Saturday, October 31, 2009
HARRIET THE SPY
BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA (re-read for her)
LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE
A WRINKLE IN TIME
THE CAT ATE MY GYMSUIT
THE WESTING GAME
We actually have all six of these books on our shelves already so she should be all set!
Will you please join us? It's not too late to sign up for the Shelf Discovery Challenge! I think it's going to be so much fun to read (and even re-read) many of the teen classics from our childhood!
Children will love to sing along!
Everyone knows "The Twelve Days of Christmas," but are you ready for The Thirteen Days of Halloween? In this delightfully offbeat story, a dashing ghoul tries to win his ghostly love's heart with heaps of hilarious gifts ranging from broomsticks and bats to cauldrons and cats! Carol Greene's lively verse is perfectly complemented by Tim Raglin's enchantingly erie illustrations. Children of all ages will love to sing along. The result is a frightfully funny Halloween tale you'll never forget. -- Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
I am so happy to be wrapping up the tour for THE 13 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN by Carol Greene and illustrated by Tim Raglin. What better day to blog about a Halloween book than October 31st? (Unfortunately, Halloween is pretty much over for us since we trick-or-treated on Thursday night and had our school parties on Friday.)
I'm sure you've seen THE 13 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN somewhere in the book blogosphere the past couple of weeks (you couldn't have missed it), but I promise you this book is worthy of all the hype surrounding it. Booking Son and I absolutely loved this adorable sing-along storybook! It has catchy prose, especially if you sing it to The 12 Days of Christmas tune. And the pictures are entertaining in their own right.
All preschoolers seem to love learning by repetition, and THE 13 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN definitely has a lot of repetition! Think The 12 Days of Christmas with Halloween terms such as giggling ghosts, cooked worms and spiders creeping. It probably goes without saying that Booking Son loved all the ghastly terms and gross words! And I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading/singing the book to Booking Son, and he loved listening to it. About half way through the story, he even started piping in with the last few lines of the "song." It definitely got us in the Halloween spirit!
Tim Raglin's illustrations in the book are just perfect! Of course, they help tell the story of a ghoul who is trying to win his love's heart, but they are just so much fun to look at. I have actually gone back through this book many times just to look more closely at the pictures. There is a lot to look at on every page for little ones, and the various characters are hilarious (especially their facial expressions.)
One thing that I really liked about this book (and didn't even realize it when I read it the first time) is that THE 13 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN is actually educational! My son loved to countdown with the story/song, and he especially enjoyed looking for and counting the characters on each page! This book kept him entertained long after we finished reading it together!
Thanks to Sourcebooks for sending me a copy of THE 13 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN.
Lauren Child takes the lead with this wry and wooly tale of a pampered poodle who just wants to paddle in puddles -- like REAL dogs do. -- Candlewick
When I first saw WHO WANTS TO BE A POODLE I DON'T by Lauren Child, I thought the cover was absolutely gorgeous. Of course, I am a sucker for the color pink and cute little dogs; but the cover was textured for the dog's curls and the collar even had a fake rhinestone embedded in it! It was just too adorable -- and "very girly" according to Booking Son!
Despite my son's initial impressions of WHO WANTS TO BE A POODLE I DON'T, he actually ended up really liking the book. I did too! We both came to the same conclusion about this story, but I'm not entirely sure it was for the same reasons. We both liked the story, but I think he liked the dog and I liked the presentation. I think it's safe to say that WHO WANTS TO BE A POODLE I DON'T is a picture book that can appeal to kids of all ages!
The story is just precious. A very-pampered poodle decides that she doesn't want to be a poodle -- she just wants to be a normal dog and play in puddles. Booking Son truly appreciated that a dog wouldn't want to be dressed up in raincoats and forced to stay inside unless the weather was nice. He loved that the dog eventually was able to play in puddles and just enjoy being a dog!
As I read this book to my son, I thought the pictures were terrific. I liked this illustrations of the dog, Trixie Twinkle Toes Trot-a-Lot Delight, and her owner Verity Brulee; however, I absolutely loved how the entire story was presented. Each page looked as if the characters and objects were cut-out of patterned paper; and the text was all different sizes and wrapped around the pictures. The entire time I read this book, I kept thinking that the characters looked familiar and they reminded me of something. It wasn't until a few days later that I realized Lauren Child is the creator of the Charlie and Lola books -- it all made sense!
I definitely recommend WHO WANTS TO BE A POODLE I DON'T to preschoolers, elementary age kids, parents, and teachers. It's a beautiful book that also has an entertaining story, and it's perfect for reading aloud. In fact, I was excited to find that there are activities geared towards this book including a connect-the-dots, a matching game, and a word find. It really is a perfect book for teachers to feature in their classrooms.
Thanks to the publisher and The Picnic Basket for sending me a copy of this book.
Friday, October 30, 2009
So here's my (very) tentative list:
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (re-read)
The Grounding of Group Six by Julian Thompson (re-read)
Jacob I Have Loved by Katherine Patterson (new-to-me, I think)
Are You There God, It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume (re-read)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (new-to-me)
Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt (new-to-me)
I have pretty much decided that I am going to read these six books; however, what I'm also realizing is that I want to read a whole lot more of the books mentioned in SHELF DISCOVERY! There are just too many good ones!
Make sure you check out the original sign up post! I think this challenge is going to be a lot of fun, and I hope you'll consider joining us!
Inspired by Jess's unexpected opportunity, the book club decides to read Jean Webster's classic Daddy-Long-Legs, and there's an added twist this year when they become pen pals with the girls in a book club in Wyoming. There's plenty to write to their new friends about, from a prank-filled slumber party to a not-so-secret puppy -- and even a surprise first kiss.
