MrsK's K-8 Books Worth Reading

my best-reads-for-k-8 shelf:
MrsK Books's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (best-reads-for-k-8 shelf)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past by Sharyn McCrumb

Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past: A Ballad Novella

Nora Boneteel's Christmas Past
ISBN: 9781426754210
Net Galley Synopsis

When someone buys the old Honeycutt house, Nora Bonesteel is glad to see some life brought back to the old mansion, even if it is by summer people. But when they decide to stay through Christmas, they find more than old memories in the walls.
On Christmas Eve, Sheriff Spencer Arrowwood and Deputy Joe LeDonne find themselves on an unwelcome call to arrest an elderly man for a minor offense. As they attempt to do their duty, while doing the right thing for a neighbor, it begins to look like they may all spend Christmas away from home.
In a story of spirits, memories, and angels unaware, Sharyn McCrumb revisits her most loved characters who know there is more to this world than the eye can see, especially at Christmastime.

MrsK's Review:
With the dawning of Christmas Eve, Sheriff Arrowwood and Deputy LeDonne get a warrant for a JD Shull. The last thing either of them want to do is make an arrest on Christmas Eve. With the snows arrival they arrive at the Shull's home in the mountains, only to discover that there are just a few things that need "tending" to before JD can come peacefully down the mountain and to jail. As old as his wife is, it would be criminal to leave her with no wood for a fire... a busted out window in their bathroom... and the cows on the loose in the woods. By the time the Sheriff and Deputy have everything "readied" for JD's departure... well let's just say that JD just considers them "angels" sent as a Christmas miracle.

Nora on the other hand will be called out to help her neighboring "snow birds." The Haverty's have decided to spend this Christmas in the old Honeycutt mansion on Ashe Mountain. The one challenge for her neighbors is a bit odd. Since they are from Florida, their "pink" foiled tree continues to fall over, their delightful holiday ornaments (pink flamingos, Santa alligators, decorated palm trees, etc.) are found scattered all over the room... and to their dismay... there is never any sign of an intruder or a draft. Nora agrees to revisit the Honeycutt mansion and while she is there she remembers the last Christmas gathering for all of the families on Ashe Mountain.

With two differing vignettes, you will enjoy the quick-witted humor surrounding an arrest that becomes a blessing and the heart-warming message behind the Christmas shelf in a manor that has Christmas restored within it's walls.

Enjoy these two tales, quick reads seasoned with a nice sweetness,
Enjoyable Holiday read...
 Sharyn McCrumb, author of "The Ballad of Tom Dooley"
Sharyn McCrumb is the New York Times best-selling author of The Rosewood Casket, The Ballad of Tom Dooley, and many other acclaimed novels. She lives and writes in the Virginia Blue Ridge, less than 100 miles from where her family settled in 1790 in the Smoky Mountains that divide North Carolina and Tennessee.

"I received this ebook for free from Net Galley for this review."
Abingdon Press

Friday, August 29, 2014

Mutation by Roland Smith

It's Here....Are You Ready?
ISBN:  978-0545081801
 Publisher's Synopsis:
Monsters of legend come to life! The final thrilling title in Roland Smith's popular series
Marty and his best friend, Luther, have managed to rescue Marty's cousin Grace from the clutches of the nefarious pseudo-naturalist Noah Blackwood, but their most dangerous mission lies ahead of them. Marty's parents have been missing in Brazil for months and their trail has all but run cold. With time running out, Marty and the Cryptos Island crew race off for Brazil -- where they discover that Noah Blackwood has twisted the natural order of things beyond their wildest, most terrifying dreams.

MrsK's Review:
Have you ever been excited about the newest book in a series? Have you known that as soon as you got the book in your hands all other aspects of life would be put on hold until the final punctuation ended your journey? Well that is exactly what so many of Roland Smith's fans are anticipating...

So what is all the "buzz" about Mutation? Well it might have something to do with a Gizmo and a dragonspy, but that would only be about the type of "tech" gadgets that is causing a fuss with in the jungles of Brazil. It could be the sounds of the characters on the zip lines up in the canopy, but then again there probably wouldn't be much noise down below... even if one of the characters gets a bit "carried" away and slams into a tree. Then again, it could be the high-tech motor of the "Rivlan," but with its ability to move up the Amazon with out any detection... it probably isn't that either.

