Tag Archives: home

A Rambler Steals Home (and My Heart)

19 Jan

24680250.jpgSynopsis: Derby Christmas Clark is a rambler – she travels around the country selling Christmas trees and hot cocoa in the winter and hot dogs and sweet potato fries in the summer with her father and brother in their RV. Derby loves summertime because it means parking in one spot – a small town called Ridge Creek where she spends her days at the creak, hanging out with her best friend, watching the Rockskippers’ baseball games and getting grease stains in the food truck.

But this year, sadness plagues the small town after the death of a well-loved townsperson. Derby learns what it means to be a friend, how to help those she loves and a few secrets along the way.

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#blogbookaday: This House, Once

10 Jan

34430239.jpgSummary:  “Deborah Freedman’s masterful new picture book is at once an introduction to the pieces of a house, a cozy story to share and explore, and a dreamy meditation on the magic of our homes and our world.

Before there was this house,
there were stones,
and mud,
and a colossal oak tree—
three hugs around
and as high as the blue.

What was your home, once?

This poetically simple, thought-provoking, and gorgeously illustrated book invites readers to think about where things come from and what nature provides.” (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: I love this book – it is quiet and whimsical and simple and beautiful in all the best ways. The words conjure up such specific pictures in my mind, while the hazy, soft illustrations are gorgeous. I loved this perspective of what a house was before it became something so important – how each piece was gathered together to create something safe and warm. Plus, with an adorable little cat that you follow throughout the simple text, how can you go wrong?

Personal Reaction: I can picture the author’s house in my mind as she explains how each piece fits together so perfectly. I have fond memories of my childhood home with it wraparound front porch, its’ warm, cozy sunroom and the way it creaked and groaned as it said good night. This book would work well for a variety of ages from preschool through middle school even – you could definitely use this title to talk about habitat, natural resources and looking at an inanimate object in a new way. You could also pair this title with Wishtree by Katherine Applegate to look at trees in a whole new way!

Title: This House, Once
Author: Deborah Freedman
Illustrator: Deborah Freedman
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 28, 2017


#blogbookaday (1)This is a new idea I’m trying on my blog this year that was inspired by @donalynbooks and @heisereads – to provide a brief review of a picture book every day of 2018. You’ll get a brief summary of the story, a review of the content, illustrations and theme, my personal reaction to the book and all the pertinent publication information! Enjoy!

Picture Book Month: Birds

15 Nov

15.jpgI love this accessible non-fiction story about all the different types of bird nests there are! With just four, short lines of text for each type of nest this book is perfect for even the youngest readers. The book also provides a little more information about each nest that can be shared if readers want to know more. What I liked most is that you see the typical twig nest in a tree, but you also see a penguin nest, a flamingo nest, a duck nest, a shorebird nest and so many others! And with collage illustrations showing different colors and textures this is a fun book to share with the whole family! Continue reading

Book Review: The Exact Location of Home

7 Jun

33590854.jpgKate Messner is a prolific writer of children’s books – picture books, early chapter books and middle grade novels and she fits into each of these areas with ease. Today, I want to focus on her newest middle grade novel, The Exact Location of Home a companion story to The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. I am amazed by authors who are so adept at middle grade fiction that they can take a very difficult, real topic and address it at an appropriate level for this age group while still showing empathy and hope at the end.  And that is exactly what Kate Messner does in this story. Zig’s mom is picking up extra shifts at the diner while going to school to become a nurse, but it’s just not enough – they are evicted from their apartment and find themselves homeless and living at the local shelter until they can save a little bit up to put a deposit down for a new apartment.

Zig’s at a loss – from his black and white world of simple circuits, electricity and science he is thrown into a world where little makes sense and he’s not sure he wants to share this new world with his friends making him feel even more alone. That is, until he starts geocaching with a GPS unit he found at a yard sale. Zig’s convinced his father is a geocacher leaving clues around town for Zig to find – he hasn’t seen him in over a year and truly believes that he’ll get to see him soon.

Zig’s family story is one that isn’t as uncommon as people assume it to be. A hard-working mom, trying to make ends meet and earn an education just doesn’t make enough to pay the rent and the bills. My heart absolutely broke for Zig as he traverses life without a constant – not a pencil sharpener to get his homework done, a quiet place to think, a private place to put his things or even enough to eat some days. If you enjoyed Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate, you’ll surely fall in love with Zig and be rooting for him the whole time. I think this would make a great book discussion with middle grade students about understanding that you really have no idea what is going on in someone else’s life even if everything looks okay from the outside.

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): In The Exact Location of Home, Zig’s searching hard to find his own meaning of home in a quest for hope in a hopeless place @KateMessner

Title: The Exact Location of Home
Author: Kate Messner
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Page Number: 256 pgs.

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