Monthly Archives: April 2015

Read Harder – March Progress

I know this post is incredibly late, but it’s crunch time at grad school. Both my school semester and Girl Scouts will be over in two weeks, so things will (thankfully) calm down again.  After taking my scouts camping in June, I won’t have anything school- or scout-related until late August (school) and mid-September (scouts). Counting down to a much needed mental break!

Onward to the post…

March saw a total of 11 books read between the three of us. Sophia managed to hit and pass the halfway mark of the challenge (one of the joys of not having human children; cats don’t count in this capacity to degree kids do). I should hit the halfway mark in April. “Should” being the operative word. I have no clue about my husband. He’s reading, but most of the books are for categories he’s already completed. I will have to get more creative in my book selections for him.

Me 10/24 (3 in Mar)
My Husband 7/24 (2 in Mar)
Sophia 13/24 (6 in Mar) **over halfway through the challenge!**

#1 – Author under 25

white is for witching

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

#4 – Indie press


Glaciers by Alexis Smith

#8 – Author from Africa

barbarian coetzee

Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee

#13 – Romance

highland mist

Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning

#17 – Poetry

poisoned apples

Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann

#18 – Recommendation

flights and chimes

Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma Trevayne

#20 – Graphic novel

beauty hubert letter 44 v 2

Beauty by Hubert and Kerascoet
Letter 44 Volume 2: Redshift by Charles Soule and Alberto Jimenez Alburquerue

#23 – A book published in 2015

mermaids paradise interstellar age dead wake

Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet
The Interstellar Age: Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission by Jim Bell
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

Favorite Books Throughout My Life

(This is a repost from my other blog. It was originally posted in August 2013, so not all of my current favorites are listed.)

My tastes in books have changed over the last few decades, moving away from an almost strictly fantasy/sci-fi bent towards something more diverse (non-fiction, primarily…I love history, but I also have a soft spot for manga/graphic novels).

The book that started it all was Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey. My book-loving, librarian of a mother was distraught that I screamed and threw tantrums when she took me to our local library.  For whatever reason, she settled on the above book as a possible gateway drug and handed it to me when I was around nine years old. I was hooked from the moment I finished the first chapter and have been reading voraciously ever since.

Some of the books span one or more the categories as I’ve defined them. There are still books I jump into more than two decades after I first read them. I’ve read every book listed here more than once. Some so many times that I’ve lost count.

Favorites in Childhood (elementary-middle school)

This category is huge. I had a pool of between 100-200 books that I regularly read over and over and over….

dragonsongdragonsingerthe blue swordwitch of blackbird ponddoor hedgewise childthe changeoverdealing with dragonswhich witch westing game redwalllives christopher chant illyrian adventure chrysalids charmed life

Favorites as a teenager (middle school-high school)

Pretty much all of these books are the first books of a series/trilogy. With the exception of Crystal Singer and Killashandra, I’ve only listed the first book.

crystal singer killashandradaughter empire diamond throne dragonbone chair eye of the world magic kingdom rowan

Favorites in College(ish)

kitchendemian100 yrs solitudeHP1
catch 22memoirs geisha

Favorites now

neverwheresunshinep&pketurahhunger games 3parasol protectorategirl geniusmr g

Storytime: Eggs


odd egg except if easter bugs

The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett
Except If by Jim Averbeck
Easter Bugs by David A. Carter

Music – “I Know a Chicken” by Laurie Berkner
*An egg shaker song


“I Wish I Were a Teeny Tiny Egg” (from Preschool Express)
(Tune: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”)
Oh, I wish I were a teeny tiny egg.
Oh, I wish I were a teeny tiny egg.
I would roll and roll around,
Rolling all around the ground.
Oh, I wish I were a teeny tiny egg.


“Ten Fluffy Chicks” (from Perry Public Library)
Five eggs (hold up 5 fingers)
And five eggs (hold up 5 more fingers)
That makes ten.
Sitting on top is the mother hen (lock fingers, knuckles up)
Crack, crack, crack, what do I see? (wiggle fingers apart)
Ten baby chicks as yellow as can be (hold up 10 fingers)

“So Many Eggs”(from Ms. Hegna’s Storyroom)
*I didn’t do this, but I wish I had been able to!
*Have a basket of plastic Easter eggs with (silly) animal images inside.
I found a nest while walking one day.
“Look at all the eggs!” I had to say.
I waited and waited and what did I see?
Craaack! Who hatched? A baby _______ was looking at me.

