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.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmak by Carmen Agra Deedy


The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Henri Sorensen was published in 2000. When I first heard of this story, I thought the story was true, but it is a legend, not factual.

However, this is a story about what would happen if we all refused to allow anyone to be discriminated against. If we all stood for kindness, caring, and love, we could have a better society.

The legend says that when the Nazis tried to make the Jews in Denmark wear the yellow star, the King of Denmark asked everyone in his country to wear the star. "If you wished to hide a star, where would you place it?"

The Danes wanted to be a country of Danes even if they worshiped different ways, so all the Danes wore stars to protect their Jewish brothers and sisters, and once again they were all Danes.

I like this book because it reminds us that we are all part of the human family and we must take care of each other. The illustrations by Henri Sorensen are beautiful.


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

Angie's NICU has a wonderful family who at least once a year donates books and other helpful items to the families staying in the NICU.

These books were donated in honor of Liam Gregory's wish list. I appreciate the generosity of Liam's parents, friends, and family. Thank you. All of these books bear a bookplate to honor Liam. 



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, November 12, 2018

There There by Tommy Orange

There There is Tommy Orange's debut novel and was published in 2018. I was lucky enough to find this one in a Little Free Library.

 In this novel, he tells the stories of several different Native people. All of their stories come together at the end of the book at a Powwow in Oakland. This book is about the power of stories, especially the personal narrative. One of the characters is gathering stories from Native Americans, and it is fitting to have his story as part of the novel.

The character development is really good. I liked that he made me feel like I was right there in the room with his characters. They seem like real people. I like that he shows what is it like to be Native in America and that each experience is different yet connected.

There are many quotes that I loved, but I didn't write them down because I listened to the audio version, which was wonderful because it had several different narrators. Each chapter is told by a different character and thus the story is woven together as characters step in and out of the story.

Although I didn't care for the ending of this book, I still think it is worth reading. I can't wait to see what Tommy Orange writes next as his writing is heartfelt and beautiful and often reads like 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.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Well: David's Story by Mildred D. Taylor

The Well: David's Story by Mildred D. Taylor was published in 1995, and it is a prequel to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. This 92 page book is the story of David Logan and his brother Hammer during a time of drought.

Their family has the only well in the area that hasn't dried up. All the people in their town are coming to use their water, but one family is racist and treats the Logan family badly.

As always, Taylor's writing is sublime. She puts the reader into the minds and shoes of her characters. I think this book holds up to current times as we have seen an increase in racist behavior in our country.

My only complaint with this story is that is isn't longer. This would be a perfect book to help a reluctant reader learn about the Jim Crow era and our nation's history of racism. If they like this book, they would be ready to read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and already be familiar with some of the characters. So, perhaps this little book is just the right length.


Michelle donated two Spanish books to our NICU book project.

Thank you, Michelle.



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 7, 2018

One Bear, One Dog by Paul Stickland

One Bear, One Dog by Paul Stickland was published in 1997 and although it is currently out of print, you can still find it for a good price on Amazon. This book is by the same author and illustrator as Dinosaur Roar, which is also a grand kid favorite. 

Aria liked this book because she felt like she was reading it. Each page has one, two, or three words on it, and the words go with the darling pictures of animals and insects that are dancing across the pages. At the end of the book, your child becomes a character in the book with a well placed mirror. Aria read this one twice. 



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, November 5, 2018

Flapstick by Jon Agee

Flapstick by Jon Agee is a play on words all the way through. This book was published in 1993, and my edition has heavy and sturdy pages, and each page has a lift the flap on it. 

There are ten ridiculous rhymes with flaps, such as: 

"The matador is rather tense,
He'll need a little luck. 
For after all he's up against
A great and mighty . . ."

At this point, you lift the flap and see what the matador will be fighting. The word here is duck that rhymes with luck, and hopefully for the matador, this duck isn't like the cute little bunny rabbit on Monty Python and the Holy Grail. 

This book is funny and fun to read. 




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, November 1, 2018

Pouch by David Ezra Stein

Pouch by David Ezra Stein was published in 2009. Stein uses repetition  and common childhood fears to tell his story. 

A baby kangaroo is ready to leave the pouch, but each time he does, he meets a new and unfamiliar animal that sends him running back to jump into his mama's pouch. At the end of the story, he meets another baby kangaroo and both of them rush for safety. 

By facing their fear of the unknown, they each make a friend and gain a level of independence. Stein also wrote Interrupting Chicken




Michelle Horne, Olivia's pretty school (preschool) teacher, donated this book for the NICU. Thank you, Michelle. 


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, October 30, 2018

Click, Clack, Peep! by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin

Click, Clack, Peep! by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin was published in 2015 and has the same humor and elements of surprise that all the other Click, Clack, Moo books have. The story is written by Doreen Cronin, and Betsy Lewin is the illustrator who draws all the fun pictures. 

In this installment, a new baby is coming to the farm and no one can get any sleep because Baby Duck will not sleep. All Baby Duck does is "Peep, peep, peep." Lewin draws the eyes of the animals looking very tired. Of course Duck figures out a way to get the baby to sleep, but it isn't going to make Farmer Brown happy at all. 




