25 December 2017

25 Christmas Books

The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood
written by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, images by Ellen Beier

A Christmas Tapestry
written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco

Christmas Wombat
written by Jackie French, images by Bruce Whatley

Coal Country Christmas
written by Elizabeth Ferguson Brown, images by Harvey Stevenson

Coyote Christmas: A Lakota Story
written and illustrated by S.D. Nelson

Deck the Walls: A Wacky Christmas Carol
written by Erin Dealey, images by Nick Ward

Dumpy Saves Christmas
written by Julie Andrews Edwards and Emma Walton Hamilton, images by Tony Walton

Elf Help: http://www.falala.com
written by Margie Palatini, images by Mike Reed

Eloise at Christmastime
written by Kay Thompson, images by Hilary Knight

The Forgetful Bears Help Santa
written by Larry Weinberg, images by Jason Wolff

Gifts of the Heart
written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco

The Gingerbread Pirates
written by Kristin Kladstrup, images by Matt Tavares

Guess Who's Coming to Santa's for Dinner?
written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

I See Santa Everywhere
written and illustrated by Glenn McCoy

"I'm Not Santa!"
written and illustrated by Jonathan Allen

The Knights Before Christmas
written by Joan Holub, images by Scott Magoon

The Librarian's Night Before Christmas
written by David Davis, images by Jim Harris

Little Rabbit's Christmas
written and illustrated by Harry Horse

The Lump of Coal
written by Lemony Snicket, images by Brett Helquist

Madeline in America and Other Holiday Tales
written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans and John Bemelmans Marciano

Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear!
written by Don and Audrey Wood, images by Don Wood

Merry Christmas, Splat
written and illustrated by Rob Scotton

Merry Un-Christmas
written by Mike Reiss, images by David Catrow

Milly and the Macy's Parade
written by Shana Corey, images by Brett Helquist

Minerva Louise on Christmas Eve
written and illustrated by Janet Morgan Stoeke

12 December 2017

12 Books About Peace #resist

14 Cows for America
written by Carmen Agra Deedy with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah, images by Thomas Gonzalez

Can You Say Peace?
written and illustrated by Karen Katz

Gandhi: A March To the Sea
written by Alice B. McGinty,images by Thomas Gonzalez

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

Grandfather Gandhi
written by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, images by Evan Turk

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker
written by Robbie Robertson, images by David Shannon

Jubilee! One Man's Big, Bold and Very, Very Loud Celebration of Peace
written by Alicia Potter, images by Matt Tavares

A Little Peace
written by Barbara Kerley

Manneken Pis: A Simple Story of a Boy Who Peed on a War
written and illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

Nobel's Women of Peace
written by Michelle Benjamin and Maggie Mooney

Once a Shepherd
written by Glenda Millard, images by Phil Lesnie

One Peace: True Stories of Young Activists
written and illustrated by Janet Wilson

11 December 2017

11 Books About Mexico

Under the Lemon Moon
written by Edith Hope Fine, images by René King Moreno

Uno, Dos, Tres / One, Two, Three
written by Pat Mora, images by Barbara Lavallee

Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story
written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

The Ancestors Are Singing
written by Tony Johnston, images by Karen Barbour

Book Fiesta! Celebrate Children's Day / Book Day
written by Pat Mora, images by Rafael López

Cactus Soup
written by Eric A. Kimmel, images by Phil Huling

Cuckoo: A Mexican Folktale
written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Dream Carver
written by Diana Cohn, images by Amy Cordova

El Cucuy: A Bogeyman Cuento
written by Joe Hayes, images by Honorio Robledo

Elena's Serenade
written by Campbell Geeslin, images by Ana Juan

Erandi's Braids
written by Antonio Hernandez Madrigal, images by Tomie dePaola

Playing with Barbies

I had a conversation with a co-worker recently about Barbies we had as children. As the conversation turned from the dolls we had (Peaches and Cream Barbie for the win!) to the various accessories we acquired (Town House! Corvette!), we began discussing how we played with our Barbies.

She was more interested in decorating their spaces -- crafting furniture from catalog photos, using images from magazines to decorate walls, cutting down carpet samples and Contact paper for flooring.

I was more interested in telling their stories.

One of the best presents I ever got was a Barbie doll house that was made by my parents and grandparents. It was wooden and had four rooms, furniture, carpet -- everything. I got it when I was about five years old, and I loved it! Several years later I got Barbie's Town House. While the Town House was cool (it did have an elevator, after all), it did not replace my homemade doll house in my heart. Eventually, the Town House collapsed into a pile of plastic and paper. Survivors included the Barbies who must have been inside at the time and the furniture.

The homemade doll house, the Town House, and several other "houses" around my room were the settings for elaborate stories. All of my Barbies had names -- most of which came from soap operas or the TV show Five Mile Creek. Because of the names I chose for the dolls, some of their backstories came from those shows as well. I couldn't very well have my doll named Eden interested in anyone other than my doll named Cruz (fans of Santa Barbara will understand).

The names only guided me in the relationships and connections of my Barbies -- Maggie and Kate were friends; Hannah was Maggie's daughter. The stories were entirely my own. School, work, parties, swimming, working with horses -- these were all options.

Sometimes the dolls went on trips, and I would stick them in the Corvette and drive from my room through the living room, kitchen, dining area and back to my room. Sometimes the dolls went to "Europe," and I would pack up the ones I was playing with at the time along with the suitcase full of Barbie clothes (yes, a whole suitcase) and head over to my grandmother's house to play. New setting, new stories.

I know some people think of Barbies as anti-feminist, but I could not disagree more. My Barbies were outspoken, hardworking and adventurous. Through my Barbies, I could express myself in ways I was only beginning to comprehend in real life. I loved my Barbies. I still do. I wish I had all of them to this day, but I've only kept a few (and the suitcase of clothes).

Homemade Barbie doll house
destroyed by Hurricane Cat.
photo by me

As for the homemade Barbie house, I had it until 2016. It survived a move to the Houston area and to Indiana, but it did not survive one of the cats jumping onto the second floor. I won't lie; I cried when I found this. It still took about a year for me to actually haul it to the curb for trash pick-up.

The furniture, however, is still with me. And the stories live on in my imagination.

06 December 2017

6 Books About Cats

Do you really need a reason to read a book about a cat?

Puss In Cowboy Boots
written by Jan Huling, images by Phil Huling

Romeow & Drooliet: With a Wag of the Tale to William Shakespeare
written and illustrated by Nina Laden

Rupert Can Dance
written and illustrated by Jules Feiffer

That Bad, Bad Cat!
written by Claire Masurel, images by Ture Kelley


Tiptop Cat
written and illustrated by C. Roger Mader

The Twenty-five Mixtec Cats
written by Matthew Gollub, images by Leovigildo Martinez