grace and books

A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart. ~Author Unknown


She is in 10th grade and cheerfully talks about leaving right after High School.  

She wants to be in the military or go to Colorado for college.

Inside, my heart aches but I believe in letting the children go their own way, giving them freedom to make life plans.

In the meantime, my heart cherishes every moment with her.

On Saturday night, just the two of us went to Barnes and Noble to sit and read, sip chai tea, and journal.


After wandering the bookshelves, I joined her at a little round table to look through the stack of books I picked out.

1) By the Book was interesting because in each chapter, a different literary person is asked several questions about books– their favorite book, what they are currently reading, what book they couldn’t finish, and so on.  I wrote down a few books that looked interesting.  2)  I find the story of Chris McCandless fascinating, so I thought I would browse his sister’s new book, The Wild Truth, which gave her own perspective of the tragic events.   All in all, I wasn’t interested in reading it in depth because it was more about her own life, rather than her brother’s.  3) Delicious Probiotic Drinks was great, and a book I will purchase through amazon.  4) A Room of One’s Own will be a book I borrow from the library.  5) Portraits and Profiles was a photography book with essays, well written and interesting.

“Whenever I read a passage that moves me, I transcribe it in my diary, hoping my fingers might learn what excellence feels like.”  David Sedaris, in By the Book.

“I like nonfiction books about people with wretched lives.”  David Sedaris

“…she is joyously healthy and undoubtedly eats an apple a day….”  Cecil Beaton, in Portraits and Profiles, writing of Katherine Hepburn


Eventually, we left our little table and went over to the children’s section to sit on the floor.  We sat for quite a while, enjoying each other’s company and the wonderful new books we discovered.  Grace especially enjoyed Nuts to You, and kept reading me parts from it while laughing.  The Dark, by Lemony Snicket, was adorable.  The Squirrel’s Birthday and other Parties by Toon Tellegen, was a darling new discovery for me,  a book that was written over 25 years ago by a Dutch father who told the stories to his daughter as she was growing up.  He eventually wrote them all down and it has become a beloved book comparable to Winnie the Pooh.  Wainscott Weasel was about a weasel in love with a fish.  Can you even imagine?  Mean Margaret contains a story with animals that talk, and a terrible toddler from a family with nine children.  It made me chuckle.  Mister Max was written by a favorite author of mine, Cynthia Voigt.  Roland Smith is a favorite author of Jacob, Ethan, and Grace.  He has written a couple of series of books that they liked very much.  It is sad that the boys have grown up in the midst of the series and have lost interest in how things are going for the characters in the books.  Mutation and Alcatraz are two latest books in those series.  Grace and I had a discussion about how “you are never too old to read a children’s book.”  And I thought of C.S. Lewis, who explained it so much better:

“Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”  CS Lewis

One of the wonderful blessings of having children of all ages is that you are compelled to keep reading books for all ages.


After filling up our minds with books, we meandered over to Moes and filled up our tummies with nachos.

Talking all the way, my Gracie-girl and me.


book recommendations for kids, from a 14 year old avid reader


My daughter Grace has stacks of books in her room and I thought it would be fun to ask her to chose some of them as a recommendation to my blogging friends (and their children).   She is a very experienced reader and is also a writer.

I took pictures of her copies of the books and then asked her to tell me about them.  I typed down what she said.  Enjoy!


GRACE’S BOOK PICKS (more posts like this to come, as she has more that she wants to share with you.)

By the way, she has read them all more than once.



The Underneath, by Kathi Appelt

It’s a story about a cat.  The cat becomes friends with a dog and when the cat has kittens the dog and the cat raise the kittens together.  The owner of the dog was abusive and when one of the kittens goes out from underneath the porch he tried to drown it.  The mother cat saves it’s life, but in doing so she drowns, poor thing.  The book also includes many other animals, and told from the perspective of many different characters in the book.  The book is very well written and it’s a story about love and sacrifice.  If you are kind hearted will love this book.   I don’t think anyone who isn’t kind hearted would read books, but that’s just my opinion.  If you like animals you will like this book.  I did my first book report ever on this book, the summer I was about to go to public school for the first time.


The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, by Julia Andrews Edwards

This book reminds me of the Narnia books.  There are three children and they go to visit the zoo.  When they are at the zoo they meet a strange old man.  This man introduces them to the land of the Whangdoodle, which probably has a different name but I don’t remember it.  He tells the children about this place because children have very good imaginations and they will believe almost anything.  To visit this land you need to use your imagination.  I got this book from Ethan and it was given to him by Mom and Dad, Jacob also read it.  I liked this book.  (laughs)  The younger girl, Lindy, reminds me of Lucy (from Narnia) who reminded me of myself.  And the two other boys, Ben and Tom, reminded me of Jacob and Ethan.  Our mother told us that she got this book for us because she said that we all had great imaginations and we would all be able to picture the great Whangdoodle in our minds.  (“did I really say this?”  “yes, you did”)  And because of this, we all attempted to draw it.  