It just might be that every character arrives at Dr. Lanza's Jaguar Preserve, including the hatch-lings (there is nothing better than having your favorite character back in action with the Cryptid crew). Maybe the buzz is connected to the fact that Marty and Grace are safe (for the moment) and you are anxiously waiting for Noah Blackwood to reach the end of his tyranny. There could even be a need for closure... the truth about what happened to Marty's parents.

Or it might just... be... that you are so involved in this series... that your adrenaline is pumping and you are ready to "survive" this final destination regardless of who is detained, captured, killed, or left forever missing. After all, there are those amazing "cryptid" creatures that every reader hopes will one day be seen "alive." Maybe it's just because you are a reader who is addicted to "on the edge" adventures, with characters in "survival" modes, and page-turning hooks. What ever the reason for opening this book, be ready for an all night journey. Once read, you will be the one sharing the "buzz" about this book.

Oh, and teachers be forewarned that your students will not be able to sustain their focus until they have turned the last page of this book. If you want your students to be "engaged" readers, then be ready to lengthen their "free choice" reading time. Or better yet, why not  introduce the series... pass out the first three books... take a seat yourself and begin reading Mutation. The "buzz" will be in all of their discussions, predictions, and desire to be the first one ready to read your copy of Mutation.

Way to "put your pen" to the paper Roland, you never leave your readers wanting less... but always wanting more!

Cryptid Hunters     Tentacles    Chupacabra
And for me, it all began with:
 Thunder Cave
Amazing read
Added all these titles to my shelf
  Today the adventure continues..... Are you ready?
Back Home   I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. When I was five years old my parents gave me an old manual typewriter that weighed more than I did! It was my favorite possession. I spent hours in my room clacking away on that old typewriter. Of course, when I was five I didn’t know how to spell and I barely knew how to read, but I loved the sound and the look of the letters on the crisp white paper.
Things haven’t changed much since then. I still spend several hours a day in my room clacking away and I still love the sound of the keyboard and the look of the letters and words that eventually turn into stories. The only difference is that I can read now and I spell a lot better.
If I’m not writing I’m traveling — doing research and taking photos for upcoming books. Or, I’m out visiting schools — something I love to do! My writing led me to animals and my work with animals led me back to writing. It’s funny how things work out. I spent over twenty years working with animals. Now I’m going to spend the next twenty years writing about animals…as well as a few other things.
"Writing is like any skill in life — the more you practice, the luckier you get. If you want to become a writer, you need to write every day, even if it's in a journal or diary, and you need to read everything you can get your hands on all the time. I know hundreds of authors and all of them are fanatic readers. You learn to write by reading other people's words. "

"I received this ebook for free from Net Galley for this review."

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Goodnight Ark by Laura Sassi

Product Details
ISBN: 9780310737841

Publisher's Synopsis:
Beds are ready.
Food is stored.
Noah hollers,
'All aboard!'

It's bedtime on Noah's ark, but the animals can't sleep because of the storm. Two by two, they crowd into Noah's bed, creating a sticky situation. Will Noah ever get them back to their own beds? Climb aboard the ark for this rollicking, yet ultimately restful bedtime story as Noah finds a way to make things calm and cozy, even in the midst of a storm.

MrsK's Review:
If the best place for children to learn to read is on your lap, then this is one to share again and again. With the "Zip! Zing!" lightning, the "Crash! Boom! Rumble!" of thunder, and the "Tip, slip, slide!" of the Ark... well, you and those precious little ones on your lap will spend many delightful giggles from this enjoyable voyage.

Laura's word play invites you to read along, to exaggerate the sound effects, to have fun with animal voices and noises. Your young reader will enjoy their success as beginning readers because they can feel the rhyme, they can connect their prior knowledge about the animals, and they understand the "stormy" fears and the need for safety in your bed. This tale invites so many opportunities for discussing Noah's story, for helping them know that "noises" in the night... can bring them safely to you, and that they are loved.

