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!