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Sunday Book Review and how are you?

March 19th, 2023

Winter 2021-2022

“The Light,” by Nancy Ellen Row Rawley

Why would I be posting this photo, now that spring is almost here? Because it’s still snowing up and down the west coast, that’s why. #globalwarming and we’re all confused. It will be OK. We had sunshine and warmth the past few days, it was much needed.

I found these awesome picture books in my mailbox, wanna hear about them? They’re going to make some kids happy, they’re pretty sweet.

Presenting… “Moms Can Do It All!” and “Dads Can Do It All!” a pair of titles written by Ted Maass and illustrated by Ekaterina Trukan (Grosset & Dunlap, 2023, $8.99 apiece.) Well. OK. Sure, we can, but constantly? Because what about the times when we’re so tired we beg the babies to just watch Elmo or Spongebob on loop, while we nap next to them on the couch? What about the times when you serve mac n cheese, applesauce and toast, again and again, because it’s all they will eat?

No, we can’t do it all, and we shouldn’t hafta. We’re not superheroes, only we are? It’s confusing. Yeah, we are superheroes, it’s true. You’ll see when you grow up, kiddos. In the meantime, these cool little ’60s-style board books, with their primary colors, Fisher-Price type peeps and pets, along with the positive messages they share, will leave you feeling… happy. They’re right! We absolutely can do it all. (But you don’t have to, mommies and daddies. Just do your best. Ay-ay, captain! Elmo and his goldfish Dorothy loooooove naps!)

Here comes a new book from Mr. G (Ben Gundersheimer) and illustrator Dow Phumiruk, “We’ll Make Things Better Together” (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, out this spring, 2023, $18.99). Cheerful, playful book about all the ways communities can work together to make the world better. Only, where’s the music? Because the words sound like lyrics. Sweet illustrations, too.

“How to Get Your Octopus to School,” with words by Becky Scharnhorst and ptictures by Jaclyn Sinquett (Flamingo Books/Penguin Random House, scheduled for release spring of 2023, ages 4 and up, $18.99). Hey, octopus! Ready for school? You’ll need school supplies, buddy. And a backpack, lunch, a new outfit… don’t be shy, you’ve got this! No need to throw ink around. Cute book that will help ease reluctant students into the classroom.

And now, my new favorite: “Can We Please Give the Police Department to the Grandmothers?” Yes, please. Make it happen, please. This beautifully illustrated, lovely book, was given to us by illustrator Kristen Uroda and written by Junauda Petrus. (Dutton Children’s Books/Penguin Random House, scheduled for release April 2023, all ages, $18.99.) Petrus, a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a Coretta Scott King honoree, has done an outstanding job with this picture book, which reads like a gorgeous, lyrical poem. I’d like to live in a world run by the grandmothers. (Bonus: the playlist that is included on the flyleaf.)

All for now, talk soon!


Friday Night Book Round-up: What’s New on My Nightstand?

March 10th, 2023


“Woof!” by Nancy Ellen Row Rawley

Hi, grownup readers and researchers, how about some book suggestions?

“Teaching with Fire: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach,” Sam M. Intrator & Megan Scribner, editors, with an introduction by Parker J. Palmer & Tom Vander Ark (Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Company, 2003, 225 pages). I have one shelf full of poetry books, daily affirmation guides, my Bibles, meditation guides, workbooks, and any other books I find useful. “Teaching with Fire” was gifted to me and the rest of the staff by my first principal, sixteen years ago, and I go back to it frequently. So technically, it’s not on my nightstand, but it’s always within reach. Highly recommend. 

“The Librarian Spy,” by Madeline Martin (author of “The Last Bookshop in London,” Hanover Square Press, 2022, 355 pages, $28.99). Spent some time browsing the new releases section at my local library yesterday, and came across this title. It looks fun and entertaining; starting it this weekend, along with…

Elin Hilderbrand’s “The Hotel Nantucket” (Little, Brown and Company, 2022, 368 pages, $29.00). Hilderbrand also wrote “Golden Girl” and 26, yes, twenty-six other novels.

