Newbery Through the Decades: 1970s/June link-up

newbery through the decadesRemember how I said this is a no-stress challenge? Well, when I wrote that way back when the calendar turned from 2014 to 2015, I had no idea that we’d be moving right smack in the middle of the heatwave of 2015, or that we’d have multiple issues with the house we have purchased, most of which have prevented us from making the progress we’d normally make.  (Steady Eddie and I are both very hard workers when we have a goal, and we’ve had lots of help to get this done.  All of the problems have been outside our control.  We still haven’t even slept in the house overnight!  However, we have made significant progress in the past two days.  I expect to have the whole family moved in today or tomorrow!)  I said all that not to elicit sympathy but to say that no, I haven’t actually finished a book for the Newbery Through the Decades Challenge this month.  I’ve definitely been preoccupied with other things.  :-(  I am 2/3 of the way through the very short Knee-Knock Rise by Natalie Babbitt, but seeing as how I don’t even know where it is at the present moment, I can’t very well finish it.  If I do find it and finish it, I’ll try to come back and share my semi-coherent thoughts about it.  :-)

What about you?  Has your June been conducive to reading?  Please share!

Read Aloud Thursday–June 2015



Is that an echo I hear?


Well, I had good intentions to keep up something on my blog and, more importantly, in my actual real reading life.  Alas, moving has taken up every bit of attention and energy I have this past month or so.  And we’re still not through.  Sigh.  Oh, we’re through moving; the buyers of our previous home took up residence there this past Saturday.  We’re still working on our new home, though.  We’ll get there.  It just takes time.  :-)

So–reading aloud?  We did it with regularity up until a week (or a week and a half?) ago when we essentially moved in with my dear mother in law.  Before that we had finished The Green Ember by S.D. Smith, but I didn’t have time to share my thoughts about it before I had to turn it back in at the library (late, of course).  My girls LOVED it, especially Lulu, our resident fantasy lover.  I wasn’t sure how well the anthropomorphized rabbits of the story would be received, but my girls took to them without batting an eye.  They’re very eager to read The Black Star of Kingston, the just-released sequel to The Green Ember.  I hope we can get to it soon!

We’re actually right in the middle of Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright, and I hope we’re all cozy our new home and able to finish it up sooner rather than later.  I just adore Elizabeth Enright–she’s one of my absolute favorite children’s authors.  This book is shaping up to be a good one.  I also had a small stack of vintage picture books my boys and I enjoyed this month to share, but it came down to blogging or maintaining my sanity by returning the 40 or so library books roaming loose throughout our home among all the boxes, so I chose the latter. :-)

I hope your June has been a great one for reading aloud!  I’d love to hear all about it!

Newbery Through the Decades: The 1970s

newbery through the decadesIf you’re new to the Newbery Through the Decades Challenge, welcome!  You can read all about it and find links to the others months here.

Being a child of the 1970s myself, I’m pretty excited about this month’s challenge!  Here are the eligible titles:

1979 Medal Winner: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Honor Book:

  • The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

1978 Medal Winner: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Honor Books:

  • Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary
  • Anpao: An American Indian Odyssey by Jamake Highwater

1977 Medal Winner: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

Honor Books:

  • Abel’s Island by William Steig
  • A String in the Harp by Nancy Bond

1976 Medal Winner: The Grey King by Susan Cooper

Honor Books:

  • The Hundred Penny Box by Sharon Bell Mathis
  • Dragonwings by Laurence Yep

1975 Medal Winner: M. C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton

Honor Books:

  • Figgs & Phantoms by Ellen Raskin
  • My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier & Christopher Collier
  • The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope
  • Philip Hall Likes Me, I Reckon Maybe by Bette Greene

1974 Medal Winner: The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox

Honor Book:

  • The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper

1973 Medal Winner: Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

Honor Books:

  • Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
  • The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss
  • The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

1972 Medal Winner: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien

Honor Books:

  • Incident At Hawk’s Hill by Allan W. Eckert
  • The Planet of Junior Brown by Virginia Hamilton
  • The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin
  • Annie and the Old One by Miska Miles
  • The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

1971 Medal Winner: Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars

Honor Books:

  • Knee Knock Rise by Natalie Babbitt
  • Enchantress From the Stars by Sylvia Louise Engdahl
  • Sing Down the Moon by Scott O’Dell

1970 Medal Winner: Sounder by William H. Armstrong

Honor Books:

  • Our Eddie by Sulamith Ish-Kishor
  • The Many Ways of Seeing: An Introduction to the Pleasures of Art by Janet Gaylord Moore
  • Journey Outside by Mary Q. Steele



Although I’ve read several of these that I haven’t reviewed, obviously this month is almost wide-open for me to choose from.  We are in the process of moving right now, so in all my book packing I did save out a few 1970s titles just in case the library should fail me or I should fail to get to the library.

