely face, and beneath the damage she's sustained, is a gentle, funny, and wise spirit. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America.

Peopled with deeply sympathetic characters, this poignant yet unsentimental tale of young love tells a riveting story of unflinching honesty and humanity that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be an American. 

I enjoyed this story even though parts of it are very sad. I think this book shows that all of us are more alike than different from each other. We all want what is best for our children. We all want to have gainful employment, to not be cheated, and to be treated kindly. This book is well worth reading or listening to.


We've had some very generous donations this week. I'm very thankful as we are hoping to add a second NICU to our project. These donations help make that happen. We can reach even more families and hopefully give them the reading bug. 

Caitie sent these books over:

 Alysen brought over this cute  chunky board book that has colors and pieces that roll.


 Michelle found these cute books - most of them board books.

Intermountain Health Care found out about our project and used it as the basis for their service project. They gathered over 6,000 books for children in our area, and our little project was the recipient of 213 books. I'm so happy that so many children will receive books. The next several pictures were all from Intermountain.

 Check out these cute animal books that double as toys.

 Every McKay Dee packet will have a Love you Forever book for quite a while. This donation will allow me to gather books for a second hospital as all of these books will go to McKay Dee.



Click this 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, July 7, 2018

The Robe by Lloyd C Douglas

The Robe by Lloyd C Douglas was published in 1942 during WWII. We read this for our book club during June. This isn't a story, I normally would have read, but I am so glad I read it. Lloyd C. Douglas is an excellent writer, and he researched this story well. 

He wrote a story that centers on some the last words of Jesus Christ, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Luke 23:35. This story is about one of the soldiers who put Christ to death, and he really doesn't understand what he has done until after he does it. 

This story is his journey to come first of all come to terms with the depression that descends upon him after the crucifixion, and then to learn about this Savior or King of the world. It is against the law to be Christian during this time, and Marcellus, the soldier who rolls for the robe of Christ, must figure out what to do with the knowledge he gains after he crucifies the Savior. 

Douglas puts the reader into the mind of Marcellus who isn't just an easy follower. He is not superstitious and wants evidence to back up what people tell him about Jesus Christ. He asks hard questions, and looks to reality to try to explain the miracles seen during the Saviors life. Based on his own experience, he has no trouble believing some of the miracles, but he struggles to believe others. 

This book makes the reader think and the story will stay with me. I look forward to reading this one again. 

5 of 5 stars. 







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, June 26, 2018

My Family for the War by Anne C Voorhoeve

My Family for the War by Anne C Voorhoeve was originally published in Germany in 2007. It was published in the United States in 2012. A few years ago, I first read about Nicholas Winton and his role in the Kindertrasnport that helped rescue Jewish children during WWII. This book, My Family for the War is a historical fiction of this event.

Franziska is a Christian child, but because her grandparents were Jewish, her family becomes a target of Hitler's regime. Fraziska's parents work desperately to find a way to get her out of the country to safety. She is given a spot on the Kindertransport and must make a new life in England. She must learn a new language, and learn more about her Jewish ancestry in order to fit in with her new foster parents.

I enjoyed this story. I liked that although it is fiction, the story is plausible. I liked the growth I saw in Fraziska and her struggles as she tried to come to terms with the loss of her family and her struggle to determine who her family was now that she lived in England. The relationships in this story are well developed and realistic.

Thank Heavens for the families who were willing to take these children into their homes and treat them well.

Here is an article I used in my classroom that tells more about Nicholas Winton. He was an amazing person who worked hard to save as many children as he could. He saved the lives of 669 children.

My sweet mom donated another 100 zip bags to our NICU book project. These 2-gallon bags allow us to package the books in a way that keeps them safe from possible spills at baby's bedside. Thanks, Mom.



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. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

13 Treasures Series by Michelle Harrison

The 13 Treasures series by Michelle Harrison was published in 2009, and I would have loved these books as a young girl.

The first book is called 13 Treasures and we meet Tanya who has grown up being able to see fairies. When she was little, her parents thought it cute, but now the fairies are determined to keep their existence secret and and they cause her all sorts of trouble - trouble that is blamed on her because imaginary friends and fairies don't exist.

Tanya's fairy troubles have pushed her mother too far, and Tanya is sent to stay with her maternal grandmother who lives in a wonderful old mansion with locked doors, secret passageways, and many, many, many fairies, trolls, goblins and other creatures. Tanya finds ways to limit the strength of the fairies, but will it be enough to keep her safe? Whom can she trust to help her?

Tanya along with the groundskeeper's son, Fabian, must solve a mystery or Tanya could be forever lost in the realm of the fairies.

This story has just the right amount of mystery and scary to go along with the fun. I was kept guessing nearly until the end. The character development is good, and Tanya seems like a real person complete with her often prickly personality.

I went ahead and checked out the Kindle versions of 13 Curses and 13 Secrets from my library because I wanted to know the rest of the story.

