Reading and Literature

Summer 2016

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Summer 2016

So, I’m still home. I’m facing the reality that life as I knew it might be a bygone thing, and I’m learning to find my peace with it. My therapist– and let’s face it, when you’re going through this sort of life upheaval, it’s really to your benefit to have a therapist– suggested, when I told her how much I miss writing and blogging that I channel that energy into writing about life with epilepsy instead. I thought about it, but then decided I really didn’t want to. I don’t like living with epilepsy and I certainly don’t want to write about it. Instead, I’ve decided to go back to blogging and writing about my passion– play-based early childhood education. At first, I wondered if I really could. I’m not homeschooling. I’m not teaching. I’ll have my children for the summer, but then they’re back to school. Can I really still blog about these things, or would I be a fraud?

Inside the book basket...

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We are a book-loving family. But even though we have books pretty much everywhere, I do like to fill a special box or basket with books that appropriate to whatever season, holiday, or prevailing theme is taking over our home. Here are some of our early September favorites.

First we have Evelyn M. Finnegan’s My Little Friend books. I bought these for Daniel as a birthday gift a couple years ago and he absolutely loves them. We even had our own “little friend” to go along with them. I hope the twins enjoy them just as much and I know Daniel will love hearing them again.

View of cascading water frozen on the mountains on some back roads of Pennsylvania

When icicles hang by the wall
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail;
When blood is nipt and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl:
Tu-who! 
Tu-whit! Tu-who! -- A merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian's nose looks red and raw;
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl
Then nightly sings the staring owl:
Tu-who! 
Tu-whit! Tu-who! -- A merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

~Shakespeare, Love's Labour Lost

Holy crow, there are a lot of great books out there!

One thing I am realizing– there is no possible way I can keep up with what my kids want to read, keep up with with all the books I want to share with my children, keep up with all the new books out there, follow my own reading interests once n a while, keep up with this project of reading all the Newbery winners and runner ups AND post about every one. So here’s a little recap.

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Online, at least. In real life, things are hopping.

Sunday was the nicest Mother’s Day ever. It started on Saturday, with Katie Grace’s ballet recital. Usually I go to the rehearsal and take lots of pictures and videos. With the twins, I wasn’t able to. She did such a beautiful job and smiled her lovely smile the entire time. All of the dances were just beautiful and I was once again so grateful for St. John School of the Arts and Ms. Teresa’s efforts to protect her little ballerinas’ childhood innocence.

Katie Grace is in the middle with the high tight bun.

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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.

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Friday

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
Walk
And grasp the sensors
And watch my heart rate rise and fall and rise and fall again.

After,
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.

Saturday

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

As I embark on this journey of reading all the Newbery winners (and hopefully all the runners up as well!) it occurs to me I should know what, exactly, makes a Newbery winner a Newbery winner.

According to the American Library Association, the Newbery award came about in 1922 and was intended to honor the best children’s book of the year before. The stated purpose of the award is

To encourage original creative work in the field of books for children. To emphasize to the public that contributions to the literature for children deserve similar recognition to poetry, plays, or novels. To give those librarians, who make it their life work to serve children’s reading interests, an opportunity to encourage good writing in this field.

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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.