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photo 1Earlier tonight, the Lost in a Book “team” went to another great author event at Quail Ridge Books and Music, our favorite bookstore. It’s a school night, so there isn’t much time to write in detail about the joy of listening to author Jackie Woodson read from her books and talk about her work. But since I write for a living, I know all too well that a few words are usually much better than a flood, so I think “joy” sums up the night just fine. Listening to Woodson read her books was a joy; often she was speaking them – performing them, almost – from memory.  It was music and poetry. It was a joy to see the overflow crowd, which included my girl’s language arts teacher and her friends from the Quail Ridge Books middle school book club, which met an hour before to discuss “Brown Girl Dreaming,” Woodson’s latest, which is nominated for a National Book Award. photo 2And it was a joy to share the experience with my 85-year-old mom and my 13-year-old daughter and co-blogger – three generations of book lovers, listening to book love.


Learn more about Jackie Woodson and Brown Girl Dreaming. Read the News and Observer story about her visit to Quail Ridge Books. 

Postscript: LitKid and her grandmother have both finished Brown Girl Dreaming; I’m next. LitKid will post her review soon.  



 By R.J. Palacio

August “Auggie ” Pullman has been homeschooled forever.

Until now.

He is different from other kids, because he has a facial deformity.  His doctor has called Auggie a miracle, because they weren’t sure he would survive.

His first day at Beecher Prep is a good and bad day.

He gets stared at. But he has Jack Will, a friend he met touring the school. Everything is going great. Until Halloween, when he overhears his best friend saying something mean.

The lesson Auggie learns is that you should choose the friends that are right for you. Friends that you can be yourself with. Friends that are loyal to you.

One reason I liked this book is because it conveys a message not just for kids like Auggie, but for everybody: Stand up for what you believe in.

Won’t you sign a pledge to CHOOSE KIND?


Watch the Wonder book trailer.

Learn more about R.J. Palacio.

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you should stop reading. I certainly don’t. So below I have put together my Summer Reading List & Book Wishlist.

As usual, I got a lot of great ideas looking around in the kids’ department at Quail Ridge Books the other day. Let’s hope I end up with my own copies of some of these – my birthday is coming up, after all! (update: LitKid was lucky enough to get the boldfaced titles for her birthday … she’ll have a lot of reviews to share soon.)

~ LitKid

LitKid also put our annual list of ‘fun things we could do this summer’ on a giant Post-It that’s now hanging in our hallway; be sure to note the last one on that list. (!)
(I was thinking I’d do well if I read 15 or 20 from my kid and grownup ‘to read’ stacks!)
~ AKId@Heart

LitKid’s Summer Reading List … 2012 Edition

  • Septimus Heap Series, Angie Sage
      • Flyte
      • Physik
      • Queste
      • Syren
      • Darke
  • The Popularity Papers, Amy Ignatow
  • Middle School: the Worst Years of My Life, James Patterson
  • School of Fear: Class is Not Dismissed! Gitty Daneshvari
  • The One & Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate
  • The Wednesday Wars, Gary D. Schmidt
  • The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman
  • Sent, Margaret Peterson Haddix  (2nd book in the “Missing” Trilogy)
  • The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary, Jeff Kinney
  • The Babysitter’s Club: The Summer Before, Ann M. Martin
  • Dork Diaries Series, Rachel Renee Russell
      • Tales from a NotsoFabulous Life
      • Tales from a NotsoPopular Party Girl
      • Tales from a NotsoTalented Pop Star
      • Tales from a NotsoGraceful Ice Princess
  • The Extroardinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, Trenton Lee Stewart
  • Prairie Evers, Ellen Airgood
  • Close to Famous, Joan Bauer
  • Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys
  • The Search for WondLa, Tony DiTerlizzi
  • Bigger Than a Bread Box, Laurel Snyder (Read this already, but want a copy of my own cuz it was awesome 🙂 
  • Lemonade Crime, Jacqueline Davies
  • Bliss, Kathryn Littlewood
  • The City of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau
  • Scumble, Ingrid Law
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E. L. Konigsburg

P.S. Happy Summer!!!!

P.P.S. What’s on your Summer Reading List?