In 13 Curses, we get to know Red better as the story focuses on her. Tanya and Fabian are in this book. Red is trying to get her baby brother back from the fairy realm, but in order to do so, she must complete a task set for her by the fairy rulers. Red is a fiery character whose impetuous nature often gets her into trouble, but often that same quality saves the day.


In 13 Secrets, someone is killing people who help those caught in the changeling trade. Red, Tanya, Fabian and others must try to figure out who or what is the enemy. I found this one a bit more predictable, but not entirely predictable.





If you have a reader who loves fairy tales, they will like this series. 13 Secrets is pretty dark, so it is for a little more mature reader. The entire series shows the value of friendships and the consequences our actions can have.


A quick shout out to Michelle and Janet for bringing books for the NICU. Thank you both so much.

Janet brought this bunch over, and I was so thankful for the board books as we are out of them again.

Michelle found a Mo Willems book in Spanish. Hooray for fun Spanish books. 



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. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell

Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell was published in 2003 and is a good book for middle grade students. Sarhara is a student who because of personal trauma in her life is not doing well in school, so she has been placed in special education. She refuses to do any work at all. She doesn't want her work to end up in her file in the office, so she does nothing.

Her mother pulls her out of special education and Sahara is placed in a classroom with a teacher who is able to reach out to Sahara and help her.

I loved the parts with the stickers - Sahara longing for a sticker but trying to pretend it didn't matter to her. I loved the advice the teacher gave to Sahara, like: If you hear a good word that belongs to someone else, write it down somewhere so it belongs to you, too (85).

I enjoyed the friendships in this story and the character development. Every child needs a teacher like Miss Pointy.



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, May 31, 2018

A Cash Donation to Our NICU

Recently, a kind couple from the NICU gave $100 for us to buy books. I have a teacher friend who let me order the books from her Scholastic book order. She even gave us the bonuses generated by our order to get more books.

With the $100, we were able to purchase 88 books for the NICU.

Most of the books were only $1, but a few were $2, $3, or $5 combined with our free bonuses, these are the books we were able to purchase with this generous gift. 



 Yes, there are a few Don and Audrey Wood books and the must have Eric Carle.

One of Angie's coworkers sent these books. We currently need board books, so I was happy she sent these.

Angie went through her books at home as she was getting low on shelf space, and sent these beauties to help fill packets. Used books in like new condition are wonderful additions to our project. 


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. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

The Round House by Louise Erdrich was published in 2012 and was a National Book Award Finalist. This is a complicated story about a horrific crime that takes place on or near a reservation in North Dakota. A woman is attacked, but she is unable or unwilling to share the details with anyone. She retreats into her own mind and cannot leave her room.

Her son, Joe, decides to try to solve the crime himself. His father works in the legal system, and Joe has spent a lot of time reading his dad's law books. Joe has a great love for his mother and is determined to bring her back to their world. Erdrich weaves a rich tale of tragedy, humor, deep-dark, and spiritual writing that brings the reader right into the story. I loved the friendships in this story and how people took care of one another. I loved the relationships Joe had with both his mother and his father. This is a book I would read again.

Erdrich sets a feeling of tension and suspense in this story. I wanted Joe to win; I cheered for him, and sorrowed with him at times. Although there is sadness in this story, it is also a story of hope and love. And the ending, Wow!


Tanya and Hollie brought these books for our NICU babies. We were low on board books and they brought us eight! I am grateful to get these books. 



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, May 15, 2018

Thanks to All from the NICU

Take a look at the books that have arrived for the NICU babies. These books make a difference in the lives of all those who use them. These donations help make a NICU parents life just a little easier.

My sweet friend, Alysen, brought these board books over for the babies. I love board books for babies as they can take being handled by little hands.

Caitie, my daughter, brought this cute Mercer Mayer book.

Child Life Services at McKayDee Hospital gathered books for us and this stack is headed into a new teacher's classroom. Any books that can't be used in the NICU are passed along to teachers to help them build their classroom libraries, so feel free to send us used books as we will find them a good home to build the literacy of local school children. 

Child Life Services also sent this stack of books that are headed into the NICU.

This stack from Child Life Services is headed to the NICU waiting room. The books in that waiting room get a lot of use, so we are happy to have a few more for the children who visit that area.

My friend, Michelle, sent these four books for the NICU babies. I love everything Kevin Henkes writes. 
 

We recently had a book drive using the hostess gifts from Usborne. We were able to purchase 49 new books for the NICU babies. Usborne books are sturdy, priced well, and beautiful. Some of our friends bought books for the NICU from this party, so we got double blessed. We also had a couple of cash donations that were used to purchase some of these books.

 More from Usborne:

 More from Usborne:

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, May 8, 2018

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein was published in 2012, and though I've had it for a few years, I finally read it. I struggled to get into this book because I wasn't sure what was happening, but I am glad I stuck with it.

