Posted in Book Life, Family Life

How We Have Raised A Reader

Today while I was at Barnes and Noble, enjoying a Sunday browse with my mini me, I saw a book that caught my eye and really inspired this post. I am sure this book could be incredibly helpful for some parents, but I honestly didn’t crack the cover. I sort of said to myself “thank God I don’t need this, but it has been hours since I was in the store and I am coming back to this title.

We have always been very thankful our daughter has always loved books. We have never forced her or even had to mildly encourage her to turn some pages. As a teacher I am aware that many children do not love to read.  Maybe they have legitimate difficulties.  Maybe they just don’t find joy on the page.

As a reader myself I can not relate to people, children or students that do not enjoy reading for pleasure.  I myself was a rabid reader.  The kid with a flashlight under the covers. I now have that child.  I lovingly kid that if we allowed her to get every book she wanted we would live in a shack. She tells us it would be a shack made of books. Maybe we could be the fourth Little Pig house…do you think a house made of books would withstand the Big Bad Wolf???

I started to think what did we do to foster her love of reading?

We started reading to her when she was a baby. We started with cute little board books.  She enjoyed books that were interactive and tactile.

We had books in the bathroom, in the car and in her tote bag. We made books more accessible than toys at times. This was not intentional. We are readers and we find value in books. We now share our fabulous finds. She manages our lending library.

We made trips to the book store and library very common. She must have showed everyone in our family her library card. For her birthday she is always pumped to get a Barnes and Noble gift card. She is also very blessed to have a great aunt, a former librarian, send her books.

Reading is a family affair.

We read to her at night. This seems like something most parents do. However we also made up stories and she in turn made up her own stories. They could have been totally original or variations on stories we had read.

We have always been positive and sort of braggy that she is a reader. Maybe that makes us annoying or obnoxious, but I’ll take a bit of criticism, because we don’t have to nag her to get summer reading completed.

We have made being a reader part of her identity. She is confident and proud that she is a reader. This confidence with reading has naturally helped school work and she has become confident with public speaking. Being able to confidently read aloud built up her self esteem and when asked to read to a crowd at an assembly or church, she has done a spectacular job.

We have allowed her to explore genres. Fairytales and books about families were popular when she was three. Then she moved on to popular characters like Pig and Pete the cat. Once she started school and grabbed on to simple chapter books she really took off as an independent reader.

We now encourage her to explore new authors and titles. She loves fantasy and mystery, but I also like her to dabble in stories about feelings, growing up, and classics. Getting her to branch out is getting easier….thankfully. We have a solid selection of magic and mystery.

We also watch “the movie”. We will watch popular titles that have gone from the page to the big screen. I love how she will comment and critique the two mediums. She loves to find the differences and share her opinions. She is finding the book is usually better than the movie.

She recently was out of her own books and was desperate, so she tried to read off my shelves. If you follow me, you know there aren’t many titles on my shelves a tween could read, so it was a stretch. She dipped her toe into the Twilight pond. Well, she was hooked. She read the entire series. She has asked for Midnight Sun to be put on her Christmas list.

We are incredibly lucky to have a child that finds joy from all sorts of books. I am sure that the book I saw today is well written and helpful. I am just very thankful that we are readers and have parented a reader. I hope she never loses her love of reading. I know when I was in college I did for a bit. When something becomes a chore or just an overwhelming necessity it is hard to find the joy, but thankfully once I was done reading textbooks and required readings, I found happiness in characters and plots again.

Here’s to a lifetime of reading for pleasure and entertainment. May our bank account always be able to support her healthy habit!

Posted in Book Life, Family Life, Teaching Life

Books to Inspire and Educate Little Women

Since the passing of RGB I have been feeling like I needed to post about books out there that can educate and inspire young girls to dream big. I know in recent years there have been more titles published to share the stories of bravery, courage and innovation women have contributed to the world. As I was looking for titles related to Ruth Bader Ginsburg I came across these ideas and thought I would share.

I love that people have put collections together. I looked up some these titles on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It makes my heart happy that there are titles for girls of differing ages and interests.

Since there has been such a push for women and girls in science these looked like great choices. I think is fabulous learning about smart and science minded women.

I was really happy to find a few books that were not just about inventing or science. I personally am not science minded, so if I was a young girl in would be looking for titles about women who made different contributions.

Our young people need to read and see titles showing the struggles, challenges and accomplishments of women, to know they too can do amazing things. Future men need to have these books in their heads too. Everyone needs to learn how women have had instrumental and necessary actions that have shaped all our lives for the better.