Potato Stamping (from Crafty Morning) – My step-mother cut all of the potato stamps. She used a paring knife and a pumpkin carving knife for the designs.

potato egg 1 potato egg 2


Storytime: Nests


mama built nest nest hurley perfect nest

Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward
Nest by Jorey Hurley
The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend (family storytime only)

Other Book Possibilities
Tanglebird by Bernard Lodge
Whose Nest? by Lynette Evans

Music “Rockin’ Robin”
Dancing has always been a sticking point at my storytimes – as in I dance and the kids look at me like I’m crazy. This time, I handed them egg shakers in a bid to trick them into dancing. It ended up working when I had them dance the eggs on their heads, elbows, chin, etc…


“Home Sweet Home” (from Perry Public Library)
A nest is a home for a robin; (cup hands to form a nest)
A hive is a home for a bee; (turn cupped hands over)
A hole is a home for a rabbit; (make a hole with hands)
And a house is a home for me. (make roof with peaked hands)

“Big Birdies Fly” (from Ready to Read @ ALPL)
Way up in the sky, (arms circle above head)
The big birdies fly, (flap arms)
While down in their nest, (hands make nest)
The little birds rest. (head on folded hands)
With a wing on the left, (flap L arm)
And a wing on the right, (flap R arm)
The little wee birdies
Sleep all through the night. (head on folded hands)
Shhhhh, shhhh –(finger to lips)
You’ll wake up the birds!  (yell!)
The bright sun comes up, (arms circle above head)
The dew falls away, (flutter fingers down)
Good morning, good morning
The little birds say. (bird beak hands R & L)

1. Bird Nest Helpers (from What We Do All Day) – I bought nylon netting and cut it into squares. In the middle of the table, I placed a bunch of yarn, string, raffia, and dried grass for the children to choose from. The children placed everything in the middle of the netting, then we bundled it up and tied it with string.

nest 2

2. Nest – Someone donated an actual nest to the library last fall (the whole reason I did this storytime, actually). I brought it out to show the children what a nest looks like up close.



March Books

mermaids paradise poisoned apples 42 just city

*Mermaids in Paradise – An interesting concept with a stream of consciousness narrator (this does start to wear after a while). The story was silly, with an out-of-left-field climax. I was alright with everything up until the last page when the author threw in a deus ex machina. Then I wanted to throw the book across the room.
*Poisoned Apples – a book of poetry that uses fairy tales and their tropes as jumping off points for poems about women, girls, and body image. This is a book I needed when I was in high school. It still resonates with me in my 30’s. I loved it.
*The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (audio)– one of my favorite books of all time, listened to in my car as read by Stephen Fry.
*The Just City – My knowledge of all things Greek/Platonic philosophy is very shabby, and while having a better understanding would have probably increased my enjoyment of the story, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. The folly of gods (or goddesses) and man.

xxxholic tsubasa miss don't touch me beauty hubert

*XXXHolic & Tsubasa – Multi-dimensional time traveling story told from varying perspectives (depending on the series). It was interesting, but not so much that I read beyond the first three volumes of each.
*Miss Don’t Touch Me – A young woman joins a brothel in order to search for her sister’s murderer. Hubert does a wonderful job showing how her single-minded determination ends up causing her to lose everything.
*Beauty – A fairy tale that revolves around an ugly girl who is granted her wish by a fairy she rescues to become beautiful. Her wish ends up being a double-edged sword, heavy on the bitter and bloodshed. Another folly of man story.

sea star stormy

*Sea Star & Stormy, Misty’s Foal – Bean was very taken with Misty of Chincoteague, so we read the two other books available. They are good, solid stories even if they are a bit dated in some ways (minor technological things that I had to explain – like why a camera’s flash bulb popped). We were going to go to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands during our visit to VA, but decided that a 6 hour round trip drive with my two littles was not something we wanted to do (they are an entire chorus of whining unto themselves).


Below are some reasons for not posting anything during the past few weeks:

(Now to play post catch-up…)

A visit to the Royal Ontario Museum (photos are from the Coupland exhibit).

A visit to the Royal Ontario Museum (pictures from the Coupland exhibit).

as snip

Visit to the Air and Space Museum’s annex (in VA) to see the space shuttle Discovery and the Enola Gay.


The B-26, “Flak-Bait”, in the middle of restoration. My grandfather was a gunner in a B-26 during WWII (shot down over Germany).

york snip

Fun at Historic Yorktown – holding a grenade, and getting water from a well.