Paper Things

Paper Things

I have not finished Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson.  However, I wanted to put it on people’s radar before the summer rush, especially librarians.   I’m providing the publisher’s summary of the book and highlighting a portion of the book, which speaks to me as a library professional.  Then, I’m getting back to reading the book!

“When Ari’s mother died four years ago, she had two final wishes: that Ari and her older brother, Gage, would stay together always, and that Ari would go to Carter, the middle school for gifted students. So when eigheeen-year-old Gage decided he could no longer live with their bossy guardian, Janna, Ari knew she had to go with him—even though she’d miss baking cookies with Janna and curling up to watch HGTV. What Ari didn’t realize was that Gage didn’t have an apartment yet.

And now, two months later, he still doesn’t.

He and Ari have been “couch surfing,” staying with Gage’s friend in his tiny apartment, crashing with Gage’s girlfriend and two roommates, and if necessary, sneaking into a juvenile shelter to escape the cold Maine nights. But all of this jumping around makes it hard for Ari to keep up with her schoolwork, never mind her friendships, and getting into Carter starts to seem impossible. Will Ari be forced to break one of her promises to Mama?

Told in an open, authentic voice, this nuanced story of hiding in plain sight may have listeners thinking about homelessness in a whole new way.”  (from Candlewick’s website)

The paragraph below touched me.  It’s a good reminder I don’t know where a person is coming from or the challenges they are facing when I am helping someone at work.

“I hope, hope, hope that Mrs. Gretchel is working tonight. She’s the only librarian at the Port City library who’s nice enough to look up your number on the computer if you want to take out books and you don’t have your card.  If you lose your card (which I did), you get one free replacement.  After that, if you lose your card again (which I did), you have to pay for a replacement.  It’s only fifty cents, but I don’t want to ask for it when I know that Gage, who is always worried about money, skips lunch.

Janna would say that I was irresponsible for losing my card (twice), but it’s hard to keep stuff together when you move around the way we do.  Besides, I’m pretty sure someone at Lighthouse took my replacement card when they lifted twenty-six cents from my pocket.  Twenty-six cents won’t get you much, but a library card will.  A library card can let you borrow books, an MP# player, and movies, or download materials on the computer.  But you need to have an address to get a library card, and homeless people don’t have addresses.  I just hope whoever took it needed it — or really loves books.” (p.25-26)

There’s No Such Thing as Little

No Such Thing as Little

There’s No Such Thing as Little by LeUyen Pham (with die-cut holes to peek through) – Today, an outstanding picture book arrived.  My post about it is short because I wanted to share the book right away.  The die-cut peek holes aren’t the only charming thing about this book.  Each illustration changes your perspective of what is small.  My favorite page shows why a little “i” is important.  Read the book.  You’ll understand why I love it!  Not a little.  I love it ENORMOUSLY!

Special Delivery

Special Delivery

Special Delivery by Philip Stead and illustrated by Matthew Cordell is a delightful picture book about Sadie and her attempt to send an elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine.  The journey is filled with adventure, help from others, a great big hug and a letter of thanks.  I can’t look at it without thinking about last weekend.

We visited one of my favorite places in the world. . . the farm where my dad grew up.  To get there we took an airplane, spent the night in Atlanta with cousins.  Saturday morning, we loaded up the minivan and rode for an hour on the interstate and two hours along curvy state highways. Eventually, we turned left on a dirt road.  At the first gate on the right, we stopped and opened the gate to a smaller dirt road.  We followed this road through the fields and around a curve.  Finally, arriving at ML’s Great Aunt and Great Uncle’s pond house.


I thought about writing a thank you letter to my Aunt and Uncle.  Instead, I decided to post a thank you because my Aunt follows this blog.

Dear Aunt Alice and Uncle Marion,

Thank you for providing the ideal location for a weekend ML will never forget.  From catching her first fish on a cane pole, learning to use a rod and reel, gathering flowers in the woods, making flower fairy crowns, climbing the combine and tractors, teaching family to play Apples to Apples, sleeping in a “haunted” house,  and so much more.

We appreciate you letting us host a pizza party for 10 kids and 11 adults.  I’m already cherishing the memory of ML enjoying laid back time with family on the same farm I visited as a child.

I anticipate ML will ask every year, “Remember the time we had the Easter egg hunt where the rooster on the front porch laid an egg?”  Speaking of Easter.  Is it too soon to make a reservation for next year?

We Love You!

Kerri and ML

Pond_FishingPond_FishPond_FlowersPond_Dirt RoadPond_RoosterPond_Easter Egg

Why’d They Wear That? Fashion as the Mirror of History

Why'd They Wear That

I’m often amazed with the outfits ML creates from her wardrobe.  Usually, I refrain from asking her to change clothes.  Unless, it’s 30 degrees and she’s wearing a tank top and shorts.  I’ll save the clothing arguments for later years.  Her combinations mimic her personality.  Athletic, original and full of zest.

I knew when Why’d They Wear That? Fashion as the Mirror of History by Sarah Albee arrived, ML would love it.  The text is difficult to read for a 2nd grader; but I knew she would poor over the pictures.  She did.  For the first time in a long time, she did not resist a book recommendation from me.

Today, when I dropped ML off at carpool, we were greeted by a drummer boy and a man playing a fife.  Any guesses on “Why’d they wear that?”



Basketball Books – Three Winners

Hoop GeniusLong shotHorse


In honor of the Duke Blue Devils… a team in which I have a love/hate relationship.  I loved them in the early nineties when my brother attended Duke.  In the late nineties, my allegiance changed because I enrolled in library school at UNC-Chapel Hill.  In theory, Duke is my arch enemy.  However,some of my favorite people, including ML, are fans.  With a 9:18 tip-off, I’m not telling ML the NCAA championship game is tonight.  As a mother, I would like Duke to win.  My grumpy, non-morning person child would actually smile before I dropped her at school.  As a Tarheel, I hope Wisconsin wins by twenty-five.  Either way, I’m content.

Here’s a few books about basketball.  Each one is deserving of a championship title.

Hoop Genius:  How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball by John Coy and illustrations by Joe Morse – Don’t miss this illustrated, non-fiction book.  It chronicles the beginnings of basketball through simple text and historically accurate illustrations.  Compare the clothing throughout the book with the last illustration in the book.   A unique and refreshing approach for teaching the history of basketball.

Long Shot: Never Too Small To Dream Big by Chris Paul and illustrated by Frank Morrison – An autobiographical picture book by NBA star Chris Paul.  Picture books written by celebrities are usually disappointing; but this one is a slam dunk.  The story is well written and the illustrations highlight the anxiety of basketball tryouts and the elation when one makes the team.

H.O.R.S.E.  A Game of Basketball and Imagination by Christopher Myers – This book reminds me of the many times my brother and I played H.O.R.S.E in our driveway as children.  The players in this book are more creative in their shots; but the trash talk is similar to what you would have found at our house in the eighties.  As always, Christopher Myers illustrations are out of this world.