March is the perfect time to get excited about books — it is National Reading Awareness month, and March 2 is Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
Springtime is also a prime time to think about donating gently used hardbacks and novels to Goodwill Industries of Arkansas. Huntington Learning Center in Little Rock is making it easy and fun to donate with a Book Drive from March 3-22.
When you donate a book at Huntington, you can enter to win fun prizes from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, the Little Rock Zoo, the Wonderplace and Museum of Discovery. Simply take your books to the Huntington Learning Center located in the Pleasant Ridge Town Centre at 11525 Cantrell Rd. (You get one entry per book.)
For additional information, call Rebecca Brockman of Goodwill at (501) 372-5100 or Bryan Redditt of Huntington Learning Center at (501) 223-2626.
Maybe it is the contrarian in me, but since I was a kid if someone told me not to read something, it made me all the more interested in reading it.
Take the romance novels of my sisters’ that my mom didn’t want me to read (I was 11 or 12 and probably too young for heaving bosoms and such) so she put them in a box and hid them in the garage. Sorry mom, I’m confessing now, I found your hiding place and I would rotate out the books when you left. Two or three unread books would go under my dresser and the ones I had finished would go back in the box.
In high school, I would seek out books that had been banned. The Catcher in the Rye, A Separate Peace (which I read in 10th grade English because Lana Hampton was awesome), Brave New World, Gone With the Wind, The Great Gatsby, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Fahrenheit 451 (yup, don’t you love the irony about someone banning or censoring a book about burning books?) are all books that I just cannot imagine not experiencing. Other kids drank and did drugs — I read banned books. Yup, that is just how I roll.
The Harry Potter books, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Streetcar Named Desire, The Color Purple, Beloved, Where the Wild Things Are, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Hunger Games trilogy, The Red Badge of Courage, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, the list goes on and on.
So this week, read a banned book. Read a banned book to your kids. The growth you experience might just surprise (and delight) you.
According to the American Library Association, at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been challenged or banned. So you can start here for your banned book reading pleasure. The website Banned Books Week has this list of banned books that shaped America.
And while we’re at it — how about we stop banning books? Just LAST WEEK, the school board in Randolph County, N.C., voted 5-2 to ban Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Are you kidding me? One school board member called it “a hard read,” while another said he “didn’t see any literary value” in the National Book Award-winning novel. Sheesh, good books often are hard reads — it is called thinking, people!
OK, I’m climbing down off my soapbox now. I’ll pass the microphone to anyone who wants to talk banned books. What is your favorite banned book? Or on the flip side, is there a book on these lists that you agree needed to be banned?
The New York Public Library certainly thinks so. Check out this article from The Atlantic about this really cool exhibit that looks at generations of children’s literature.
Ooh, I wish I could take Alaina to see this. She would have so much fun!
I recently acquired a copy of David Carter’s 100: Lift the Flap and Learn to Count. This book, perfect for your 3-7 year old trying to master counting to 100, is filled with a brightly colored pages with different stackable flaps geared toward teaching children to count. Each page contains stackable flaps with illustrations for five consecutive numbers. I would not recommend this book for children under three. I think the flaps would be a bit too tempting for little hands not to grab and pull.
When my daughter was a little younger she loved any kind of pop-up books or books with flaps. As a ten-year-old, she still enjoys thumbing through these books, but would rather have a mystery book with several chapters.
Book sells for $12.92 from Amazon and will make a wonderful and educational gift.
- Moody Mom
You might be looking at the title of his post and saying, “Say what?”
See, last night I read Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan. In it, she tells of her experience with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. I couldn’t help but see some similarities between her journey and mine.
First of all, we are both journalists — I’m an editor for the Democrat-Gazette, she is a reporter for the New York Post.
Our noticeable health problems started with a migraine, then a seizure. While her neurologist thought her seizures were from alcohol withdrawal, the neuros at the hospital thought I was suffering from viral meningitis. We were both initially prescribed Keppra as an anti-seizure drug. We both experienced pins and needles in our hands.
That is pretty much where the similarities ended though — thankfully.
She goes from that into total madness. Paranoia, hallucinations, manic episodes, depression, slurred speech, difficulty walking, loss of the ability to read or write — by the time she is diagnosed (in her third or fourth week of hospitalization) she is probably days from death. In order to confirm the diagnosis, she had to have a brain biopsy.
Once she is diagnosed, the treatment starts — and she is one of the lucky ones who responds to it. But she has a long road back to normalcy and to reclaiming her identity — what made her her. During her month of madness (and for quite some time afterwards) her loved ones wondered if she was still there. They would see glimpses of the person she was, but she couldn’t escape the prison that her brain had made of her body.
The author goes through some seriously scary stuff. And like MS, anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis is at its core brain inflammation. Our immune systems go haywire and start attacking our brains. In my case, lesions form. In hers, the entire right hemisphere of her brain was on fire, as the doctor put it.
Just wow. I have to say that after reading Brain on Fire, I’m feeling better about my new brain lesion. It still sucks, don’t get me wrong, but it could be worse. I’m still me — and that matters a lot.
So if your kids are like mine and simply can’t get enough of hapless or nerdy book characters, well … the new arrivals are a’comin’.
The first one you’ll see for sale is Big Nate: Genius Mode, which will be released on May 7.
For lovers of the Dork Diaries series, look for Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker on June 4.
And, of course, the one that is awaited most anxiously by my son: The next installment of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It will be released on Nov. 5.
Enjoyment of the storybook version, released in time for the original recording’s 50th anniversary, hinges partly on those preconceived views of the song. (Though I’d heard the song countless times growing up, I had managed to avoid developing strong feelings about it either way.)
Moody Mom here.
I was given a copy of I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont to review for Little Rock Mamas.
Upon opening the package, my ten-year-old daughter immediately started laughing.
“Mom, my art teacher has a copy of that book and it is so funny,” squealed Rebecca. “This little girl, or little boy, loves to paint. She loves to paint so much she decides to paint on the everything in the house,” Bear explains.
“Her mom caught her painting on the walls and took the kids paint away,” Bear continued.
“Now here’s the funny part. She finds her paint in the closet and makes up funny rhymes as she paints all over herself,” Rebecca said as she giggled with delight.
“Seems like you read this book before,” I replied.
“Oh yes, and I love it,” Bear responds as she snatches the book out of my hand and headed to her room.
Finally, I retrieve the book and decided to take a look at it.
Sure enough, it was just as Bear had explained. In fact, the words were kind of like a song that gets stuck in your head all day.
The illustrations in the book were just as cute as the words.
Suggested retail price is $11.99 and it is worth every penny.
Moody Mom here.
Lucky Mama here. For those of you who are regular readers of Book Nook or my blog, you might remember my love of Lela Davidson’s first book, Blacklisted from the PTA. Lela is an awesome lady and an Arkansas Woman Blogger to boot — she lives in Northwest Arkansas.
Starting today (Thursday) and running through the weekend, you can get Money, Murder, & Marriage: A Slightly Skewed Celebration of Love for free on your Kindle! Go here for this awesome deal.
If you haven’t picked up any of Lela’s books yet, and you want to know why she makes me fall on the floor laughing, this is your chance. Money, Murder, & Marriage: A Slightly Skewed Celebration of Love contains an essay from Blacklisted, an essay from her new book, Who Peed on my Yoga Mat?, and a new essay that has never been published before. Ooh-la-la.