DSC_0100In case you can’t read the titles, that’s Dragonwings by Yep, Kneeknock Rise by Babbitt, and The Westing Game by Raskin.  Of the three, the last one is the only one I’ve read before, but I think I really enjoyed it, so I might be willing to give it another go.  However, I have an entirely different list of books that I really want to read.
I would love to read The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper, two of which are Newbery winners from the 1970s (The Dark Is Rising and The Grey King).  However, since this is a series and I would definitely want to read them in order, we’ll see what happens.

The other book I really want to read is Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.  I read the prequel to this, The Land, way back when I was an elementary librarian, and I loved it.  I’d love to read the rest of the story.  Again, we’ll see how it goes.

We are moving, after all.  :-)

What are you planning to read?  Are there any of your personal favorites on this list? Do tell!


Newbery Through the Decades: 1960s/May link-up

newbery through the decadesI’ve sort of hit the wall with my reading, but my girls and I did enjoy one Newbery honor book from the 1960s together this month as a read aloud.  We read and greatly enjoyed The Noonday Friends by Mary Stolz.  My complete thoughts (er, incomplete thoughts?  semi-complete thoughts?) are here.  I thought this was a book I remembered from childhood, but nothing about it seemed familiar after we read it, so perhaps I was remembering something else.  I noted in my review how this book was just chock-full of emotion and the deep places of familial and friend relations.  This was the first of the books I’ve read for the Newbery Through the Decades challenge that was this way, so perhaps this was something new for the 1960s.  That’s my unprofessional explanation, anyway.  :-)

I had grand intentions to read more, but it didn’t happen.  Maybe next month!  :-)  Share links to your reviews in the comments, and be sure to come back tomorrow for the start of the June Newbery party!


Read Aloud Thursday–May 2015



I have a passel of picture books to share today, ones I’ve been wanting to share for a couple of weeks now.  It’s that time thing–not enough of it!  :-)  Hang on through the picture books for more news of what the girls and I have been reading together!

There’s a Lion in My Cornflakes by Michelle Robinson is the DLM’s current number one pick.  I’ll confess that I don’t love it, but this boy seems to pick up on quirky stories at a younger age than either of my girls did.  This one is the story of two brothers who finally buy (and consume) enough cornflakes to send off for the free lion promised on the cereal box.  However, the cereal company happens to be fresh out of lions, so they’re sent a small menagerie instead.  If quirky is your thing, this one is it.  Jim Field’s illustrations are appropriately cartoonish.  (Bloomsbury, 2014)

Apparently I have a soft spot in my heart for picture books about heavy equipment.  :-)  I spotted Bulldozer’s Big Day in the new books bin and knew we had to bring it home with us from the library.  Written and illustrated by the crackerjack team of Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann, this sweet picture book is about little Bulldozer who is looking for someone with whom to share his big day. Each machine he asks answers in the negative, complete with lots of good repetition, alliteration, and just all-around good, strong diction.   In the end, though, we are very gratified to learn that everyone was busy working together on a surprise for Bulldozer’s birthday.  This book would make an excellent birthday present for your resident preschooler.  I love this one, and both the DLM and Benny are pretty fond of it, too. (Atheneum, 2015)
I’ll go ahead and admit that with this last book entitled Yard Sale, my particular affinity for it might have to do with the fact that we’re moving and therefore are trying to get rid of a few things.  (No, we are not having a yard sale.  I cannot imagine anything more torturous.  Shudder.)  Many of Eve Bunting‘s books deal with heavy issues, and this one’s no different.  Little Callie’s family is selling many of their belongings in order to move into a more affordable apartment, and the transition is hard.  What’s more, she doesn’t really understand- it all.  Why are they getting rid of her bed where she tallied with crayon marks the number of times they read Goodnight, Moon?  (Yes, why?  Sniffle.)  Finally, in the end her parents reassure her that what they really need they will still have in their new home–namely, each other.  Lauren Castillo’s ink and watercolor illustrations are beautiful.  If you’re looking for a book to ease a similar transition, this one might be it.  (Candlewick, 2015)

In addition to this short stack, we’ve read a lot of Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson over the past month.  The DLM never gets tired of that porcine wonder!  :-)  We also discovered a new-to-us anthology of nursery rhymes from around the world, and I shared this with the DLM as often as I could.

As far as novel-reading to the girls goes, we’ve finished and I’ve reviewed several since last month’s RAT:

We’re currently mesmerized by The Green Ember by S.D. Smith, and I fully expect to finish it and share my thoughts here in the next week or so.  I’m not sure where we’ll head after that.  Virtually all of our books are packed up for moving, though I did keep out a few as a safety net should the library fail us.  😉  I have considered attempting The Swiss Family Robinson as a read-aloud, too, though I’m not sure now is the time for that.

DSC_0100Let’s see, what else have I shared this month?  Oh, yes–I shared a “metacognitive note” about the DLM and one of his favorite books and a trio of new-to-us poetry books we greatly enjoyed. It has been a month of lots of reading aloud and lots of audiobooks (I’m trying to keep up with those here, down at the bottom of the page, if you’re interested).   I’d love to hear what your family has been enjoying this month!  Please, leave a comment or a link to your own RAT blog post in the comments.

Happy Read Aloud Thursday!