In this third book in the beloved Mother-Daughter Book Club series, the girls learn that as long as they have one another -- and a good book -- they're ready for whatever eighth grade has in store! -- Simon & Schuster
Welcome to the last day of the Mother-Daughter Book Club Festival! I hope you've had as much fun as I have reading about all the terrific books out there for mother-daughter book clubs. In case you missed any of my prior posts, here they are: Review: THE MOTHER DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB, Book Club Exchange: Cindy Hudson & Huge Giveaway and Book Club Exchange: Heather Vogel Frederick, Review: Book by Book, and Review: Much Ado About Anne. Also, make sure you enter to win the big Mother Daughter Book Club gift pack!
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the Mother-Daughter book club series by Heather Vogel Frederick the past few days; and the third book in the series DEAR PEN PAL is another wonderful middle-grade book. I feel as if I already know (and love) the girls in the book club, and I just really enjoy reading about their middle school experiences. In fact, I was a little sad when I finished this book because there isn't another one waiting for me. I am going to have to wait awhile for book 4 (and book 5) in the series.
In DEAR PEN PAL, the girls are now in 8th grade and their last year of middle school. I love to read about middle grade girls because I think they are at such an interesting age. There are so many changes going on in their lives (as well as their bodies) during these years. I think so many young girls are starting to figure out who they really are; and I thought it was quite appropriate that the author chose to have "change" as a central theme in this novel.
All of the girls experience some type of change in this book. One of the girls, Jess, ends up going to a local boarding school instead of the public middle school that all of her friends attend. Of course Jess' life has drastically changed because she is attending a new school, but she also has to deal with not seeing her friends on a daily basis and she has to learn to adjust to a difficult roommate. In addition to Jess, Cassidy has to deal with her mother's marriage as well as another huge surprise; and Megan has to handle being caught in the middle when her grandmother comes to live with her family. And finally, Emma (my favorite) not only misses her best friend Jess but finds that she is the first girl in their group to get a real boyfriend!
As is the case with all of the books in the Mother-Daughter Book Club series, DEAR PEN PAL had a classic book tie-in. This time it was DADDY LONG LEGS by Jean Webster. I wasn't familiar with this book prior to reading DEAR PEN PAL, but I am totally sold on it now. It sounds fantastic, and I can't wait to read it and see the little drawings. I really appreciated how the author not only had the girls read this book for their book club, but she also incorporated some of the characters' actions and story lines into the girls' 8th grade lives.
Another part of this book that I really liked was how the girls became pen pals with another mother-daughter book club in Wyoming. Since this was the mothers' idea, some of the girls weren't entirely sure that they wanted to hand-write letters to total strangers. I loved how the author not only tied in letter writing to the book DADDY LONG LEGS, but she also pointed out how valuable letter writing can be and why we shouldn't stop just because we have modern (and instantaneous) technology. Pen pals almost seem to be a thing of the past, and I think that's kind of sad. So I was so excited to see that Cindy Hudson, author of BOOK BY BOOK, has set up a pen pal exchange service on her website to further the art of letter writing to pen pals. Click here to read all of the details.
It's difficult for me to express why I love these books so much (because there are so many reasons), but I think the main one is because of the characters. They are just sweet girls who experience typical middle grade life like school, friendships, boyfriends, family dynamics, etc. (and of course lots of change!) As a mother, I appreciate that these stories all have nice girls (although they have been known to play some not-so-nice tricks on each other); and that the stories are all clean -- I don't have to worry about what my daughter is taking away from these books.
And best of all, these books all have such wonderful messages! By seeing the actions of these girls and their families, I think readers will see that it's okay to make mistakes and learn from them -- no one is perfect. I also think that young girls will realize that there are other people out there experiencing similar things and having the same fears and insecurities; and that's it absolutely normal! I also hope that girls will not only see that it is "cool" to be in a mother-daughter book club (and read) but that it is also important to respect others and treat them as you would want to be treated.
By now, you know how terrific I think these books are and how perfect they are for mother-daughter book clubs. They are discussion questions in the back of the book, but I couldn't find a link for them (probably because the book is still so new.) DEAR PEN PAL has so many wonderful things for girls and their moms to discuss like: what change is happening in their lives, what character do you most relate to in this book, have you ever had a pen pal (or would you want one), have you ever had a friend move away or have you ever moved away just to name a few. What is so great about DEAR PEN PAL is that the girls (and moms) will love the story, but there are also a lot of issues that you can discuss with each other.
Thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this book.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
How Sweet Connections Came To Be
After a couple of years of reading all of these fabulous books I found myself wanting to do more than read them. Upon completing books like The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, and Stones From the River by Ursula Hegi, I just wanted to delve into some of the topics these books presented by discussing them with others that read them also. Since I didn’t belong to a book club I kept reading, although a bit uninspired knowing that I was not going to be able to participate in an in-depth conversation upon completing the current book I was reading.
During this period of time, the co-worker that I mentioned earlier was a part of a book group and I remember just hoping that she would invite me to join her group. My feelings of envy grew as she would come into work and tell me about how their latest discussion went. I never did come right out and ask her if I could join her group, but I thought I made it clearly evident that I would love to be a part of it.
Then one summer I was spending a lazy day at the lake with some friends and we started talking about the books that we have been reading. We found ourselves passing books around to each other because it appeared we had similar reading interests. It wasn’t until we had all read Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons by Lorna Landvik , at which time I said, “Hey, why don’t we start our own book club?” And it’s all history from there! We’ve just started our sixth year together and we have even added a couple of members along the way. Our book club started in a September and we basically follow the school year since we do not regularly meet in the summer. We meet the first Wednesday of every month from September to June and we usually have our books selected for at least six months. We don’t have a complicated selection process as we all just bring in ideas and we choose from those. We have found that there are authors that we just love and will definitely read whatever that author publishes next, like Khaled Housseini or Billie Letts. When I think back to our very first meeting at how we struggled to come up with book selections it amazes me, because we certainly don’t have that problem now!