We are living in turbulent and unsettling times. There are so many things on the news everyday that make me stop and think about what I need to do to make the world a better place for my students and my own daughter. I feel like exposure to texts that are positive and explore the real life successes of women is a simple way to uplift and instill messages of confidence.

My daughter asked who was RBG? My response is you need to read about her. What I know is not enough, I know I too can learn more about her, so I preordered a book.

We have many My Little Golden Books. I thought this would be a wonderful addition to our collection. There are other titles that are currently available for use to read about the accomplishments of Ruth Bader Ginsburg until this becomes available, in December.

I love anthologies. One book that can give options. A buffet for the eyes and brain. This one caught my eye because the cover art is fun and the subtitle is what I want girls to think about….how can they dare to be different, even if they are just an ordinary person. How can they be brave to just be themselves and by being themselves contribute to society. I think everyday choices and actions have a profound impact on the greater good. Being mankind and thoughtful person is an accomplishment in today’s world.

Counting on Katherine is a great title and I feel like this can be applied to all of us. You may not be a math genius getting astronauts to the moon, but each one of us has a role and I am counting on each person to to their best and try to lead the most positive and powerful life they can lead. This is a message I am teaching to my students and my child. I try to remember that I still have lessons to learn as well.

Books have meaning and can be powerful. I hope that you find some inspiration from these titles. Maybe add one or two to your classroom library, buy one for the school library or for your home library. Sometimes the truest messages are found in the pages of a beautifully illustrated children’s book.

Posted in Book Life

Audibles Are Changing My Groove

How do you drive??? My new obsession, while I’m accumulating milage, is listening to books. I used to listen to a book every once in a while, via CD. I have know about Amazon Audibles for a while now, but I didn’t really embrace it until we decided to get unlimited data. Now I am an audio book eating machine.

Oh and I am getting nothing from Amazon…I am just genuinely pumped how this is making my work day better.

I first started with a book club book because I thought I could get those “pages” completed while I drive from school to school. I totally thought this was awesome mom juggling, but unfortunately our book selection was Where the Crawdads Sing. This book is a fantastic story, but not one for the school day. I found it to be a very emotional story. I was sort of bummed out going from school to school. I recommend this highly praised and purchased book if you are not a total over thinker like me. I let myself get lost in books and characters, sometimes to a fault, so my lack of desire to push play is no reflection on the text.

As someone recently pointed out to me I like being a problem solver, so giving up audio books was not an option. I needed to find the right stories for my stop and go school day. I have been selecting titles that range from sweet and sentimental Hallmark-ish stories to nail biting, gasping out loud thrillers. I am finding these types of titles fill my rides with pure delight.

I love this cover…makes me want to wander a museum.

The Dutch House was a fantastic book. I love the cover and once I pressed play, I couldn’t get enough. I was incredibly delighted to realize Tom Hanks narrates the book….he is the perfect voice to tell the ups and downs of this unique family. Being a sister to a younger brother I could very much connect to the characters codependent relationship and struggle for survival among adults who seems to make interesting life choices.

This thriller was very good. The two women who narrated this web of lies and deceit were perfect. I could not relate to either of these characters…well except for they are women, but regardless this was a book I could get lost in and it made the routine itinerant drive spicy!

I was on a thriller/mystery kick for a bit and this book did not disappoint. This was my first book by Lisa Jewell. I do not think it will be my last. I very much enjoyed the British narrator. It took me a few beats to get used to her tone, rhythm and inflection, but once I was channeling my inner Mary Poppins or Eliza Doolittle, I couldn’t wait to see where this story was going to go. If you enjoy reading about messy, less than perfect characters…give this a listen or read.

This was a light, quick chic flick “read”. I laughed, caught myself talking outloud and could genuinely relate to this modern day busy mom. Amy Blyer’s life is a tad different from mine, but I think any working mom can relate to the struggle to be super mom, super wife and still hold onto a bit of who you think your are or once were, before acquiring new titles. I really liked this book and was very happy to see I could pick up a free book from Kelly Harms.

Every time I see the cover I salivate and want to eat pie!!!

This was my freebie with my Amazon Audibles membership. It is a quick little novella. The story was not as funny as The Overdue Life of Amy Byler, but I kept listening. It tugged at heart strings, without taking me down a overthinkers rabbit hole. It took a day or 2 of driving to zip through.

I think because this is something I am loving and because I am pumped every time I listen to a new selection, I am going to start to post smaller posts…easier to read and digest, about my ever growing library. If you are a reader or a listener I hope you look for my posts. I’ll also take recommendations.