The minute we opened this book, my little Miss began counting and sorting the animals. Jane's illustrations are just delightful. During many moments re-reading, we mimicked their expressions... we giggled about their surprise "attack" onto Noah's bed, and we "seeked" out those extra creatures that didn't have top billing in the story.

Just an over-all good time for everyone,
Enjoyable read aloud! A must read, re-read, and read again voyage.

Meet the Author:
Laura Sassi Laura Sassi has a passion for telling humorous stories in rhyme. She writes daily from her century-old home in New Jersey where she lives with her husband, two children, and a black Cockapoo named Sophie. Her poems, stories, articles, and crafts have appeared in Highlights for Children, Cricket, Ladybug, Spider and Focus on the Family's Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. GOODNIGHT, ARK is her first picture book.

Meet the Illustrator: 
Jane Chapman is a multi award-winning artist who has illustrated over one hundred books, including Bear's New Friend and Very Special Friends. She lives in Southern England with her husband, two children, and five chickens.

"I received this book for free from Book Look Bloggers for this review."
I review for BookLook Bloggers

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Nest by Esther Ehrlich

ISBN: 9780385386074
Publisher's Synopsis:
For fans of Jennifer Holm (Penny from Heaven, Turtle in Paradise), a heartfelt and unforgettable middle-grade novel about an irresistible girl and her family, tragic change, and the healing power of love and friendship. In 1972 home is a cozy nest on Cape Cod for eleven-year-old Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein, her older sister, Rachel; her psychiatrist father; and her dancer mother. But then Chirp’s mom develops symptoms of a serious disease, and everything changes.

Chirp finds comfort in watching her beloved wild birds. She also finds a true friend in Joey, the mysterious boy who lives across the street. Together they create their own private world and come up with the perfect plan: Escape. Adventure. Discovery. 

Nest is Esther Ehrlich’s stunning debut novel. Her lyrical writing is honest, humorous, and deeply affecting. Chirp and Joey will steal your heart. Long after you finish Nest, the spirit of Chirp and her loving family will stay with you.

MrsK's Review
Once in awhile you open a book that feels so "good" that everything around you suddenly fades away. Just look at the cover, does it not invite you to come along on this girl's journey?  Naomi "Chirp" is a delightful "free spirit" whose endearing qualities will remain etched within your heart.  With the setting of Cape Cod in 1972 comes a fluttering of joy-filled memories for me. Between the historical details there is a "vividness" to the moments between Naomi, her sister Rachel, and her mother as they sing through songs on the radio or from their stereo. Songs bring any reader back into personal memories, thus creating a joyful connection between the characters and the reader. Perfectly chosen... perfectly placed... perfect unison with the threads of the story.

As Naomi's journey begins: I should have taken the shortcut home from my bird-watching spot at the salt marsh, because then I wouldn't have to walk past Joey Morell, whipping rocks against the telephone pole in front of his house as the sun goes down.  You are given the "foreshadowing" that  these two characters will be important to each other as the story progresses.  Do you remember these end of summer activities, class mates who knew of each other but never made connections beyond the classroom. Some of my dearest friends were found in those end of summer days:
"So where were you?" Joey asks, like it's his right to know.
"How was nowhere?"
"Just like somewhere," I say.
He looks at me, real serious, and then he smiles and drops the rock. 

Naomi shares her passion for bird watching whether it is looking out a window, strolling through pines and oaks, hiking back into her favorite spot in the marshes, or browsing through nature books. Her birds are her pass-time, her joy is found in the moments spent with her mother as they experienced life in nature.  Can you remember that care-free spirit as a 6th grader? Do you remember the anxiety surrounding school, the teachers, the school work, and the fitting in? Can you imagine what it would be like if you had to watch your mom grow weaker day after day? It's not easy having your mother dancing with you one day and then having an ambulance taking her to the hospital the next day. Naomi's mother... a dancer, a nature enthusiast, an "imagination" guide, a "swan boat" adventurer, and the one who used playful nick names for her youngest daughter... Chirp, Snap Pea, Sweet Chicken, My Girl, and Chirpie. Each of these names represents a treasured moment, eternally "seared" deep within Naomi's heart.

