Book review

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I was so excited to review this book, not only because I’m a music geek and love finding new ways to share music with my children, but also because I know one of the authors! I went to college with Melissa, sang with her in our choirs, and know what a wonderfully fabulous person and musician she is. So how could I pass up an opportunity to check out the book she wrote?

Um… whoops? I’ve still been working my way through the list of Newbery winners and runner-ups, but I kind of forgot to blog about them. I did update my page to bold my latest reads.

We recently listened to Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright, one of the Newbery Honor winners if 1958. You can tell it was 1958 because a key part of this book was the ability for the children to wander around without adult supervision. This amazed my own kids. “Wait– didn’t anyone notice they were going away all day every day? Didn’t anyone care?”

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We were very excited to walk into our library last week and find a nice big display of Little League books! Of course, we grabbed a bunch to take home. Don’t worry, we left a bunch more there!

When we got home, Daniel picked this one for me to read:

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it sure wasn’t what the book held.


They chose THAT to win the Newbery?!?!

I have a feeling this is something I am going to be saying A LOT during this whole experiment in reading all the Newbery winners.

Sooo… A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Wilard just left me feeling kind of meh. The biggest passion I could work up for this book was to be bewildered that it won the Newbery. I could kind of maybe see the Caldecott, which it also won, but the Newbery? I need to look up some of the also-rans, because I don’t get it. Even looking up the reviews, I’m not seeing where anyone was gung-ho over this book.



Beginning again,
I go to the gym for the first time in over a year.
Scared, I climb aboard the treadmill,
Ignoring the book in my bag,
Too frightened to do anything but
And grasp the sensors
And watch my heart rate rise and fall and rise and fall again.

Stealing a few more minutes,
I sit in the parking lot and open this book,
Filled with poetry
And a family
And dust that fell like snow.


Back at the gym again,
I walk and then I run.


Don’t forget to enter the Spring Seasons of Joy Giveaway!

In 2006, when Jersey Boys won the Tony Award, I was greatly annoyed. I was glad it beat The Wedding Singer– my kids singing nursery rhymes could have beat The Wedding Singer– but did not understand how it possibly had more theatrical merit than The Color Purple or The Drowsy Chaperone.

What does this have to do with Newbery Winner When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead? My 12-year-old reading over my shoulder just asked the same thing.

When I was little, being called a bookworm felt a lot like an insult. I’m sure it was intended to be one. When other kids were running around on the playground, I usually had my nose in a book. When I was supposed to be paying attention in class, I usually had my nose in a book. Heck, even when walking to and from school, I generally had my nose in a book. I often slammed my head into the traffic box on our corner because from first grade on, I had my nose in a book.

Disclosure: This book was sent to me by Catholic Company in exchange for an honest review.

When it came time for me to choose my next book from Catholic Company, I looked at the list with my mind towards Lent. I also was hoping for something that would help me better deal with my present predicament– recovering from heart failure with newborn twins and four older children– and was excited when I saw this title.

It’s a bit misleading, because after reading, I don’t know how much solace I found in Thomas a Kempis’s writings. Conviction, certainly, but passages such as this are not exactly comforting:


Disclosure: This book was given to me by Thomas Nelson Publishing in return for an honest review.

This is the second book in the Ancient Practices series, and I had such high hopes. You see, I have several friends who practice the concept of a weekly Sabbath, and I’ve always been jealous. Two of my friends are Jewish and share lovely stories of homemade challah and delicious food and peaceful times with friends and family. One is a Messianic Gentile who celebrates her Sabbath by taking off work and spending fun times wit her family. And I have a few Christian friends who intentionally keep a Sabbath as well. But for some reason, I’ve never quite been able to pull it off. I’m sure a great deal of this has to do with the fact that my husband is a pastor and so Sunday is, in fact, a “work day” for him.