Five Of Twenty Five

I have read 25 books since the last time I wrote. I feel like that’s a few too many to talk about, so I think instead I will just list the ones I enjoyed the most, plus one picture book that I think is fantastic.

I think out of the twenty five books I can actually pick a favorite, and that would be Pie In The Sky by Remy Lai. This is her debut novel, and it’s wonderfully illustrated with fantastic comics of the characters. This book is basically the morphing of a novel with a graphic novel into one can’t put down book. It is the story of Jingwen, an eleven year old boy who has just moved to another country where he doesn’t speak the language. He was suppose to move with his family to open up a cake shop, but with his father’s sudden death then plan changes. They still move, but nothing is the way it was suppose to be. I highly recommend that you get your hands on a copy of this immigrant story. I seriously love the book, and have even had quite a bit of contact with the author who is wonderful herself. I really hope she comes here on her book tour so I can meet her.

Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt was another wonderful book. The story of a girl who cannot read and so of course she thinks she’s stupid. Really she’s just been failed by the school system because no one had yet to catch her learning disability. I have a huge passion for literacy, so this book really hit home with me.

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D.Williams. This was another debut novel. The story of Genesis is painful and beautiful at the same time. I’ll admit to having tears in my eyes a couple of times during this book. This book promotes self acceptance, and friendship in a very real way.

Other Words For Home by Jasmine Warga. This is the story of a young Syrian refugee girl named Jude. It’s written in prose, yet for me read very much just like a normal story, and I loved it. It is a beautifully written reminder that we are all living in one world, and we all just want to be at home in it. I think this is an important, and even needed book that everyone should read. If only just to remind us all of our humanity, and that there are many out there in danger, who just want a safe home. Home is so much more than just the place you come to at the end of the day and keep your possessions. Home is where you belong. Ultimately, everyone just wants to know they belong.

Planet Earth Is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos. This books is told from the perspective of a nonverbal autistic girl. Nova has been in foster care with her big sister for a long time, but when he sister runs away Nova finds herself in a new home with people who cannot understand the meanings behind her grunts. Her hopes are set on the approaching launch of the Challenger space craft, which is going to bring the first teacher into space, and her big sister back to her. He sister who promised she’d be with her to watch the event. This was a well written story. Even though I knew what was going to happen to the Challenger, and that disaster was approaching, I just had to know how things were going to turn out for Nova. How as she going to handle it? Was her sister going to show? Was Nova ever going to be understood without her sister there to translate? I feel Nova’s story has a lot to show us.

A few others that I enjoyed and would recommend are:

Summer of a Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway

Greetings From Witness Protection by Jake Burt

Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn

Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya

I do aslo have a fabulous picture book to recommend! Hats Off To Mr. Pockles by Sally Lloyd-Jones. This is the story of Mr. Pockles who is a major lover of hats. He desperately wants to go to Hat Day at the Pandapolitan Club, but cannot because he isn’t a panda. A very enjoyable read, with fantastically bright and brilliant illustrations. I definitely want to own this one someday.

If you want to see the rest of the twenty five books that I read recently then you can run over to Goodreads and find me as Stephanie Tevebaugh. I think I am the only one on there.




The Connection of Childhood

I cannot believe how many fantastic books I’ve read since the last time I posted. I am so glad that I decided to read children’s books this year. I’ve probably said that before, but I feel so pleased by this decision that I’m saying it again, and will likely say it a few more times before my year of children’s literature comes to an end. I feel like I read too many books to write about, but I will list the books, and though I enjoyed them all, I will only write about the ones that were my favorite.

Okay For Now – by Gary D. Schmidt – This book is the companion book to Wednesday Wars. Both books were fantastic and the kind of writing makes you want to become interested in what the characters are interested in. For Wednesday Wars it was Shakespeare, and in Okay For Now it’s drawing and birds.

The Wild Robot – by Peter Brown – This is a sweet, simple story, but I’m looking forward to reading it to my son soon. I feel it will make a good story for younger kids. The chapters are very short which will also make it easy to read to a young one. Apparently there is a sequel I will need to get my hands on.