We do have some special get-togethers sometimes, besides our regular monthly meetings. Since we do not meet regularly in the summer we usually choose a date that we will get together and have a dinner and movie night. This will consist of a potluck meal and then we will watch a movie in one of our homes that happened to be a book that we read together. We have also had the opportunity to have author chats over the telephone with some books that we have won. This is always a fun evening as we usually have a potluck dinner before these conference calls. I think our next one is scheduled for February with Joshua Henkin.
We alternate hosting our meetings, so whoever is hosting is in charge of leading the discussion and providing dessert and refreshments. We use discussion questions, but do not limit ourselves to those. I feel that this is a good way to put the hostess at ease if she happens to be a little nervous about leading the group. I usually don’t have a problem finding questions-If they are not available in the book you can sometimes find them at the websites for the author or publisher, and Reading Group Guides.com also has a great database with over 2800 discussion guides available. This is also a great website to get ideas for future book club selections and even win books for your entire group-we’ve been lucky enough to win a couple different books. We also started using the Book Movement website to post future selections and meetings. This is a helpful website as you can set it up to automatically send meeting reminders to the members and they can just check on-line at any time to find out what they have to read next or three months from now. And they also give away books to entire groups!
As you can tell, I just love my book club and could probably gush on about it all day long! We’ve read some classics, memoirs, mysteries, and literary fiction, and one thing that we have found is that if we find that we really didn’t enjoy reading the book, it usually still provides a great discussion! Some of our favorites include both A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner by Khaled Housseini, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, The Good Earth by Pearl Buck, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Piccoult, and most recently, Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. You can view a complete list of the books that my group read together on my blog here.
Early on we knew that we would want to have dessert at every meeting so we came up with the name Sweet Connections for our group. And every once and awhile we throw in the comment that we are so grateful that I wasn’t asked to be a part of that other book club! We had the opportunity to meet a few new gals that have joined our group and we really do consider ourselves a family. I honestly love all the ladies in my group and know that we are there for each other if we need it.
Joanne is a recent empty nester as her daughter is starting her first year of college and her son is starting his first year of law school. Besides being a member of the Sweet Connections book club, she also manage her blog, Jo-Jo Loves to Read! She has a full-time job, but being fearful of not having enough to do with her empty nest at home, she decided to take a part-time job at a local video store. She is fortunate enough to live on the beautiful shores of Lake Superior, which unfortunately is a frozen tundra in the winter. But that’s ok, as those cold winter nights are just the best to cuddle up with a cup of hot tea and a good book.
I am so grateful to Joanne for sharing her some of her book club experiences with us. If you are interested in participating in a future Book Club Exchange, please contact me at bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com.
But there are bigger problems when Jess finds out that her family may have to give up Half Moon Farm. In a year filled with skating parties, a disastrous mother-daughter camping trip, and a high-stakes fashion show, the girls realize that it's only through working together -- Becca included -- that they can save Half Moon Farm.
Acclaimed author Heather Vogel Frederick captures the magic of friendship and the scrapes along the way in this sequel to The Mother-Daughter Book Club, which will enchant daughters and mothers alike.-- Simon and Schuster
If you've seen my blog at all the past few days, you know what a big fan Booking Daughter and I are of The Mother Daughter Book Club series by Heather Vogel Frederick. I finished the second book in the series, MUCH ADO ABOUT ANNE; and I'm so happy that it was just as good as the first one! I absolutely love these books and can't rave enough about them!
MUCH ADO ABOUT ANNE picks right up where THE MOTHER DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB left off. The girls are now in 7th grade and looking forward to starting a new year of their mother-daughter book club. As part of their first meeting, the mothers have a surprise for them --they have invited Becca Chadwick, the girls' frenemy, and her mom to be part of their group! Needless to say, the girls aren't entirely sure that this is a good idea; and well... girls will be girls (especially 7th grade ones!)
I just love getting to know these girls and seeing them mature through their first two years of middle school. I remember fondly (and sometimes not so fondly) of all the changes that take place in those middle grade years such as discovering boys, learning about friendship, and developing a strong relationship with my mom. What I appreciate so much about these books is that Heather Vogel Frederick manages to take these themes that are so real to girls in today's society and show that her characters are experiencing those same issues. As a mom, I love that the girls in this story (while definitely not perfect) learn from their actions and are essentially nice, clean-cut girls.
In this story, the girls also learn to put others' needs before their own (not always an easy lesson when you are in 7th grade.) The realize that when they put their minds and talents together for a greater good, they can achieve almost anything. And that's another reason that I like these Mother-Daughter Book Club books so much -- they have valuable life lessons in them. I love that young girls can read about how these girls acted selflessly and possibly incorporate some of their ideas and actions into their own lives.
As was the case in THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB, I enjoyed that the author incorporated some classic books into this novel. This year, the girls decided to read ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. (I haven't read any of these books, but I downloaded them onto my Kindle last night because I definitely made me want to read all of them now!) Each chapter in MUCH ADO ABOUT ANNE begins with a quotation from ANNE OF GREEN GABLES which ties into the girls' personal stories. I also enjoyed how they girls realized that many of the general themes (and characters) in ANNE OF GREEN GABLES were pertinent in their current lives. I guess these Mother-Daughter Book Club books just remind me that books are classics because they have proven that they can stand the test of time!
MUCH ADO ABOUT ANNE can definitely be read and enjoyed without reading the prior novel in the series. I think the author does a wonderful job of providing the necessary background information to keep a new reader informed; however, I like that I read this series in order (but I always like to read a series in order.) In the case of MUCH ADO ABOUT ANNE, I felt as if I already knew the girls and their moms; and the references to their past were almost like fond memories for me.