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, October 24, 2018

The Handmade Alphabet by Laura Rankin

I collect alphabet books, and I found one today that has incredibly beautiful art. The Handmade Alphabet by Laura Rankin was published in 1991 and is a Reading Rainbow book. This wordless book, shows each letter of the alphabet, a hand showing the American Sign Language sign, and one item that begins with that letter of the alphabet.

These pictures would look great in a classroom or in a child's room, not that I can bring myself to cut up a book, but this one might be worth getting one to cut up. I wish this book was sold as posters.




The pictures are even brighter and more beautiful in person. 

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, October 23, 2018

Where My Feet Go by Birgitta Sif

Where My Feet Go by Birgitta Sif was published in 2016. This darling book got two thumbs up from the two grand kids whom I've read it to so far. Vincent and Aria are both four-years-old, and they both laughed at the pictures that show the wonderful imagination of Sif's main character, a fully dressed panda that carries around a little green frog.

This book is a lot of fun and encourages children to use their own imaginations when they play. They especially liked the page that says, "My feet sit very, very quietly while I feed little dinosaurs." The illustration is of the panda feeding birds.

I can't wait to share this one with the other grand kids.

Yes, I am a grandmother with a picture book addiction.




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, October 22, 2018

Inhuman by Kat Falls

Inhuman by Kat Falls is the first book in the Fetch series. The second book, Undaunted,  comes out in March of 2019. I'll be buying it for sure.

Inhuman is the story of Lane McEvoy. She lives on the right side of a giant wall that separates her society from the feral zone. Before she was born, a company that was trying to create new species of animals accidentally started a plague when animal viruses attacked the human population and killed millions. Those that survived were changed, and not for the better.

Lane is being blackmailed to save someone she loves, so she has to go into the feral zone to retrieve an item. What she finds in the feral zone is the stuff of nightmares. She loves animals and is a kind person, but her kindness could get her killed.

If you liked Dark Life, you will like this book. Kat  Falls grabs her reader from the start, writes an exciting well paced story, and has characters that are multi-dimensional.



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, October 20, 2018

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman is a novella that was published in 2016. Backman never lets me down. I've read all but one of his published books and have enjoyed every single word.

This sweet novella is about a grandfather and his grandson. The grandfather is getting older and is suffering from dementia. Noah, the grandson, is trying hard to understand what is happening to his grandpa. They share the love of math, but Noah's father loves music. The grandfather has invited Noah into his brain. This multi-generational story shows the love that encompasses our families even when we are different.

The visual aspect of this story is beautiful. There are simple illustrations, yet the words themselves seem to illustrate the story even more than the pictures that were drawn by Ella Laytham. The illustrations add a gentle touch to this book.

Quotes I liked:

Grandfather - "How do I explain to him that I'm going to be leaving him even before I die?" page 11

In reference to his brain - "It rained for a long time here when your grandma died. I never quite got it back in order after that." page 24.

In reference to Noah, "He's so tall now; his feet are going to reach all the way to the ground soon" (36).

"That's why we get the chance to spoil our grandchildren because by doing that we're apologizing to our children" (66).

"The amount I love you, Noah, the sky will never be that big" (69).

"What can we do for Grandpa? We can walk down the road with him. We can keep him company" (69-71).

I love this book because it is a love letter to a grandfather, a father, and a grandchild. Backman shows tenderness and feelings so well. His characters always seem to come off the page and walk right into your home. May he have a long and prosperous writing career.



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, October 17, 2018

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins


Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins is the first of four books and was published in 2010. The book begins with fifteen-year-old Sophie Mercer, a witch, being exiled to Hex Hall, a reform school for wayward witches, vampires, werewolves, faeries, shapeshifters, and other Prodigium.

I really liked the premise of this story. I found that Hawkins got the teen angst right, and the conversations were realistic. I found the story fun and the friendships good. 

I liked the magic and the consequences students faced. There was just the right amount of tension in the story. 




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.

Michelle and I went to a 50% off sale today and she got these books for our NICU babies. Thank you Michelle for helping our project. 



We found a lot of Spanish books today, and we will have delivered 400 books to two different hospital NICUs by the end of this month. 

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

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Lemons Are Not Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Laura Vaccaro Seeger writes great books for children. My grand kids all enjoy her books. Lemons Are Not Red is a fun book with cut outs in each page. The book begins with "Lemons are not RED," with a red lemon showing.

The lemon is a cut out, so when you turn the page, the lemon cut out is now colored yellow with the words, "Lemons are YELLOW. Apples are RED."

Each page shows a different item from nature and keeps the child guessing which item will be shown next. Honestly, you can't go wrong with this author. She knows how to delight young readers - and old ones like me. :)


This would be a great book to send to our NICU 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.

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

Friday, October 5, 2018

The Lake House by Kate Morton

We read The Lake House by Kate Morton for our September book club. This book was published in 2015, and is a good mystery. I was kept guessing almost until the end.