A Single Shard – by Linda Sue Park

Dear Mr. Henshaw – by Beverly Cleary – This was a short book but so good. Leigh starts  corresponding with his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw, who suggests he practice his own writing by starting a diary, but Leigh doesn’t feel like he knows how to write beyond his letters to Mr. Hendshaw. He does start a diary, but does it in the form of writing letters to the Pretend Mr. Henshaw. You get to know Leigh, and his thoughts and struggles as his writing progresses. A very good, very real story indeed.

When You Reach Me – by Rebecca Stead

The Sign of the Beaver – by Elizabeth George Speare – I’ve been a fan of frontier, pioneering, wilderness stories since I was a kid myself. This book is another such book to add to the list that I’ve really enjoyed.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – by J.K Rowling – Listened to Jim Dale’s audio of this and was amazed. Not only is it a good book, but Jim Dale is a fantastic reader. I don’t know how someone can do so many voices. It was so well done. My little sister swears by Stephen Fry’s reading of the series though. I haven’t heard his, though I don’t doubt it is also good. I’ll have to check it out. Perhaps I’ll listen to him read the next book in the series. 

Gathering Blue – by Lois Lowry – second book in The Giver quartet. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

The Girl Who Saved Christmas – by Matt Haig – I listened an audio of this one. (I’m always ready for a good Christmas story no matter the time of year) I enjoyed the book, but not as much as A Boy Called Christmas which is the previous book. I look forward to reading the last couple in this grouping of books, as well as other books by Matt Haig.

Messenger – by Lois Lowry – third book in The Giver quartet. It was alright, but I didn’t like it as much as the previous two books.

Knights vs. Dinosaurs – by Matt Phelan – so I got my hands on an old advanced copy which happened to have a bunch of pages out of order in the beginning. Thankfully all the pages were present. I just had to go through and mark the order in which to read them. With a couple sticky notes and a little backward reading I was able to read it aloud to my son. I’d say it was just okay. A little witty I guess, but not as good as I’d been hoping. It was good enough that my son and I will probably check out the sequel.

Listening For Lions – Gloria Whelan – A story about a girl born missionary parents in Africa. She finds herself orphaned and thus the story of her journey starts. It was well written and I enjoy it.

The Willoughbys – by Lois Lowry

As Brave As You – by Jason Reynolds – I listened to Guy Lockard read the audio for this and it was fantastic! He also does the reading for Jason Reynolds’ Ghost, which my husband is listening to. I read that one in book form and loved it. I’m not sure which of these two books I enjoyed more. They are both fantastic and I highly recommend them both. I’ll definitely be reading more by Reynolds.

The Best Man – by Richard Peck – Listened to the audio of this as well. it was a decent story. Perhaps not amazing, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The audio was well done at least.

Finding Orion – by John David Anderson – I was the first one to get our library’s copy of Anderson’s newest book. I was very excited to read it because I loved his book Ms. Bixby’s Last Day so much. I wouldn’t say that Finding Orion was quite as good as Ms. Bixby’s, but I really did enjoy it still, and would definitely say it’s worth reading. I think Anderson does a great job at writing a real kid, and giving him thoughts that a real kid would be thinking.

I think an author’s ability to write a convincing child goes the furthest in whether or not I’m really going to love a kid’s book. When I’m reading and I see that the characters are having thoughts that I had as a kid, or that I could have seen myself having had I been in the same story, I really start to enjoy the book. It shows me that the author remembers what it’s like to be a kid. One thing I really love about reading children’s books is that I was once a child, so even if the circumstances are such that I never did experience, or never even could have, I can still think back to being a kid and am able to connect with the character at that level, even if there is nothing else in common. I don’t need anything else in common to enter into another person’s life. That one connection of childhood; the thing that every adult has in common no matter how disparate childhoods can be. Being a kid. Thinking as a kid. Fearing as a kid. Loving as a kid. We’ve all been there, and when we read good children’s literature, we can remember and feel a piece of what it’s like to be a different kid, as well as be reminded of what it’s like to be a kid, and what our own kids are going through.

This is why I really love author’s like Gary D. Schmidt, John David Anderson, Beverly Cleary, and Jason Reynolds, as well as many others. They get it. They not only know childhood, but they can write it as well.