A self-help/community read book showed up in my mailbox, “How to Human: Three Ways to Share Life Beyond What Distracts, Divides, and Disconnects Us,” by Carlos Whitaker, with a foreword by Sharon McMahon  (WaterBrook/Multnomah, 2023, 206 pages, $18.00). I’ve begun this one, too, because why limit yourself to one or two books when you can read thirty? It’s a good read. Whittaker refers to himself as a “hope dealer,” which is pretty great.

“The Davenports” is a new release from Krystal Marquis (Dial Books/Penguin Random House, 2023, 379 pages, $19.99). This is a delicious, golden, romantic novel, set in 1910 Chicago, and yes, I am a sucker for books set in that era (“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” “Sula,” “The Sound and the Fury,” etc.). This would be a good book club pick.

Kristen R. Lee’s “Sun Keep Rising” is a compassionate and clear-eyed novel about the joys and challenges in the life of teen mom B’onca, her sweet baby Mia, and their extended family. (Crown New York, 2023, 227 pages, $18.99.)

Joan Bauer’s “Tell Me” (Scholastic, 2014, 259 pages, $7.99) is another great young adult book. This one introduces us to Anna, who has been sent out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to stay with her grandma, Mim, while her parents figure out what they’re doing. Anna thinks she sees another young girl who could be in trouble. Instead of dismissing her doubts, she says something. The grown-ups? They actually listen. Great story about a serious situation. Bauer is a long-time favorite of mine.  Please check out “Hope Was Here” and let me know what you think.

Speaking of families… “The Wreck: A Daughter’s Memoir of Becoming a Mother,” is an intense read about a daughter from a secretive family, and how her sleuthing helps her unravel her relatives’ past. (Released scheduled for spring 2023, Viking, $27.00.)

Bon appetit, babies, and have a great weekend.


Friday Fun Day: What’s On My Nightstand

March 3rd, 2023


(Solar Eclipse, in the path of totality, 8/21/2017, photo by Nancy E. Row Rawley)

Pretty, huh? Yeah, you had to be there, I think. That was a cool day, though, Eclipse Day 2017. Some of our friends came to town and we headed to the neighborhood park with lawn chairs, blankets and all of the other neighbors. (Except B., who headed to Marys Peak because Reporting for the Newspaper.) Corvallis was in the path of totality which was amazing. OK, okay, moving on.

What’s on my nightstand? Grown-up books and books for teens. Get ready…

“Be the Difference: Serve Others and Change the World,” a monthly planner. OK, I think I mentioned this one already, but it is pretty cool. (WaterBrook/Ink & Willow, 2021, $16.99.) Not just a journal, not just a planner — you can turn it into a bullet journal, a place to set goals, a sketchbook or whatever you want. Go for it and change the world, and yourself, along the way.

“Remedies for Sorrow: An Extraordinary Child, a Secret Kept from Pregnant Women, and A Mother’s Pursuit of the Truth,” by Megan Nix (Penguin Random House/Doubleday, upcoming release 2023, $28). This is an intense read, so I’m attaching a trigger warning here. Please proceed with caution. This is a well-written, compassionate book about CMV (cytomegalovirus). Nix, who lives in both Colorado and Alaska with her family, is not just a talented writer, but a thoughtful reporter, too.

“The Emotional Lives of Teenagers: Raising Connected, Capable, and Compassionate Adolescents” (Ballantine Books/Penguin Random House, 2023, 226 pages, $28). This one was written by Lisa Damour, Ph.D., author of “Untangled” and co-host of the “Ask Lisa” podcast. Loads of tips and thoughts on dealing with teen mental health issues, anxiety, moods and emotions. Sometimes those difficult conversations are needed.

The Young Reader’s Edition of “Mission Possible: Go Create a Life That Counts,” by athlete Tim Tebow (with A.J. Gregory) is also new on the shelves. This faith-based book is from WaterBrook/Penguin Random House. (2023, 145 pages, $18.00.)

“Carry Strong: An Empowered Approach to Navigating Pregnancy and Work,” by Stephanie Kramer, is scheduled for release this spring. (Penguin Life, 352 pages, $20.00.) Kramer did her work interviewing CEOs, working moms (all moms, may I say, are working moms), Olympic athletes and others to glean information on what to consider and what to look out for while transitioning/seguing, and adding to life with family and work.

Enjoy your spring, and here’s to reading.