In the first chapter, an unknown woman is burying something, something heavier than she'd thought it would be. I thought this character was Alice, and then I thought this character was Eleanor, and then I wondered if it was Nanny Rose, or or maybe Constance. The reader doesn't find out until nearly the end. 

The story travels in time from 1933 to 2003 to 1914 to 2004 and back and forth all through the book. The story is told from several different point of views as the narration follows the different possible suspects. 

Sadie is a current day detective on leave from her job for stepping on toes. She stumbles across a seventy-year-old missing person's case. A baby disappeared, but the reader doesn't know what happened to him. 

I found myself hating one character after the other as I thought they may have killed the missing child. Sadie also has a modern day mystery that plays a role in the story but not in the story of the missing child. 

Kate Morton is a good story teller. This isn't the first book our book club has read by her and it probably won't be the last. 





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, October 4, 2018

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes was published in 2016. Because I hadn't read anything about this book, I thought it would be set in 2001. It is set in current time. 

Deja, the main character, and her family live in a homeless shelter. She has a little brother and sister, a mother, and a father who is always sick, coughing, and it sounds like he has a bad case of PTSD. 

At school, her teacher tells them their essays will all connect with the missing twin towers. Deja doesn't understand why they need to learn about something that happened before she was born. It's old history, and it doesn't matter to her, or so she thinks. 

Deja has her defenses up. The shelter is in the nicest neighborhood she's ever lived in, and at least two of the kids at the school are determined to be her friends. I enjoyed seeing the changes in Deja and her friends. I loved how they helped one another. Every person needs friends like Ben and Sabeen. 

I love this story of friendship and connections and how we are all one family. I liked that the kids were not just white and that the author was realistic in her representations of different cultures. Children need to read about people who look just like them and about people who don't. 

I think this is an important book for children who don't know about 9/11. Know that this book may make them curious enough to do more research and some of what's online about 9/11 isn't for younger readers. 

I listened to the audio version and nearly gave up on it because Deja sounded too angry, unlikable, and full of hate for everybody and everything, but I didn't have any other audio books to listen to that day, so I stuck it out. I may have liked the book more if I had read it, but I loved it anyway. Be warned that if you remember 9/11, this book will make you weep. 

I look forward to reading more of Rhodes' work. She's an excellent author. 





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, September 26, 2018

The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford was published in 1961, and if you have a reader who loves animals, they will enjoy this story. I found this copy at a local Little Free Library. I love our Little Free Libraries. I think I need one.

The novel is set in Canada, and tells about two dogs and a cat who do all they can to get home to their people. The book is well illustrated by Carl Burger, and this book would be great for middle grade and middle school students.

I listened to the audio version which as well done, but the pictures in the book really add what the audio version can not. As a person with dogs at home, I could see the love and caring that these three animals had for one another. I also could understand when they got annoyed with one another. Animals are so much deeper than we may ever know. I liked how the animals took care of one another and the kind people who also helped them along their way.

Animals are smarter than we often realize.



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, September 24, 2018

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan is the first book of The Trials of Apollo series and was published in 2016. This series is connected to the Percy Jackson series, but the main character is Apollo who has been cast to earth by an angry Zeus as a mortal teen complete with acne and without his god like good looks, strength, or agility.

Percy Jackson takes him to Camp Half-Blood, and Apollo learns he must restore five lost oracles. This book, just like all of Riordan's work, is fast paced with never a dull moment. He makes good use of white space and short chapters, so even students who have hard time with text, should do fine with the formatting of this book.The cover is completely awesome.

I enjoyed seeing the changes in Apollo as he learned what he had been putting his children through when he sent them struggles, and now that he has no special powers, he must rely on the half-bloods to help him.

I also like the positive references to the LGBT+ community. Apollo is bisexual and encourages his fans to study Greek history to learn more about his background, although he does tell about the two main loves of his life - one male and one female. His son is also gay in this novel. Riordan doesn't make it a big deal, it just is. I appreciate that students who are LGBT+ will see themselves in this novel in a positive way.

Riordan is always a good choice for students. My grandson, Isaac loves all his books, and I enjoy them as well even though I am way older than his target audience.



My niece, Michelle of The Cleaning Artists, donated these books for the NICU babies. I appreciate her donation as we're low on books right now. Thank you, Michelle. 


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, September 20, 2018

Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H Balson

Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H Balson was published in 2010. This book is historical fiction set during WWII and into modern day.

The story begins with Ben Solomon accosting Elliot Rosenzweig at a social event and threatening to shoot him. Ben accuses Elliot of being a Nazi SS Officer during WWII and of committing war crimes. However, Elliot has a tattoo from being a prisoner at Auschwitz, and the mystery begins. Ben believes Elliot was named Otto Piatek, and believes he recognizes him as the foster brother who was taken in by his parents during the depression in Germany, so they were raised as brothers.

Solomon convinces an attorney to help him bring Otto Piatek to justice. The story grabbed me right in and although the time shifts from present to past to present again, it is well written and compelling. I could see how this story could have come to pass even though it is fiction. I won't tell you if Ben is correct or not, but Balson makes his reader think.


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.