Reading Across Cultures and Time Periods

I’m posting again so soon because I recently finished two similar books that got me to thinking. I really love to read children’s literature that is set in different cultures and time periods. Reading about difficulties and situations from the point of view of a child is very different than from an adult’s perspective. Perhaps it is because the things that children go through are almost never due to their own choices. Things happen to and around children, and so it seems that injustices or trials, or dangers are more real when you’re seeing them happening as the child. Childhood is seen as a time of innocence and lightness and happiness, and so when these things are attacked it seems all the greater a sorrow or all the more wrong a happening. The fact of the matter is horrible things are happening to and around children every day, and these things always have. When we read about them in a child’s story though we are reminded of just how unfair situations really are, or how twisted an injustice really is as we see heavy things juxtaposed with what is suppose to be the lightness of childhood. To me, the power of a story is greater from the perspective of a child.

The two books I read were Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan, and Stella By Starlight by Sharon M. Draper. (The audio of Stella was fabulously done) Both are set during the Depression, and are about young girl. Both address racism, prejudices and poverty, as well as friendships and family. Esperanza Rising is about a Mexican girl who goes from wealth, to having to immigrate to the US as a farm worker. Stella By Starlight is about a young black girl who witnesses actions of the KKK and her grappling with the injustices and hatred around her, as well as the power of love found in a community.

The authors of these books allowed me to connect to two young girls from different cultures and time periods than my own, who faced situation I will never have to. I was allowed to walk in someone else’s shoes, and that is why I think it’s important to read these kinds of books. Nothing makes you a more understanding and kind person than experiencing another’s story, and nothing allows you to do that like a well written book.

Okay so aside from those to wonderful books I also finished the FANTASTIC Wingfeather saga by Andrew Peterson. The Monster In the Hollows and The Warden and the Wolf King are the last two books of the four book story. All I can say is wow. If you enjoy a good fantasy story then you will enjoy these. So good. I’m waiting for my husband to finish the last one so I will finally be able to talk to someone about the story!

I also started reading The Last Firehawk series aloud to Nathan. We have finished the first three books and have two more to go I think. It’s a cute little introductory to animal warrior stories. This series is about a little owl named Tag and his best friend Skyla who is a squirrel. Tag wants nothing more than to become and Owl of Valor and show that he can help stop the evil vulture Thorn and his magic evil Shadow from destroying Valor Woods. Its a simple, easy to read story, but Nathan is really enjoying it and that’s all that really matters to me.

I have two picture book recommendations today. Both are brand new books. I’m pretty sure that I am the first to get both of these in our library system.

High Five – by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri. These are the creators of Dragon Loves Tacos which isn’t my favorite book to read, but my boys to enjoy it. High Five however was a lot more enjoyable for me. It rhymes for one thing which is always a win for a read aloud book. It also is a little interactive as it asks for the kids to be high five-ing with characters in the book. Both my boys really loved this book.

A Kite For Moon – by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple. This is a beautiful story of a boy who notices how sad the moon is, and so he sends his kite to it, promising to visit one day himself. The boy grows up, studies hard and becomes and astronaut. The illustrations are beautiful in this one, and is a just a very lovely story. I haven’t read it to the boys yet, so their review of it is still to be seen, but I for one think it’s fantastic.

I would love to own both of these picture books. It’s really hard for me to buy books new though, and since these both just came out I won’t be able to find used copies for a very long time. I may just have to break down and buy them, or maybe convince a grandparent that my boys need these books. I definitely recommend both of these.

More and More Great Titles!

Oh my lord has it really been that long since I made my last post!  I went back to check which was the last book I mentioned in the previous blog, and I  was surprised to find just how many wonderful books I’ve read since then.

Nathan and I are all caught up on the Dragon Master series. We are now waiting for what I think is the thirteenth book in the series to be available at that library. These weren’t high children’s literature by any means, but this is the series that has made Nathan excited about books. I think it was around the sixth book that he asked right after dinner to brush his teeth so we could get to story time. You have no idea how happy that made my reader/mommy heart!

We also read Dragon For Sale by Marianne Macdonald, and we listened to Neil Patrick Harris reading Beverly Cleary’s book Socks. Harris is a fantastic reader for audio books! I just finished listening to him read the book that he co-wrote called The Magic Misfits and really enjoyed it. Now I’m on the waiting list for the audio book of the sequel.

