Random (but not really)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Hiking WV: Canaan Valley & Blackwater Falls

Since we’d had a cold snap after the rains, and since temps were supposed to start rising, we took Friday to travel to Blackwater Falls in hopes that the falls were frozen.

It hadn’t bee cold enough to freeze the falls completely, but there was still a fair amount of ice.


Why yes, I did ignore the “Closed” sign and went down the stairs.

For this view? It was worth it. (Plus, I was very careful.)




We also went down to Elakala Falls.


Let me be clear, the scramble down is never especially easy, but in the winter, especially after a lot of rain and then a snap freeze, the path is treacherous.


We wore Yaktrax, because I know very well how clumsy I am.

But it was well worth it.


Because it was already warming up, water was starting to trickle down the icicles.


We also went to Canaan Valley SP.


I mentioned that earlier we’d had rain and then a quick freeze earlier. I hadn’t quite thought about how that would affect this boggy, marshy area.

What happened is that the low areas flooded, and then froze. So any low-lying ground ended up covered in ice.


Normally we’ll walk out to the end of this bit of land, but the path was solid ice–and slippery. So we just looked (it wasn’t worth the view to pull out and put on the Yaktrax). It was pretty amazing.

If you look closely at this picture, you’ll see that a layer of ice formed on the grass, several inches above the ground.


It was a wonderful day, and I’m glad we were able to get away to enjoy it.


Written by Michelle at 11:18 am      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Hiking,Photos,State Park / Forest,West Virginia  

Monday, January 15, 2018

YA Books for the Teens in Your Life

What is all this about books for kids?

These are both YA books and some straight-up fantasy that is perfectly acceptable for younger readers. Some of these books have difficult subject matter, such as sexual assault or the acknowledgement of boinking, so know your small person before buying.

I’ve read the books listed here, although it’s been awhile since I read some of these, if you click on an author’s name, it should take you to my page for that author, and any reviews I’ve written about their books.

See also this YA list.

Josephine Angelini : Starcrossed (2011) (Female) (Fantasy)

Susan Bischoff:
Talent Chronicles: Hush Money (2010), Impulse Control (2011), Heroes ‘Til Curfew (2011) (Fantasy)

What happens when kids suddenly develop special abilities that border on the supernatural? The government declares it a public safety issue and takes those kids into “custody”. A more adult series along this line is Rising Stars by J. Michael Straczynski.

I already knew it had happened again.

Not like I’m psychic, not really, but you don’t have to have any special mental Talent to see the signs…if you’re paying attention.

Stacy Scarpelli had had her hand in the air for, like, five minutes. Eventually she was doing that thing where you lean one elbow on the desk, and your other elbow in your hand, like you’re going to collapse from the exhaustion of trying to get the teacher’s attention. But the teacher was paying attention. She was paying a lot of attention to checking off names on the roll; or supposedly taking roll, but totally not looking at that whole side of the room where Stacy was flinging her hand limply about on her wrist.

sendPatty Blount: Send (2012)

Dan and his family have changed their names and moved to a new town. When he was thirteen, Dan (then Kenny) was accused of bullying a classmate in an incident that caused the other boy to commit suicide. After spending almost a year in juvenile detention, he came home, only to have his entire family driven out of their home by their neighbors, and the father of the boy he killed came after Kenny with a metal bat, in an attempt to kill him.

For several years, the family moved from town to town, but still the father of the boy who died would find them, and threaten and harass him.

So he’s starting his senior year of high school hoping to keep his head down and graduate.

Unfortunately, the first thing he sees when he pulls into the parking lot of the school is a skinny nerd being attacked by a huge jock.

Libba Bray: A Great and Terrible Beauty (2003) (Female)

It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one.

To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?

Kristin Cashore: Graceling (2009) (Female) (Fantasy)

IN THESE DUNGEONS the darkness was complete, but Katsa had a map in her mind. One that had so far proven correct, as Oll’s maps tended to do. Katsa ran her hand along the cold walls and counted doors and passageways as she went. Turning when it was time to turn; stopping finally before an opening that should contain a stairway leading down. She crouched and felt forward with her hands. There was a stone step, damp and slippery with moss, and another one below it. This was Oll’s staircase, then. She only hoped that when he and Giddon followed her with their torches, they would see the moss slime, tread carefully, and not waken the dead by clattering headlong down the steps.

David Eddings:
The Belgariad: Pawn of the Prophecy (1982), Queen of Sorcery (1982), Magician’s Gambit (1983), Castle of Wizardry (1984), Enchanter’s End Game (1984) (Fantasy)

This series is comfort reading for me, the books I turn to when life gets dark and I need to escape. (Silk is my favorite.)

“I’m sorry to have missed him,” Silk said. “I wish I had the leisure to look him up.”

“I can’t for my life think why,” the farmer said bluntly. “To be honest with you, I didn’t care much for your friend.”

“I’m not overfond of him myself,” Silk agreed, “but the truth is that he owes me some money . I could quite easily do without Brill’s companionship, but I’m lonesome for the money, if you take my meaning.”

The Malloreon: Guardian of the West (1987), King of the Murgos (1988), Demon Lord of Karanda (1988), Sorceress of Darshiva (1989), The Seeress of Kell (1991) (Fantasy)

Jennifer Estep:
Mythos Academy: First Frost (2011), Touch of Frost (2011), Kiss of Frost (2011), Dark Frost (2012) (Female) (Fantasy)

Raymond E. Feist:
Riftwar Saga: Magician: Apprentice (1982), Magician: Master (1982), Silverthorn (1985), A Darkness At Sethanon (1986) (Fantasy)
The Empire Series, written with Janny Wurts: Daughter of the Empire (1987), Servant of the Empire (1990), Mistress of the Empire (1992) (Female) (Fantasy)

A.C. Gaughen: Scarlet (2012)

No one really knows ’bout me. I’m Rob’s secret, I’m his informant, I’m his shadow in dark places. No one ever takes me for more than a knockabout lad, a whip of a boy. They never really see. And I don’t mind that they don’t see. Like, when you walk through a room full of big men drunk off their skulls, it ain’t so bad to be ignored.

C.C. Hunter:
Shadowfalls: Turned at Dark: A Bonus Shadow Falls Short Story (2011), Born at Midnight (2011), Awake at Dawn (2011), Taken at Dusk (2012), Whispers at Moonrise (2012), Saved at Sunrise (2013) (Female) (Fantasy)

Kylie is having what is justifiably the worst day ever.