I highly recommend MUCH ADO ABOUT ANNE for middle grade girls, but I think it would be an ideal selection for a mother-daughter book club. There is an entire "kit" for this book that you can see here. I loved all the features in the back of my paperback edition, and I was so excited to see that readers could get them on-line. This kit includes not only some discussion questions about the book, but it also book club activities, information about the author, recipes of foods that appeared in the story, and even some suggested books for mothers and daughters can enjoy together. The Mother-Daughter Book Club series definitely make it easy to put together a great book club meeting!
I just finished reading Book 3 in the series, DEAR PEN PAL; and I am so excited to that it's another winner -- I'll be posting my review tomorrow! I just love this cast of characters and the stories that surround them; and I'm so excited that there are at least two more books planned in this series!
Thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this book!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
If you've visited my blog the past few days, you probably know that I am having a little Mother-Daughter Book Club Festival! I have posted a Review: THE MOTHER DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB, Book Club Exchange: Cindy Hudson & Huge Giveaway and Book Club Exchange: Heather Vogel Frederick -- I hope you are having as much fun as I am. Make sure you enter to win my awesome Mother-Daughter Book Club Prize Pack!
Many of you already know how much I love being part of a Mother-Daughter Book Club. I am so very fortunate to be able to spend such quality time with my daughter and our friends, and I feel as if I am getting to know my daughter on a whole new level when we share out thoughts about books. I strongly encourage everyone who has a young girl in their life to join a Mother-Daughter book club because I promise you that it will be one of the most rewarding things you can do with each other.
And with that, I'd like to share with you a brand-new book that is an absolutely must-have for anyone and everyone who has ever considered being in a Mother-Daughter Book Club. It's called BOOK BY BOOK: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CREATING MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUBS by Cindy Hudson; and I can't say enough good things about this book! Trust me on this one -- you have to get your hands on a copy of this book. I consider BOOK BY BOOK to be the definitive source on everything mother-daughter book club related. Oh how I wish I had this book when I started our mother-daughter book club about a year and half ago!
This book encompasses everything you need to know about starting a mother-daughter book club from why you should be in one, to when you should begin, to how big your group should be to who to invite. It gives lots of practical advice on getting started as well as maintaining a happy and healthy book group. I think Cindy's advice on how to run the meetings and her ideas for fun projects are amazing. This book has really made me re-think our book club meetings, and I'm sure if we incorporate some of Cindy's suggestions, the girls will have even more fun!
There are many things that I appreciate about this book, but I think Cindy did an excellent job of showing that there isn't a one-size fits all approach to mother-daughter book clubs. Even though Cindy has run two mother-daughter book clubs (and I consider her to be an expert), she also conducted extensive research as well as interviews with other book club members. BOOK BY BOOK definitely gives you many options, and I'm sure that you will find an approach that suits your needs.
Cindy has also tackled some issues that aren't always easy concerning mother-daughter book clubs such as resolving conflicts among members, handling things when someone wants to quit, adding new members and restructuring your group. In addition, Cindy shows how some groups have approached discussing books with touchy subjects such as sex, alcohol, and drugs. I know my daughter and her friends are still in elementary school, but I can see some of these issues coming sooner rather than later. I am glad that I can go to this book for some advice!
One of my favorite things about this book is that I have discovered so many new ideas! I love all of the book recommendations -- Cindy provides suggestions by age group. In addition, I think many of her ideas for incorporating themed crafts and food into the meeting are terrific. As you can clearly see the appendices of BOOK BY BOOK alone are worth the price. Appendix I is Where To Look For Books on the Web, Appendix II is One Hundred Books That Might Be Right For Your Book Club, and Appendix III is Crowd-Pleasing Recipes.
I am planning on taking BOOK BY BOOK to our future book club meetings because there really is so much valuable information in it. Our group has found that it is often times hard to find discussion questions for the books we have selected to read. Some of the girls like coming up with their own (and I try to help encourage discussion a little), but Cindy has provided a list of "generic", yet thought-provoking questions, that work for any book. In addition, she provides some great sample survey questions that you can hand out to members to get their ideas for possible improvements to your group.
I wasn't sure if I should mention this in my review, but I can't help it! Many months ago, Cindy interviewed me for BOOK BY BOOK; and I actually appear in this book!!! When I received the book a few days ago, I wasn't entirely sure if anything I had said would end up in the final pages; but lo and behold, I found my name in the index! I have a quote at the beginning of Chapter 11 describing what our group means to me; and I also have a cake recipe that appears in the appendix. Let me assure you when I saw this I almost passed out. And then, when I sat down to read the book, I found a few more of my quotes throughout the book. I am so honored to be part of this wonderful book!
As I'm pretty sure you can tell, I think very highly of BOOK BY BOOK: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CREATING MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUBS; and I strongly recommend it! Even if you have already started your own group or you are currently a member of a mother-daughter book club, you will still find this book to be an extremely valuable resource. BOOK BY BOOK really is the only guide you need for mother-daughter book clubs.
Thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this book!
I am going to be honest and tell you that PERMISSION SLIPS by Sherri Shepherd is not a book that I'd normally pick up. Before I started blogging, I used to read celebrity tell-all books quite often; but my reading tastes have kind of changed in the past few years. It wasn't until Anna from Hachette invited me to attend a BlogTalk Radio show with Ms. Shepherd that I actually decided to give this book a try.
I was somewhat familiar with Ms. Shepherd from her time as a co-host on The View; however, I really didn't know much about her background. I knew she was an actress and a stand-up comedienne, but I couldn't actually recall seeing anything she'd ever starred in. I had picked up bits and pieces about her life from occasionally watching The View. But my knowledge was pretty much limited to a few things -- that she was a single mom whose husband had cheated on her and that she had very strong Christian beliefs. At the very least, I figured she would have some good stories to tell!