The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell  – I listened to this read by David Tennant. It was decent.

The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers – I did enjoy this book, but I think I did because I read Bark of the Bog Owl first. It’s not a sequel, but it takes place in the same world, and made a lot more sense going into it with previous knowledge.

The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. Duh a wonderful book.

Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards. Yes that is THE Julie Andrews. As in the best Mary Poppins ever. She wrote a very sweet little book with a nice happy ending. It was a little slow in the beginning, but gets better and ends well. I enjoyed it for sure.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I never made it all the way through this series as a child so I decided I would start from the beginning and read them all. Parts of this one really stuck out to me as a young child (it was one of the first books I read myself) and I still clearly remembered them as I reread it.

North Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson – Listened to this on audio book and am SO loving this series. SO SO much. This is the second book in the series. Sadly only the first two audio books have a wonderful reader for the audio. I was very upset to find that they reader switches come book three and I just couldn’t handle the difference, so I’m currently reading the third of this saga as of the time I’m writing this.

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson – Read this as an eBook. My goodness I LOVED this book. This writer clearly still remembers what it was like to be young. SO many of the things said in this book I found myself going “yes, exactly” or “I so remember feeling that.” It’s a book about life, and death, and friendship. I want to own this one.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale. – Okay so I’d never even heard of Marvel’s Squirrel Girl until I saw someone mention this book in a group, and I noticed Shannon Hale wrote it. I very much enjoyed her Princess Academy, so my curiosity was piqued. I quickly got it from the library but then noticed Powell’s Books had a used copy for cheap, so half way through the book I bought my own copy, finished reading it, and quickly loaned it to my nephew so I could start a Squirrel Girl fan club. Alright so not really a fan club, but he did enjoy it also, and now we both are excited to read the sequel which is already out.

Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson – Another big award winner, and rightfully so. This was another reread for me. I found a beautiful used hardback copy for a dollar the other day, so it jumped up my TBR list for this year. A truly beautiful story.

Catwings and Catwings Return by Ursula K. Le Guin – These are books #1 & #2 out of a four short four book collection. Literally a story about cats born with wings. Le Guin is known for her wonderful fantasy books. I suppose cats with wings is still pretty fantastical, but the story is clearly set in our world. It is short and sweet, and I know my son will enjoy these.

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson – Another fabulous story. I would say definitely for the YA and older crowd, but SO SO good. I may be slightly biased because it’s also set here in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. It’s fun to read about places you are familiar with. I would say everyone should read this, but especially young women of every shade and income level. Another book I will want to own.

As for picture books I just want to mention The Baby BeeBee Bird by Diane Redfield Massie. My boys and I love this book. They probably especially enjoy it because I try to do so many different voices for the animals in the zoo. It’s a very fun read, and all the more fun if you really get into it!

Until next time, happy reading!


Adding Audiobooks

I really am not sure how I’ve managed to read so many books since my last post, but I’ve gotten through quite a few, and I  can say with confidence that I’ve enjoyed every one. Because my ‘to be read’ list is so long (plus I seem to add to it every day) I decided to start utilizing audiobooks. I’ve never really done the audiobook thing before, but I’ve found it’s a great way to consume another book, as long as it’s a good quality audiobook. After finishing my second audiobook this morning, I was looking for another book on my list that also had an audio version readily available, and I discovered that I cannot stand to listen to readers. I passed up two that I tried out because I couldn’t stand how the women were reading. So far I’ve only enjoyed male readers, but I’m sure I just haven’t come across the right female readers yet.

Okay all of that to say, that I’ve currently got at least five books always going. A nonfictions physical book, a fiction physical book, a fiction ebook, a fiction audiobook, and then also whatever fiction I am currently reading aloud to my oldest. From here out I am thinking I’ll list what format I read a book in when I list the names of the books I’ve recently complete.

Without further ado, here are the books I’ve finished reading since my last post.

