23 November 2016

Books I Love: Ramona Quimby, Age 8

Title
Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Author
Beverly Cleary
I first read this book
during third grade, approximately 1985

Like the Harry Potter books, I truly love all the Ramona books, probably even more than Harry Potter because I read these as a child. There's that great line in You've Got Mail where Meg Ryan's character talks about books we read as children having a far greater impact on us than anything we read later in life.

I think that's true. It's certainly true of Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Ramona Quimby is still one of my very best friends, and she always will be. No one can convince me she's not real. She has a statue!

Ramona Quimby immortalized in bronze
in Portland, Oregon.
photo by Sara K Joiner
Ramona's very specific problems are what makes her so universally appealing and so enchanting to meet in the pages of a book. How on earth does a fad like cracking hard-boiled eggs on your head start anyway? I have no idea, but it does. Naturally, Ramon is going to have a problem with this situation. Does she learn a lesson? Do readers? Not necessarily the one adults might like.

Being a kid is tough. Ramona Quimby helped me through some pretty difficult times when I was younger. She still gets me through rough patches today. I can only hope the characters I create speak to my readers the same way Ramona Quimby speaks to me.

And if someone decides to build a statue of one of them? That wouldn't be so bad either.

20 November 2016

Suggested Reading: Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving—a time to celebrate family and food, a time to be grateful for the many blessings in our lives. Here are some of stories to share after you’ve eaten before the tryptophan from all that turkey kicks in.

Picture Books

Duck for Turkey Day
written by Jacqueline Jules
illustrated by Kathryn Mitter

The Secret of Saying Thanks
written by Douglas Wood
illustrated by Greg Shed

Over the River: A Turkey’s Tale
written and illustrated by Derek Anderson

Chapter Books

Gooney Bird and the Room Mother
written by Lois Lowry
illustrated by Middy Thomas

Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving
edited by Katherine Paterson
illustrated by Pamela Dalton

Happy reading!

For the purposes of the Suggested Reading posts, chapter books refers to any books with chapters. Those that are appropriate for teens are marked with an asterisk.

01 November 2016

Suggested Reading: Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month. As with other heritage months, Native heritage should be celebrated year round, and here are some books to encourage that celebration. When the author or illustrator is Native, I have included the tribal affiliation.

Picture Books

Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom
written by Tim Tingle (Choctaw)
illustrated by Jeanne Rorex Bridges (Cherokee)

Proud to Be Inuvialuit / Quviahuktunga Inuvialuugama
written by James Pokiak (Inuvialuit) and Mindy Willett
photographs by Tessa Macintosh

The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood
written by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve (Lakota)
illustrated by Ellen Beier

Chapter Books

The Birchbark House
written by Louise Erdrich (Chippewa)

Indian Shoes
written by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek)

The Night Wanderer: A Native Gothic Novel*
written by Drew Hayden Taylor (Ojibway)

Happy reading!

For the purposes of the Suggested Reading posts, chapter books refers to any books with chapters. Those that are appropriate for teens are marked with an asterisk.