Written in Bone by Sally M. Walker

Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland by Sally M. Walker (Carolrhoda, 2009) is about what we can learn about a few early American settlers from their bones and burial. It is both a lesson in very early American history as well as a scientific exploration of forensic anthropology. Since I’m studying Jamestown this week with my son and since I’m a big fan of the television show Bones for it’s insight into forensic anthropology, I really enjoyed Written in Bone. Walker approaches her subject with obvious passion, clear language, and well done scientific explanations, all for a young adult audience. She teaches without belittling her audience, a difficult task to do when she’s writing for youth as young as 12 and as old as any adult.Continue Reading

(Cybils 2012) Family, Friends, Home, and Neighborhood

It has been another delightful week of Cybils’ reading. This week’s list of books all tend toward family relationships, friendship, or community place, including Zebra putting on an alphabet show with his friends (Z is for Moose), a boy adopting a penguin (One Cool Friend), a bear from a book looking for friends and a place to live (Otto the Book Bear), siblings learning to get along (Chloe, Instead), and one girl’s ability to bring warmth to her community when she finds a never-ending box of yarn (Extra Yarn).

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Read-Aloud Poems, edited by Glorya Hale

I love good poetry anthologies for children or adults, and Read-Aloud Poems, edited by Glorya Hale (Black Dog and Levanthal, 2012) is a nice selection of poetry both classic and modern poems that parents and children can enjoy together. Raisin and I read a few poems each day for about a month, and he enjoyed them, as did I. I was impressed by the variety of types of poetry were represented in the volume, from Lewis Carroll to Shel Silverstein to Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.

The book is organized by general subject: poems that tell stories, poems about family, poems to think about. The only poems Raisin did not like were some of the longer poems that told a story: given his young age (he’s only 5), I don’t blame him. When poems go on longer than two pages, they are hard to follow. In general, though, the volume was fun to read through. Although no one poem stands out at the end of our reading together, I do recall a number of times silly poems made him laugh or he commented on concepts addressed in the poem.  We certainly enjoyed reading through the collection of poems in Read-Aloud Poems.

Note: I read a digital copy of Read-Aloud Poems courtesy of the publisher via netgalley.com

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Edna Pontellier is a 29-year-old mother of two in late nineteenth century Louisiana. As befits a woman in her station, she has maids to clean, cooks to prepare her food, and a nanny to care for her young ones. As Kate Chopin’s novella The Awakening (published 1889) begins, she is spending her summer vacation at a lake, where she begins to see her husband’s treatment of her, her pointless “proper” behavior, and especially her own sexual identity in a new light. For the first time, she recognizes herself as more than the superficial image her era dictates her to be. As she develops a friendship with a young man, Robert, Edna becomes awakened to her own limitless possibilities for self-determination.

At once both a feminist tale and a sexual awakening story, The Awakening delves into the complex emotions of a woman searching for herself. Edna searches for ever-elusive happiness, and when society fails to meet her in her newly discovered self, she abandons the social mores and traditions for her self. Although The Awakening is short, I found it to be an intriguing look into society of the late nineteenth century American middle class, as well as a story that may unfortunately be all too resonant to women today.Continue Reading