I liked the basic premise of the book -- every woman's guide to giving herself a break. Ms. Shepherd admittedly has made a few mistakes in her life (like when she wasn't sure if the earth was round on live television); and she has not only learned from her errors but she has also bounced back to be wiser and stronger because of them. Her main message is that we are all going to make mistakes and we should allow ourselves "permission slips." So after each section in this book, she writes a permission slip for the reader. These permission slips appear as bold-faced text within a black box and reiterate Ms. Shepherd's messages that she learned from her live experiences.
When I first started reading this book, I didn't think I was going to enjoy it at all. I valued Ms. Shepherd's honesty (at times, brutal honesty) about her life, but I felt as if the beginning of the book had too much male-bashing. I am not one to complain about my husband and I don't really tolerate it from my friends, so I wasn't particularly thrilled to be reading about it either. Make no mistake, I realize there are lots of "bad" guys out there; but I think it's up to us as women to make better choices. Once I got past the initial male bashing, I realized that Ms. Shepherd and I were pretty much saying the same thing about relationships. I think maybe I was just being too judgmental.
After I got past the first few chapters, I found that I did enjoy this book. It's a light, quick read that's filled with Ms. Shepherd's unique perspectives as well as sense of humor. And while I don't really have anything in common with Ms. Shepherd (and I didn't actually find myself relating to her), I was still entertained by some of her stories (especially those about her career.) I also thought she was very courageous to share her battle with weight loss and diabetes. I think many women will find themselves enjoying this book and appreciating Ms. Shepherd's advice and wisdom.
The Blog Talk Radio show with Ms. Shepherd will be tomorrow, October 29th at 1:00 p.m. ET. You can listen-in or chat on the Grand Central Publishing channel on BlogTalkRadio. In addition, you can call-in with your questions during show time to participate in the live interview at 646-378-0039. If you would like your questions to be read on air by the host or if you would like to give advanced notice of your participation during the live call, email email@example.com. I look forward to "seeing" you there!
Thanks to Kathy aka Bermudaonion for sharing an ARC of this book with me!
THE QUEEN'S MISTAKE by Diane Haeger
flagon - There was a glass flagon of wine beside it. (p. 252)
flagon: a large bottle for wine, liquors, etc.
sarcenet - Francis laughed bitterly. "Alas, it was never a game to me. Besides, you were sixteen, sweeting, well past a babe's age. Remember the sarcenet scarf you made for me?..." (p. 258)
sarcenet: a fine, soft fabric, often of silk, made in plain or twill weave and used esp. for linings.
jerkin - He drew it from a pocket in his beige jerkin and held it up to her. (p. 258)
jerkin: a close-fitting jacket or short coat, usually sleeveless, as one of leather worn in the 16th and 17th centuries.
cavil - "Let us not cavil with the details, hmm?" Francis said with a bitter smile. (p. 259)
cavil: to raise irritating and trivial objections; find fault with unnecessarily
What new words did you discover this week?
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Make sure you check out my other posts: Review: THE MOTHER DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB and Book Club Exchange: Cindy Hudson & Huge Giveaway. Tomorrow, I will be featuring Cindy's new book that is a must-have for all members of mother-daughter book clubs, BOOK BY BOOK: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CREATING MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUBS. And don't forget to enter my Mother-Daughter Book Club giveaway! Two winners will each receive a copy of BOOK BY BOOK as well as five sets of THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB series!!!!
Booking Mama: How did you decide to write THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB? What was your inspiration?
Heather Vogel Frederick: The initial spark for this book actually came from my editor. She called me up out of the blue one day and mentioned that there were mother-daughter book clubs springing up all over the country. “I think it would be fun if someone were to write a novel about a club like that,” she said. “How about you?” She knew that I had spent a good part of my growing up years in Concord, Massachusetts, where Louisa May Alcott lived when she wrote “Little Women,” and so we decided to set the book there and have “Little Women” be the first book that the club tackled. And I took it from there. As for the inspiration, I drew a great deal on my own middle school years, and my own experiences living in that historic town.
Booking Mama: I know that you are the mother of two boys, but you write so well about girls and especially mother/daughter relationships. Why do you think you have so much insight into middle grade girls?
Heather Vogel Frederick: I know – isn’t it ironic that I of all people should end up writing about a mother-daughter book club? My sons think it’s hilarious! I’m asked this question a lot, and in thinking about it, what I’ve come to realize is that although things change on the outside over the decades and even over the centuries – fashions, popular music, popular culture, etc. – what’s on the inside remains largely constant. The emotional truth of adolescence hasn’t changed all that much from the time when Louisa May Alcott was writing about Jo March, or from when Lucy Maud Montgomery was writing about Anne Shirley. I have vivid memories of my own adolescent years, and it hasn’t been all that difficult to tap into those underlying emotions as I write about my characters navigating middle school and life in a broader sense. As for the outer trappings, the things that do change over the decades, well, I have nieces and friends with tween daughters, and I do a lot of quiet observing and listening.
Booking Mama: THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB is the first book in this series (Book 2 - MUCH ADO ABOUT ANNE and Book 3 - DEAR PEN PAL). Did you always know that there would be sequels when you wrote this one?
Heather Vogel Frederick: Honestly, I had no idea. But I was delighted to be asked to spend more time with “my girls.”
Booking Mama: Since you have sons, you obviously aren't in a mother/daughter book club. Are you in any type of book club?
Heather Vogel Frederick: I was in a book club when my boys were babies, and it was a real oasis for me. After we moved to Oregon, though, I was too busy wrangling a toddler and a kindergartner to find another one, and then the years got away from me. I was recently asked to join one, and I think that with both our boys in college now, I’m at a point in my life where I’m ready to be involved in one again.
Booking Mama: As a member of a Mother/Daughter Book Club, I think these books are just perfect for young girls to read and discuss! I see that you have met with many book clubs to talk about your books. Can you share with us a highlight or two from these meetings?
