The Mormon Tabernacle Choir by Michael Hicks

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir by Michael Hicks (University of Illinois Press, March 2015) is a biography of the choir itself. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I’ve grown up with the choir: songs during the biannual general conferences, recordings in my home. Because of my background, I was interested in learning more about the history of the choir.

I found the book to be an interesting read, although I felt a bit overwhelmed and lost at times. I don’t know why. The book clearly followed the choir chronologically from its founding to its current status. Maybe it was a lack of personality in the narrative as it covered the historical events and changing patterns of the choir. Maybe it was simply my frame of mind as I read it. I cannot say that this book was a favorite, but I feel I have a little bit better understanding of the role and significance of the choir to the Church. I am glad that I read the book.

Note: I received a digital copy of the book for review consideration.

Kid Presidents by David Stabler

Kid Presidents by David Stabler and illustrated by Doogie Horner (Quirk Books, October 2014) is a delightful picture book with stories of the presidents as kids. But it is not a typical presidential childhood book. Rather than following the presidents in chronological order, Mr Stabler has focused on the presidents’s childhood hobbies, trouble-making, and childhood jobs. The actual categories are “After-School Activities,” “Fantastic Journeys,” and “It’s Not Easy Growing Up.”Continue Reading

Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl

You know how sometimes a book reaches you at just the right time?

Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl was truly just what I needed this Thanksgiving season. It’s a memoir of growing up but it is also about food in all the little events that make up a childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood.

I was able to take a trip away from home and away from my two young kids (and my husband) for the first time, essentially, since I became a mother seven years ago. It was a much needed break.

But in the midst of the turkey and pie, I also read this gem of a book and it hit me in all the right spots. Family relationships: I can’t ruin my kids too badly. Cooking: I’m not as hopeless as I feel. Life in general: It’s a mix of all the moments, and the joys of simple memories will probably win out in the end.

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I Walked to Zion by Susan Arrington Madsen


I Walked to Zion by Susan Arrington Madsen (Deseret Book, 1994) is a delightful collection of first person accounts of Mormon pioneers who traveled across the American Great Plains to Utah from the late 1840s to 1860s. Although the volume is probably intended for adults to read, the engaging and interesting stories of the pioneers have such detail and provide interest so that even very young children would appreciate hearing the stories.Continue Reading