On top of losing her favorite grandmother and her boyfriend breaking up with her, she comes home from school to discover that her parents are getting divorced. In fact, her father is throwing clothes in a suitcase and storming out.

Plus, her night terrors have returned.

In an effort to take a break from all the crap in her life, Kylie goes to a party. Unfortunately, it ends up being the wrong party, and now she’s being shipped off to a camp for troubled youth.

Could things get any worse?

Yup. The camp is for supernatural youth. As far as Kylie is concerned, she doesn’t have any special powers, but the counselors are convinced she does, and they’re the cause of her night terrors.

I really like this series. The characters are complex and the adults are not idiots.

Ellen Kushner: The Privilege of the Sword (2006) (Female)

Katherine’s family has always been on the edge of financial solvency, and the continual lawsuits by her uncle, the Mad Duke Tremontaine don’t help. So it’s a blessing for everyone when the Mad Duke offers to forgive the Talbert debt–as well as settling a sum of money on the family–if only Katherine will come live with him and study the sword–it’s an offer her mother can’t refuse.

This is a sequel of sorts to one of my favorite books, Swordspoint. Be aware, there is sexual assault in this story.

Mercedes Lackey:
The Last Herald Mage: Magic’s Pawn (1989), Magic’s Promise (1990), Magic’s Price (1990)
Vows and Honor: The Oathbound (1988), Oathbreakers (1989), Oathblood (1998), By the Sword (1991)
The Heralds of Valdemar: Arrows of the Queen (1987), Arrow’s Flight (1987), Arrow’s Fall (1988)
Mage Winds: Winds of Fate (1991), Winds of Change(1993), Winds of Fury (1993)
Mage Storms: Storm Warning (1994), Storm Rising (1995), Storm Breaking (1996)
Mage Wars: The Black Gryphon (1994), The White Gryphon (1995), The Silver Gryphon (1996)

grave-mercyRobin LaFevers:
His Fair Assassin: Grave Mercy (2012) (Female) (Fantasy)

Lish McBride:
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, (2010), Necromancer: A Novella (2011), Necromancing the Stone (2012) (Fantasy)
Burnt Sugar (2014), Firebug (2014) (Female) (Fantasy)

I stood in front of today’s schedule still holding my skateboard, still drenched from the ride over, and still desperately wishing that I hadn’t dropped out of college. But wishing wouldn’t erase Sam from the counter slot and rewrite it under the grill slot. No matter what, my job kind of sucks, but on the grill it sucks less. On the grill, you don’t have to handle customers. Something about the fast food uniform makes people think it’s okay to treat you like crap. Personally, I’m always polite to anyone who handles my food. There are lots of horrible things that can be done to your meal before it gets to your plate.

Sam is a very good character, and I especially like the bits about what living on minimum wage is like.

Robin McKinley: Sunshine (2003) (Female) (Fantasy)

It is the strength of the element in you that makes you more able to resist— and simultaneously embrace— its opposite. You are not consumed by the dark because you are full of light.

Dennis L. McKiernan:
The Iron Tower Trilogy: The Dark Tide (1984), Shadows of Doom (1984), The Darkest Day (1984)
The Silver Call Duology: Trek to Kraggen-Cor (1986), The Brega Path (1986)
Hel’s Crucible Duology: Into the Forge (1997), Into the Fire (1998)
Tales from Mithgar (1994), The Eye of the Hunter (1992), Voyage of the Fox Rider (1993), The Dragonstone (1996), Silver Wolf, Black Falcon (2001), Red Slippers (2004)

Sharyn November:
Anthologies: Firebirds (2003)

Cotillion – Delia Sherman
The Baby In The Night Deposit Box – Megan Whalen Turner
Beauty – Sherwood Smith
Mariposa – Nancy Springer
Max Mondrosch – Lloyd Alexander
The Fall Of Ys – Meredith Ann Pierce
Medusa – Michael Cadnum
The Black Fox – Emma Bull ; Illustrations By Charles Vess
Byndley – Patricia A. Mckillip
The Lady Of The Ice Garden – Kara Dalkey
Hope Chest – Garth Nix
Chasing The Wind – Elizabeth E. Wein
Little Dot – Diana Wynne Jones
Remember Me – Nancy Farmer
Flotsam – Nina Kiriki Hoffman
The Flying Woman – Laurel Winter

Firebirds Rising (2006)

Huntress – Tamora Pierce
Unwrapping – Nina Kiriki Hoffman
The Real Thing – Alison Goodman
Little (Grrl) Lost – Charles de Lint
I’ll Give you My Word – Diana Wynn Jones
In the House of the Seven Librarians – Ellen Klages
Wintermoon Wish – Sharon Shinn
The Wizards of Perfil – Kelly Link
Jack O’Lantern – Patricia A. McKillip
Quill – Carol Emshwiller
Blood Roses – Francesca Lia Block
Hives – Kara Dalkey
Perception – Alan Dean Foster
The House on the Planet – Tanith Lee
Cousins – Pamela Dean
What Used to be Good Still Is – Emma Bull

Firebirds Soaring (2009) (Fantasy)

Kingmaker – Nancy Springer
A Ticket to Ride – Nancy Farmer
A Thousand Tails – Christopher Barzak
All Under Heaven – Chris Roberson
Singing On a Star – Ellen Klages
Egg Magic – Louise Marley
Flatland – Kara Dalkey
Dolly the Dog-Soldier – Candas Jane Dorsey
Ferryman – Margo Lanagan
The Ghosts of Strangers – Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Twilight Tales – Jo Walton
The Dignity He’s Due – Carol Emshwiller
Power and Magic – Marly Youmans
Courtship – Sherwood Smith
Little Red – Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple
The Myth of Fenix – Laurel Winter
Fear and Loathing in Lalanna – Nick O’Donohoe
Bone-Chewer’s Legacy – Clare Bell
Something Worth Doing – Elizabeth E. Wein

Wannabe (2006), No Way Home (2009)

Kiden had a normal life once. But it all fell apart. Then, when things are at their absolute worst, she discovers she has powers. Unfortunately for her, it seems to cause as much harm as good. Over the course of the story she meets up with three other mutants, and they try to work they way out of the trouble they’re all in.

Cherie Priest:
Boneshaker (2009), Clementine (2010) (Fantasy)

Princess Ugg:
Princess Ugg Vol. 1 (2014), Princess Ugg Vol. 2 (2015) (Female)

Princess Ülga isn’t your standard princess, but her royal lineage goes back for generations. At her mother’s bequest, Ülga travels to the city-state of Atraeska, where the prestigious Princess Academy lies, so that she can learn about things like diplomacy-hopefully for the benefit of her rough and tumble people.

