4

Last year I wrote out a list of 15 Resolutions.  I've learned a lot about goal setting since new-years-day-234805_1280 (1)then so I know that my list was really too cumbersome  and probably did not necessarily stick to my main priorities in life- so I didn't do so good in keeping them.  Still, I made some improvements in some areas and I personally feel that if people don't make that list of goals- whether it's called resolutions, goals, or whatever one chooses to call it, those improvements are much less likely to occur.  So I'm going over last year's list and the goal list I made in the fall to develop a plan of action for 2015.  So here's a brief review of how I did on my 2014 resolutions.

1.  Stick to the Paleo Diet at least 93% of the time.  -  We did really well with this for the first part of the year, not so good these last few months.  We haven't totally failed it; but it was more likely to be in the 70% range if I were to give it a number and YES- I've noted quite a difference so I WILL be focused on getting back to that 90% range!

2.  Exercise, on average, 3 times a week.   - Uh, well.......ooops.  Kind of failed this one.  My exercising tends to go in spurts and while I got myself really motivated about 3 months back to start again, it lasted about 2 days before I sprained my foot and well, yeah.  You get it.

3. Add Evening Prayers to my Prayer Routine.  Hmmmm.   I did it for awhile.  My problem is really  lack of routine at bedtime anymore and keeping my prayer book or bible by the bedside.  It tends to get moved a lot.  Maybe I just need to print out a copy of the ones I like for night and put it in the book I'm reading as the book tends to stay by the bedside more than the bible does.

4.  Read at least 3 books that are of Orthodox content over the course of the year.  Ooops.  Maybe I haven't done as well with these resolutions as I originally thought.  While I worked on several, I did not complete any from cover to cover.

5.  Read at LEAST 12 Newberry Medal Books.  Well, I didn't get in 12 but I do know it was my resolution to read them that kept them present in my mind and was the reason I did get through seven of them!  (Yes, I did finish Flora and Ulysses just the other day!)

6.  Read:

  •  2014 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market   YES!!!!  I did that!
  • A Family of Readers:  A Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature - well, almost.  It got misplaced in the move and I still haven't unpacked all the book boxes as we're still awaiting for the man to complete our built in shelves for the library.
  • Honey For a Child's Heart -  Another one in a box somewhere, but I believe I got at least halfway through that one too.

7.  Watch my Charlotte Mason Videos -  YES!!!  I did that too!  And I read a lot more about the methodology!

8.  Research for a Preschool Curriculum and make a decision by April.  Yes!  I did this too.  I didn't go with a preschool curriculum though.  I realized he was already beyond preschool and I didn't want to go with just one set curriculum this year.  I went with a variety of things including Simply Charlotte Mason's Delightful Reading program which we are taking very slowly and truly enjoying it!

9.  Break 3 Bad habits.  Well , I did break one!  (Nope, not telling- just saying it's done- you'll have to trust me on that one)

10.  Maintain my Gratitude Journal.  My journal, no - though I did add to it here and there. But I did keep a list of things I'm grateful for for my husband and presented it at Christmas.  So I DID work on gratitude and will continue to keep that as a daily goal.

11.  Maintain This Blog!  Well, it's still here so I guess I did it!  I didn't make the huge strides I had hoped for but I did gain viewers and didn't lose them so I'd say I'm still successful.  🙂

12.  Keep Writing!!!  Well, yes, I did do that.  Again, not as much progress as I had hoped for but I haven't given it up.  I think I need to really set more definite and attainable goals for the blog and my other writing.

13.  Set more time aside for ME.  I have done better with this.  This year I have really kept this in my mind as something I need to do and am making progress.  With that comes guilt though and I need to work more at overcoming that and setting my boundaries and reactions to others when they don't understand my need to do this.

14.  Spend more quality time with my children and husband.  I think this year was a definite improvement.  There is still room, of course, for further improvement.  But I would definitely say my husband and I have had many more date nights and time together than previous years and that I've spent more 'fun' time with the kids without feeling pressed for time.