Naomi's father values family bonding which means "talking" through daily chores, at the dinner table, while traveling, and when life gets rough. Naomi would rather go on expeditions, for her that means being in the nature around her or reading about it:
...schlepped the duffel bags with the fold-up kayak, my backpack with my binocs,
and a canvas bag that Mom packed with hard-boiled eggs, cheese, Wheat Thins,
and watermelon... 

Her father has taught Naomi that it is important to "feel connected" with their past in order to "make sense" about their present. He must balance his daughter's needs, his patients, his feelings and fear, and phone calls to the hospital about his wife. Sometimes there just isn't a clear path to follow, but there is determination and hope:
"Even though this is a tough time, there's still a lot to be thankful for."

Naomi's sister Rachel, well she is a few years older, in High School, and knows to "run" to her friends when mom is at her worst.  It's hard to be in communication with each other when your mother's MS diagnosis "suffocates" the joy from life. It is Rachel who will clean, cook, and try to provide the "same" household that each of the family is missing.

And then there's Joey.  That "unexpected" summer friend.  Nothing is safe around Joey's home, so when Naomi's mother gets worse... it's Joey's experiences which provides support for Naomi. Their friendship won't be about solving the chaos around them, but it will be about having that friend that will help you "adventure" beyond the pain.
Naomi's journey is about family, loving memories, friendship, and finding the strength to move beyond tragedy.  With characters so richly described... beautifully described east coast settings marking the passage of time... and a sensitive/emotional story about how illness, depression, and suicide leaves a family grasping at hope and learning "how" to begin a new season in living.  An excellent choice for reader circles, so many areas for reflective conversations.

Read for understanding,
Amazing journey for raising today's readers! 
 Esther Ehrlich Esther Ehrlich's debut novel, Nest, is forthcoming from Wendy Lamb Books/Random House in September 2014. Ehrlich was born and raised in Boston, graduated from Vassar College, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.  Learn about Chirp's Birds.
Read the opening of Nest.
download Nest chapter sampler PDF
"I received this ebook for free from Net Galley for this review."

Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Miracle in a Dry Season
Sarah Loudin Thomas
ISBN: 9780764212253
Publisher Synopsis:
In a Drought, It's the Darkest Cloud That Brings Hope
It's 1954 and Perla Long's arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor . . . until he meets Perla. She's everything he's sought in a woman, but he can't get past the sense that she's hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla's unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.

MrsK's Review:
This book promises a beautiful journey. It's a journey that will bring a smile to your day. A journey that will inspire you to walk away from all of those who are judgmental, condemning, and seeking to shred you with their gossip. When the "stuff" of life threatens your hope, our Lord always opens a door for us to walk through with faith. What is awaiting is a new beginning, a life fully loaded with individuals "hand-picked" to be welcomed into your life. This new beginning will bring you to a recognized cross road, yet this time you aren't alone.

The beautifully described setting is a small town in West Virginia. It is during a turning point for all Americans as the Korean War was coming to an end (1954). A time when the media was changing the "role" of women, television was changing life within households, and the government was tracking down Communists. Within the nation, there remained certain remote towns in which communities attended church, grew up and rarely left home. This was the "opened door" that gave Perla such hope.

In a town where the spring planting is done, there is time for barn dances. When was the last time you attended a barn dance? When was the last time the ladies from church were so a "buzzed" with planning that men hurried to get their cars? Have you ever "flat-footed" across the floor? At any family get-together, have you enjoyed a delicious Hummingbird cake or ham biscuits?  When was the last time you watched a gentle man give a gift to a little girl who had no father, a gift so lovingly crafted... a gift every little girl would delight in... close your eyes and envision the scene:
"Well, you'd better come see what's in this basket, then."
Sadie scurried over and pushed aside the dish towel... She gasped and then crouched down,
using both hands to hold Amy as if letting the doll look into the basket.
Sadie reached in and removed the chair, then the table, and finally the little bed.
She placed them in a semicircle in front of her and then just gazed at them. 