This is another series I really liked. Especially since the characters who initially seem one note grow in complexity.

Sharon Shinn: General Winston’s Daughter (2007) (Female)

Averie is headed to Chiarrin, where her father and betrothed are with the army, which is currently seeking to make the area part of its empire.

On the trip over Averie makes friends with Lieutenant Du’Kai, a Xan’tai member of the Aerberelle Army. This means only that as a member of a conquered territory he can gain only the rank of Captain, but is otherwise an acceptable dinner companion for Lady Averie, although Averie’s chaperone Lady Selkirk is at first unsure as to the propriety of this. But the journey is long and Du’Kirk is a charming companion, so they soon all end up looking forward to the dinners.

Catherynne M. Valente:
The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland–for a Little While (2011), The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (2011) (Fantasy)

“When you are born,” the golem said softly, “your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off staircases, saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish, putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk and crusty things and dirt and fear and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you’re half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up with living.

Tammara Webber: Easy (2012)

As tonight’s designated driver, it was my responsibility to get Erin back to our dorm across campus in one unmangled piece, whether or not I could stand another minute of the party. My message told her to call or text when she was ready to go. The way she and her boyfriend, Chaz, had been tequila-soaked dirty dancing before they linked hands and tripped up the stairs to his room, she might not be calling me until tomorrow. I chuckled over the thought of the short walk of shame she’d endure from the front porch to my truck, if so.

Be aware that this story deals with sexual assault.

Janny Wurts (with Raymond E. Feist): Daughter of the Empire (1987), Servant of the Empire (1990), Mistress of the Empire (1992) (Female) (Fantasy)

Innocence Lost (2006), Target X (2007) (Female) (Fantasy)
Chaos Theory (2012), Don’t Look Back (2012) (Female) (Fantasy)

X-23 is created in a scientific lab after experiments with Wolverine with terribly wrong. The story follows her from the failed experiments to her creation through her training. We also catch glimpses of the pasts of the two scientists most responsible for her creation, and how they came to create X-23.

X-23 is hands down my favorite X-Men character.

Written by Michelle at 8:35 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

All life is interrelated, and all men are interdependent.

December 11, 1964

…A second evil which plagues the modern world is that of poverty. Like a monstrous octopus, it projects its nagging, prehensile tentacles in lands and villages all over the world. Almost two-thirds of the peoples of the world go to bed hungry at night. They are undernourished, ill-housed, and shabbily clad. Many of them have no houses or beds to sleep in. Their only beds are the sidewalks of the cities and the dusty roads of the villages. Most of these poverty-stricken children of God have never seen a physician or a dentist. This problem of poverty is not only seen in the class division between the highly developed industrial nations and the so-called underdeveloped nations; it is seen in the great economic gaps within the rich nations themselves. Take my own country for example. We have developed the greatest system of production that history has ever known. We have become the richest nation in the world. Our national gross product this year will reach the astounding figure of almost 650 billion dollars. Yet, at least one-fifth of our fellow citizens – some ten million families, comprising about forty million individuals – are bound to a miserable culture of poverty. In a sense the poverty of the poor in America is more frustrating than the poverty of Africa and Asia. The misery of the poor in Africa and Asia is shared misery, a fact of life for the vast majority; they are all poor together as a result of years of exploitation and underdevelopment. In sad contrast, the poor in America know that they live in the richest nation in the world, and that even though they are perishing on a lonely island of poverty they are surrounded by a vast ocean of material prosperity. Glistening towers of glass and steel easily seen from their slum dwellings spring up almost overnight. Jet liners speed over their ghettoes at 600 miles an hour; satellites streak through outer space and reveal details of the moon. President Johnson, in his State of the Union Message12, emphasized this contradiction when he heralded the United States’ “highest standard of living in the world”, and deplored that it was accompanied by “dislocation; loss of jobs, and the specter of poverty in the midst of plenty”.

So it is obvious that if man is to redeem his spiritual and moral “lag”, he must go all out to bridge the social and economic gulf between the “haves” and the “have nots” of the world. Poverty is one of the most urgent items on the agenda of modern life…

…The time has come for an all-out world war against poverty. The rich nations must use their vast resources of wealth to develop the underdeveloped, school the unschooled, and feed the unfed. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for “the least of these”. Deeply etched in the fiber of our religious tradition is the conviction that men are made in the image of God and that they are souls of infinite metaphysical value, the heirs of a legacy of dignity and worth. If we feel this as a profound moral fact, we cannot be content to see men hungry, to see men victimized with starvation and ill health when we have the means to help them. The wealthy nations must go all out to bridge the gulf between the rich minority and the poor majority.

In the final analysis, the rich must not ignore the poor because both rich and poor are tied in a single garment of destiny. All life is interrelated, and all men are interdependent. The agony of the poor diminishes the rich, and the salvation of the poor enlarges the rich. We are inevitably our brothers’ keeper because of the interrelated structure of reality…

Written by Michelle at 10:19 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Holidays  

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Kids’ Books: Older Kids

What is all this about books for kids?

Some YA books are perfectly fine gifts for kids, wthers might have subjects you might want to check with parents prior to gifting. So there will be overlap between this post and the YA post. And that’s fine.

Why am I posting books in both places? Because if a kid is a reader, they are probably reading above their age group, and might want more challenging books. But you might not want to introduce some subjects unknowingly. (By that I mean the existence of boinking, and the existence of abuse and assault.) You probably know what your small person can handle, but if you aren’t sure, stick to this list and wait a year or two on the YA list.

See also this list got older Kids and this YA list.

Isabel Allende: Kingdom of the Golden Dragon (2004) (Fantasy)

Alexander Cold asks his grandmother, Kate, if he can accompany her on her latest expedition for International Geographic, this time to a remote country in the Himalayas. A country nicknamed The Forbidden Kingdom, because of its far location and the fact that very few are allowed to visit each year.

Elsewhere in the Himalayas, Dil Bahadur, disciple to the Buddhist monk Tensing, travel and see unexpected wonders, as Dil Bahadur trains and prepares for his future.

Kendare Blake:
Anna Dressed in Blood (2011), Girl of Nightmares (2012) (Fantasy)

The grease-slicked hair is a dead giveaway— no pun intended.

So is the loose and faded leather coat, though not as much that as the sideburns. And the way he keeps nodding and flicking his Zippo open and closed in rhythm with his head. He belongs in a chorus line of dancing Jets and Sharks.

