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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The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi


The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi (Tundra Books, 2012; originally published in New Zealand) focuses a child’s relationship with her grandmother, who suffers from dementia. Perry is an only child, and I love how her budding relationship with Gran teaches her parents a bit about priorities, family, love, and friendship.

Perry’s parents over schedule her days, so when her mother finds a weekly lesson canceled and she struggles to find a replacement class, Perry knows just want she wants to do. She wants to visit her grandmother in her nearby nursing home each week.  Her parents are not sure: does Perry understand that Honora Lee cannot remember from day to day? Nevertheless, they allow her to go. Continue Reading

Tino and the Pomodori by Tonya Russo Hamilton

Tino and the Pomodori by Tonya Russo Hamilton (Gemelli Press, June 2014) is almost like The Little Red Hen, except the boy in the story helps all along and so he delights in the delicious treat at the end!

Tino helps his grandparents plant, irrigate, and nurture the family tomato plants that provide the livelihood for their family for the entire year. Tino is a hard worker, but he also delights in the various stages of growing the tomatoes.

Based in a small Italian village in a different era, Tino and the Pomodori teaches the reader not only about the live cycle of a tomato plant but also about what it means to work hard. Various sentences and phrases are also in Italian, giving the reader even more of a background into the life in which Tino lives and works. With colorful paintings to accompany the text, Tino and the Pomodori also makes my mouth water for good Italian bread, oil, and tomato sauce!

Note: I received a digital review copy of this book.

My Name is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada

My Name is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada (originally published 1993) is a thought-provoking story about a shy Hispanic girl growing up in the USA who finds herself in a new school. When her teacher decides to call her “Mary” instead of Maria Isabel, she misses opportunities and gets in trouble for not paying attention. In this brief collection of situations, reflections, and flashbacks, Maria Isabel’s story reflects on how important names and families are to our own personal identity.Continue Reading