15.  Work on Easy and Quick Paleo Meals that will ensure that I have time to do all of the above.  Yes, I've worked on this and the biggest realization I've made is that I need to stop trying to please the hubby and kids with all their favorite meals and something different so often. I need to make ease and time efficiency my priorities (after HEALTHY of course).

Photos by Pixabay
Photos by Pixabay

So in all, I feel successful.  No I didn't carry out every single one 100% or even half of them- but I think the list kept me on track to make progress.  And sometimes progress is all we can ask for!

How did you do this past year with resolutions?  Are you making a list for 2015?

 

2

Who doesn't love books?

Okay, I realize there are a few but those are just crazy people....lol... actually, I believe  those people were just  never given the right books!  My true passion for books started with this one:

That's  how I started my post from last January in which  I made a list of the books I wanted to read  in 2014- you can see that list here.  With the end of the year fast approaching, I wanted to review my list- determine if I still want to read the remaining books that I never got around to reading or finishing, and make a new list for the upcoming year.

All of the  books from my 2014 list have been the main photograph of this blog all year. I went through and marked off all the books I actually did read- here they are:

NEWBERRY MEDAL BOOKS: 

And I just finally started reading last year's winner -  Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo!

HOMESCHOOL SOURCES:

THE WRITING CRAFT:

  • Writing Picture Books: A Hands on Guide From Story to Creation by Ann Whitford Paul (Still Working on this one!)
  • 2014 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market
  • A Family of Readers - The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature (Still Working on This!)
  • Honey For A Child's Heart - The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life  (Still Working on This One Too!)

ORTHODOXY:

  • The Orthodox Study Bible - yes, I've already read it 🙂  But the bible is a daily must no matter how many times one has read it
  • 2014 Daily Lives, Miracles and Wisdom of the Saints (Fasting Calendar by The Orthodox Calendar Company)- I've used this periodically, but failed, I'm afraid, in reading it daily as intended.

 

OTHER FICTION:

PICTURE BOOKS:

  • TOO MANY TO LIST!!

Of Course, I DID stray from the list.... 

  • The Busy Mom's Guide to Romance by Heidi St. John
  • Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson
  • Clutter Free With Kids by Joshua S. Becker
  • Grain Brain by David Perlmutter  -  I'll be honest- I haven't completely finished this one either- but I do LOVE what I've read thus far and highly recommend this informative read.
  • The Emotionally Healthy Woman - I haven't finished this one either - I'm reading it with a wonderful group of women and thoroughly enjoying it.
  • Love and Respect - another one I've recently started.
  • Unglued - a great book by Lysa TerKeurst that I am actually rereading as I've mentioned in some posts.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkiabn (a reread for me, a read-aloud with my son)
  • A Christmas Carol - Our Current Read-Aloud that we are sure to finish within a few days!

I have truly loved most of them.  There was only one or two that wasn't necessarily what I hoped it would be.  And I'm eager to finish the ones I'm reading now and move on to more.  So I'm thinking of starting a list now for 2015 - not that I think I NEED one to read- I just like having an idea, something to keep me from buying EVERY SINGLE BOOK I SEE that interests me- because if I don't have a list- It's very tempting to do just that.

books-389392_1280 book store
I would never bypass a good bookstore though-booklist or not 😉

 

What Was Your Favorite Book This Year?

Are there any that fall into my categories above?  Are there any other books that you would recommend for my To Read list for 2015?

 

4

Book Title:  Rifles For Waite                                       

Author:  Harold Keith

Publisher: Harper Teen

  • ISBN-10: 006447030X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064470308

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages:  352

Ages:  12 and up

Awards:  Newberry Medal (1958), Lewis Carroll Shelf Award

Why Did I Choose It?  Not only was this book a Newberry Medal Award winner in 1958 and thus on my stack of "must reads", it came highly recommended to me as a book my oldest son would love by a homeschool mom and her son, who had read the book many times.