Then again, I have an eye for these things. I know what to look for, because I’ve seen just about every variety of spook and specter you can imagine.

Gail Carriger : Etiquette & Espionage (Female) (Fantasy)

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course.

Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling:
A Wolf at the Door (2000) (Fantasy)

Conder Elephant – Jane Yolen
The Months of Manhattan – Delia Sherman
Instructions – Neil Gaiman
Mrs Big: “Jack and the Beanstalk” Retold – Michael Cadnum
Falada: The Goose Girls Horse – Nancy Farmer
A Wolf at the Door – Tanith Lee
Ali Baba and the Forty Aliens – Janeen Webb
Swans – Kelly Link
The Kingdom of the Melting Glances – Katherine Vaz
Hansel’s Eyes – Garth Nix
Becoming Charise – Kathe Koja
The Seven Stage and Comeback – Gergory Maguire
The Twelve Dancing Princesses – Patricia A. McKillip

Swan Sister (2003) (Fantasy)

Greenkid – Jane Yolen
Golden Fur – Midori Snyder
Chambers of the Hear – Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Little Red and the Big Bad – Will Shetterly
The Fish’s Story – Pat York
The Children of Tilford Fortune – Christopher Rowe
The Girl in the Attic – Lois Metzger
The Harm that Sang – Gregory Frost
A Life in Minature – Bruce Coville
Lupe – Kathe Koja
Awake – Tanith Lee
Inventing Aladdin – Neil Gaiman
My Swan SIster – Katherine Vaz

Phil & Kaja Foglio:
Agatha H and the Airship City (2011), Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess (2012), Agatha H. and the Voice of the Castle (2014) (Female) (Fantasy)

Novelizations of the Girl Genius comic!

Girl Genius:
Agatha Heterodyne and the Bettleburg Clank (2002), Agatha Heterodyne and the Airship City (2004), Agatha Heterodyne and the Monster Engine (2004), Agatha Heterodyne and the Circus of Dreams (2006), Agatha Heterodyne and the Clockwork Princess (), Agatha Heterodyne and the Golden Trilobite (2007), Agatha Heterodyne and the The Voice of the Castlee (2008), Volume 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones (2009), Agatha Heterodyne and The Heirs of the Storm (2010), Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse (2011), Agatha Heterodyne and the Hammerless Bell (2012) Siege of Mechanicsburg (2013) (Female) (Fantasy)

William Goldman: The Princess Bride (1973)

Heavens Net is Wide

Lian Hearn:
Tales of the Otori: Heaven’s Net is Wide (2007), Across the Nightingale Floor (2002), Grass for His Pillow (2003), Brilliance of the Moon (2004) (Non-WASP)

My mother used to threaten to tear me into eight pieces if I knocked over the water bucket, or pretended not to hear her calling me to come home as the dusk thickened and the cicadas’ shrilling increased. I would hear her voice, rough and fierce, echoing through the lonely valley. “Where’s that wretched boy? I’ll tear him apart when he gets back.”

But when I did get back, muddy from sliding down the hillside, bruised from fighting, once bleeding great spouts of blood from a stone wound to the head (I still have the scar, like a silvered thumbnail), there would be the fire, and the smell of soup, and my mother’s arms not tearing me apart but trying to hold me, clean my face, or straighten my hair, while I twisted like a lizard to get away from her.

Nina Kiriki Hoffman:
Stir of Bones (2003)
Spirits that Walk in Shadow (2006)
Ghost Hedgehog (2011)
A Fistful of Sky (Fantasy)

“Ultimate Fashion Sense? What kind of curse is that?”

“You can’t possibly wear that skirt with that blouse. Those socks!”

She glanced down at herself. “What’s wrong with my socks?”

“Ribbed socks? With plaid? Not midcalf height! Please! Either anklets or knee-highs. And your hair? How can you live with it?”

“What’s wrong with my hair?”

“You can’t go out in public with that hair. Come on.” I grabbed her arm and dragged her upstairs.

“Gyp, what are you doing?”

“I have to cut your hair. It’s imperative. No one should have to live with looking at that any longer.”

Dorothy Hoobler : The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn (Female)

Samurai fear nothing, not even death. They are loyal and brave. Fourteen-year-old Seikei has studied the way of the samurai, and would like nothing more than to be one. But a samurai is born, not made; Seikei was born the son of a tea merchant, so a merchant he must be. But when a priceless ruby intended for the shogun-the military governor of Japan-is stolen by a ghost, Seikei finds himself having to display all the courage of a samurai. Seikei is the only person to have seen the thief, and now the famous magistrate, Judge Ooka, needs the boy’s help to solve this mystery. Can the son of a merchant prove himself worthy to the shogun himself?

Madeleine L’Engle:
A Wrinkle in Time (1962), A Wind In the Door (1973), A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978) (Math & Science) (Fantasy)

Ursula K. Le Guin:
A Wizard of Earthsea (1968), The Tombs of Atuan (1970), The Farthest Shore (1972) (Fantasy)

Charles de Lint:
Waifs and Strays (2002)
Dingo (2008)
Little (Grrl) Lost (2007)
The Blue Girl (2004) (Fantasy)

Imogene’s family has moved to Newford, and she decides to take advantage of the move to a place where no one knows her, to change herself, and to stay out of trouble. On the first day of school she makes friends with Maxine, a girl outcast from her peers for being smart, and that friendship immediately puts her on the outs with the popular kids.

And she meets Ghost. A boy who died at school under mysterious circumstances–was it murder or suicide or accident.

Nelson Mandela: Favorite African Folktales (2002)

Robin McKinley: The Hero and the Crown (Female) (Fantasy)

Although she is the daughter of Damar’s king, Aerin has never been accepted as full royalty. Both in and out of the royal court, people whisper the story of her mother, the witchwoman, who was said to have enspelled the king into marrying her to get an heir to rule Damar-then died of despair when she found she had borne a daughter instead of a son. But none of them, not even Aerin herself, can predict her future-for she is to be the true hero who will wield the power of the Blue Sword.

Garth Nix:
Sabriel: Sabriel (1997), Lirael (2002), Abhorsen (2003), Across the Wall (2005) (Fantasy)
Mister Monday (2003)

Sabriel is the daughter of Abhorsen–the Charter necromancer who puts the restless dead beyond the ninth gate. She has been sent outside of the walls of the Old Kingdom for her education, seeing her father in person only a few times a year, but seeing him in death more frequently, as Abhorsen trains her in their arts.