Heather Vogel Frederick: Oh honey, I’m in it for the cupcakes and the hugs! My husband says it’s my reward for raising two boys. Seriously, though, it’s been SUCH fun to visit with girls and their moms – mostly via Skype, but occasionally in person if the club is local. One highlight occurred last year when I surprised a book club in Missouri. A mom emailed to see if I could Skype with them, and it just so happened that I was planning a visit to my best friend, who lived nearby. I couldn’t resist, I emailed back and said Skype would be fine, but how would she feel about a real live visit? So the two of us came up with a scheme to surprise the girls. You should have seen the looks on their faces when I walked in! Books, reading, and writing are such an important part of my life, and I love being able to share this with young readers. They always have great questions, and their enthusiasm and excitement sets me up for days. Writing is solitary work, and talking to book clubs is just plain fun! Plus, I hope I’m able to inspire my readers a bit, as writers who have shared their time with me over the years have helped inspire me.
Booking Mama: Are there any future plans for more Mother-Daughter books? What are you working on now?
Heather Vogel Frederick: I just finished writing the fourth book in the series, which will be published in September 2010. It’s called “Pies & Prejudice” – three guesses what the club will be reading! By this time, my fictional girls are in 9th grade, so I figured they were finally ready to tackle Jane Austen. There will be a fifth book as well, which will have more of a holiday theme – I’m planning to tuck recipes and crafts and such in with the story itself. I’m about to start writing it, and it doesn’t have a title as yet.
Booking Mama: THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB has a lot of references to the novel LITTLE WOMEN. The girls not only read this book, but they also live in the same town that the author lived -- Concord, MA. How did you decide to tie in your books with specific novels?
Heather Vogel Frederick: Well, I do know that this is somewhat of a departure from reality, the fact that in my novels, the fictional club focuses on a single book for the entire year. Most book clubs I know devour a book a month. I chose to suspend reality on this point, though, as I thought it would be interesting to allow readers to really get to know an author, and a particular book, in-depth.
I knew I wanted to use classic novels, because it was a chance to share with readers some of the books that I loved when I was growing up, books that I feel deserve to be kept alive and become part of every girl’s “mental wallpaper,” if you will. There’s a reason that they’re classics! There’s a reason that we all still love Jo March and Anne Shirley and Elizabeth Bennet.
Booking Mama: What are some of your favorite books for young girls? Do you have any book recommendations for Mother/Daughter book clubs?
Heather Vogel Frederick: Oh wow, there are so many great books out there – it’s always hard to know what a particular group’s tastes are, though, when it comes to recommendations. Shannon Hale’s books are wonderful, and for older girls I also love Joan Bauer’s novels. I definitely recommend checking out Cindy Hudson’s “Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs,” along with her website www.motherdaughterbookclub.com – both offer extensive reading lists. There’s also a chapter in “The Double Daring Book for Girls” by Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz on mother-daughter book clubs, and a recommended reading list at their website www.daringbookforgirls.com.
Booking Mama: I can't let an interview go by without asking what you are reading now?
Heather Vogel Frederick: I don’t have as much time these days to read as I used to, unfortunately. That being said, I have a stack of books on my bedside table that I’m eagerly looking forward to: Molly Gloss’s “The Hearts of Horses” (adult fiction), “The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate” by Jacqueline Kelly and “When You Reach Me” by Rebecca Stead.
Heather Vogel Frederick grew up in New England and spent her middle-school years in Concord, Massachusetts, the town where THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB stories take place. Today, the award-winning author of the Patience Goodspeed books and the Spy Mice series lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, their two sons, and the family's beloved Shetland sheepdog.
Booking Daughter and I absolutely adored THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB -- you can read our review here. I can't stress how enjoyable I think these books are, and I highly recommend them to anyone who has a middle grade girl in their life!
I want to thank Heather for stopping by Booking Mama and answering all of my questions. If you'd like to learn more about Heather and her books, make sure you check out her website.
Booking Pap Pap and I are both fans of David Baldacci -- I think I've read almost every book he's ever written. When I found out that he had a new book coming out called TRUE BLUE, I jumped at the chance to read it. Of course, Booking Pap Pap definitely wanted to read it too. Being the generous daughter that I am, I passed TRUE BLUE on to him so he could read it first! Here are his impressions:
In TRUE BLUE, David Baldacci introduces the reader to sisters Beth and Mace Perry. Beth is the Washington D.C. chief of police and her sister Mace is an ex-DC cop just released from serving two years in prison on a false charge. Beth is determined to win her way back on to the police force and feels the only way she can do this is to solve a high profile case on her own. Complicating her plan is a U.S. attorney who has a dislike for both sisters and would like nothing better than to send Mace back to jail. When police chief sister Beth allows Mace to join her at a crime scene at a D.C. law firm where one of the female partners has been murdered, Mace quietly decides this is the case that can help her win back her police uniform.
Mace joins forces with Roy Kingdom, a young lawyer who discovered the dead body at the law firm. Mace and Roy soon discover that this is no ordinary crime as the investigation takes them from the streets of Washington D.C. to the highest levels of the U.S. government where black ops impedes and threatens the investigation. In attempting to solve the case Mace walks a fine line while utilizing her connections on the police force and the street, protecting her sister from the consequences of involvement with Mace and trying to avoid a return to prison.
Baldacci’s character development is terrific and I had no problem in separating the “good guys” from the bad ones. To me Mace, Beth and Roy are very likable characters and as I read along found myself wondering if they could overcome the almost insurmountable odds against success. The author does a great job of bringing characters and situations from Mace’s and Roy’s pasts to further develop the story lines. As is typical with suspense thrillers some of the situations the main characters survive are a little hard to believe; however they do add to the story’s suspense.