The Bark of the Bog Owl (#1 of the Wilderking Trilogy) by Jonathan Rogers. – I was not aware when I started this book, but it’s basically a retelling of the story of David from the Bible. It’s set in a different time period, and has a whole other side story line going. It was enjoyable and I would recommend them, though I wouldn’t rave over them.

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo – this is a companion book to Raymie Nightingale which I listed last post. I would say that I enjoyed this book more then its predecessor, though both were good.  I read this as an ebook.

Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett – This is three short books in one, and I read them to Nathan. He likes dragons and this was a very nice little dragon story for younger kids. It’s actually a pretty old story and I’ve seen it on quite a few booklists for young children.

The Railway Children by E. Nesbit – an enjoyable children’s classic I’d never read before, but really should have. I bought myself a beautiful paperback copy and am glad that it’s on my shelf.

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis – Another award winner. So far I have enjoyed the few books I’ve read by this author. This one didn’t disappoint. Read this as an ebook.

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson – If you are a fan of fantasy then you will like this story. I devoured this one as an audiobook, which was very well performed. I cannot say enough good about this book and I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the saga. I decided to continue it as an audiobook though, and have to wait for the second book to become available through the library. I will definitely be owning these books someday.

Rise of the Earth Dragon and Saving the Sun Dragon  (books #1 and #2 in the Dragon Masters series) – Again, Nathan loves dragons and is very much enjoying this series. They are easy reads, and he’ll probably be able to read them again himself by next year. I definitely prefer this series to the Magic Treehouse series which we have read a number of as well, and are about the same reading level I’d say.

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson – the title is misleading if you are unaware that it comes from a line in the Bible. There is no character named Jacob in this book. It’s a beautiful story of a twin sister living in the shadow of her seemingly perfect twin. A bit frustrating of a read if you require fairness in your stories, but Paterson writes of real life, not of nicely wrapped up fairy tales. The book is fantastic and does have an appropriately good ending. There is a reason it is an award winner.

The Princess Academy by Shannon Hale – okay do not let the awful title put you off. This is a fabulous book, an award winner, and not about princesses. The title of this book makes it sound like it was written for a seven year old girl, but that is not at all the case. I cannot stand the title, but the story was great, and I highly recommend the book. Though I do wish they’d retitle it The daughters of Eskel Mountain” or something along those lines. I can think of six names that would have been better than “Princess Academy” (eye roll inserted here).

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T.Anderson – I read this book because my nephew is quite the fan of it and his taste is pretty trustworthy. I consumed this as an audiobook and very much enjoyed the story. The audio was well done, the story line and characters were great, and the illustrations are fantastic. I’d definitely recommend if you like a less serious fantasy book.


Happy reading!






I Won a Book!

Goodness I have read a lot of wonderful books these past couple of weeks!

Of the nine books I’ve read since my last post (not counting picture books of course) my only reread was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

Here are the other eight in order that I read them:

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier – This book is newer and won some awards this year. It was FABULOUS and I plan to own it. It was my first book by Auxier and I’m excited to read more by him.

The Mysterious Benedict Society (book #1) by Trenton Lee Stewart – Another great book about some very unique and gifted children. I got my husband reading it as soon as I’d finished. I look forward to catching back up with these characters when I decide to continue on in the series.

The Moffats (book#1) by Eleanor Estes – a sweet little story for young children about a family of five and their small town adventures.

The Great Gilly Hopkins –by Katherine Paterson – LOVED this story about a hard and spunky girl in foster care and how she finds herself and her place amongst others. It brought on tears once, but Katherine Paterson has that ability in her writings. It’s a Newberry Honor Book. I would have really enjoyed this book as a kid myself. (Honestly I’d have enjoyed all these books as a kid).

The Wednesday Wars  by Gary D. Schmidt – Another Newberry Honor book that I very much enjoyed, and I look forward to reading the companion book. A fun little introduction to Shakespeare as well.

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo – A great story about little girls trying to come to terms with the difficulties and pains of life, as well as discovering the sweetness of friendship. Another book I would have loved as a ten year old. I will be reading the companion story to this book very soon.

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Creaghead George – Yet Another Newberry Honor book. Sam runs away from the city to his family’s property in the Catskills and lives off the land. I found out while reading this book that the author also wrote Julie of the Wolves which I did read and loved as a kid. Funny I didn’t find this book as a kid also. Parts of it were slow, but it was very detailed and anyone who loves survival stories would enjoy this one. I do think Hatchet by Gary Paulsen was better, though both should be read.