Mrs. Umbrade certainly didn’t want to know how Sabriel saw her father. Sabriel, on the other hand, always looked forward to his unofficial visits and watched the moon, tracing its movements from the leather-bound almanac which listed the phases of the moon in both Kingdoms and gave valuable insights into the seasons, tides and other ephemerae that were never the same at any one time on both sides of the Wall. Abhorsen’s sending of himself always appeared at the dark of the moon.

ShadowshaperDaniel José Older:
Shadowshaper (2015), Ghost Girl in the Corner (2016), Shadowhouse Fall (2017) (Female) (Non-WASP) (Fantasy)

No matter what she did, that little voice came creeping back, persistent and unsatisfied.

Not enough.

Today she looked menacingly into the mirror and said: “I’m Sierra María Santiago. I am what I am. Enough.”

Pat O’Shea: The Hounds of the Mórrigan (1985) (Fantasy)

Philip Pullman:
His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (1996), The Subtle Knife (1997), The Amber Spyglass (2000) (Fantasy)

Ransom Riggs: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2011) (Fantasy)

Pride & Joy (2003), Teenage Wasteland (2003), The Good Die Young (2004), True Believers (2005). Escape to New York (2006), Parental Guidance (2006), Live Fast (2007), Civil War: Runaways & New Avengers (2007) (Fantasy)

Caroline Stevermer and Patricia C. Wrede:
Sorcery & Cecelia -OR- The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (1988), The Grand Tour (2004), The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After (2006) (Female) (Fantasy)

Aunt Elizabeth and I called at the vicarage yesterday and spent a stimulating afternoon listening to the Reverend Fitzwilliam discoursing on the Vanities of Society and the Emptiness of Worldly Pleasures. Aunt Elizabeth hung on every word, and we are to return and take tea on Thursday. I am determined to have the headache Thursday, if I have to hit myself with a rock to do it.

Raven BoysMaggie Stiefvater :
Raven Boys: The Raven Boys (2012), The Dream Thieves (2013), Blue Lily, Lily Blue (2014) (Fantasy)
The Scorpio Races (Female) (Fantasy)

Fuel was leeching slowly into Gansey’s expensive chinos, the second pair he’d ruined in a month. It wasn’t that he meant to be careless — as Adam told him again and again, “Things cost money, Gansey” — it was just that he never seemed to realize the consequences of his actions until too late.

Jonathan Strahan: Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron (2012) (Fantasy)

Jonathan Stroud:
The Amulet of Samarkand (2003), The Golem’s Eye (2004), Ptolemy’s Gate (2006)

The temperature of the room dropped fast. Ice formed on the curtains and crusted thickly around the lights in the ceiling. The glowing filaments in each bulb shrank and dimmed, while the candles that sprang from every available surface like a colony of toadstools had their wicks snuffed out. The darkened room filled with a yellow, choking cloud of brimstone, in which indistinct black shadows writhed and roiled. From far away came the sound of many voices screaming. Pressure was suddenly applied to the door that led to the landing. It bulged inward, the timbers groaning. Footsteps from invisible feet came pattering across the floorboards and invisible mouths whispered wicked things from behind the bed and under the desk.

Mariko Tamaki (Fantasy): This One Summer (Female)

J.R.R. Tolkein: The Hobbit (1937) (Fantasy)

Megan Whalen Turner:
The Thief (1996), The Queen of Attolia (2000), The King of Attolia (2006), A Conspiracy of Kings (2010)
Instead of Three Wishes (2006) (Fantasy)

I am a master of foolhardy plans, I thought. I have so much practice I consider them professional risks.

msmarvelnonormalG. Willow Wilson: Ms. Marvel:
Vol. 1 No Normal (2014), Vol. 2: Generation Why (2015), Vol. 3: Crushed (2015), Vol. 4: Last Days (2015) (Female) (Non-WASP) (Fantasy)

A-Matter-of-MagicPatricia C. Wrede: A Matter of Magic  (Female) (Fantasy)
Frontier Magic: Thirteenth Child (2009), Across the Great Barrier (2011), The Far West (2012) (Female) (Fantasy)

EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT A SEVENTH SON IS LUCKY. THINGS COME A little easier to him, all his life long: love and money and fine weather and the unexpected turn that brings good fortune from bad circumstances. A lot of seventh sons go for magicians, because if there’s one sort of work where luck is more useful than any other, it’s making magic.

Nobody seems to think much about all the other sons, or the daughters. There’s nearly always daughters, because hardly anybody has seven sons right in a row, boom, like that.

Laurence Yep: Dragon’s Gate  (Non-WASP) (Fantasy)

In 1867, Otter travels from Three Willows Village in China to California — the Land of the Golden Mountain. There he will join his father and uncle.

In spite of the presence of family, Otter is a stranger among the other Chinese in this new land. And where he expected to see a land of goldfields, he sees only vast, cold whiteness. But Otter’s dream is to learn all he can, take the technology back to the Middle Kingdom, and free China from the Manchu invaders.

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Kids’ Books: Middle Grades

What is all this about books for kids?

This category was a little more complicated for me, because I don’t remember a lot of the books I read about this age–possibly because I read a lot of Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon, which I loved, but there’s not a lot of variety there.

These are some books I’ve gotten for various small people, but I haven’t read some of them, because I frequently send the books directly to the kids, missing the opportunity to flip through the book before sending it along. So my criteria for picking those books was whether they looked like something *I* wanted to read.

Kelly Barnhill: The Girl Who Drank the Moon (2016) (Female) (Fantasy)

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the Forest, Xan, is kind. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. Xan rescues the children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

Robert Beatty: Serafina and the Black Cloak (2015) (Female)

A brave and unusual girl named Serafina lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate amidst the splendor of the Gilded Age. Serafina’s pa, the estate’s maintenance man, has warned her to keep herself hidden from the fancy folk who live on the floors above, but when children at the estate start disappearing, Serafina and her friend Braeden Vanderbilt must work together to solve a dark and dangerous mystery.

Joanna Cole: Best-Loved Folktales of the World (1982) (Folklore) (Non-WASP)

There are books from my childhood that I turned to time and again, and shaped my future reading. This book is foremost among these.

Because of this book, I have multiple shelves of folk and fairy tales. This book started my fascinating and love of stories from other cultures, times, and places.

Sharon Creech:
Walk Two Moons (1994) (Female) (Non-WASP)

Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle, proud of her country roots and the “Indian-ness in her blood,” travels from Ohio to Idaho with her eccentric grandparents. Along the way, she tells them of the story of Phoebe Winterbottom, who received mysterious messages, who met a “potential lunatic,” and whose mother disappeared.