Perla is a single mother, raising a delightful daughter (Sadie). Perla is "gifted" with the ability to make meals from anything:
"Seems like I've always been able to cook. I just wish my food didn't... didn't go on like it does."

Casewell is man after God's own heart. He is a carpenter who values his talent, his gift, and his desire to "do" for others:
Casewell walked across the backyard to a stout little outbuilding that he had designed and built...
The far side held his woodworking tools---his treasures.

With a story line of a drought that threatens their town, Perla and Casewell will be led in a discovery of inner strength, God's will for their lives, and a love that will mend the past.

This journey is woven with vivid scenes that touches a reader's spirit. Whether its the scene when Casewell tastes the water from a forgotten stream during the worst of the drought, or the moment his father "sees" the rain before it splatters upon the window. There are moments of beautiful prayer that will sing within your heart. There are moments of loneliness that will bring a swift "sting" unto your eyes. Yet, just as in our moments of life... there are those moments of joy that truly make life worth living.

Blessings are found within these pages,
  A beautiful and enjoyable read.
Added to my shelf and shared with the
Booked to Dine Book Club
Sarah Loudin Thomas is a fund-raiser for a children's ministry who has also published freelance writing for Mountain Homes Southern Style and Now & Then magazines, as well as The Asheville Citizen-Times and The Journey Christian Newspaper. She holds a bachelor's in English from Coastal Carolina University. She and her husband reside in Asheville, North Carolina.

  • Excerpt Download PDF
  • "I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers for this review."

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

    The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child
    ISBN: 9780545429429
    Book Synopsis:
    Known for her popular blog, "The Book Whisperer," Donalyn Miller is a dedicated teacher who says she has yet to meet a child she couldn't turn into a reader. Her approach, however, is not conventional. Miller dispenses with the more traditional reading instruction of book reports and comprehension worksheets in favor of embracing students' choices in books and independent reading. Her zeal for reading is infections and inspiring --and the results are remarkable. No matter how far behind Miller's students may be when they enter her 6th grade classroom, her students read an average of 40 books a year, achieve high scores on standardized tests, and internalize a love for books and reading that lasts long after they've left her class. Travel alongside the author as she leads her students to discover the ample rewards of reading and literature. Her secrets include:
    Affirming the reader in every student
    Supporting students' reading choices
    Carving out extra reading time
    Modeling authentic reading behaviors
    Discarding time-worn reading assisgnments
    Developing a classroom library with high-interest books

    Rich with classroom examples and practical advice and stitched together with the thread of Miller's passionate voice, this book will help teachers support students of all levels on their path to reading success and points a way out of the nation's literacy crisis. The book also includes an invaluable list of books that students most enjoy reading.

    MrsK's Review:
    As an educator, I'm sure you have read passages, texts, or an insightful instructional book that you wanted to rave about. This is one of those books!

    As a "seasoned" educator, it was rewarding to once again be invigorated with foundational reading principles, suggested instructional strategies, and basic insights for what reader's within our classrooms "crave." Those literary connections they must experience. The decisive foundational commitment to invest time spent reading as a top priority in every classroom, for every student.

    Empowering life-long readers will create life-long learners, researchers, designers, and community leaders.

    Across the vast curricular scope and sequence, there is not one lesson... not one resource... not one target that will have the achievable success for every student as the provision of time spent reading.

    Get inspired to guide, lead, and provide...

     Inspiring... A must read, share, discuss, and put into place within our classrooms!

