Children's Literature

Passing on Precious Memories

I recently received an invitation to a baby shower with the most wonderful suggestion. Instead of a card, it said, write a personal message in a children’s book.  I was thrilled when I read that.  I firmly believe that you cannot start building a child’s library too early.  But it also opened a bit of a can of worms where I’m concerned.  By the afternoon that I received the invitation, my shopping cart already had six beloved books in it and I kept thinking of more.  With much difficulty, I narrowed my selection to two books and saved the others for later – my future cousin should expect to get at least one book from me for every Christmas and birthday.  I tried to stick to the classics when coming up with ideas.  Here is part of my original selection:

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein         

 

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A personal favorite

 

 

The Real Mother Goose by Blanche Fisher Wright

 

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A staple for any child’s library.

 

Curious George by H.A. Rey  

 

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Who doesn’t LOVE Curious George?

 

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown  

 

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A classic.  I didn’t choose this one because I figured the baby would receive like 10 copies.

 

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle     

 

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Another classic for every child’s library.

 

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

 

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That chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff.

 

 

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter     

 

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Any of Potter’s books would do.

 

 

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss

 

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Because Dr. Seuss is essential and the baby’s mother studied marine biology.

 

 

Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss 

Morris the Moose by Bernard Wiseman      

 

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Another childhood favorite.  Morris is still funny 30 years later.

 

 

The Berenstain Bears by Stan Berenstain

 

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I love the Berenstain Bears but this will probably be better saved for later.

 

 

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

Clovis Crawfish and His Friends by Mary Alice Fontenot      

 

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A beloved local author that infuses Cajun French phrases and songs in her works.

 

 

ANY of the Little Golden Books

Literally ANY

Poems and Prayers for the Very Young by Martha Alexander

 

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Out of print but a beautiful addition to any child’s library.

 

Hope is a Handful of Dreams by June Dutton (Illustrated by Susan Perl)

Another favorite from my childhood that is out of print but is timeless for its simple message and Perl’s unique and funny illustrations

Where’s Spot by Eric Hill      

 

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Interactive and adorable but I was afraid that doors and blankets would be ripped out before too long.

 

If any of you have favorites that you would have added to this list, pass them on.  I would relish more ideas for all of those birthdays and Christmases to come.  

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Reviews

Review: The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Giving Tree is one of maybe three books that, as a child, I checked out of my elementary school library whenever it was available. I must have read Shel Silverstein’s simple tale of a boy and a tree at least 20 times. The power of the story of the tree who gives everything it has for the boy’s happiness lies in its simplicity. Each reader, based on their life experiences, could have a different interpretation of the tree’s sacrifice. And one’s interpretation certainly changes with age and experience. No one should go through their life without reading this at least once.

View all my reviews

Writing

New Year, New Plans

I did a lot of thinking during the last month of the year and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m writing this blog about the wrong subject.  Or, I should say, writing about the books I read isn’t enough.  While I am always reading something, what I read does not always inspire me to write a full-blown blog entry.  Therefore I’ve made too few entries this past year.  And my heart wasn’t always in those I did post.  So I feel that I either must end this blog altogether or expand the subject matter beyond my bookshelves.

Now, I have many, many interests but I am an expert at none.  My first instinct was to expand my entries to books and movies.  Then I thought I might add TV shows and music to the list of subjects about which I write.  But like with reading, I feel that one’s taste in movies, shows, and especially music is very personal.  And maybe it’s the trauma of middle school talking but I don’t trust that I won’t be judged harshly for my tastes.  Nothing personal, but the internet hasn’t shown itself to be the safest place to pour one’s heart out.

I’ve also considered posting snippets of my own fiction writing.  Again my trusts issues come into play.  Even though the writing is probably mostly crap, I can’t trust that my ideas won’t be stolen.  I have issues.  We all do.  I know that but I’m only now beginning to realize that these trust issues of mine are holding me back not only in my blog but with my fiction.  Maybe, instead of the usual resolution to get fit or be more responsible with money, my 2017 resolution should be to work on my trust issues.  And not just my trust of strangers on the internet but also I need to learn to trust myself.  This, I believe, would greatly benefit my writing as well as other areas of my life.  Which I don’t trust you enough to talk about.  Still, if I’ve actually posted this, it is a step in the right direction.  Right?

Now, before the trust exercises begin I must post my annual Year in Review of the books I read in 2016.  I went well over my goal of 30 books with 46 but that’s because I didn’t do very well at my other resolution to focus more on my fiction writing.  I could blame a particularly tough year but the truth is I’m just really good at believing my own excuses.  Neither did I succeed in completing Reading Challenge I attempted.

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2016 Reading Challenge from modernmrsdarcy.com

I thought it would be simple with only 12 books but I’m still working on the book that intimidates me – James Michener’s Alaska – and I never got around to the book I should’ve read in school or the one I’d previously abandoned.  That’s not surprising considering that I didn’t want to read them the first time around.  Here are the books I read to complete the other challenges:

A Book Published This Year:

(Goodreads.com giveaways were quite helpful in completing this one)

A Book You Can Finish in a Day:

(I should write an entry on what this local children’s author has meant to me)

A Book You’ve Been Meaning to Read:

A Book Recommended by your Local Librarian:

A Book Chosen for You by Your BFF:

A Book Published Before You Were Born:

A Book that Has Been Banned at Some Point: 

A Book You Own But Have Never Read:

(To be fair this category is true of most of the books I read.)

A Book You’ve Read at Least Once:

And now for my top read of the year:

I chose Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart.

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Amy Stewart’s wonderful Kopp Sisters series is based on the experiences of real-life sisters Constance, Norma, and Fleurette Kopp in the 1910s.

I know I didn’t give it a full 5-star rating but it was just such a fun surprise and I think many people would enjoy the tale based on actual events.  Don’t believe me?  Go to the author’s page dedicated to these three brave women.  I think it just proves that librarians really do know the best books.  Plus there’s a fantastic sequel for when you finish long before you want it to end.

Reader's Rights

I Read Banned Books

Banned BooksBut given the number of classic books that have been banned through the decades, who doesn’t?  Without knowing it, I proudly declared some of those oft-banned books among my favorites.  To Kill a Mockingbird, the entire Harry Potter series, A Wrinkle in TimeAre You There God, It’s Me Margaret, and A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein just to name a few.  Seriously?  What did they find offensive about the poetry of Shel Silverstein?  Is it too funny, entertaining, and honest?  That’s the key, isn’t it?  Honesty.  Certain factions of society don’t want people to develop open minds about the world, to see the world as it truly is, or to think for themselves.  And they want to stop it as early as possible.  That’s why so many of the books that have been banned are ones written for children and young adults.  That makes me angry and that’s why I proudly declare I READ BANNED BOOKS!  This week, September 20 – October 3, 2015, is banned books week.  If you want to learn more about books that have been banned and see lists of the 100 most banned books from the last two decades, visit http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top100