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Review: A Boy Called Christmas

December 9, 2016

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Have you ever wondered where Santa Claus came from and how he ended up at the North Pole?  If so, you need to read A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS by Matt Haig.  Nikolas was an ordinary boy in Finland.  His mother had passed away and he and his father were poor but happy.  His father wanted a better life for Nikolas, though, so he got involved with some other men who were headed north to try to prove the elf village of Elfhelm was real.

Nikolas’s father left him with his mean old Aunt Carlotta and after several months Nikolas had had enough.  He went in search of his father and what he discovered disturbed him.  He stood up for what he believed in and the rest, as they say, is history.

A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS is a delightful book!  It’s written for middle grade readers but can be enjoyed by everyone 8 and up.  There’s enough tension to keep the story moving at a nice pace and enough humor to break up the tension from time to time.  Children will love knowing Santa Claus was once an ordinary child like them and adults will enjoy learning about Ol’ Saint Nick.  I thought this book was a treat and think it would make a wonderful holiday tradition.  Pick it up to put yourself in the Christmas spirit!

Ikid konnection new will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.

Review: The South in Color

December 8, 2016

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William Ferris started taking photographs at a young age and has been hooked ever since.  He didn’t come to the South to take pictures; he lived here, so he knows the landscape and the people.  He says,

Memory is a strange thing in the South.  Some never forget.  Some want to forget.  Others simply cannot remember.  For each, photography plays an essential role.

Ferris’s book, THE SOUTH IN COLOR is just what it sounds like –  a collection of color photographs taken in the South.  The photos are divided by category – The Farm, Portraits, Buildings, Handmade Color, and Roads Traveled and Ferris starts each section with a short introduction/explanation.  These aren’t glamour shots, they’re photos of the real people and places that populate the South.

My favorite section of THE SOUTH IN COLOR is Portraits.  Included are photos of adults and children ranging from an inmate to a watermelon vendor going about their day to day business.

This book is printed on high quality paper and the colors are vibrant.  It would make a great gift for anyone interested in the South and/or photography.

Review copy provided by The University of North Carolina Press.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

December 7, 2016

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

I haven’t been reading much these last few weeks so had to turn back to my Word-a-Day calendar.

1. diplopia – “Most cases of diplopia go away on their own, but in some instances it can be a sign of an aneurysm or other disorder of the brain.”

Diplopia is a disorder of vision in which two images of a single object are seen because of unequal action of the eye muscles — also called double vision, which is what I think I’ll stick with.

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2. meliorism – “Jane’s resolute meliorism fueled her insistence that worldwide eradication of hunger was indeed attainable within her lifetime.”

Meliorism is a noun that means the belief that the world tends to improve and that humans can aid its betterment.  I think we need more meliorism in the world!

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3. contestation – “The location of the new high school has been a recurrent item of contestation at town meetings.”

Contestation means controversy, debate.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

At the movies: The Queen of Katwe

December 6, 2016
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Based on a true story, The Queen of Katwe is the heartwarming and touching story of a young Ugandan girl with a natural ability and the coach who believed in her and the other children who lived in the slums of Katwe.

Robert Katende had recently graduated from college with a degree in engineering.  No engineering jobs were readily available, so he took a job as a soccer coach for a missionary program.  He decided to teach the children how to play chess as well and discovered a natural talent in young Phiona Mutesi.  Katende entered the children in tournaments, exposing them to a world they would never have known.  Phiona does well and changes her life forever.

With its inspiring story and terrific acting, I found The Queen of Katwe to be uplifting and moving.  Knowing it was based on a true story made it that much better.  I did find some of the chess scenes to be a little long but loved it at the end when they joined the actors with the people they were playing.  This movie is suitable for the whole family and should generate some good discussions.  It’s out of theaters now but be sure to catch it when it hits streaming services.

 

 

Mailbox Monday

December 5, 2016

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia and now hosted on its own blog.     Wow, last week just flew by.  I’m not really sure what I did with my time but I do know I didn’t spend much of it reading.  The holidays are approaching too quickly for me!  I found these goodies in my mailbox last week:

Wednesday

Friday

What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review: Mog’s Christmas

December 2, 2016

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It’s Christmas and poor Mog doesn’t know what to make of all the activity.  She’s scared and hides on the roof and nothing her family does gets her to come down.  Her family’s sad because they miss Mog and are worried about her.  When she comes crashing down the chimney, it feels like a Christmas gift.

MOG’S CHRISTMAS by Judith Kerr was first published in 1976 and it’s stood the test of time very well.  It’s the second in a series of seventeen featuring the adorable Mog, who young children will adore.  Christmas activities are starting at Mog’s house and the change in her routine is scaring her.  Her family tries to reassure her but it doesn’t help so she runs and hides, making everyone sad.  I’m happy to say that things end happily for Mog and her family.  I think a lot of young children will be able to relate to Mog’s feelings and will be reassured by the happy ending.

My copy of MOG’S CHRISTMAS came with a fun CD that contains two tracks.  The first track is an enhanced version of the story, complete with sound effects, expertly read by Geraldine McEwan and a cast and the second track is toned for a read-along.

MOG’S CHRISTMAS is a great book to get all of the members of your family into the Christmas spirit.

Ikid konnection new will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Harper Collins.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Review: The World’s Largest Man

December 1, 2016

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Here in the South, we value storytelling and don’t mind it when the storyteller exaggerates a little bit – as a matter of fact, we rather encourage it.  Harrison Scott Key‘s memoir, THE WORLD’S LARGEST MAN is a wonderful example of that southern tradition and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Key was raised in Mississippi by an asphalt salesman dad and a teacher mom.  His dad was a manly man who taught Key how to hunt and fight but Key preferred reading and grocery shopping.  The two couldn’t have been more different and their relationship was tenuous at times.  Determined to make his mark and prove how different he was from his father, Key went to college and earned degrees in English and playwriting.

Once Key married and had a family of his own, he reflected on his past and realized he’s not as different from his father as he first thought.  THE WORLD’S LARGEST MAN is the story of his journey to that realization and an homage to his father.

I laughed my way through THE WORLD’S LARGEST MAN so wasn’t surprised to learn it won the Thurber Prize for American Humor.   Key’s dialogue is spot on as is his portrayal of a certain part of the southern population.   There’s a reflective side to the book that will make readers think as well.  Pick this book up when you need a good laugh!

Review copy provided by Harper Collins.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.