I won my very first drawing this week, and it was a drawing for a book! The Princess In Black by Shannon Hale. I found out I’d won, and it showed up in the mail two days later. It’s a very cute little story, about Princess Magnolia and her secret identity as the Princess In Black, who fights the monsters that live near by. It’s an early reader book, full of wonderful illustrations. Such a great series for little girls for sure. I will read it to my boys as well though.

Some of my favorite picture books recently are:

Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles – this is a funny one, and very enjoyable to read allowed repeatedly.

Extra Yarn By Mac Barnett – this was was beautiful and sweet.

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall – This book was not only gorgeous, but I loved the story as well.

The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen – A great story about animals from a circus that wash up on the shore of a town after their horrible circus master leaves them in the ocean to drown.  Friendships, trickery and rhymes ensue.

I cannot express how happy I am with my decision to focus my reading time on children’s books for now. I’ve always enjoyed children’s stories. I look back with fondness on many books from my childhood, and get excited when I discover someone else liked the same books I did (or rather that I do). Until I made this decision to read children’s books though I didn’t realize how deep my passion for them truly runs. I found myself a group of people online who are also freakishly passionate about reading, literacy,  and children’s books. Since finding these people I’ve discovered so many fantastic stories and resources. I wish I could get everyone to read good children’s books, and see just how wonderful the written word can be.




Books to Be Excited About

I am absolutely loving my decision to read only children’s books!

I went to Powell’s Bookstore yesterday and while walking in the children’s section I kept seeing books I either read and loved, or books I couldn’t wait to read. I walked through the adult literature section and saw many books I had read, but a large number of these I’d read didn’t excite me. I was struck by how different I felt my seeing a book I’d read in the children’s section, than the ones I read in the adult. Don’t get me wrong, I have read some fabulous adult books, but also many that I couldn’t get exited about, and would never recommend.  But kid’s books!!! It’s just one wonderful book after another.

I recently finished reading  The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary aloud to my son. A favorite of many, and a cute little story.

Next I finished A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park. What a fabulous book, and based on a true story. A powerful book showing what incredible hardships so many children have gone through, and how one person can overcome, and change another’s life. I think such books are wonderful for everyone to read because they not only show how good the reader has it by comparison, but it shows that trials can be gotten through. It also shows that no one is an entity unto themselves, and that what we have been given, we should use to help others in need.

I also just finished The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher. I’d wanted to read this one at Christmas time, but it didn’t become available from the library until recently. I adore Christmas though, so I’ll happily read a book of Christmas any time of year. It was cute little Christmas story that I look forward to reading aloud to my kids as well. It’s a great adventure with a good deal of comedy.

I have also read some FABULOUS picture books lately.

Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp (beautifully illustrated with the loveliest story).

They All Saw A Cat by Brendan Wenzel

I Am a Cat by Gail Bernstein

How Many Cats by Lauren Thompson

The Good Little Book by Kyo Maclear

A Sick Day For Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead


If you didn’t notice, we love cats in this house. My son is actually terrified of dogs, so we normally don’t even read dog books. He loved all these cat books, but also really loved Madeline Finn and the Library Dog. It has a very sweet and gentle dog in it though, so I’m not overly surprised by his liking it. I may now own five of these seven picture books, and would be happy to own the other two as well

Happy Reading




E.B. White and More

A few days ago I read Some Writer: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet. It is a beautiful book, full of gorgeous art, and old pictures. It’s a short read because I believe it was written to appeal to children, but really a beautiful book about a fascinating life is for everyone to read. Like the title says, it’s a book about the life of E.B White, and conveniently enough, I was also in the middle of reading Charlotte’s Web, which he wrote. It was really fascinating to read about White’s life, and then read about how his three most famous writings came about. Reading about his inspirations for Charlotte’s Web, made the reading of the story itself all the more sweet, and it is already such a wonderful story on its own. It’s incredible how a spider can speak so much truth and beauty about life. Charlotte is a very down to earth, no drama spider. She’s true to what she is, a spider, yet at the same time makes this horribly creepy creature a thing of wonder and beauty. E.B White was a big lover of nature, and you definitely get that in his writings. I still need to reread Stuart Little (his first children’s book) and The Trumpet of the Swan (his other big hit), but I’m already looking forward to reading both.

