28 April 2017

Books I Love: Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables
L.M. Montgomery
I first read this book
summer after my junior year of high school, 1993

I will admit that I didn't read this book until after I had seen the Kevin Sullivan television movies with Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie. I adored those movies. My grandmother and I borrowed them from a friend, and we watched both of them in one day. Then I watched the first one again!

Needless to say, I needed to read the book.

Fortunately, the same friend who had the movies also had the entire series in paperback. I borrowed all of them, and read them one after the other in about a month.

I love the entire series, but Anne of Green Gables is my favorite. I adore that spunky little redhead and all her misadventures.

I also find myself drawn in by the descriptions the Montgomery uses. To me, they're beautiful. Maybe too effusive, but I don't mind. Prince Edward Island was such a long way from my small-town Texas home that I needed those somewhat flowery passages to fully appreciate the beauty of Anne's world.

I loved Anne so much I had to share her with my best friend. We watched the movies, and she read the books, too. We even wrote letters to each other as Anne (me) and Diana (her). My grandmother became Marilla.

The next summer I was cast in a local production of Anne of Green Gables at the Gaslight Theatre. I got to play Mrs. Rachel Lynde, and the whole experience of that show was such a delight--terrific cast, amazing crew, wonderful director, fantastic audiences.

I'm enjoying my cordial.
photo by Mom
In 2008, I was able to visit Prince Edward Island and see the "real" Green Gables. I walked through the Haunted Wood and drank raspberry cordial. I strolled down Lovers' Lane and cried from happiness.

And that raspberry cordial? It was delicious! I bought two more bottles to share with another kindred spirit and shipped them home wrapped tightly in bubble wrap. I'm pleased to say they made it all the way back to Texas intact. Sharing that drink with a kindred spirit at her apartment was one of the best moments.

Anne of Green Gables has turned strangers into friends and truly changed my life. It is my absolute favorite children's book.

22 April 2017

22 Books About the Environment #resist

Journey Into the Arctic
written by Bryan and Cherry Alexander

Koala Hospital
written by Suzi Eszterhas

Kyle Goes Alone
written by Jan Thornhill, illustrated by Ashley Barron

Life In the Boreal Forest
written by Brenda Z. Guiberson, illustrated by Gennady Spirin

The Lorax
written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss

M Is for Majestic: A National Parks Alphabet
written by David Domeniconi, illustrated by Pamela Carroll

A Man for All Seasons: The Life of George Washington Carver
written by Stephen Krensky, illustrated by Wil Clay

Manfish: The Story of Jacques Cousteau
written by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Éric Puybaret

Me ... Jane
written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell

Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed America
written by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by Joy Fisher Hein

Moon Bear
written by Brenda Z. Guiberson, illustrated by Ed Young

The Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of the Oceans
written by Elizabeth Rusch

On the Way to the Beach
written and illustrated by Henry Cole

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia
written by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

Our World of Water: Children and Water Around the World
written by Beatrice Hollyer

Rachel: The Story of Rachel Carson
written by Amy Ehrlich, illustrated by Wendell Minor

Actual Size
written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Aliens From Earth: When Animals and Plants Invade Other Ecosystems
written by Mary Batten, illustrated by Beverly J. Doyle

All the Water In the World
written by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Katherine Tillotson

All the Wild Wonders: Poems of Our Earth
edited by Wendy Cooling, illustrated by Piet Grobler

Animals Hibernating: How Animals Survive Extreme Conditions
written by Pamela Hickman, illustrated by Pat Stephens

Anna's Table
written by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Taia Morley

20 April 2017

The Buffalo In the Campground

This is not the buffalo in the campground. This bison was seen many years
later along a trail. I slowly backed away after taking some pictures.
photo by Sara K Joiner
In 1987, my mother, my niece and I took another long summer road trip through the western United States. We again spent most of the trip camping in state and national parks. One of the more memorable evenings I've ever spent in a national park was on this trip.

It was dusk, and Mom stood by the picnic table boiling water on our little Coleman stove to make hot chocolate. It wasn't a cold evening--being late June--but it was cooler than us Texans were used to at that time of year.

My niece and I sat in the rear of the van with the back doors open drinking our hot chocolates. We must have been deep in the conversation of ten-year-olds because we weren't too aware of our surroundings at that moment.

Until we heard an angry shuffling noise nearby.

All three of us raised our heads and looked toward the back of our campsite. I don't know what I was expecting to see, but I was shocked to my core by what I did—an enormous buffalo the size of the boulder he stood beside.

And he was mad!

I don't know if he was mad at us specifically or campers in general. I don't know if he was mad because he had gotten lost from the rest of the herd. I don't know why he was mad; I only know he was.