The story begins with the writings of a woman who has been captured by the Gestapo. She is accused of being spy and is being tortured for information. She has agreed to write her story for them. The reader is unsure who she really is. The story is painful to read at times even though it is well written as the subject is dark.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is fiction but a story that could have happened. The story is plausible and the characters are well written. Sometimes they are likeable and sometimes they are not - just like real people. My confusion was gone once I got to part two. This part is written by a different character and questions begin to get answered. I found myself going back and reading the spy's account over again, and thinking, "Oh, how clever," and "Oh, well done, Wein, well done." The writing is so vivid, I felt like I was watching a movie.

Books about the Holocaust are important, and I liked that this book is about the women who put themselves at risk for the greater cause. I loved the friendships in this story, and this is a book I would read again.


My neighbor, Marla called me last week and said that Jackie Simper donated 90 brand new Seuss books to her classroom. She only needed 30, so these will be in the next 60 packets that go to the NICU. They are beautiful full size hard back books. Thank you to Marla for thinking of  our project when she had books that needed a home, and Thank you to Jackie for donating these books. I appreciate you both.


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, April 28, 2018

Birds by Kevin Henkes and illustrated by Laura Dronzek

I recently found a book by Kevin Henkes that I didn't yet own, but I own it now. :) Birds was published in 2009. Laura Dronzek is the illustrator. All the pictures have bold black outlines which makes this a great book for even the littlest of babies.

In Birds, Henkes tells that birds can be different colors, so this book teaches colors. He talks about birds sizes, so your baby can learn about big and little and in between. He talks about the number of birds, so you can count with your child. He also helps a the older little child learn about abstract ideas, like what if we could see the trails birds make in the sky, or what would the sky look like if the clouds were birds. He talks about seasons, and my favorite page is a surprise.

Henkes never fails to delight me with his books for young readers. I have the hard cover version, but this book also comes as a board book, making it perfect for tiny hands.



Michelle and her grandson, Lucas, brought this cute book over for the NICU babies. Thank 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, April 20, 2018

Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl was published in 1975. The copy I own was illustrated by Quentin Blake. Danny and his father live in a Fortune Teller's caravan that is parked next to their filling station where they also repair cars. 

One night when Danny's father is out late, Danny learns that his father, his late-mother, and his grandfather used to poach pheasants from their rich neighbors land. They liked the secrecy of it, and although I am not a supporter of poaching in any manner. I enjoyed this story because of the relationship Danny has with his father. 

Their adventures get them into trouble, and the story is funny and often tender. Danny learns to drive while he is a child, and he is a big help to his father. I think children will like this story. I love the part when the baby is in the buggy and the birds are flying everywhere - too funny and a bit scary. 

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.

Another way to help our project is to purchase books from this Usborne link as we are currently using the hostess benefits to help buy books for the babies. You buy books that are delivered to your house for your children or grandchildren - or as baby shower gifts, and the hostess rewards help us get books for our NICU babies - a win win for all. Thanks to those of you who have already ordered; we are on our way to getting a lot of books for the babies. 

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

More NICU Donations

My doorbell rang the other day and my neighbor, Michelle, and her cute little grandson, Lucas, were there. Lucas had these books in his arms and told me they were "for the babies." He was so happy to share them. Thank you, Michelle and Lucas.


We had an Usbourne book party to benefit the NICU and the next two pictures are of books that were purchased from the party for the NICU. We also get more books for the NICU from our hostess benefits. 


This group of books was donated by Krysta Young. All of these will be well loved by the babies in the NICU. Usborne books are very sturdy and last. Thank you Krysta.

 Sharon Hall donated these books. Board books are so wonderful for little hands. They can take some nibbling and still hold up. Thank you, Sharon.

And just like that, we have books once again for the babies. 

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.

Another way to help our project is to purchase books from this Usborne link as we are currently using the hostess benefits to help buy books for the babies. You buy books that are delivered to your house for your children or grandchildren - or as baby shower gifts, and the hostess rewards help us get books for our NICU babies - a win win for all. Thanks to those of you who have already ordered; we are on our way to getting new books for the babies. 

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

NICU Donations

Donations this week to our NICU babies include the following, plus I understand several of Angie's friends ordered books from our Usborne link to donate directly to the babies. I'll post pictures of those after I visit Angie. We will also be getting free books as hostess gifts from our Usborne link. 

Angela Jenson donated these books. They will be headed to the NICU waiting room and also to a local teacher's classroom. 

 Brittany Shaw donated these books that will be put into packets for the NICU babies.

Caitie Jolley sent a big box of books pictured in the next two pictures. The first books pictured will head to the NICU waiting room and to a local teacher's classroom.

This second batch that Caitie sent over will go into packets for the NICU babies.


I appreciate every book that is donated. Some of the used books get donated to local classrooms, but all the books find a home, so thank you all for helping spread the love of literacy across our community. 


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.

Another way to help our project is to purchase books from this Usborne link as we are currently using the hostess benefits to help buy books for the babies. You buy books that are delivered to your house for your children or grandchildren - or as baby shower gifts, and the hostess rewards help us get books for our NICU babies - a win win for all. Thanks to those of you who have already ordered; we are on our way to getting new books for the babies. 

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