Tag Archives: book

Wednesday Words of Wisdom – The Long Night

Today’s Wednesday Words of Wisdom book choice is written and illustrated by none other than myself.  It’s my first attempt to write a book.  My book is titled, The Long Night.  Let’s have a read…shall we?

My story is based on real life events.  What do you think?

Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Leo the Late Bloomer

Last week my little son had his first elementary school conference.  I happy to say it went well.   School conferences are helpful so parents understand where their child’s development is intellectually, socially and emotionally.

Years ago when I attended the first conference for Old Boy I was nervous.  I was concerned how his development was compared to other children his age.   However, when my husband and I discussed Little Boy’s recent conference we were more relaxed.  Our years of parenting has taught us children do not all develop at the same rate and it’s okay for some children to take longer as long as they are making progress.

The book I have selected today is called Leo the Late Bloomer.  It is a wonderful children’s tale about two tiger parents learning to accept their tiger son who takes his time to develop.  The story begins showing Leo unable to do things.  He does not speak, eat nicely, read, or draw well.  Leo’s Father is concerned about Leo, but his mother reassures him Leo will “bloom” in his own time.

Leo the Late Bloomer,  written by Robert Kraus and beautifully illustrated by Jose Aruego,  shows how Leo develops at his own pace.  He learns to speak, read, eat, and draw eventually.  His parents learn patience by allowing Leo to slowly “bloom” when he is ready.  The illustrations tell a thousand words, even when there were actually only a few words on the page.  This book is a classic and recommended for preschool and elementary aged children.

I have a personal interest in this book because I identify with the main character, Leo.  I consider myself a late bloomer.  I took longer than most to finish college, married when I was 30 and had my last child at age 42.  At age 48 I feel like I am now hitting my stride.  Our society is very focused on children accomplishing as much as possible at a young age.  Leo’s story reminds that we all will get there eventually, if we are patient enough.

Cover of "Leo the Late Bloomer"

Cover of Leo the Late Bloomer

Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Celebrating You

I am running a little behind with today’s post.  Today is not Wednesday.  It’s Thursday.  I got a little swamped yesterday.

“This book is for you.  For your kind heart, your dazzling spirit, your generosity, your laugh, your glow.  It’s a celebration of the person you are and the person you’re working to become.  Because you’re beautiful inside and out.  Because you’re worth celebrating.” -  M.H. Clark

I love celebrations.  Nothing like a fun party to make me really happy.  I recently celebrated my birthday.  I went out to breakfast with friends (twice), dinner with the family and out to dinner with my husband.  I love having many people in my life who help celebrate the day I was born.

One of my friends gave me a small book as a gift for my birthday.  The book is today’s Wednesday Words of Wisdom choice.  It’s called Celebrating YouCelebrating You, written my M.H. Clark, is a small book filled with simple quotes celebrating things that make us unique and beautiful.

The text is simple yet moving.  The sweet illustrations are a wonderful compliment to the text.  Each page has a phrase that describes qualities of the person reading the book.  Here are some of my favorite quotes.

You have a radiance that’s all your own.

You have an inner joy that spills out.

You’re loved for everything your are and all that you’re becoming.

You are an inspiration.

After I finished all 64 pages I read the book again.  It’s very uplifting to read such wonderful things about yourself.  Although the book was not written for me in particular, it was given to be by someone who felt the words and phrases described me.  The book a perfect gift for a favorite person in your life.  When someone receives the book they will know how highly you think of them.

Celebrating You is a simple book that does an excellent job of making the reader feel very special.  It’s a wonderful feeling.

Thank you to my sweet friend, Colleen for the book.

Happy Reading!

Dropping the Ball

Cover of "A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ic...

Cover via Amazon

Several weeks ago, I went to my hairdresser to get my hair colored.  I told her I was sending the big boys to her later that week for a haircut.   The conversation went on discussing home repairs, hair issues and finally leading to books we were both reading.  Turns out we both were reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

As the conversation went on, we discussed my children’s reading habits.  In particular, she mentioned how surprised she was that my oldest son was allowed to read, Game of Thrones by George R. Martin.  She has read the book.

“I was so surprised to hear he was reading the Game of Thrones books.  Do you know what the books are about?  They are very adult themed.” – Hairdresser

“Yes.  I know now.” – Me

The truth was, I only recently found out what the books were about.  As a matter of fact, I found out the night earlier at my son’s school exhibition.

The earlier night his language and humanities teacher came up to my husband and I to talk.

“Hello.  I wanted to apologize to you both.” – Teacher

“Really, for what?” – Me

“For recommending the book, Games of Thrones to your son.  I had no idea he would read the entire series so quickly.  He finished all five books.  I have not even read the fifth book.” – Teacher

“Oh, no problem.  He loves the books.  My sister has read them too.  Sounds like a great book series.” – Me

“Have you read the books yourself?” – Teacher

“No.  I do not like that type of books.” – Me

“Well.  I want you to know I am so sorry.  The books are well written, but I am not sure they were the best choice to recommend for a ninth grader.” – Teacher

My husband and I walked away feeling confused.  I mentioned to my husband I would speak to my sister about the books.  She had read them and could tell me what the deal was.  I emailed my sister telling her about my son reading the books.  Turns out, my sister was shocked.  Shocked to hear my 15-year-old son had read the entire series and that a teacher would recommend them.