The Wanderer (2002)(Female)

Karen Cushman: Catherine Called Birdy (1994) (Female) (History)

Catherine, a spirited and inquisitive young woman of good family, narrates in diary form the story of her fourteenth year—the year 1290.

Roald Dahl:
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (1977)

This is another book that I read time and again, and that contributed to my love of short stories. Although the title story is very good and has always stuck in my memory, I love all the stories here. They are strange and wonderful and amazing.

LUCKY BREAK: How I Became a Writer
A PIECE OF CAKE: First Story-1942

Kate DiCamillo: The Tale of Despereaux (2003) (Fantasy)

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other’s lives.

Deborah Heiligman: Charles & Emma – The Darwin’s Leap of Faith (2009) (Math & Science) (History)

Beginning with Darwin’s notorious chart listing reasons to wed and not to wed, Heiligman has created a unique, flowing, and meticulously researched picture of the controversial scientist and the effect of his marriage on his life and work. Using the couple’s letters, diaries, and notebooks as well as documents and memoirs of their relatives, friends, and critics, the author lets her subjects speak for themselves while rounding out the story of their relationship with information about their time and place. She shows how Darwin’s love for his intelligent, steadfast, and deeply religious cousin was an important factor in his scientific work—pushing him to document his theory of natural selection for decades before publishing it with great trepidation. Just as the pair embodied a marriage of science and religion, this book weaves together the chronicle of the development of a major scientific theory with a story of true love.

Norton Juster: Phantom Tollbooth (1961) (Fantasy)

For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams.

Jacqueline Kelly: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (2009) (Female) (Math & Science)

Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones.With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.

Madeleine L’Engle:
A Wrinkle in Time (1962), A Wind In the Door (1973), A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978) (Math & Science) (Fantasy)

It was a dark and stormy night. In her attic bedroom Margaret Murry, wrapped in an old patchwork quilt, sat on the foot of her bed and watched the trees tossing in the frenzied lashing of the wind. Behind the trees clouds scudded frantically across the sky. Every few moments the moon ripped through them, creating wraithlike shadows that raced along the ground. The house shook. Wrapped in her quilt, Meg shook. She wasn’t usually afraid of weather.— It’s not just the weather, she thought.— It’s the weather on top of everything else. On top of me. On top of Meg Murry doing everything wrong.

Thanhha Lai: Inside Out and Back Again (2011) (Female) (Non-WASP)

Today is Tet,
the first day
of the lunar calendar.

Every Tet
we eat sugary lotus seeds
and glutinous rice cakes.
We wear all new clothes,
even underneath.

Mother warns
how we act today
foretells the whole year.

Everyone must smile
no matter how we feel.

Ingrid Law: Savvy (2008) (Female) (Fantasy)

Thirteen is when a Beaumont’s savvy hits—and with one brother who causes hurricanes and another who creates electricity, Mibs Beaumont is eager to see what she gets. But just before the big day, Poppa is in a terrible accident. And now all Mibs wants is a savvy that will save him. In fact, Mibs is so sure she’ll get a powerful savvy that she sneaks a ride to the hospital on a rickety bus with her sibling and the preacher’s kids in tow. After this extraordinary adventure—full of talking tattoos and a kidnapping—not a soul on board will ever be the same.

Grace Lin: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (2009) (Female) (Non-WASP)

In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life’s questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family’s fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.

L.A. Meyer: Bloody Jack (2002)

Life as a ship’s boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of eighteenth-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas.

There’s only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret. This could be the adventure of her life–if only she doesn’t get caught.

Sara Pennypacker: Pax (2012)

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather’s house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.

Terry Pratchett:
Amazing Maurice & His Educated Rodents (2001), The Wee Free Men (2003), A Hat Full of Sky (2004), Wintersmith (2006), I Shall Wear Midnight (2010) (Fantasy)

I adore Terry Pratchett. His fantasy is both hilarious and politically biting.

These are kids’ books set in Discworld–just the thing to start young readers on the road to hilarious stories.

And the Librarian.

Ellen Raskin:
The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues
The Westing Game
(1978) (Mystery)

A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, on things for sure: Sam Westing may be dead… but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!

Rick Riordan:
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer (2015)
The Lightning Thief (2005) (Mythology)

J.K. Rowling:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (1998), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1999), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2001), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2005), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007) (Fantasy)

Noelle Stevenson:
Lumberjanes Vol 1 (2015)
Nimona (2015) (Female) (Fantasy)

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

Jeremy Whitley: Princeless:
Save Yourself (2012), Get Over Yourself (2013), The Pirate Princess, Be Yourself, Make Yourself (Female) (Non-WASP) (Fantasy)

Jane Yolen: Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons (2002) (Female) (Mythology)

When the Amazons fall victim to an ancient curse, their thirteen-year-old princess must fight beasts and take on great challenges to get things back to normal for the people she loves.


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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Books for Young Readers: Fewer Pictures

What is all this about books for kids?

Now we’re to books with fewer pictures and more words. Still for young readers, but these are chapter books.

Young Reader

Gail Carson Levine: Ella Enchanted (Female)

Roald Dahl: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)
Danny, The Champion of the World (1975)

Danny the Champion on the World was my favorite Roald Dahl book. So many things in this book stuck clearly in my memory.

I don’t want to send you to school quite yet. In another two years you will have learned enough here with me to be able to take a small engine completely to pieces and put it together again all by yourself. After that, you can go to school.

One day during intermission, I went to Mr. Snoddy’s study to give him a bill and Sidney Morgan came along with me. He didn’t come for any special reason. We just happened to be together at the time. And as we went in, we saw Mr. Snoddy standing by his desk refilling his famous glass of water from a bottle labeled GORDON’S GIN. He jumped a mile when he saw us.

I have to stop looking for quotes now, or I’ll end up sitting here reading the whole book.

Astrid Lindgren: Pippi Longstocking (1945) (Female)

Charles de Lint: A Circle of Cats (2003)

If you’ve ever talked to me about books for any length of time, at some point my love of Charles de Lint will come up. He writes primarily short stories, but he has also written novels, and even a kids book.

Of course it’s out of print, but I have a copy, and perhaps one day it’ll go back into print.

Sid Fleischman: McBrooms Wonder One-Acre Farm (1972)

As a child I had a subscription to Cricket, which was the most marvelous magazine ever. I read my first McBroom story in Cricket, and I fell in love with McBroom and his farm.

willjillhesterchesterpeterpollytimtommarylarry and little Clarinda!