A Bit From The Back Cover:   Jefferson Davis Bussey is sixteen when the Civil War breaks out.  He can't wait to leave his Kansas farm and defend the Union against Colonel Waite, leader of the dreaded Cherokee Indian rebels.

But Jeff soon learns that there's more to war than honor and glory...

My Review:  This was one of the best historical fiction novels on a war that I have ever read.  This is what Charlotte Mason would truly deem a living book. The story pulls you into the life of the protagonist immediately. There is a true understanding of the thoughts of the people who lived in that time - an understanding of why people were for the war and why they were against it.  And not only that, but a true understanding of the conflicting emotions felt by young infantry soldiers as they marched for miles and experience hunger, exhaustion, death and the realization that even the enemies are human.   The details of the war uncovered in this story amazed me; things that I have never learned about in the textbook education I had in the public schools.  The book was wonderfully written by a native Oklahoman - who was working on his master's thesis in history when he wrote the numerous notes that would develop into the award-winning novel. The pace keeps the reader alert and wanting to finish the story and  learn more about this time in our nation's history - a real living book.  I HIGHLY recommend it!

3

 

Book Title: The Graveyard Book                               

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy

Pages: 336

Ages: 10 and up (I'd probably suggest 12 and up - see my note below)

Publisher: Harper Collins (reprint edition September 28, 2010)

Awards: Newberry Medal, Carnegie Medal, Hugo Award, Locus Award

Why Did I Choose It? Besides the obvious - this book is a Newberry Medal Award book of which I am determined to read them all - this was a 'ghost story' so to speak and as a child growing up, I was always drawn to ghost stories and those 'scary' stories of the supernatural world.  In addition, the book was recommended to me buy a blogger friend who also wrote a review and you can find that here 😉

A Bit From The Back Cover:  It takes a graveyard to raise a child.  Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy.  He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy- an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls,  the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack- who has already killed Bod's family.

Review: This was an unusual Newberry Medal book in that it certainly possessed an unusual telling (ghost story) with very unusual characters (ghosts, ghouls, and a few lone humans) for a Newberry!  Needless to say, I LOVED it! Now keep in mind, I love ghost stories...  and I love Mr. Gaiman's imagination to come up with the idea of a young human child being raised by ghosts!

The book starts a little scary...or at least could be for a young reader.  It basically tells a tale of Nobody Owens, a toddler, narrowly escaping (unbeknownst to him) being murdered and leaves behind his parents who actually have been murdered and climbing the hill to the graveyard. There the grave imagination begins.... (pun intended...sorry).  The book follows young Bod through his childhood weaving in relationships with his 'adoptive' ghost parents (not his biological parents mind you), a caretaker, a young human friend, a creature called the Sleer, and  an unjustly executed witch among others and ends....well, I won't tell anymore of the story as you really must read it for yourself.

But I will say this - It's a wonderful tale weaving in bits of fantasy, 'scariness', humor, friendship, and mystery all in one unforgettable piece. Furthermore,   the book leaves an enormous amount of possible discussions to be had with youth.  First of all is the discussion of whether ghosts exist or not....do you believe in them?  And most importantly, what does your Faith teach you? Secondly, the book shows a different relationshiop between Bod and his adoptive parents and that between Bod and Silas, another character in the graveyard.  This certainly portrays reality for youth today and the relationship they have with parents and that of other adults.  Another third discussion point is the goodness displayed by what would typically be seen as 'evil' type characters (Silas, Miss Lupescu and Eliza) - what can be said about how we judge others according to appearance and social status? Can those who are good do something 'evil'?  Can those who appear 'evil' do good or actually be good at heart? There are many other points that can be made and discussed, of course.  But these stick out to me the most.

