Words of Wisdom

"A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest."
--C.S. Lewis

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Good Stuff

I still can't believe we have been meeting as a group for over a year. What started out as a whim has turned into a full-blown commitment to all these great people interested in reading cutting-edge kid lit. Thank you all for enriching my reading life and social life!

Eleanor and Park by Raibow Rowell was a great read. I urge all members to try to squeeze it in somehow. Full of romance, acceptance, culture clash, need, hope... All that good stuff that makes a great ya novel. Next book is Counting by 7s. OK, I read it super fast cuz it is also a Mock Newbery selection at BNS. I loved it--but as an adult... Will a kid get the nuance--the neuroses? Can't wait to discuss.

Hope you can all make it to Book Lovers Night At Lily!! It's a great way to support a local business and find great stuff for yourself and others on your holiday gift list. Trust me. Shopping with friends is sooooo fun. Especially when it involves wine.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Sending you love and good chher.

Next meeting: January 6 at 7:30. Location?


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Books Chosen! Meeting Date? Not So Much.

The books for our next meeting are.....

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.

Three Times Lucky by
Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since.

These are both middle-grade titles (ages 9-12) and it will be so interesting to compare the two. Both have received a lot of kudos, but I'm really excited to see what you all think.

The bigger question is, when do we meet? I am available in July until the 20th. Is anyone up for meeting July 8, 9, 15, or 16? I'm hoping we can pull this off before September! Let me know.

As an aside.... At the last meeting, we were a small but committed group. Everyone had a lot to say about Code Name Verity and I think we all left each other feeling enriched by the complexity of the book and the depth of our conversation. Bravo!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Wonder & Three Times Lucky for Summer

Wonder by P.J. Palacio
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

With the idea of reading a middle-grade book from a boy's and a girl's perspective.
Date to follow!
Who is available in early July?


I really love this group and have decided to kick this blog up a notch! I urge you all to participate by commenting, posting, or reading. Tell us what your kids are reading. How do you feel about the book choices their schools are making? What are you reading aside from the book group book? What are you interested in reading?

I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot for my adult group. Highly recommended. I also read The Alchemist which my 11the grade boys at BCS raved about.  Brings me back to my Khalil Gibran and The Prophet phase... It's a journey, people. It's a journey...

I've been working with kids on their PBATS (performance-based assessments) at BCS. Their thesis question is "How do people maintain their dignity in an oppressive society?" So we are looking at art, music, armed resistance, family life, quilts, Frederick Douglass, Dave the Potter, Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, John Brown. I've been reading quite a few picture books about different aspects of American slavery and there is a lot of wonderful stuff out there. Keep in mind that just because they are picture books, they are not for little kids... maybe 3rd grade and up, but WOW! They are a great tool for older kids and grown-ups to fill in a lot of holes in their knowledge base. The John Brown book (left) led me to deepen my understanding of this controversial character.

I read a darling biography of Jacques Cousteau called Manfish to my 3rd and 4th grade 12:1 kids at
BNS. They enjoyed it a lot. Nothing quite like getting a group of fascinatingly different types of learners who all engage in the story in different ways.

Went to a NYC DOE library conference with Susan last month. Saw Joy who was there with Brooklyn Public Library Summer Reading! Some schools are doing amazing things with technology -- predominantly with personal devices like iphones. The future is here. When will New York City public schools catch up?

For those of you who really enjoyed Please Ignore Vera Dietz, I highly recommend another A.S. King book called Ask the Passengers.

Remember Veronica Rother and Divergent? Did anyone read Insurgent? Someday, maybe. Anyway, the third book in the trilogy is coming out in October and will be called Allegient! Is that a real word?

Kris and Jack
I saw jack Gantos with our old friend and infrequent member Kris Hartley-Manieri on May 11 at the 92nd Street Y! He is charming and Kris has a HUGE crush on him. So psyched a sequel to Dead End in Norvelt is coming out -- From Norvelt to Nowhere.

Recap of What We've Read -- One Year Later!

I think it's time for a little recap of what we as a group have read in the year+ we've been getting together. What a great list. Every one of those titles has taught me something. I'm talking teen angst, social history, parenting, gender roles, race, heartbreak, and survival. Next time we are ALL together, meaning no one is sick, everyone has a babysitter, no one has a business commitment, lets discuss what the group has meant to us, what we like, what we don't like, and what we'd like to read in the future. Thank you all for being part of such a great collection of women readers.

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Apothecary by Maille Meloy
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd
Aristotle and Dante by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Code Name Verity

It's June 10 already! Time to talk about Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Word on the street is that a some of us (me!) had a hard time getting into this book and for the life of me, I can't quite put my finger on what was bugging me. Soooooooo, I'm very eager to discuss this!

Here are a few short reviews of the book that will spur some discussion. The Brits, the Scots, and the Canadians sure loved this book.  You?

See you at my house, 706 Greenwood Ave., at 7:30.

It has been a while since I was so captivated by a character ... Code Name Verity is one of those rare things: an exciting - and affecting - female adventure story.--The Guardian

[a] tale of espionage, torture and female derring-do.--The Times

This is a remarkable book, which had me horrified and totally gripped at the same time, and although it is billed as a Young Adult title, don't be put off - it is a very grown-up story.--The Daily MailThis is a rich and rewarding adventure story with multi-layered heroines and complicated emotions. All 450 pages really do fly by. Expect to see Wein's name in the running for the Older Readers Category of the Scottish Children's Book Awards next year.--The Scotsman 

It's a compelling, uncompromising read which makes few concessions to the age group it's written for - either in subject matter or narrative technique. The bits about flight and women in the war are well researched and the terrifying, but exciting, atmosphere is good.--The Independent

... a rare young adult novel entirely about female power and female friendship...--New York Times

[It] does more than stick with me. It haunts me. I just can't recommend it enough.'-- Maggie Stiefvater, bestselling author of Shiver

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars

Some of us have become hard-core John Greene fans after reading The Fault in Our Stars. We all agreed Hazel and Augustus were amazing characters whose life predicament made them wise beyond their years. Susan commented that she thought it was a book about living, and I agree. This book squeezed a lot of love, hope, and dreams into a little ya book.

Next Book

THE APOTHACARY by Maile Meloy 

A mysterious apothecary. A magic book. A missing scientist. An impossible plan.
It's 1952 and the Scott family has moved unexpectedly from Los Angeles to London. There, fourteen-year-old Janie gets a homesickness cure from the neighborhood apothecary and becomes fascinated by his defiant son, Benjamin Burrows—a boy struggling with his destiny, who isn't afraid to stand up to authority and who dreams of becoming a spy.
When Benjamin's father disappears, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary's ancient book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping those secrets out of the hands of Russian spies. Discovering transformative elixirs they never imagined could exist, Janie and Benjamin embark on a dangerous race to save the apothecary and prevent impending nuclear disaster.

Maile Meloy is the author of the story collection Half in Love, and the novels Liars and Saints, shortlisted for the 2005 Orange Prize, and A Family Daughter. Meloy’s stories have been published in The New Yorker, and she has received The Paris Review’s Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award, the Rosenthal Foundation Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2007, she was chosen as one of Granta’s Best American Novelists under 35. She lives in California.

May 17 at 7:30. Location to be determined....