You can always like or comment to a post. And if you wanna follow me there is a link to follow as well. If you are reading this on your phone…scroll to the bottom. If you are on a computer the side menus have all the ways to connect, plus updates to my photo gallery.

Posted in Book Life

BOOK CLUB BANTER

My latest book club meeting was fabulous. We had amazing conversations about the book and other things…hahaha. Of course we did. But seriously this book generated alot of conversation and new revelations.

I did not buy a physical book this time. I opted to listen via Amazon Audibles. I am still fairly new to this mode of “reading”, but I think after this book I might try it more often.

Any of the ladies who listened to the book felt it made the experience easier and added to the creep factor with this story. We felt hearing the two voices read the chapters helped us focus on the storyline and added another layer to the characters.

There were upsides to reading the physical book. Some ladies felt they could get through the pages quicker than listening and one woman said listening caused her to nod off and miss parts of the story. Which I think is a hoot! I know if I was nodding off it would be more difficult to “rewind” to where I drifted off, because I am a very visual learner and I can envision the page and the words when I need to go back to a book, but what I heard might prove to be more difficult.

This story was suspenseful and kept many of us guessing. Not much I can say….I don’t want to give the story away and I am by no means a book reviewer! However, I will say I felt like no one is a winner in this story and not one of the main characters has a good moral compass.

We had alot to say!!! I tried to keep my potty mouth on lock down. These characters sort of annoyed me.

Love meeting up with these ladies. There were gluten free brownies!!! I’ve posted it before, but I can not say it enough…I Love My Tribe.

Our next book is a bit different and seems like we won’t be biting our nails, but we are heading into Thanksgiving and it seems fitting to read something more emotional. Our host offered two options and we choose what we viewed as a bit more Hallmark.

Even the cover is Fall ready!!

I am still deciding of I am going to listen or read. I might poll my Instagram followers for an answer. That could be fun.

I’ll keep you posted on what I choose or what sort of response I get. If you have an opinion you can always send me some feedback!!!

Okay….so I did the poll

Barnes and Noble here I come!!!
Posted in Book Life

Thursday Night Book Club

Ten plus years ago I was very fortunate to have been invited to a book club. My work bestie had a book at a staff meeting and I asked her about it. She told me she was reading it for book club. I instantly thought how fun. I was really hoping she would invite me…..and she did. I have always been a reader. I was that kid under the covers with a flashlight, but I had never been in a book club. It seemed like an awesome way to do something I love and meet new people. I call this the nerd girl cocktail…1 part books, 1 part future friends and a dash of you can do this.

The first book I ever read for book club was The Kite Runner. Not my favorite book, but I read it and went to my first meeting. I had no idea what this was going to be like. I felt like the new kid on the first day of school. Everyone was super sweet and welcoming. The woman who hosted did a beautiful job. There were yummy treats and she provided the discussion questions. I had no idea what to expect and was happy to see structured questions….that tiny slip of paper somehow grounded me on the love seat.

I remember my question was not one I could really answer…truth be told I sort of skimmed the book. Not because I was in a rush, because I didn’t love the story, but I answered as best I could. Thank goodness this wasn’t a graded assignment! I remember sitting there listening and watching. I was thinking I like these ladies. It was and still is a group of women spanning a couple of generations. A few of them are related and related by marriage. So, I guess it would have been easy to feel on the outside of the circle, but I felt like I could do it again. Show up and share. Show up and give my thoughts and feelings about a book.

Making Memories and Friends

That’s what I did for about 8 years. Every 8 weeks or so we met. A different house, a different book and a different conversation. In the beginning I didn’t over share about my life. Who does that? New kids typically play it safe….well at least I did. I remember the first time I hosted I was a complete spaz. My house had to be perfect, my food had to be perfect and the book questions had to be perfect. I have no idea why I stressed, they were all very sweet and kind sitting in my tiny living room.

That’s why I think I kept showing up or offering to host, because no matter what your house is like or what you serve they are appreciative and lovely. Everyone offers something different. I love hearing a different perspective. Each reader comes with their own personal experiences and this view makes for a diverse and stimulating conversation. As we grew as a group our perspectives changed. Sometimes new people came in and out. A lot of us had babies or got married, which really changed the dynamics of our group.

Some meetings were totally on point with the book and others were a total mishmash of mini conversations. Momversations! We talked about it all…and some of us with a potty mouth! I learned a lot from these women. Being a new mom it was awesome to share and relate. As a working mom it was so good to know I wasn’t alone in my hectic balancing act. Being a wife can also be a struggle at times and I definitely took amazing advice from these smart, compassionate and quirky women.