     “Reading changes your life. 
    Reading unlocks worlds unknown or forgotten, taking travelers around the world and through time. 
    Reading helps you escape the confines of school and pursue your own education. 
    Through characters – the saints and the sinners, real or imagined – reading shows you how to be a better human being.”
    Donalyn Miller 
     Donalyn Miller Donalyn Miller has worked with a variety of upper elementary and middle school students and currently teaches fifth grade at O.A. Peterson Elementary in Forth Worth, Texas. In her popular book, The Book Whisperer, Donalyn reflects on her journey to become a reading teacher and describes how she inspires and motivates her middle school students to read 40 or more books a year. In her latest book, Reading in the Wild, Donalyn collects responses from 900 adult readers and uses this information to teach lifelong reading habits to her students. Donalyn currently facilitates the community blog, The Nerdy Book Club and co-writes a monthly column for Scholastic’s Principal-to-Principal Newsletter. Her articles about teaching and reading have appeared in publications such as The Reading Teacher, Educational Leadership and The Washington Post.
    Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer's Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits
    A companion to the bestselling The Book Whisperer, Reading in the Wild explores whether or not we are truly instilling lifelong reading habits in our students and provides practical strategies for teaching "wild" reading. Based on survey responses from over 900 adult readers and classroom feedback, Reading in the Wild offers solid advice and strategies on how to develop, encourage and assess key lifelong reading habits, including dedicating time for reading, planning for future reading, and defining oneself as a reader.
    Includes advice for supporting the love of reading by explicitly teaching lifelong reading habits Contains accessible strategies, ideas, tips, lesson plans and management tools along with lists of recommended books Co-published with Editorial Projects in Education, publisher of Education Week and Teacher Magazine Packed with ideas for helping students choose their own reading material, respond to text, and build capacity for lifelong reading.

    Saturday, August 9, 2014

    Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle by George Hagen

    Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle 
    ISBN: 9780385371032

    Net Galley Synopsis:
    A fast-paced, exciting—and emotionally rich—fantasy
    novel for middle graders that reads like a cross between Harry Potter and The Phantom Tollbooth.
    How can 11-year-old Gabriel find his missing father, who seems to have vanished without a trace?
    With the help of Paladin—a young raven with whom he has a magical bond that enables them to become one creature—he flies to the foreboding land of Aviopolis, where he must face a series of difficult challenges and unanswerable riddles that could lead to his father ... or to his death.

    MrsK's Review:

    In Gabriel Finley's world, our every day ravens love riddles.  Yes, I said that those black "menacing" ravens like speaking and solving riddles.  Did you know that a "good many raven jokes are about owls... because ravens fear owls... they consider owls to be stupid and dangerous... There isn't an owl alive who is as clever as a raven."

    At the time, Gabriel "didn't know anything about ravens..." but he liked riddles because he enjoyed unlocking them and trying to discover the double meanings in the words:  When is a door not a door?  Now just for a moment, think about what it would be like to be raised in a home where instead of sports... riddles were your daily challenge, entertainment, and connections with your father.  You will realize just how much of a "riddle master" Gabriel's father truly was if you accept this "riddled" journey with Gabriel.

    As Gabriel turns 12, he learns of a quest that very few are allowed to embark on.  His father has gone missing. his mother has been missing since he was born, there's a new boy in seventh grade that for whatever reason wants to "cheat" off of him and keeps hanging around, and there is this raven (Paladin) that begins appearing every where.  Gabriel's Aunt Jaz remembers that his father once kept a diary, in which he discovers that his father knew a raven by the name of Baldasarre.  Within the diary are very important clues to events that will help Gabriel discover his skill of paravolating.  On his twelfth birthday, his aunt remembers there is a gift his father has left him, it turns out to be a riddle of sorts. Why would an old key be so important that his father prepared it as a specific gift for... a specific age?  And now there's this new girl in school, Abigail Chastain (I personally adore her).  Add in these obnoxious visitors and a writing desk that is on the move.  You do know that riddles can be more than words...  Why after all these years would his Uncle Corax's mysterious departure be such a major "key" to where his father has gone?

    I must let you know a bit about the raven, Paladin.  He is learning all about the history of ravens and humans.  His mother instructs him in the skill of "meaningful" riddles (think of these riddles as being multi-layered investigative research).  Paladin learns about the evil Valravens, these ravens are not the type of playmates any mother would want hanging around the neighborhood.  He is being schooled about the dwarf's underground dungeons and mazes of Aviopolis.  Then during one of his lessons, Paladin's mother provides a riddle:
    "Every house has one of me, 
    I will not let you in, you see,
    Unless you feed me with a meal
    Of jagged brass or hardened steel.

    The promise within the covers of this journey is that you will be "mystified" by the paralleled paths for Gabriel and Paladin.  As each of these characters are uncovering their true quest, the riddles they are given are meant for you.  You can discover the "intersections" that are just around the corner for them... if you have the skill to decipher the meaning behind the words! 