Baldacci’s books are generally fast reads and hard to put down. TRUE BLUE is no exception. It’s a good suspense thriller with plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book and to Booking Pap Pap for his insightful review:
Monday, October 26, 2009
When Cindy contacted me last year and told me that she was writing a book geared towards mother-daughter book clubs, I had a feeling that it was going to be a fantastic resource! I'm happy to say that I just finished reading it, and I was very impressed -- I will post my review in a few days as part of my Mother-Daughter Book Club Festival. BOOK BY BOOK is an absolute must-read for anyone considering starting a mother-daughter book club (or really anyone who is currently in one.) I absolutely loved it -- of course, it didn't hurt that I was quoted a few times in it!
I especially love Cindy's guest post because I think it is one that most members of a book club can relate to -- selecting the right book. It is always difficult to pick a book that's ideal for everyone in your group especially when it crosses generations like it does in mother-daughter book clubs. As you'll see in her essay, Cindy offers some wonderful (and practical) advice.
You would think that choosing books for my book clubs would be easy for me. After all, I’m in two long-running mother-daughter book clubs—one that’s been meeting for eight years and the other for five—and I blog about books at motherdaughterbookclub.wordpress.com. Yet deciding what everyone else is going to read for the next book club selection can sometimes be paralyzing. I want to find the perfect book, the one that will appeal to both the moms and girls in my group. The one my daughter will want to read as much as I do. The one we’ll call our favorite for years to come.
That’s a pretty tall order. Especially when you’re choosing books that will appeal to two generations. The good news is that there are a lot of books out there that are good reads for both the older and the younger set. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you search for them.
Give both your daughter and yourself veto power. Do either of you believe a book will be of no interest to your peers? It probably isn’t a good choice.
The best books for widely varying age groups will have layers. By this I mean the girls will be able to grasp themes that resonate with them based on their ages, while the moms may be able to pick up deeper themes at work.
Timeless themes can be attractive for everyone from ages four to 94. Friendship, family relationships, honor, self-reliance, moral dilemmas, and love are some of the issues most of us deal with at some point in our lives. It can be helpful to see how characters in a book deal with those same issues.
Books that you take “guilty pleasure” in reading are probably not good choices for a reading group. These tend to be pop-culture books that are fun to read but don’t offer much to talk about.
Find a good professional to rely on. Children’s librarians both at school and your local library are good sources of book recommendations. Use them often and they will get to know which titles are successful with your group.
It’s okay if you don’t love the book you or others pick. There have been few books my clubs have read over the years that everyone liked. You can learn to appreciate elements of a story that doesn’t appeal to you when you know it will resonate with others in your group.
Here are a few recommendations for successful intergenerational titles culled from my clubs’ book lists and from other clubs who write in to me at my blog. Other books by these authors are a good bet too.
7 and 8 year olds
Charlotte’s Web—E. B. White
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing—Judy Blume
The Year of Miss Agnes—Kirkpatrick Hill
9 and 10 year olds
Because of Winn-Dixie—Kate DiCamillo
The Hermit Thrush Sings—Susan Butler
11 through 13 year olds
Al Capone Does My Shirts—Gennifer Choldenko
A Year Down Yonder—Richard Peck
Framed—Frank Cottrell Boyce
14+ year olds
A Northern Light—Jennifer Donnelly
The Book Thief—Markus Zusak
Cindy Hudson is the author of BOOK BY BOOK: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CREATING MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUBS (Seal Press, October 2009). She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two daughters. Visit her online at www.MotherDaughterBookClub.com and www.MotherDaughterBookClub.wordpress.com.
And now for the Mother-Daughter Book Club Festival giveaway!!!!
Cindy has graciously offered to giveaway two copies of her new book BOOK BY BOOK to two lucky winners. And remember how much I enjoyed THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB by Heather Vogel Frederick (you can read my review here)? Well, Heather has offered up ten sets of THE MOTHER DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB series (THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB, MUCH ADO ABOUT ANNE, and DEAR PEN PAL) to two lucky winners -- that's five sets of three books each. That means that two of you will win five sets of THE MOTHER DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB series plus a copy of BOOK BY BOOK. What a fantastic opportunity for someone who is currently in a mother-daughter book club or thinking about starting one!
To enter this fabulous giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment after this post with your e-mail address. To double or triple your chances, you can blog and/or tweet about the giveaway with a link back to this post. This contest is open until Monday, November 2nd at 11:59 p.m. EST, and I will notify the winners the following day! This contest is open to those of you in the United States or Canada only. Good luck!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Even if Megan would rather be at the mall, Cassidy is late for hockey practice, Emma's already read every book in existence, and Jess is missing her mother too much to care, the new book club is scheduled to meet every month.
But what begins as a mom-imposed ritual of reading Little Women soon helps four unlikely friends navigate the drama of middle school. From stolen journals, to secret crushes, to a fashion-fiasco first dance, the girls are up to their Wellie boots in drama. They can't help but wonder: What would Jo March do? -- Simon and Schuster
About a year and a half, ago my daughter and I decided to start a Mother-Daughter book club with some of our friends. It has been a wonderful experience for me because I have had the opportunity to read books with my daughter and hear her thoughts. I also think it's been a great experience for my daughter because she is learning to delve a little deeper into books, and she is also getting much better at expressing her ideas. Needless to say, we are very passionate about our Mother-Daughter book club!
Now given that I am pretty involved in our mother-daughter book club and I read a lot of middle grade books because I have a daughter in that age range, I have no idea why I hadn't read THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB by Heather Vogel Frederick. This book is absolutely perfect for my daughter and me (and our book group.) I am so glad that I finally did because I was sure missing out on a wonderful middle grade book. I absolutely loved this book and its characters!