Turning Pages and Swiping

We read books that were often a book we might no pick pick on our own. A book we might pass by…judging it by its cover. Our group lets the host pick. I think this is the best way. No voting, no drama. This format is how I read many, many books out of my comfort zone or preferred genres. If there was a book that I did not like-oh well. I most likely learned something about myself from reading it. Being pushed past my emotional limits is never comfortable, but it is a book….it can’t hurt me. The paperback boogie man isn’t going to get me. I can read and think about hard things. I can let fictional or real characters touch me, anger me or make me think.

I have to add this tiny bit in. I started book club reading physical books. Then I moved on to a Kindle. I like both. Each as its upside and drawback. I can say that I do love passing a good book along to a friend, I like to feel & see pages turn, and like a nonhorder (hahaha) see my collection….sort of reflect as I dust them. An electronic version gives me none of those good feels but it does make for a tidier house and put a book at my fingertips in a second….enough of that, back to it.

At a certain point I think it was becoming difficult for people to meet. Life was getting very busy for working moms. The love of meeting wasn’t enough- it became a struggle for many. I know I was trying my best. I really hated missing a meeting, but at times I struggled to get the full read in or find time to attend. I think some felt guilty if they missed. I know I did, but life happens and book club should be enjoyed not a guilt trip.

The End of an Era

So here we come to the point in my story where the book club fell apart. I completely understand why it wasn’t working, why the person who founded the group wanted it to stop and why it did. I was very sad it was ending. I think there were a handful of us who were hoping it wasn’t true. Going to the last meeting I was hoping it wasn’t-that someone would want to drive the train. Lead us in a new direction. Nope! Didn’t happen. It was a very bitter sweet meeting. It felt weird saying goodbye to this wonderful group of ladies who brought so much to my life. Sometimes change needs to happen in order for a new something to happen.

When we left there were 4 or 5 of us who were lingering….we sort of were looking at each other….I know I was thinking maybe one of them would say I will start a new group, but it didn’t happen. I think people felt awkward. No one wanted to hurt anyone feelings or make anyone feel guilty for being OK for letting it go. I love that about these ladies….the consideration…the recognition and respect of different perspectives.

So, times goes by and I really missed the group. I had contact with a few members which was nice, but I loved the eclectic dozen. My reading slacked for a while. I didn’t have anyone to chat with about the ins and outs of a story. Huge boo. Kinda strange because I was an avid reader before the group. I never needed to chat about a book before. In college I actually didn’t enjoy dissecting a novel or text in public.

More time went by and I started thinking and talking to the universe. I was hoping someone might want to get the group back together. You might be asking-why not me? Why didn’t I reach out. Why didn’t I start a new/different group if I missed it so much. The answer is I just don’t have that confidence. I thought maybe everyone would say no. I have this saying that “my brand isn’t for everyone”. I honestly believe and accept that. Maybe there is a book out there to help that?!

The Band is Back Together

Thankfully someone was brave enough to reach out. She reached out to all of the members from the original group. Some of us were pumped and some are still in a place where it isn’t something they can or want to do and that is OK. I think that is a huge take away. Know your limits and do what fills you up…..do that. Do what fills you up.

We have only gotten together a handful of times so far. I love it of course. I missed a meeting. Yep. Life was to much to balance and I had to miss (and I tried this particular book using Audible….Where the Crawdads Sing). We are a smaller group this time around. I think everyone gets it. This last meeting the host had her sister on Facetime! I showed up late from yoga and was introduced to her via the phone! How fun is that?! It was a great meeting. Lots of stimulating talk about the book. It was an easy read with many different aspects/characters. Feelings were mixed and everyone had some perspective or idea I hadn’t thought of while reading. That is why I love going. It is a judgement free learning zone… a space where I can grow as a reader and an individual.

Our new pick looks good. I have ordered it, but have not even cracked the binding. I am looking forward to reading it closer to our next meeting date. I used to read a new selection as soon as I could. I find I enjoy book club much more if I read the book closer to the meeting date, less time for me to forget details and I think I digest the text differently.

My Take Away

I am truly thankful to be doing something that fills me up. I think this is essential for all humans. Finding things and doing things that are just for yourself. I am equally thankful that I know brave people who can do things I can’t. Without that confidence I would still be missing part of my tribe, missing something I loved….missing a part of myself.

I am going to keep on reading, sharing, pushing myself and supporting this awesome group of ladies.

If you check out my The Buffet page you can always see new books I am reading. I have one that isn’t for club, but something new for me. I am going to write about it once I finish…so stay tuned for that. If you liked this post and wanna read more, follow me. You can like this post, you can send me a message. Let’s talk books or whatever!