Other Books By This Author: The Ocean at the End of the Lane,  Stardust, Coraline, Sandman, Unnatural Creatures (Stories selected by Neil Gaiman), Anansi Boys and others.

I am actually rather eager to read more by Mr. Gaiman now- I will admit, until now, I had not.... (horrors, I know...)

*Special Note for Parents - The novel does contain  bits of  violence, murder, and death. If  I were to rate it comparative to movies of this day, it would most likely be PG.  I 'm certain that teens could easily handle the material in the novel. But parents of younger children, say below 12, should probably read it for themselves to judge their child's ability to handle the story.

On another side note..... it IS being turned into a film directed by Ron Howard.....  hmmmmm......  always a dilemma.... should I go see the movie when it comes out? Will it just totally ruin the book??

Read the book.... and let me know if you're going to go see the film!

 

3

Title:  The Giver                              

Author: Lois Lowry

Genre: Science Fiction, Utopian Fiction

Pages: 179

Ages: 11-17

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin,  Dell Laurel Leaf

Awards:  1994 Newberry Medal, ALA Notable Children's Book, 1994 Regina Medal, Booklist Editor's Choice, and more.

Why Did I Choose It?  It's on my list of Newberry Medal Books to read and I've been told it remains a much-loved book by middle and high school students even twenty years after publication and winning the Newberry Medal.

A Bit From The Back Cover:  Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control.  There is no war or fear or pain.  There are no choices.  Every person is assigned a role in the Community.  When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from the Giver.  The Giver alone holds the memories of true pain and pleasure of life.  Now it's time for Jonas to receive the truth.  There is no turning back.

Review: There's a reason The Giver has sold more than ten million copies. It is said that Lois Lowry is known for her  versatility and invention as a writer.  This book certainly covers versatility and invention.  I was totally mesmerized. Jonas's world is perfect....or is it?  While Jonas lives in what may be seen as a futuristic society that does not experience hatred, war or fear or even hunger and pain, neither do they experience color, love and other necessities of emotion or life experiences necessary to know true joy. Jonas learns the importance of memory, truth and love and what it actually means for someone to 'be released' from his community.  At first, Jonas tries to convince himself that experiencing love is dangerous, but brings himself to find the courage to face that fear to save another child, an infant. It is an eye-opening tale that brings to the surface many things we take for granted or wish did not exist and what would happen if those things did not exist. I would highly recommend this book to any middle or high school age child. I would caution that it is a 'heavy' read for emotionally sensitive children and those youth should wait for a higher age to read it.

Other Books By This Author: Gathering Blue, Messenger, Son, All About Sam, The One Hundredth Thing About Caroline, Number the Stars, and more.

 

 

10

Well summer started just the other day and I realized we are halfway into the year!  This got me thinking back on my posts during January -  one on New Year's Resolutions (I realized I'm doing at least somewhat well with  7-8  of the resolutions I set for myself and not so well with about  7  of them and the one on books I wish to read by the end of this year.  Here's my progress on that list!:

NEWBERRY MEDAL BOOKS:  (I've read a few of these but really need to get cracking!)

  • Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead  (book review)
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman*
  • Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz*
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech  (book review)
  • Missing May by Cynthia Rylant  (book review)
  • Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
  • Carry On Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
  • ?  still deciding....  (Rifles For Waite)  
  • ?  still deciding
* They are not in the picture because I haven't purchased them yet!