Neil Gaiman: Coraline (2002) (Female)
Odd & the Frost Giants
The Graveyard Book (2008)

Neil Gaiman writes everything from picture books to comics and everything inbetween. Everything is good, but check before giving a book to a small person, to be sure you didn’t get a grown-up book. (That you should keep and read for yourself.)

Betty MacDonald: Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (1947)

I came across Mrs Piggle-Wiggle at Central School and LOVED her. I think it was the upside-down house that I adored the most. Who as a kid didn’t lie with their head hanging off the sofa, wondering what the house would be like if everything was upside down.

Mary Norton: Borrowers

Scott O’Dell: Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960) (Female) (Non-WASP)
The Black Pearl

I honestly have no idea how many times I read this when I was young, but it was a lot.

Pam Muñoz Ryan: Esperanza Rising (Female) (Non-WASP)

Esperanza thought she’d always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico–she’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers.

Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Bad Beginning (1999)

I’m sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.

In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.

It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.

Maryrose Wood: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place:The Mysterious Howling (2009)
The Hidden Gallery (2011)

IT WAS NOT MISS PENELOPE LUMLEY’S first journey on a train, but it was the first one she had taken alone.

As you may know, traveling alone is quite a different kettle of fish from traveling with companions. It tends to make people anxious, especially when en route to a strange place, or a new home, or a job interview, or (as in the case of Miss Lumley) a job interview in a strange place that might very well end up being her new home.

Click through on any of the title (or book covers) to see the books on Amazon. (And if you buy, I get a few parts of pennies to build up towards a book for me!)

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Books for Young Readers: More Pictures

What is all this about books for kids?

There is some overlap between this category and the picture books. Think beginning readers who might like lots of pictures in their stories while they’re still getting used to the whole reading thing.

Cathy Goldberg Fishman: When Jackie and Hank Met (2012) (Sports) (History) (Non-WASP)

Jack Roosevelt Robinson and Henry Benjamin Greenberg were born eight years and one thousand miles apart.

Nobody knew these babies would grow up and play baseball. Nobody knew Jackie and Hank would meet and become heroes.

Russell Hoban : Best Friends for Frances (1969)

Bread and Jam for Frances (1964)

I have pretty clear memories of reading these when I was small.

Margaret Hodges: Saint George and the Dragon (History)

A re-telling from Spenser’s The Faerie Queene of George, the Red Cross Knight.

The Kitchen Knight (1990) (History)

In the days when monsters and giants and fairy folk lived in England, a noble knight was riding across a plain. He wore heavy armor and carried and ancient silver shield marked with a red cross. It was dented with the blows of many battles fought long ago by other brave knights.

Elsa Holmelund Minarik: Little Bear illustrated by Maurice Sendak (1957)

Illustrated by Maurice Sendak. That is all.

Barbara Cooney: Miss Rumphius (1983) (Female) (Math & Science)

The Lupine Lady lives in a small house overlooking the sea. In between the rocks around her house grow blue and purple and rose-colored flowers. The Lupine Lady is little and old. But she has not always been that way. I know. She is my great-aunt, and she told me so.

Leo Lionni : Frederick (1967)
Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse (1969)
Inch by Inch
Fish Is Fish (1970)

I think Fish Is Fish was probably my favorite of these books, but I loved them all.

Rafe Martin: Rough Faced Girl (Female) (Non-WASP)

Mal Peet: Cloud Tea Monkeys (2000) (Female) (Non-WASP)

Tashi and the monkeys met in their usual place, where the endless rows of tea bushes were broken by a jumble of rocks and a tree spread its shadow on the ground. Here she sat and crossed her legs. The monkeys watched her with their deep, serious eyes.

Francois Place : The Old Man Mad About Drawing: A Tale of Hokusai (2004) (Art) (History) (Non-WASP)

I love and adore this book. I am heartbroken that it is currently out of publication–there are so many more kids I want to give this book to!

Andrea Davis Pinkney: Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra (2006) (Music) (Non-WASP)

You ever hear of the jazz-playin’ man, the man with the cats who could swing with his band? He was born in 1899, in Washington D.C. Born Edward Kennedy Ellington. But wherever young Edward went, he said, “Hey, call me Duke.”

Doreen Rappaport: Elizabeth Started All the Trouble (2016) (Female) (History)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton couldn’t go to college but more importantly, she couldn’t vote.

A brief look at the start of the Women’s Suffrage Movement–and a time when women were still often treated as property rather than citizens.

Allen Say: Tea with Milk (1999) (Female) (History) (Non-WASP)

From the window in her room, the girl could see the city of San Francisco. She imagined that it was a city of many palaces. And one day her father would take her there, he had promised, riding on a paddle steamer across the shining bay.

Her parents called her Ma-chan, which was short for Masako, and spoke to her in Japanese. Everyone else called her May and talked to her in English.

Tanya Lee Stone: The House that Jane Built (Female) (History)

Jane Addams was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her social activism.

Laurie Wallmark: Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (2015) (Math & Science) (History) (Female)

Any geek worth their salt knows that Ada Lovelace was the mother of computing. But if you aren’t a geek, then you may never have heard of the daughter of Lord Byron who created programming and changed the world to come.

Click through on any of the title (or book covers) to see the books on Amazon. (And if you buy, I get a few parts of pennies to build up towards a book for me!)

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Picture Books: Favorites Old and New

What is all this about books for kids?

This is the “everything else” post, of books that don’t fit into any other categories. They fall into three categories: books I loved as a child, books that are gorgeous and I fell in love with as an adult, or Caldecott winners. And often books fall into more than one category.

Tony DiTerlizzi: The Spider and the Fly

Come into my parlor said the spider to the fly

I utterly adore this book.

Neil Gaiman: Wolves in the Walls (2003)

The Dangerous Alphabet

M Is for Magic

I have long been a fan of Neil Gaiman, and his books for kids are utterly delightful (there will be other books appearing for older kids as well).

Just be aware that in addition to kids book, Neil Gaimain also writes adult book, so check the book before giving it to a small person.

Elsa Holmelund Minarik: Little Bear illustrated by Maurice Sendak (1957)

Illustrated by Maurice Sendak. That is all.

Jory John: The Bad Seed

I’m a bad seed.

A baaaaaaaaaaad seed.

William Joyce: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore

Munro Leaf: The Story of Ferdinand (1936)

There was a little bull, and his name was Ferdinand

This book I clearly remember both owning and reading.

Robert McCloskey: Blueberries for Sal (1948)

One day, Little Sal went with her mother to Blueberry Hill to pick blueberries.

