Welcome to the January 2018 edition of An Open Book, hosted both at My Scribbler’s Heart AND CatholicMom.com!
After a recent overnight trip to Washington, DC with our family, my husband picked up Star Spangled Banner: The Unlikely Story of America’s National Anthem by Marc Ferris. His interest was piqued by our visit to the Smithsonian Museum of American History, where the original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key is on display. Not as moving as the display at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, but close. We’re looking forward to learning more about our anthem’s history.
On the way to and from Washington, DC, I listened to Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander. I loved this historical Christian romance set during the Civil War in Tennessee. The narration was extremely well done, in my opinion, and I was immediately drawn into this story of a pregnant widow in dire financial straits and an injured Confederate sharp shooter. Easily the best Christmas book I’ve read/listened to this season.
While waiting for hotel staff to resolve our overflowing toilet issue in the hotel room, I was able to finish Charming the Troublemaker by Pepper Basham. I enjoyed this second book in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series set in Appalachia (Virginia, to be specific) much more than the first. Both main characters, brokenhearted but independent Rainey and lonely, charming Alex are likable, but Alex’s originality steals the show. Light humor and gentle faith themes make this “kissing book” a fun, easy read.
For Christmas, we gave our oldest son Life-Changing Love by Theresa Linden, the second in the West Brothers series of Catholic teen fiction by Theresa Linden. He received Roland West, Loner for Christmas last year, and eagerly dug into this book during his Christmas break. While clumsy redhead Caitlyn graces the cover, Roland and his brothers are front and center in this book, and it’s equally enjoyable for boys and girls.
His only homework during the Christmas break is to begin reading Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton. Somehow I missed reading something this comprehensive despite majoring in Classics in college. I love that my son enjoys these classic myths.
At the recommendation of Franciscan Mom, my fourth-grader is enjoying books by Lois Lenski. She zipped through Strawberry Girl, and is currently reading Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison. This Newbery Award-winner recounts the true story of a young girl captured and raised among the Seneca Indians. My daughter is captivated.
The other book open next to “her” side of the loveseat is a Christmas gift: The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia T. Toney. She’s told me twice so far what a good book it is. On a southern strawberry farm in 1925, young Sal and his Italian immigrant family must discern when to be silent and when to speak up in defense of his father as they become embroiled in a case of bootlegging and police corruption.
My new reader borrowed Christmas with Morris and Boris by Bernard Wiseman from the school library. We have a collection of Morris the Moose stories that all of my children have loved. Listening to a beginning reader can be tedious, and the humor of Morris makes the task more pleasant.
I’ve also introduced her to Henry and Mudge through Henry and Mudge and the Bedtime Thumps by Cynthia Rylant. This series about a boy and his HUGE (but not Clifford-sized) dog is also fun for new readers and their families. I love Cynthia Rylant’s writing for children.
My youngest child received a copy of The Monks’ Daily Bread by Sylvia Dorham. This simple rhyming book, delightfully illustrated, follows the monks through their daily routine when the cupboards are bare, and they must rely on God’s providence for their dinner. A great read-aloud book that children will long remember and treasure.
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