Since my last post I also finished reading The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. I’ve only previously read up through the fourth book in the Harry Potter series, but I believe this third book will remain my favorite even once I’ve read all seven. Now I’m going to take a little break from Harry Potter, and knock out a few other books on my list. I’ve been reading the series on my phone so far, and since my phone is how I get most of my reading done, I feel I should read a few other books on my phone before I read the next Harry Potter.

Speaking of reading on my phone, I basically exclusively borrow ebooks from the library. I love my CloudLibrary app and use it more than my other book apps. It’s set up very easily, and also tells me how many days I have left to borrow a book, so I don’t get surprised that a book I’m in the middle of has disappeared because it was due. I highly recommend the app. I also am using my Libby app because it allows me to use more than one library system within just the one app which is pretty cool. Check them both out! And seriously, go read Charlotte’s Web.

Happy Reading


Lets Read!!!

“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” 

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” 

― C.S. Lewis


This is a blog devoted specifically to children’s books, simply because they are wonderful. Hence the blog’s title “The Short Shelves.” These are the shelves that everyone can reach, and so in my opinion (and apparently C.S. Lewis’) everyone should read from them.

I always assumed I just loved books (which I do!) but I found myself regretting some of the adult fiction I read this year, even though these books had rave reviews, and everyone was talking about them in book clubs on FB. These weren’t bad books, but they also weren’t good books. I guess I’d say they seemed like pointless books. They didn’t leave me feeling anything, aside from that I’d wasted my very limited and precious reading time. I have two very young children, and so I don’t have as much time as would like to read, but I do squeeze it in wherever I can. After I’d experienced these feelings of letdown at the conclusion of a book one too many times, I decided I wanted to not let this happen again any time soon. I decided that the best way to accomplish this new goal was to read children’s literature.

Good children’s literature never disappoints. No one wants to disappoint a child. The big thing for me about all these adult books that I didn’t enjoy, is that they didn’t leave me feeling positive or hopeful about life. Life is difficult enough on its own, and when I give my time to a story, I want to know that the story is going to give me something in return. Wether that be hope, or encouragement, or a reminder of how hard life is for some, and how much I have in comparison. Children’s stories are filled with adventure and ordinary life, love and evil, fear and bravery, hardships and triumphs. A good book is balanced, and should leave you glad that you read it.

When November of last year came around I decided that I was going take 2019 and focus on children’s books. Partly because I’m a homeschooling mom, and I want to be ready for sharing the right books with my sons at the right time, but I also want to fill my mind with fantastic stories. I’m going to go back and read old favorites, the books that I missed as a child, and many fantastic books that have been written in the past two decades. Once I made this decision, I couldn’t wait to start. It was Christmas time and I wanted to read some happy stories, so I found myself some highly recommended children’s Christmas books. I haven’t stopped reading kids books since. It has been wonderful just as reading should be.

Here is the list of books I’ve read so far, all of which I have been fabulous.

The Penderwicks – Jeanne Birdsall (I would have adored this family as a child)

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn – Betty Smith (I wish I’d discovered this book when I was a young girl, but better late than never)

A Boy Called Christmas – Matt Haig (I cannot wait to read this one to my boys in a couple years. I think it will be one I read every year).

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – Barbara Robinson (This one actually made me cry happy tears)

The Mighty Miss Malone – Christopher Paul Curtis

Half Magic – Edward Eager

The Family Under The Bridge – Natalie Savage Carlson

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street – Karina Yan Glaser (Another endearing family)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – JK Rowling (I’m going to try and pace my way through the series, I’ve only previously read to book #4).

Frindle – Andrew Clements 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – JK Rowling

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – E.L Konigsburg

Danny the Champion of the World – Roald Dahl (another winner from a fabulous writer)

Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White – Melissa Sweet (Any biography that can make you feel a love for this world must be the story of a truly wonderful person. It was a beautiful book and a Caldecott winner)