He pawed the ground with a sharp, furious motion. He snorted.

Mom, who stood closer to the buffalo than my niece and me, said, "Girls, don't move."

As if we could. We were frozen in fear.

Time stretched out between the three of us and the buffalo.

Then, as if cued by some sound on he could hear, he charged!

Mom grabbed her hot chocolate and scurried over to us at the van.

The buffalo ran past the picnic table, across the drive of the neighboring campsite, and off away from the noise of the campgrounds.

Mom asked if we were all right, which we were except for the serious heart palpitations.

I don't remember other campers being nearby (no one was in the neighboring site he crossed), and I don't recall hearing any yells in the distance. Maybe I was too scared to register any other noises. Surely he had to come across other campers before he moved away from the campground.

Years later I learned that buffalo have poor eyesight, so we were even more fortunate. That's probably why he swerved across to the neighboring site from the picnic table.

Every trip back to Yellowstone, Mom and I talk about that buffalo. I hope he was able to reunite with the herd.

18 April 2017

18 Books About the American Revolution

Gingerbread for Liberty! How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution
written by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch

Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution
written by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

King George: What Was His Problem? Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About the American Revolution
written by Steve Sheinkin, illustrated by Tim Robinson

Liberty or Death: The Surprising Story of Runaway Slaves Who Sided with the British During the American Revolution
written by Margaret Whitman Blair

The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Bravery
written by Steve Sheinkin

Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution
written by Avi

The Declaration of Independence
written by Thomas Jefferson, illustrated by Sam Fink

Revolutionary Friends: General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette
written by Selene Castrovilla, illustrated by Drazen Kozjan

The Revolutionary John Adams
written and illustrated by Cheryl Harness

Thomas Paine: Crusader for Liberty
written by Albert Marrin

Founding Fathers: Those Horse-ridin', Fiddle-playin', Book-readin', Gun-totin' Gentlemen Who Started America
written by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Barry Blitt

Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies
written by Cokie Roberts, illustrated by Diana Goode

Those Rebels, John and Tom
written by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham

Unite or Die: How Thirteen States Became a Nation
written by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Jef Czekaj

Alexander Hamilton
written by Brenda Haugen

B. Franklin, Printer
written by David Adler

Farmer George Plants a Nation
written by Peggy Thomas, illustrated by Layne Johnson

John, Paul, George and Ben
written and illustrated by Lane Smith

16 April 2017

16 Books About Rabbits

10 Hungry Rabbits: Counting and Color Concepts
written and illustrated by Anita Lobel

All Aboard
written by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Amiko Hirao

Bad Hare Day
written by Miriam Moss, illustrated by Lynne Chapman

Battle Bunny
written by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, illustrated by Matthew Myers

Bear and Bunny
written by Daniel Pinkwater, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

Bear and Hare Go Fishing
written and illustrated by Emily Gravett

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake
written by Michael B. Kaplan, illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch

Big Mean Mike
written by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Scott Magoon

Bing: Get Dressed
written and illustrated by Ted Dewan

Blossom and Boo Stay Up Late: A Story About Bedtime
written and illustrated by Dawn Apperley

 Bunny Day
written by Rick Walton, illustrated by Paige Miglio

The Cabbage Soup Solution
written and illustrated by Erika Oller

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake
written by Robin Newman, illustrated by Deborah Zemke

Chukfi Rabbit's Big Bad Bellyache: A Trickster Tale
written by Greg Rodgers, illustrated by Leslie Stall Widener

Cowboy Bunnies
written by Christine Loomis, illustrated by Ora Eitan

written by Sue Williams, illustrated by Kerry Argent

10 April 2017

12 Books About Refugees #resist

Alive In the Killing Fields: Surviving the Khmer Rouge Genocide
written by Nawuth Keat with Martha E. Kendall

Brothers In Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan
written by Mary Williams, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

The Color of Home
written by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Karin Littlewood

written by Miriam Halahmy

Kiki and Jacques
written by Susan Ross

A Long Walk to Water: A Novel
written by Linda Sue Park

Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush's Incredible Journey
written by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes, illustrated by Sue Cornelison

Oskar and the Eight Blessings
written by Richard and Tanya Simon, illustrated by Mark Siegal

The Red Pencil
written by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Rescuing the Children: The Story of the Kindertransport
written by Deborah Hodge

Salt To the Sea: A Novel
written by Ruta Sepetys

Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey
written by Margriet Ruurs, illustrated by Nizar Ali Badr

01 April 2017

1 Silly Book for April Fool's Day

It's April Fool's Day, so enjoy this silly book.

I Was So Silly! Big Kids Remember Being Little
written by Marci Curtis