Kids Book Corner

  • Goose Girl
  • Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of NIMH
  • Peter and The Shadow Thieves
  • Peter and The Star Catchers
  • Simon Bloom, The Gravity Keeper
  • Stella Brite and The Dark Matter Myster
  • The Island of The Blue Dolphins
  • The Phantom Toll Booth
  • The School Library Journal
  • The Sisters Grimm
  • Tuck Everlasting


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Banned Book Week is here:

I have only read a few on this list, but I plan to read The Great Gilly Hopkins

1 Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2 Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3 The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4 And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5 Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7 Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8 His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9 TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10 The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11 Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12 It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13 Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15 The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16 Forever, by Judy Blume
17 The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18 Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19 Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20 King and King, by Linda de Haan
21 To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22 Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23 The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24 In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25 Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26 Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27 My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28 Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29 The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30 We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31 What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32 Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33 Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34 The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35 Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36 Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37 It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38 Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39 Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40 Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41 Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42 The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43 Blubber, by Judy Blume
44 Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45 Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46 Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47 The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48 Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50 The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51 Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52 The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53 You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54 The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55 Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56 When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57 Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58 Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59 Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60 Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61 Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62 The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63 The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64 Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65 The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67 A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68 Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69 Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70 Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71 Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72 Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73 What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74 The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75 Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76 A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77 Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78 The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79 The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80 A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81 Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82 Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83 Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84 So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85 Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86 Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87 Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88 The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89 Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90 A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91 Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Graighead George
92 The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93 Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94 Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95 Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96 Grendel, by John Gardner
97 The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98 I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99 Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100 America: A Novel, by Frank, E.R.

AHHHH! The Smell of Books in the Morning...

Some books featuring strong female characters, except for the last one.:

Minli is a child driven by love for her family and a desire to change their fortune. Living a hardscrabble existence, Minli, goes on a journey to talk with the Old Man of the Moon. Along the way there is a kind dragon, an evil green tiger, mischievous monkeys, clever children, talking goldfish, and a kind boy, among other characters. This book reminded me of a Chinese version of The Wizard of Oz. She even had to follow the yellow road at one point. The book is made of short chapters with short folktales making perfect segues. The story was like a lovely woven tapestry. One of my favorite stories is when some of the villagers that Minli meets take fabric from each of their own clothes to create a warm jacket for her to continue her journey. These people where the exemplars of happiness and their selflessness in helping Minli brought tears to my eyes. The lessons in this book were ones that would be beneficial to all.

This was a decent beginning to a series about a young woman who is saved from the gallows to become a part of group of secret agents. I never felt immersed in this Victorian era mystery. It had a rather modern feel. That being said I liked the character of Mary Lang and had a desire to go along on her quest to find out information on a possible smuggler. There was nuance missing in this first book, so I'm curious how the next in the series compares.

This reads very much like a college paper, which is not surprising since Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is a scholar. She begins the book explaining how a short phrase from one of her early research became a phenomenon in the world of apparel and novelties. She goes on to discuss the impact made by woman such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Virginia Woolf, Christine de Pizan. She explains how these woman were acting within societies norms, but them came to something that they could not abide. This prior history gave the women more credibility when they finally chose to speak and act out to change. I had a bit of an issue with the information presented about Joan of Arc. I have read other scholarship that downplays the historical tales of her actions. I think what I would have preferred was explaining how the tales affected readers and listeners with out making Joan of Arc's actions coming across as having actually happened. Untrue events can have a concrete affect on behaviors. Overall it came off as a bit dry, but I do like reading about women who are willing to stand up for what they deem as right.

This biography has the feel of a rambling chat with a wizened grandmother. Mrs. Ella Mae Cheeks Johnson is a woman willing to admit mistakes and to have a dialogue with anyone with which she might have a disagreement. This attitude, I felt, was the most endearing and enduring message of her life's story. She has genuine compassion for others that was displayed by her career as a social worker. She wants people to take responsibility and be treated with dignity. The story is not told chronologically, so the out of sequence events can get a little muddled in the presentation. The author may have improved the presentation with a tighter narrative, but the book is an informational read. I appreciated getting Mrs. Johnson's perspective over her eventful life.