HOMESCHOOL SOURCES: (Doing well here)

  • Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Englemann - I've read the parts I need to 'read' but we are still using it for the exercises so I don't count it as totally completed yet! (We are over the halfway point...see my recent post on that here)
  • Exploring America by Ray Notgrass -  Reading Book #2 with my son for school
  • Laying Down The Rails - Sonya Shafer
  • The Early Years - Shafer & Smith
  • All Day Charlotte Mason Seminar  &  The Books and Things Seminar - DVDs and workbooks presented by Simply Charlotte Mason
  • When Children Love to Learn by Elaine Cooper

THE WRITING CRAFT:  (not great, but not bad either)

  • Writing Picture Books: A Hands on Guide From Story to Creation by Ann Whitford Paul
  • 2014 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market
  • A Family of Readers - The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature  (started)
  • Honey For A Child's Heart - The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life  (this one easily falls into the Homeschooling category as well as A Family of Readers) (started...I think I'm about a third of the way in)

ORTHODOXY:

  • The Orthodox Study Bible - yes, I've already read it 🙂  But the bible is a daily must no matter how many times one has read it  (Trying to use a recent recommendation and keeping it lying open in a spot that I pass by often.... it's open to the psalms - also reading a bible commentary on the book of Luke)
  • The Faith by Clark Carlton
  • Inner River: A Pilgrimage to the Hart of Christian Spirituality by Kyriacos C. Markides
  • The Open Door by Frederica Mathewes-Green (just started again recently)
  • 2014 Daily Lives, Miracles and Wisdom of the Saints (Fasting Calendar by The Orthodox Calendar Company) (ugh.... not doing well with keeping up with this...yikes... not even sure where it is...need to locate and put by the bedside again or maybe with my bible commentary)

FOOD/NATURAL HEALTH:(uh, yeah, well....... not doing so well here...I keep getting distracted by fiction! LOL)

  • The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson
  • The Coconut Miracle by Bruce Fife, C.N., N.D.
  • It Starts With Food by Dallas & Mellissa Hartwig - I've read this before but I have a feeling I'll be reading it again...it was that good and packed with great information.
  • ??  More to be Determined!

OTHER FICTION: (GLIMPSE was just released....maybe I'll talk my DH into stopping by the mall today so I can see if I can pick it up!  Hope it's as good as it sounds!)

  • Dr. Sleep by Stephen King  ***  I couldn't let this one go by, no matter how many other books I'm reading!  It's the sequel to The SHINING....my first Stephen King book that I ever read!   (see my post on it here)
  • Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff - a Newberry Honor Book (See my book review)
  • The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson  -  sadly it's not in the picture because it doesn't come out until January 7th.... but I should be getting it delivered that day!!  (Wrote a post on this one.....still feeling the pain of the protagonist... will probably read this one again but maybe not this year)
  • Glimpse - the debut novel by Kendra  Leighton... apparently based on the epic poem, The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes... this book is due out in August.
  • The Red Badge of Courage (my son is reading this one this year and I never have)
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck (Another my son is reading)
  • The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway (And another)
  • The Tempest by William Shakespeare (My son's first Shakespeare - wish us luck!) (started.....oops...forgot to finish although my son did....hmmm...read before we watch the Netflix DVD that's on the TV stand or after???)
  • Others, if time, To Be Determined.....

PICTURE BOOKS:

  • No current list made.... I'm sure there will be tons....  at the very minimum we go to the library every 2-3 weeks and get at least 12-15 books..... that should involve a lot of reading!  (Yep....been reading A LOT of these.... LOVING IT!)

wpid-IMG_20140104_115747_320.jpg

 

I'm not giving up on the New Year's Resolutions either.  I decided to print out my list and keep it by my bedside to use as a marker for whatever my current bedside book is so that I have a visual reminder each evening, allowing me to keep them more present in my mind.

How are you doing on your resolutions for the year and reading goals?

5

Title of Book:  Walk Two Moons

Author:  Sharon Creech   

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Pages: 280

Ages: 8-12

Publisher: Scholastic,  Harper Collins (reprint)

Awards:  Newberry Medal 1995, ALA Notable Children's Book, Parents Choice Gold Award, NCTE Notable Children's Book,  

Why Did I Choose It?  It's another Newberry Medal 🙂   As for why I chose to read this one this particular time, besides that it's one that I hadn't read before, the title is catchy and I was intrigued by the quote on the front cover:  "Don't judge a man until you've walked two moons in his moccasins."  Couldn't we all learn from doing that?

