After a relaxing and restful 2 week Spring Break, we jumped right back in to the thick of things today. The great thing about Spring Break, other than that it's a break from the day-to-day busy-ness, is that I have time to power through some longer reads that otherwise take me forever to get through. So this edition of #IMWAYR is dedicated to some of the bigger books I read over the past 2 weeks, with a few picture books thrown in for good measure.
The Joy Of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World (Christina Crook) - Full disclosure: this book is written by a friend of mine. If it weren't however, I might still have come across it as it is getting some pretty major press exposure these days (NY Times, CTV Morning News, CBC, Psychology Today - wow!). The book explores our complex and often addictive relationship with technology, an exploration driven by Crook's 30-day internet fast (chronicled at Letters from a Luddite). At once well-researched and intimate, Crook's book exhorts us to put down our phones, tablets and computers and reconnect with the people that really matter - those immediately around us. She encourages us to slow down, to live in the moment, to take the time to see and feel and listen, to be present. This book is one of a growing number of books, blogs and websites that focus on the idea of living in the now and is well worth the read.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Cheryl Strayed) - Although Wild bears no similarity to JOMO in writing style or subject matter, it nonetheless focuses on the same idea - getting the heck out of Dodge (literally or figuratively) in order to find "rest, stillness and attentiveness" (JOMO). Unlike JOMO, this is not a researched piece of writing; it is a painful, funny, intimate memoir of someone who was headed right off the rails and rescued themselves in a drastic and rash manner. More Eat, Pray, Love than Hands-Free Mama, Wild was a great beach read.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie) - This book lived up to everything I had read about it - wonderful, depressing, maddening, hopeful. The tone in which the book is written is light, belying the tragedies that come fast and furious throughout. While reading it, I could not but help thinking of some of the families that we encounter in our teaching lives and the tough row they have to hoe. Definitely a great read for high school but some of the themes are probably a bit too mature for middle school.
Tilly the Trickster (Molly Shannon) - Another book purchased because we were going to see the play, Tilly the Trickster is perfect for April Fool's Day! Tilly loves to play tricks, most of which are harmless fun. But as her tricks begin to adversely affect more and more people around, Tilly begins to question whether or not they are such a great idea. The only thing that I don't love about this book is the ending but it could lead to some great discussions about how our actions affect other people and what we should do about that.
Stranded (Jeff Probst & Chris Tebbets) - Playing on the success of the Survivor TV show, this series follows 4 kids stranded on a deserted island. A fun read for 7-12 year olds who love adventure books and are looking for an easier read than Rick Riordan or Gordon Korman. This one gets high marks from Kristi's son!
Once again, I didn't get this out on a Monday but I did it and I appreciate everyone who let me know that they're happy I'm doing it even if it doesn't happen exactly on Monday! Hope you had or are looking forward to a wonderful, restful spring break!
One of my favourite things about Christmas is the fresh new stack of books that I know will be waiting for me under the tree. I wait in delicious anticipation for the moment that I get to unwrap the adventures that await me over the course of the next year (or at least until my birthday!). To me a book is one of the most thoughtful and personal gifts you can give; knowing that the giver spent time perusing the multitude of books to find just the right one makes me deeply happy. In turn, I love choosing just the right book for each person on my list, considering their interests, reading styles and so much more to find the one that fits. If all I gave and all I got for Christmas were books (and love, lots of love), I would be one happy mama!
Since it's not always easy to sift through all of the options available, we thought we would bring you our 2014 Book Giving Guide. We hope it helps you find just the right book for each person on your list!
I am Malala (Young Readers Edition) - Malala Yousafzai, Patricia McCormick. A very well crafted account of the life & work of Malala Yousafzai, 17 year old winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. A must-read for all kids who are even remotely interested in social justice issues and world events. 9-15 years old.
The Seven Realms Series - Cinda Williams Chima. Looking for a new series for the fantasy fan on your list? Look no further - The Seven Realms Series is perfect! Magic, royalty and adventure blend together in to a wonderful read. 12-17 years old.
The Book With No Pictures - BJ Novak. Looking for something that is just plain fun? You can't beat this book for it's silly, completely ridiculous, giggle inducing text. We will be buying one for all the kids on our list! 3-9 years old
Press Here - Herve Tullet . This book is whimsical and fun for kids of all ages. Consider pairing it with the latest from the same author - Mix It Up. 3-5 years old
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site - Sherri Duskey Rinker. For the younger readers on your list, this book is a wonderful bedtime read. The rhyming text leads you through the process of putting all the big machines at the construction site to bed in a peaceful, soothing manner. One of my youngest daughter's favourites. 3-5 years old
My Brave Year of Firsts - Jamie Lee Curtis. If you have a child on your gift list who is in kindergarten or grade one, this book is a fabulous choice. Chock-full of connections for all those firsts they run in to in those early years. 4-9 years old.
Rosie Revere, Engineer; Iggy Peck, Architect - Andrea Beaty. Love, love, love these books! The rhyme scheme is fun and the message of perserverance and passion (not to mention women in STEM!) is fantastic! 3-9 years old
The Most Magnificent Thing - Ashley Spires. Another great choice for the budding engineer on your list, with a powerful message of perserverance and success. 3-9 years old
What Does it Mean to Be Present - Rana DiOrio. An amazing present for both adults and children alike. In our busy world it reminds us what it means to enjoy where we are and take every moment as a gift! 5-10 years old
Ish - Peter H. Reynolds. A great little book which teaches us that its ok to try and be "ish". Peter Reynolds does an amazing job of teaching the power of our words. A great book for teaching inference or just a cute read. 3-9 years old
The Way I Feel - Janan Cain. This book is a great one for young kids and is especially helpful for parents looking to help kids identify and deal with some of their big emotions. The bright, colourful drawings draw kids in and the words open the door to bigger conversations about feelings. 3-9 years old
Tap the Magic Tree - Christie Matheson. A fun, interactive book that needs to be shaken, wiggled and touched! Great fun for little ones! 3-5 years old
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all!
I'm Bryn, teacher, mom, book lover, athlete. I am passionate about living life with my family, teaching and learning something new all the time. I hope you find something that speaks to you here on my blog and would love to hear from you too!