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books | Paradise Found

Archives for books category

Book Thief, Book Thief, Book Thief!

Good heavens, have you read this book? It is the most wonderfully, beautifully written book about a horrific time in history. Set during World War II in Germany, this story is told from the perspective of death, focusing on one memorable young girl. I read it and absolutely loved it. But then Evan read it and said, “This is my new favorite book.” That’s right folks. Harry Potter and Percy Jackson are OUT; the Book Thief is IN. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it.

Disclosure: I link to the Amazon page for the Book Thief for your convenience, using my Amazon affiliate code. If you buy the book, I might make a few cents. However, my *actual recommendation would be to save your cash and rent it at the library. I’m a cheapskate that way.

Music Session

The other night we went to a great event. Part of the ‘Ukulele and Slack Key Guitar Institute, the kani ka pila is a jam session that brings together the artists who will be teaching at the institute. The public is invited to watch the session. And players? Why they’re invited to come up on stage and play with these musicians. Of course, the professionals are plugged in, while the amateurs are not.

The lineup is a veritable who’s who of Hawai‘i’s musicians. This particular song was led by Jake Shimabukuro; you’ll see him in the center. And you’ll see him taking much time with the two young boys seated next to him. It was so wonderful to watch the way he helped those boys – and I’m sure it was a thrill for them. Jake is big here – and if you’re a Jimmy Buffet fan, you might even know of him, as he joins Jimmy in concert on occasion.

This is He Aloha No O Honolulu, from almost the beginning – via my small camera.

Feeling Bookish

As I think I mentioned in my last post, we are staying with generous friends, in a little one bedroom ‘ohana. A little guest house all our own. These friends of ours homeschool. And they love books.

They are particularly fond of classics and an amazing thing is happening. Even though I’ve been nudging my kids to read some classics, they’ve hemmed and hawed and dragged their feet about it. “They’re boring!” they told me (well, mostly Evan told me – and he’s my most avid reader). Since we arrived, we’ve been lazy and tired and haven’t made our way to the library yet. And so, my kids, the ones who have complained about reading classics over and over…have voluntarily picked out some classics from these overflowing shelves.

Brad finished The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway the other day and didn’t hate it (“lots of pondering,” he said). Evan read War of the Worlds by HG Wells and is moving on to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – and enjoying them.

Moral of the story? If you want your kids to read classics, lock them in a room full of them with no other options! ;-)

Just in Case…

…you missed it, Kathy Ceceri offers up her refrigerator pickle recipe in comments on an older post so I thought I’d add it here.

…you thought things we’re getting too dull around here, you will be happy to note that we are officially in the midst of relocating – back to the Big Island.

More (much more, I’d say!) to follow. For now, boxes to pack.

Book Recommendations Needed!

We’ve just finished the first disc of the John Adams HBO series and it is, let me tell you, fabulous. We are anxiously awaiting the next disc via our library.

Meanwhile, both of the boys have expressed an interest in reading more about this period in our nation’s history (because, you know – they can choose what they want to read!). Which brings me to you wonderful folks. Please recommend your favorite historical fiction novels set in the time leading up to and during the Revolutionary War. Young adult novels are good, and Brad might even be interested in adult titles.

I’m recommending that they pick up and read Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. I read it several months ago and it’s GOOD. But beyond that, I’d love to hear YOUR ideas!

On Reading

[Hey! Look! An actual post. About homeschooling, even!]

Yeah, well. Kind of. But mostly it’s going to be a link over to another post that I think some of you may find useful. Miranda addresses the issue of teaching kids to read – or not – over at Nurtured by Love.

My eldest was very much like her kids in the reading department. Always with a book.  Reading avidly and always, from the time he was around four. It just happened.

My youngest? He was slow to read. He like to listen to stories, but reading and putting the letters together to form words was hard for him.  Something about the visuals (for math, too!) just made him freeze up. And yet, now? Always with a book.  Reading avidly and always. It just took him until about the age of eight or nine to get there.

If you’re concerned at all about your child’s reading skills, go read what Miranda has to say!

Cybils Finalists Announced

Well, they were. Way back at the beginning of January. Yes, I’m a little behind the times on this one! In any case, it looks like a great list of books, as you might expect. Head on over to check out the finalists. The winners will be announced in just a few short weeks.

Win a Book!

Over at Great Solutions to Team Challenges, I’m hosting a book giveaway. Here’s the drill:

In comments, tell me who you are (are you a teacher? team leader?) and give me a creative answer to this:

Name things that are shallow

Comment here before the end of the month with both, and I’ll put your name in a hat to win a copy of Team Challenges. I’ll post the winner on the blog on (or close to) Feb. 1.

Scholastic $1.00 Days

I don’t see an expiration date on this Scholastic promotion, though it is called a “holiday” sale. If you’re looking for supplies, it might be worth a look!


Continuing with the book theme, I’m sharing here part of a message I received this morning from Author’s Guild president, Roy Blount, Jr. It’s a good message and one that I hope you’ll take to heart.

I’ve been talking to booksellers lately who report that times are hard. And local booksellers aren’t known for vast reserves of capital, so a serious dip in sales can be devastating. Booksellers don’t lose enough money, however, to receive congressional attention. A government bailout isn’t in the cards.

We don’t want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let’s mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that’s just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance!

There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they’re easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves. Stockpile children’s books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they’ll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books.

You have Roy’s permission – and mine – to copy this message and send it hither and yon as a reminder to all of your shopping friends. Blog it. Email it. Go tell it on the mountain. It’s all good.


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