A Bit From The Back Cover:  Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle, known as Sal, is traveling from Ohio to Idaho with her grandparents, in search of her mother.  Along the way, she tells them the story of Phoebe Winterbottom, who received mysterious messages, met a "potential lunatic", and whose mother disappeared.  Beneath Phoebe's story is Sal's story and that of her mother, who left one day for Idaho and has not returned.  Sal has less than a week to get to Idaho in time for her mother's birthday and bring her back.  Despite her father's warning that she is fishing in the air, Sal knows this journey is the only chance she has for reuniting her family.

Review:  This book was so heartwarming. The author did an amazing job at interweaving one tale of humor and wit into another tale of bittersweet loss to blend into a book most worthy of the Newberry Award( I read later how those tales were actually thought of at two separate occasions and it was the stubbornness of the author not to let go of either story that inspired her to interweave the two together....check out the story on her website- sink link above).  I loved how the story was told on a car trip with her grandparents across the states...a reminder of a trip I made with my own 'grandparents' as a child.  The story is rich in it's ability to demonstrate empathy and a human's ability to derive comfort out of story telling, nature and memories.  I highly recommend that you get yourself a bowl of blackberries, sit under a tree and read this book...okay...not necessary for the blackberries and tree but believe me, it would really add to your experience 😉

Other Books By This Author: Love That Dog, Chasing Redbird,  Absolutely Normal Chaos, The Unfinished Angel, The Wanderer and others.

4

Book Title:  Missing May

Author:  Cynthia Rylant

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Pages:  89

Ages: 8-12

Publisher:  Orchard Books/Scholastic

Awards: Newberry Medal 1993

Why Did I Choose It?  It's a Newberry Medal for one reason. Actually, this one doesn't help me reach my goals so much as I've already read it...but I like this one in particular as it deals with the loss of a loved one.  I haven't dealt with a recent loss but was feeling a bit melancholy remembering someone special and felt the need to reread this delightful book.

A Bit From The Back Cover:  Ever since May, Summer's aunt and good-as-a-mother for the past six years, died in the garden among her pole beans and carrots, life for Summer and her Uncle Ob has been as bleak as winter.  Ob doesn't want to create his beautiful whirligigs anymore, and he and Summer have slipped  into a sadness that they can't shake off.  They need May in whatever form they can have her - a message, a whisper, a sign that will tell them what to do next.  When that sign comes, Summer will discover that she and Ob can keep missing May but still go on with their lives.

Review:  I was delighted with Missing May quite a few years ago when I read it to my children and I am equally delighted this time. The characters are charming. The story is told from Summer's perspective and deals with her overwhelming emotions --distraught over the loss of her aunt who acted as a mother, worried over her Uncle Ob's ability to deal with his loss, and skeptic over the strange thoughts and behaviors of the neighbor boy -- in a rather insightful manner.  Sorrow and loss are experiences held by all of the characters throughout the book but the author has added just the right touch of humor and just a hint of mysticism to make it a pleasurable tale.  I would highly recommend this book for all children in the recommended age group, especially if they have experienced a similar loss.

Other Books By This Author: The Poppleton Series, Mr. Putter and Tabby series, When I Was Young In The Mountains, Henry and Mudge, The Islander and many many more!

 

2

Title:  When You Reach Me                                           

Author:  Rebecca Stead

Genre: Mystery, Science Fiction

Pages:  208

Ages:  10-14/ Middle Grade Fiction

Publisher:  Wendy Lamb Books

Awards: 2010 John Newberry Medal, ALA Notable Children’s Book, Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year 2009, and others

Why Did I Choose It?  My son bought me When You Reach Me for Christmas.  He knows about my goal of wanting to read all of the Newberry Medal books and has helped me tremendously with several gifts J

  A Bit From The Back Cover:  “By Sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York neighborhood.  They know where it’s safe to go, and who to avoid.  Like the crazy guy on the corner.