LitKid dressed up as one of her favorite children’s book characters a few Halloweens ago.

… Which week do we appreciate?!

Children’s Book Week!!!!!!!!!

It’s here once again ladies and gents, and we (LitKid and AKid@Heart) have a lot in store.

One of the many things we’ll be doing this week is an interview with Laurel Snyder, author extroardinaire, who wrote Bigger Than a Bread Box.

And we’ll have a whole slue of reviews to celebrate this week.

There might even be a giveaway …!

~ LitKid (our 10-year-old book lover)

LitKid’s librarian has instigated two book club events for fifth-grade girls to pair up with an adult partner to read a book and then come together after school to discuss it. The first selection was Cynthia Lord’s Rules, and I enjoyed that book and discussion very much.

When time came a few weeks ago for us to read Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, I had deadline after deadline and time got away from me. Suddenly it was the day of the discussion, and I had barely read one chapter. Not one of my stellar parenting moments.

Then I had a crafty thought – my 83-year-old mother was visiting and recovering from a whirlwind few days (including representing the Class of 1951 in cap and gown at her alma mater’s inauguration of a new president). Could I convince her to spend her rest day reading Walk Two Moons?  Being a saintly sort of mom, she said she would give it her best shot.

By 4:30, she had read all but a few chapters, and accompanied my girl to the discussion. I sat in on it, too, so we had three generations of readers

LitKid and her LitGrandma

there; even though I could offer very little of substance to the discussion, I loved listening.

In the end, I believe my poor planning in the reading-ahead department led to a wonderful gift for my LitKid and her grandmother. What a cool thing for them to sit there together that day and talk about this wonderful story in which grandparents play such an endearing and important role for a young girl, just as my mother has for my daughter through some difficult Big Life events, including early-life medical challenges and divorce.

I will let my LitKid write the true review, telling you about the plot and characters, and I’ll just share the sort of perfect way I came to finish the book.

This past weekend, LitKid and I headed to Asheville for a visit with close friends;  I also attended an excellent SCBWI Master Class on Plot with editor Cheryl Klein of Scholastic Press/Arthur A. Levine. I was happy to find that the audiobook version of Walk Two Moons was in the car, as a road trip is the perfect setting for this story. It is among other things, a road trip tale, and beyond that, what could be better than listening to such an engagingly plotted book on the way to and from my class?

I loved the plot setup, the characters, the voices and the sense I had of going back in time to the feeling I had reading my favorite books as a child; I don’t always get that feeling reading contemporary kids’ literature, so when I do, it is special.

I can use that joking phrase “I laughed, I cried …” with complete sincerity when it comes to Walk Two Moons. Driving through the rain, I laughed out loud with my girl, who was sucked back into the story even though she had just read it a few weeks back, and at the end, the tears (of joy and sorrow) came. Without giving away any plot points, I will just say that I walked two moons in Salamanca’s shoes as a young girl, and the book had deep personal meaning for me in addition to being a memorable story well-deserving of its Newbery Medal.

If you have not read it, please put it on your list (no matter how old a kid you happen to be).



My mom was so happy to see me reading an hour after school let out for Spring Break that she snuck this photo of me in our backyard, zoned out in a book.

Today we have our smart-phones, flat-screens and game consoles, right?

Instead of planting my eyes on a screen all the time, I curl up with a good book. I love reading because it can take you on many an adventure: Rescuing a princess, a stolen ring, or perhaps repaying a favor to the Lord(s) of Death.

From my viewpoint, electronics are like unhealthy foods: bad for us. They cause our eyes to glaze over and we don’t get outside and stuff.

What draws me into a book is a thick plot: a thief has kidnapped the queen and will only let her out for 2,000,000 dollars of ransom, but the king rescues her anyways. Another thing that draws me in is good description: ‘She crept through the alley as silent as a tiger, glancing this way and that every so often to make sure nobody saw her sneaking away with the burlap bag of money.’

So all you techno geeks try to make an effort to unplug and curl up with a book. Books can take you to faraway places.  You could read for hours  and your eyes wouldn’t glaze over.

Unlike when you spend all your time playing your DS’s and watching TV.


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February 2019
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