Thursday, January 3, 2013

Holiday Reading

I love holidays for a variety of reasons: spending time with family, catching up on rest AND the time it gives me to read!!  This past week, I have been spending a lot (just ask my husband!) of time reading!  I finished my Goodreads Reading Challenge just in the nick of time (on December 31st!!) by reading a few new picture books I had brought home from school.  Here are some of the books I have enjoyed this week:

Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team
by Audrey Vernick and Steven Salerno 

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this book and learning about the Acerra family.  I've had this in my library for a few months and had seen talk of it through my Twitter PLN, so it was one I packed up to read during the holidays.  It is an easy to read book about this amazing family that consisted of 12 boys and four girls.  With 12 boys, who all loved playing baseball, it was a natural fit for them to form a baseball team.  I love reading a book and learning something new.  I didn't know that there were several family teams playing baseball around this same time.  Not only were the brothers great athletes, they also demonstrated good character.  Six of the brothers fought in World War II, and all six came back home.  This book is sure to be a favorite with baseball lovers, but is an enjoyable read for anyone!

Visit the Author's Website for more information about this remarkable family!

Twelve Kinds of Ice
 by Ellen Bryan Obed and Illustrated by Barbara McClintock

 If I could pick a theme for the books that I have read, without meaning to have a theme, it would seem it is FAMILY, which is very appropriate for this time of year when we are surrounded by family!  Twelve Kinds of Ice is a quiet, peaceful book about the coming of winter demonstrated by the thickening of ice.  Living in Texas, this is a book that allowed me to experience winter in a much different way than what I am accustomed to, which is a gift I am taking from this book.
As the first signs of ice appears, one family prepares for another wonderful winter when they will be able to eventually create their very own ice skating rink to share with their family and friends. This is when the "Perfect Ice" has finally arrived.  The joy that this family experiences each winter, waiting through the different phases of ice, helps the reader enjoy  the simpler things in life.  This book is a wonderful example of how to really see and appreciate all that nature has to offer.

On the Road to Mr. Mineo's
by Barbara O'Connor

This is a vividly told tale about the appearance of a one-legged pigeon in a sleepy little town and how it brings interest and excitement to an otherwise boring summer. 
Stella has longed for a dog to fill the empty dog house that sits in her front yard.  When she discovers the pigeon, she is happy to make it her pet instead of a dog.  She has to convince her timid friend Gerald to help her with this quest, which sometimes proves difficult.  She also must beat all the other townsfolk who have their sites set on the one-legged pigeon. 

This was in my TBR (to be read) stack for much too long, and I wish I had read it earlier!  I can't wait to pass it on to a reader when we get back to school! 

Drawing From Memory
by Caldecott Medal Winner Allen Say

Allen Say's memoir is full of information, photographs, and illustrations which show the reader what Say experienced while working to achieve his goal of becoming an artist. What the reader takes away is that setting goals and staying true to the course, regardless of others' thoughts, is important. "Let your dear child journey" is quoted a few times in the book, something that Say first heard from his mother. Amazingly, she sent him off on his own at the young age of 12, and he persevered  This book honors those who helped Say achieve his goals. 

One of my favorite books by Say is The Lost Lake about a boy and his dad who go camping one summer.  The boy has come to visit his father for the summer, and the father is so busy with work that he spends little time with his son.  One morning he surprises his son by telling him they are going camping at a lake that he camped by as a boy.  Although there are challenges getting to the lake, the special time the father and son spend together is just what they both needed.  

Having read the memoir, I wonder if there is some personal connection to the book and the distant relationship between the father and son. 

During this week I have read several other picture books and chapter books, and then finally I decided to make my goals for the new year.  I have set my reading goal for the Goodreads Challenge at 250 books (I read 150 books in 2012), with an additional goal to remember to put all of my books into Goodreads!  :)  My hope is that I will reach this goal quickly and easily and then adjust accordingly!  Happy New Year and Happy Reading!!


  1. I am going to move ON THE ROAD TO MR. MINEO'S to the top of my TBR pile...

    And thank you for your kind words about BROTHERS AT BAT!

  2. Thanks Audrey and you are very welcome! My husband loves baseball, and I enjoyed sharing new information with him! :)-Shawna

  3. I can't wait to read Brothers at Bat! Sounds like a great read! Thanks for posting all these great reviews. Hope to see you soon! Gaylene