Thought for the Day:
“Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once.”
~ Stephen King ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Writers need words. This is just for fun. There were 650 new words added to the on-line dictionary, dictionary.com, this year. HERE is an article listing 50 of them. My favorite, in this year of a presidential campaign, is #20.
Connie J. Jasperson at Life in the Realm of Fantasy has a terrific post HERE on Character Building: Writing Subtly Positive Emotions. It is a good one.
I love reading stories set in Medieval times and often think how fun it would be to write one. Maybe someday. Anyway, I am always fascinated when I find a good post about that time period. Nicholas C. Rossis, who writes about writing and other things on his blog, sometimes runs a post about that time period. HERE is a good one.
And the beat goes on. 2020 just can’t be over soon enough to suit me. But I am doing things to try to keep my mind off all the fear that tries to derail me. One of those things is, of course, reading. I now “meet” with a group of people with whom I used to teach every week, and once a month we make that a book club meeting. This month, it was my turn to choose the book. I told them I almost exclusively read books written for kids, and they said it was fine to choose a kids’ book. There is a book I had read a few years ago that just stuck with me, and I think about it often. I didn’t remember all the details of it, but I remembered it moved me greatly, and I knew I wanted to read it again. Perfect choice. So I chose Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt. We will discuss it this week, but many have already read it and loved it. I read it yesterday. I remembered a long time ago being in the room when my daughter, in her 20s at the time, sat reading The Bridges of Madison County and sobbing, wiping her eyes, and trying to go on reading. Yup. That was me yesterday. What an incredible book. So if you are looking for a very moving book that will take you away from 2020 for a little while, I recommend this one. But that’s not the one I am featuring today.
I love books written for younger middle graders. It takes a deft hand to write these books that may make the difference between making kids become life-long readers or reluctant readers. Making reading fun for kids goes a long way to creating kids that don’t see reading as an onerous chore. Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake with charming illustrations by Jon Klassen is a book that will make kids want to run out and get more books to read. And, for classroom teachers, this would be a terrific read-aloud. Here is the review I wrote for the Manhattan Book Review.
Badger thinks his life is perfect. He lives in a big house loaned to him by his aunt. He has a room to sleep in, a kitchen to keep his cold cereal and milk in (that is all he eats), a room to keep his boxes in, and a room to do his very important rock work in. But he’s surprised when Skunk shows up and says that Aunt Lula said he could also stay in the house.
Badger is not happy, and he gets more unhappy as Skunk cooks delicious but messy food, takes over the box room, invites 100 chickens in for story hour, and then does what skunks do. It’s all too much. Badger throws Skunk out. But soon Badger realizes that he misses Skunk and the chickens and the mess. Is it too late to make things right?
Amy Timberlake has written a laugh-out-loud funny book for younger middle graders that puts a fresh spin on the old trope of learning the importance of friendship. The writing is terrific and so funny. The delightful illustrations by Jon Klassen are a nice addition to the story. Kids will love this one, as will anyone who gets hold of it.
I have a gently-read ARC for one of you. All you need do is be a follower or subscriber (it’s free!), have a U.S. address, and leave a comment below. If you would like extra chances, please share the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and let me know you have done that. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.