    Are you willing to travel this path?  Do you know how to keep Corax from finding the torc?  Are you good at solving riddles?
    Please help Gabriel and Paladin...

       Meet the Laments—the affably dysfunctional globetrotting family at the center of George Hagen’s exuberant debut novel. Undeniably eccentric, the Laments are also universal. Through the Lament’s restlessness, responses to adversity, and especially their unwieldy love for one another, George Hagen gives us a portrait of every family that is funny, tragic, and improbably true.
    When is a book like a key?

    "I received this ebook for free from Net Galley for this review."

    MrsK's Reading Bio

    Reading is important! No questions asked, not even a blink of the eye from any student I grew up with. On the first day of the First grade, we were given our first books. Day two we all read aloud, round robin of course. Day three we were place in our first basal, now known as a lit circle group. Books were so important, publishers designed new curriculum so that every student was reading by the end of the first week. These early readers had images that looked like what we could see in the classroom, beyond the classroom, even on the big screen. Reading is important, throughout history every generation has believed that “Reading” opens up the world for endless possibilities.

    I adore the 1950’s Dick and Jane books. Actually, most reading specialists and experienced (45+) educators believe that every student learned to read with Dick and Jane. Since these books are being re-issued, I have heard many parents, grandparents, and students claim that Dick and Jane stories of repetition does teach students to read.

    Early influences from my mother influenced my desire to read. I would watch her read and we would go on “secret” excursions to the library. The library became my playground. I owned every book I could carry home, of course they needed to be taken back to their home after visiting with me for a week or two. My first book that I could pull off of the library shelf and read was, Father Bear Comes Home. I only saw my dad on Sundays for a few hours. I would pull this beginning reader off of the library shelf every week. Every week I would try to read the first chapter. Every week I got further in the story. My mom would let me check it out, only if I could read it myself (She didn’t like the illustrations therefore she didn’t want to take time to read it to me). One day, I pulled the book from the shelf and when mom came to get me from the children’s corner, I realized that I had read the whole story. I ran to the check out desk and the Librarian KERCHUNKED the checkout card. My mother, brother and neighbors read. My teachers read. We all read aloud all day long in school. The Priest read aloud every day at mass, even in Latin. Everybody in the Doctor’s office read. People on the bus read. Dad’s waiting in their cars as the Mom’s and children grocery shopped, read. In fact, once you could read and write, Sunset Magazine considered you a reader and sent you mail every day.

    Reading is important; I’ve spent my life reading. I’ve traveled around the world and into space through books. My favorite genre is whichever book I have open at the time. Children’s Literature is my passion. Book clubbing is one of the best past times, especially if food is involved. In fact my friends of old are in a book club and we are about to embark on a beach trip to “read” and discuss our newest selection.

    My “home-run” book story has helped every student find his or her own “home-run” reads. Every year, I have shared my, Father Bear Comes Home, and every year my students have brought in their “home-run” books. That’s the “diving board” into our Lit. Studies.

    In “Growing Up Digital,” Tapscott’s insights into the new generations enthusiasm for the Net reminded me of my generation’s enthusiasm for reading, movies, TV, parties and our driving permits. The Net-Generation, as Tapscott describes, “are learning, playing, communicating, working, creating communities, and enforcing a social transformation.”
    N-Geners are interactive “techies” who are always looking for a way to “work it” verses the TV Generation of “Baby Boomers” who started out looking for “how it works.” Reading development is tougher today, society moves too fast to invest their “non-working” free time into a book or even “home work.” Since I stepped into my own classroom, I have seen students being told to read, being forced to read, and threatened into reading. Homework is not any longer the vehicle for students to gain their future lifestyles or careers with. Yet, the Internet does create an enthusiasm for learning. Since I have been enrolled in these courses, I have used the computers in every subject. My students are using the newest technology in the classroom because I am giving them investigative sites to use as they learn from each other and books. I agree with Tapscott, in order to bridge the gap with this up and coming generation we must “live and learn with them.”

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