” I can’t believe his teacher recommended to the class to read the Game of Thrones.  There is SO much sex and violence in the books!  I’ve never read anything like them.  Not what I would think was appropriate for high school students, but what do I know. We have the first year on DVD so he can watch it when he’s here if you don’t mind.  The series is really well done, but I can’t watch the violent scenes.  Luckily I know the story so I know when to cover my eyes, since I can’t watch all that bloodshed.  They do show the sex scenes too, so I don’t know if you would be comfortable with him seeing that even though he’s read it”

My sister is a very loving aunt and a powerhouse reader.  Her response to my son reading Games of Thrones was surprising.  My oldest son has read so many book series.  He and my sister have spoken often about the books they have read.  However, the concern and shock in her voice spoke volumes. The books were obviously not well suited.

In a wave of panic, I set to find out what the books were about.  I came across a website that provided a review of the book, from a family perspective.  I was horrified.  The violence and sexual content were completely inappropriate.  Suddenly, I felt a great sense of shame for not keeping closer tabs on the books my son was reading.  I, the parent who did not allow my son to watch R rated films, had allowed my son the read an entire book series rated NC 17 or worse.

When my son had begun the book series, I asked him what they were about.  I heard the television series was violent and wondered what the books were like.  His response was they were like other books he had read.  There was nothing for me to worry about.  My oldest son is a wonderful boy.  He makes good decisions and judgements.  I trusted him 100%.

After conducting research about the books, I realized we dropped the ball.  My husband and I did not once consider books something we should be screening our child for.  We have worked so hard to make our children readers, we did not take into account that what they may be reading would be inappropriate.

The entire situation was bad.  The teacher did not realize my son would plow through five books in three months.  My son is extremely bright and a ferocious reader.  The books are extremely complex and the average 9th grader would take 6 to 12 months to read one book.  All books were finished by my son in record time.  The teacher dropped the ball making a book series recommendation for my son’s age group of children.  He also should have known how a boy would want to impress his teacher, by reading his recommendations.

When I later discussed the books with my son, after finding out the content, I asked why he had lied to me about how graphic the books were.  He explained the books were interesting, compelling and a great challenge to read.  Since he is such a powerful reader, he has a hard time finding books that are age appropriate and challenging.  My son dropped the ball for putting his own desire to finish the series, instead of being honest to his parents.

However, in the big scheme of things, it is the parents that screwed up the most.  My husband and I did not once check the books prior to him reading them.   It did not cross my mind.  I trusted the teacher’s recommendation and my son’s feedback completely.  Looking back, I now know I should have read some reviews or talked with someone.  I knew the books may be trouble, mainly because I had heard about the television show.  I chose to believe what I wanted and not the reality.  My husband I dropped the ball by not reviewing the books my son was reading and trusting others too much.

I have since spoken to several other parents, the teacher, my son, and read several other reviews of the books.  Many feel the books are okay for a young teen to read.  The stories are masterfully written.  However, the issue is for me is that we all dropped the ball.  Each party involved should have known and done better.  It was a group screw up.

We all learned from the experience.  Several people have expressed to me the teacher is to blame or maybe my son.  However, in my opinion we are all responsible.

Next time we will all do things differently.  We know the rules of the game now.

For me, I am holding on tighter these days.  I do not want to drop the ball again.

Brief Intermission

A conversation between a wife and a husband.

“Sweetie, are you okay?  Why are you still laying in bed?”-Husband

“I’m fine.  I am just reading a book.” – Wife

“Are you still reading Fifty Shades of Grey?” – Husband

“No.  Now I am reading Fifty Shades of Darker.  There are three books in the series.  Things get too crazy during the day to read and at night I am too tired.  So early morning reading it is.” – Wife

“What about your blog?  You always write your blog in the morning.” – Husband

“Oh, my blog.  Well, I guess I will have to take a brief intermission from writing the blog.  A girl has to have priorities.” – Wife

“I’ve always liked the way you prioritize things.” – Husband (wink and a smile)

Wednesday Words of Wisdom – The Littlest Matryoshka

Cover of "The Littlest Matryoshka"

Cover of The Littlest Matryoshka

I love how there is a children’s book, for just about everything.  Today’s Wednesday Words of Wisdom selection proves it.

A while ago, my little son and I paid a visit to a dear friend.  On our visit, my friend showed us around her new home.  Upstairs in the guest bedroom, there were several sets of Russian nesting dolls, known as Matryoshkas.  My little son was fascinated with them.  He was allowed to look at and play with them, as my friend and I talked.

After the upstairs house tour, my friend asked my little son if her would like to keep one of the Russian Doll sets for himself.  He said yes and was thrilled.  The dolls have been one of his favorite things ever since.

A while ago, when my little son and I were visiting the bookstore, he noticed a book.  It was called, The Littlest Martryoshka.  We were both very excited and read it right in the store.  We bought the book and both love it.

The Littlest Martryoshka, written by Corinne Demas Bliss,  is a delightful story which details the creation of a set of Matroyshka dolls.  The dolls were created in a tiny Russian village by a wood-carver. The Russian wood-carver, Nikolai, refers to the dolls as sisters.  The dolls are lined up in a store for display, unfortunately one day Nina ( the smallest doll) is knocked from the shelf and is swept out of the store into the snow.

From there, the remaining dolls are sold at discount to a girl.  The story follows little Nina as she is plowed away by a truck, found and discarded by a squirrel, falls into a river, is carried away by a bird and finally tumbles down a rain pipe…conveniently at the home of her sisters new owner where they are all happily reunited.

This is a very sweet story.  It focuses on how the relationship between the sisters and how they cope with the loss of the littlest one.  I love how the ending is a happy one, in which all the sisters are reunited.

The illustrations, by Kathryn Brown are beautiful.  They are full of bright details, especially when it comes to the Matryoshka dolls clothing.  The simple text and illustrations make it a nice read.  A wonderful brief history of the Russian dolls is provided in the back section of the book.

I recommend this book for young children, as well as anyone who loves Martryoshka dolls.  I hope this will be something you and the children in your life will enjoy too.

Happy reading!