THE MOTHER -DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB tells the story of four young girls whose mothers (and one father) decide to start a mother-daughter book club. Since girls will be girls, there are many misunderstandings and mishaps (some intentional) along the way. I don't think I will ever get used to how catty girls can be to each other! The story is told from each of the girl's perspectives in alternating chapters. I loved that the author wrote the book this way because it allowed me to understand and appreciate each of the four girls. And, I have no doubt that young girls will definitely relate to at least one of the characters.
Another thing I really liked about this story was that it followed a mother-daughter book club. I loved getting some insight into another book group (even if it was fictional) and seeing how their meetings were held. Our group reads a different book each month, but the club in the story decided to read LITTLE WOMEN over the course of an entire school year. (I happen to love this idea, but I'm not sure it would fly in our group.) I really appreciated how the author incorporated the story and characters of LITTLE WOMEN into the book. The book takes place in the town where Louisa May Alcott lived; and the girls not only visit her home, but they also dress as their favorite character. After reading THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB, my daughter and I both are ready to read LITTLE WOMEN!
I enjoyed this book so much that I didn't want it to end -- I still think these girls have a lot more stories in them. I was very happy to learn that THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB is the first book in a series. Two more books are available -- MUCH ADO ABOUT ANNE (the girls read and discuss ANNE OF GREEN GABLES) and the recently released DEAR PEN PAL (the girls read DADDY-LONG-LEGS.) I can't wait to read these two books too!
Booking Daughter and I both agree that our group needs to read and discuss THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB. I think all of the girls (and the moms) will enjoy it as much as we did. Since Ms. Frederick likes to "meet" with book clubs that are reading her book, I am hoping that we could arrange that as well. I can't imagine how excited our girls would be to talk with a real-live author!
THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB is ideal for young girls because it deals with many of the same issues that they face everyday -- peer pressure, mother/daughter relationships, jealousy, insecurity, etc. I was so excited to find that there is a reading guide available in the back of the paperback version. There is also a section on recommended future reading and a worksheet to help the girls come up with some of their personal goals. And since book club wouldn't be complete without yummy food, the author has included some recipes of snacks that they girls in the book served at their own meetings. I really do think this book is ideal for mother-daughter book clubs, and I can't recommend it enough!
When Booking Daughter caught a glimpse of this adorable cover (and the title), she couldn't wait to read it. I told her she could have it when I finished; but every time I went to read the book, I had to look for it -- I kept finding it in her room! She loved it as much as I did, but I'll let you read what she thought:
I really enjoyed THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB. All of the characters were so different from each other, but I think I was most like Emma. Emma loved to read and sometimes she felt left out as school from the popular girls (The Fab Four.) Some of the girls in my book club are like the other characters, but we are all like Emma because we love to read.
One thing I wish is that I had read LITTLE WOMEN before reading this book. Some of the book's secrets were revealed in THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB, and I am disappointed that I won't be surprised when I read the book. I still want to read LITTLE WOMEN this year, and I included it on my reading goal bookmark.
I definitely, definitely, definitely recommend THE MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB to my friends, and I'd even like to read it for my book club one month. I hope the other two books in the series are as good as this one.
Make sure you come back and visit tomorrow and Tuesday because I will be having a Mother-Daughter Book Club Festival! Tomorrow Cindy Hudson, author of the new book BOOK BY BOOK: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CREATING MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUBS will be stopping by with a guest post; and on Tuesday, Heather Vogel Frederick will be answering a few of my questions. Plus, there is a fabulous giveaway that I will be posting tomorrow! Here's a little hint... it's a big one!
Thanks to the author for sending me a signed copy of this book.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
One of their latest lists is very near and dear to my heart since it is The 10 Best Books of 2009 for Book Clubs! This isn't your typical list since it consists of books that aren't necessarily the "most-popular" book club selections. I was a little disappointed in myself because I haven't read/finished any of them (but I do own five of them!) Needless to say, more books have been added to my must-read list! But I have a feeling that Flashlight Worthy Books is going to be responsible for adding a lot of books to my ever-growing list!
I was very excited to see that Flashlight Worthy included SHELF DISCOVERY: THE TEEN CLASSICS WE NEVER STOPPED READING by Lizzie Skurnick as one of The 10 Best Books of 2009 for Book Clubs! I am reading this book right now and loving it, and I think many women will enjoy reading about the books we all loved as young girls! And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I am hosting the SHELF DISCOVERY CHALLENGE (nothing like a little shameless self-promotion.) There is still plenty of time to sign up and possibly win a copy of the book (I am giving away 10 copies!) All you have to pick six books that you want to read from 70+ books covered in SHELF DISCOVERY. They can be new to you or re-reads! Here is a link to the covers of many of the books mentioned in SHELF DISCOVERY.
Flashlight Worthy Books is terrific! I am a huge fan of lists (and also a huge list-maker) so their site definitely appeals to me! If you haven't checked them out yet, you are really missing out!
When MOVING WINDOWS: MONSTER MADNESS by Brenda Sexton arrived at my house, my son just about had a heart attack. Not only was it a book about Halloween (which by itself would be very exciting this time of year), but it also had a button on the front cover that caused all sorts of things to happen - eyes on the bat and pumpkin light up, a witch's voice cackles, and images move around in the big window. I can tell you that Booking Son just loved this book! He couldn't keep his hands off of it!
Of course, I had to read it to Booking Son right away -- how could I resist when he was so excited? He loved the illustrations, and I have to agree that they are absolutely adorable. The colors are bright and the Halloween characters have big eyes that definitely made us smile. He also enjoyed the story about the different characters getting ready for Halloween, and he thought the rhyming prose was catchy too. To make things even better, the book had a pop-up surprise at the end.
I think MONSTER MADNESS is absolutely perfect for this time of year and I can guarantee that preschoolers are going to love this precious book!
Thanks to Media Masters Publicity for providing us with a copy of the book.