But things start to unravel.  Sal gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life.  The apartment key that Miranda’s mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen.  And then a mysterious note arrives, scrawled on a tiny slip of paper:

                    I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.                                                                                                         

                    I ask two favors.  First, you must write me a letter.”

Review:  I found the first few pages confusing (of course, that could be the confused mind of a sleep-deprived, overwhelmed woman trying to accomplish too much and wear too many hats at a time) but after the first few, I was completely pulled into the story of Miranda, her friends and the mystery that began unraveling.   Told from the protagonists’ (Miranda’s) point of view, there are at least three major plot lines that, at first, seem totally unrelated but end up pulling together very nicely: Miranda’s mother preparing to be a guest on the $20,000 Pyramid (game show), the friendship between Miranda and Sal, and the homeless man on the corner. The book gave a sort of old-fashioned feel – or was that due to the mentioning of a favorite sci-fi book from childhood, A Wrinkle In Time, that Miranda is constantly re-reading?  I loved the mixture of mystery, science-fiction, and realistic fiction.   How all of these characters intertwine in one another’s life in the year 1979 is a remarkable story that is sure to be pleasing to a wide variety of youth.  I can certainly understand why it was chosen as a Newberry Winner…. It has a bit of something for everyone.  Be sure to check it out.  Happy Reading!

Other Books By This Author:  First Light, Liar and Spy

2

I updated my current book list on Goodreads......

I eliminated the books from the list that I haven't picked up in months because I keep finding other books that spark my interest more...but when it came down to updating the list I still ended up with TEN books that I'm currently ACTIVELY reading.... yep - TEN.  Call me crazy...but...  it just depends on my mood, you know?  And some of them are the types of books I like to read just a little at a time and let it really sink in before moving onto the next few pages.

So here's what I'm currently  reading:

Missing May (Cynthia Rylant) - This is the current Newberry Medal book that I am reading.  I intend to always be reading one until I have obtained my goal of reading them ALL!

Forgiving Our Fathers And Mothers (  Leslie Leyland Fields) - This is, I'm told, a wonderful book on forgiveness that can easily apply to anyone in our lives that we need to work on forgiving.

The Gospel of Luke:  Good News for the Poor  (Lawrence R. Farley) -  An excellent Orthodox bible study companion.

Cure Tooth Decay:  Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition ( Ramiel Nagel)  I am really intrigued by this book and I'm only into the 3rd chapter....  what astounding information on the real causes of tooth decay, etc.  and easy natural dental treatments.

One Thousand Gifts Devotional:  Reflections on Finding Everyday Grace (Ann Voskamp)  - a wonderful devotional to follow-up with Ann's book, One Thousand Gifts which I read two years ago.  I started my gratitude journal then and am embarrassed that I've only acquired a list of 513 items since that time, but it's a bigger list than I had two years ago and it's now dusted off and being put in use again!

Great Lent:  Journey to Pascha (Alexander Schmemann) -  A book that is always suggested to me as a good book to read during Lent..maybe I'll finally finish it this year! (I've started it before...ooops...)

The Pearl (John Steinbeck) - This is the current literature book my son is reading.  Since I never read it before I am reading it too - for the experience and to give me better discernment in discussions with him and checking his response questions.

A Family of Readers:  The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature (Roger Sutton)  - An excellent resource that discusses reading to children, reading WITH them, Reading on their own and Leaving them Alone...

Honey For A Child's Heart (Gladys Hunt)- A wonderful guide in book selection which discusses the types of books to select and suggested titles.  See my post on a quote from the book.

Writing Picture Books:  A Hands On Guide from Story Creation to Publication (Ann Whitford Paul) - I've been told this is one of the BEST written books on the process of writing picture books.  I've written about Chapter One and will soon be writing about Chapter Two.