Little Sal brought along her small tin pail and her mother brought her large tin pail to put berries in. “We will take our berries home and can them,” said her mother. “Then we will have food for the winter.”

Lauren Mills: The Rag Coat

Inspiration for this book was drawn from numerous sources, including the Foxfire books, a song by Dolly Parton, and my own childhood.

Jon J Muth: Zen Shorts

“Michael! There’s a bear outside!” said Karl.
“A what?” called Michael.
“A bear. He’s really big. And he’s in the backyard.”
“What’s he doing?” Michael asked.
“He’s sitting. He has an umbrella,” said Karl.

Patricia Polacco: Babushka Baba Yaga (1993)

The Keeping Quilt (1988)

Rechenka’s Eggs (1988)

As a fan of Baba Yaga, how could I not love a kids’ book about her?

Antoinette Portis: Not a Box

Why are you sitting in that box?

It’s not a box.

Terry Pratchett: Where’s My Cow? (2005)


This book is really just for Terry Pratchett fans, but since everyone should be a Terry Partchett fan, of course I’m listing it.

Peter H. Reynolds: Ish (Creatrilogy)

The Dot (2003)

John Rocco: Blackout

It was a normal summer night in the city.
And then…
The lights went out, and everything changed.

Maurice Sendak: Where the Wild Things Are (1963)

In the Night Kitchen (1970)

Chicken Soup with Rice (1972)

Eating once
Eating twice
Eating chicken soup with rice

Uri Shulevitz: Snow (1998)

Herve Tullet: Mix It Up (2014)

Press Here (2011)

David Wiesner: Sector 7 (1999)

Flotsam (2006)

Free Fall (1988)

Art & Max (2010)

Tuesday (1991)

If you have never read Sector 7, then you should immediately find it and give it to a small person in your life.

Click through on any of the title (or book covers) to see the books on Amazon. (And if you buy, I get a few parts of pennies to build up towards a book for me!)

Written by Michelle at 11:48 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Picture Books: Math & Science

What is all this about books for kids?

As a geek of long-standing, I want to encourage all the small people in my life to get excited about math and science. Actually, I want them to be excited about anything they love, but as I love math and science, I want them to be unafraid of subjects that are sometimes imposing or scary. I want them to see a seed turn into a plant and smile in joy. To see chemicals react and gasp in amazement. To look at numbers and see beauty.

I want them to be geeks, and to see joy and amazement everywhere around them.

Pretty much everything here overlaps with another category.

Math & Science

Andrea Beaty: Rosie Revere Engineer (2013)

Ada Twist Scientist (2016)

Barbara Cooney: Miss Rumphius (1983)

The Lupine Lady lives in a small house overlooking the sea. In between the rocks around her house grow blue and purple and rose-colored flowers. The Lupine Lady is little and old. But she has not always been that way. I know. She is my great-aunt, and she told me so.

Demi: One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale

Long ago in India, there lived a raja who believed that he was wise and fair, as a raja should be.

Deborah Heiligman: The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos (2013)

If you have read many scientific journals, then you are probably aware of Paul Erdos, the man whose name is on more scientific papers than any other person. This story talks about the boy who became that man–and also about how he ended up publishing with so many people.

Ashley Spires: The Most Magnificent Thing (2014)

Laurie Wallmark: Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (2015)

Any geek worth their salt knows that Ada Lovelace was the mother of computing. But if you aren’t a geek, then you may never have heard of the daughter of Lord Byron who created programming and changed the world to come.

Click through on any of the title (or book covers) to see the books on Amazon. (And if you buy, I get a few parts of pennies to build up towards a book for me!)

Written by Michelle at 10:05 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
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Picture Books: Girl Power

What is all this about books for kids?

Having a number of girls in my life, and having been a girl once myself, I search out books with female characters. Especially of the self-rescuing princess type.

There is again a good deal of overlap with other posts.

Girl Power

Andrea Beaty: Rosie Revere Engineer (2013)

Ada Twist Scientist (2016)

Cynthia Chin-Lee: Amelia to Zora (2008)

Barbara Cooney: Miss Rumphius (1983)

The Lupine Lady lives in a small house overlooking the sea. In between the rocks around her house grow blue and purple and rose-colored flowers. The Lupine Lady is little and old. But she has not always been that way. I know. She is my great-aunt, and she told me so.

Demi: One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale

Long ago in India, there lived a raja who believed that he was wise and fair, as a raja should be.

Paul Goble: The Girl Who Loved Horses

Kathleen Krull: Wilma Unlimited (2000)

No one expected such a tiny girl to have a first birthday. In Clarksville, Tennessee, in 1940, life for a baby who weighed just over four pounds at birth was sire to be limited.

But most babies didn’t have nineteen older brothers and sisters to watch over them.

Most babies didn’t have a mother who knew home remedies.

Rafe Martin: Rough Faced Girl

Mal Peet: Cloud Tea Monkeys (2000)

Tashi and the monkeys met in their usual place, where the endless rows of tea bushes were broken by a jumble of rocks and a tree spread its shadow on the ground. Here she sat and crossed her legs. The monkeys watched her with their deep, serious eyes.

Doreen Rappaport: Elizabeth Started All the Trouble (2016)

Elizabeth Cady Stanton couldn’t go to college but more importantly, she couldn’t vote.

A brief look at the start of the Women’s Suffrage Movement–and a time when women were still often treated as property rather than citizens.

Allen Say: Tea with Milk (1999)

From the window in her room, the girl could see the city of San Francisco. She imagined that it was a city of many palaces. And one day her father would take her there, he had promised, riding on a paddle steamer across the shining bay.

Her parents called her Ma-chan, which was short for Masako, and spoke to her in Japanese. Everyone else called her May and talked to her in English.

Ashley Spires: The Most Magnificent Thing (2014)

Tanya Lee Stone: The House that Jane Built

Jane Addams was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her social activism.

Deborah Underwood: Intersteller Cinderella

Laurie Wallmark: Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine (2015)

Any geek worth their salt knows that Ada Lovelace was the mother of computing. But if you aren’t a geek, then you may never have heard of the daughter of Lord Byron who created programming and changed the world to come.

Jonah Winter: Frida (Art) (2002)

I am a heathen. I know next to nothing about art, and generally don’t appreciate it. But even I know of Frida Kahlo.

Click through on any of the title (or book covers) to see the books on Amazon. (And if you buy, I get a few parts of pennies to build up towards a book for me!)

Written by Michelle at 9:39 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
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