The Fledgling, by Jane Langton

This story is about a girl named Georgie who claims she can remember being able to fly.   She tries to fly again but this doesn’t work very well, (laughs), poor Georgie.  No one in her family will believe her, and she meets a goose.  This goose is a goose prince, he teaches her how to fly.  I liked this book, I remember liking it but I don’t quite remember why.

“And whenever his customers brought their children into his bank, he would open the gate that separated his desk from the windows of the tellers and stroll up to the children, beaming, and pat their heads and hand them lollipops.  Some of the children would say thank you.  They were the good children.  Others would stop up their mouths with the lollipops and stare back at him sullenly.  They were the bad ones.  And then Mr Preek’s generosity would turn sour, and he would go back to his desk in solemn scorn.”  page 42


Young Fredle, by Cynthia Voigt

This book is about mice who live in a house and then one mouse gets out of the house quite by accident and finds himself in the world.  He ends up trying to survive chickens and raccoons and countless other things, while trying to get back into the house.  When he finally does get back, he tells all of the other mice stories about what he saw outside and because of this all the mice go to live outside.  I wanted to read this to David but that didn’t happen because he got bored.  There was a cat named Patches (we had a cat with that name once).  I liked it because it was about a mouse and I never read a book about a mouse before and he had to survive many animals that we wouldn’t think were dangerous.




Cryptid Hunters, by Roland Smith

The Cryptid Hunters is about twins named Grace and Marty who are both very smart.  Even though they are both smart, Grace is obviously smarter.  These two children are at a boarding school because their father is an explorer (I think).  Their mother was a photographer.  One day in school the twins are called down to the principal’s office and told that their parents were in a car crash and didn’t survive.  They go to live with their Uncle Wolfe (whom they didn’t know exsisted), who lives on an island.  He is an veterinarian and is trying to find cryptids.  Cryptids are creatures whose existence haven’t been proven, like Sasquatch.    The twins end up getting stranded in the Congo.  The main part of the story is about their adventures in the Congo.  I’ve read this book a lot.

“The turning point for the O’Hara family came when the twins were six years old.  Marty decided he wanted to catch a bear.  He and Grace dug a five foot deep pit in the back yard, covered the opening with brush, and caught their mother, who became as angry as a bear.  The twins didn’t understand why she was upset. They had not used the sharpened stakes in bottom of the pit which the instructions had called for.  (Marty wanted the bear alive for show and tell at school.)  While Mrs. O’Hara was in the hospital recovering from her injuries, she got to thinking about the direction her life had taken.  She missed her husband.  She missed her former independence.  But most of all, she missed the wild places her cameras had taken her to.  ‘If I’m going to fall in pits I might as well get paid for it’, she decided.  And soon after her release she took the twins and joined Mr. O’Hara in the field.  This did not work for very long.  Grace was afraid of everything that moved (and many things that didn’t).  Marty was afraid of nothing but ghosts, which he had only read about.  For the twins own safety the O’Haras decided that Marty and Grace should stay at home.  They hired a succession of live-in nannies to care for the children, but none of them lasted long.  One by one, these disgruntled women fled the house with hastily packed bags, shouting back at the twins’ panicky parents, ‘Your son is as wild as a hurricane, and that daughter of yours is just plain weird.'”

(I beg Grace to stop reading)

(she continues, but I stop typing)


The Fisherman, by Larry Huntsman

Dad recommended this book for me.  He told me that when he was reading it he kept thinking of me and how much I would like it.  So of course I read it.  It’s a Biblical retelling of the gospels, written in Simon Peter’s perspective about Jesus’ ministry.  I thought it was very interesting.  I’ve read it three times.



I liked it’s cover, it had a horse on it which is probably why I read it.

Tucket’s Travels, by Gary Paulsen

Francis and his family are on a wagon train when Francis gets kidnapped by Indians.  He escapes with the help of a one-armed mountain man whom he becomes good friends with.  He spends the rest of the book trying to get back to his family.  On the way he finds two children, Lottie and Billy, who’s parents  had died, so he takes them with him.  I’ve read this book a lot.  My favorite character is Lottie, because she talks a lot and never shuts up.  She talks about the most random things that pop into her head. (mom will tell you that I am like that with her, although I don’t talk like that to anyone else.  She has to listen to me and love me regardless.)   The book made me cry, it was very touching.