The tripods rule over the humans by using a metal cap placed on the head at the 14th birthday. Sometimes the capping doesn't go well and creates deranged behavior causing the person to be called a vagrant. Will and his cousin Henry are reluctant companions on an escape to The White Mountains were there are humans struggling to remain free from tripod control. Along the way they meet "Beanpole" who is their logical "Spock-like" friend who saves them from jail. The writing is rather halting and was a bit awkward for reading aloud, but the story is engaging and my 10 year-old remained eager throughout. I too wanted to know what would happen and I look forward to the sequels.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Heart of the TARDIS is...

made of yellow cake, marble cake, and buttercream frosting. Who knew?
Time And Relative Dimension In Space

Michael uses a square fondant cutter to make the windows of the police box.
He places the window panes of white fondant into the blue walls.
Rachel observes her dad's handiwork.
I printed the Police Box signs on my computer.

I suppose we could have done a cake to look like fishsticks and custard, but we nixed that idea in favor of the big blue box.
Happy 13th Birthday, Rachel!...and many more!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Yep! I, purposely, misspelled exterminate.

Eve requested Chinese food for dinner, so we went to Hunan's on Chamblee Tucker. The owner is such a cut up. He brought Eve some fried pineapple for dessert and led us in singing in a birthday song. Eve, especially, loved the spring rolls and moo goo gai pan. She kept hunting for more water chestnuts.

::::::::::::::Morning Silliness::::::::

This morning Rachel and Noah had a lip-sync contest when Word Girl came on PBS. They were hilarious. Rachel declared victory, but Noah did not acquiesce.

:::::::::Cool Kid Podcasts::::::

Aaron's World

I love that Aaron and his helpful computer do the talking in this informative podcast about dinosaurs. The episodes are just over 5 minutes and Aaron's approach to learning and teaching others is engaging.

:::::::::::::::Bee Cake Pops::::::

Well I am off to make cake pops with the Beehives at church. Check to see what I mean.

Later, gators.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friends and Books

It was so nice to get a call from my wonderful friend, Crystal P., inviting me out to lunch at the Blue Rooster. She also invited Virginia L. We had a great time talking and eating. Crystal wants to adopt my mother and vice versa. She was also Eve's preschool teacher.

:::::::Book Reviews::::::

What a thoroughly endearing and funny man is Major Ernest Pettigrew of Edgecombe. His love of honor and civility is needled by a son who lives only for "The Deal" and keeping up with the proverbial Joneses. Major Pettigrew's strikes up a friendship with Mrs. Ali. Both he and Mrs. Ali are widowers with a love for literature. Other side characters give wonderful texture to this story that unfolds very nicely. The thread that ties the story from beginning to end is the pair of Churchill guns. The plausible storyline of the animosity between brothers over a separated pair of guns is brought to an odd conclusion at the end of the story. The contrived ending that included a psychotic, knitting needle wielding lady threw the tone of the book quite off for me. Don't get me wrong, this book is very well crafted with only a miss step in a side story line. The relationship that develops between Mrs. Ali and the Major is engaging. The devolving relationship between the Major's son, Roger and his fiancee is also interesting. The commentary on how different races treat each other and the rampant classicism is treated on just the right note. I also was very fond of Gertrude who is a wonderful friend to the major.
What a gem of a book!

This book is a well prepared recipe of characters. The separate chapters that explain each character in the cooking class is intriguing. Each character acts as the just the right ingredient that combines into a superb final dish. In a brief book there is so much depth. A delightful read!

::::::::::::Drama Club:::::::

Rachel was excited to tell us that she was selected to be a member of the middle school Drama Club. She said there are about 20 members. I think she also said that some of her friends are members too. Julia, Sabrina and Brenna are the names I can think of now.