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, November 14, 2015

A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love

ISBN: 9781401687595
Publisher's Synopsis:
When India Hartley is accused of murder, she must uncover the deceptions of others to save herself.
India Hartley, a famous and beautiful actress, is now alone after her father’s death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah’s Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night’s performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.
A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best—and handsomest—lawyer in Savannah to defend India. A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simons Island. He needs to increase his income from his law practice in order to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.
Because India can’t go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date. India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia lowcountry and is increasingly drawn to Philip. But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip’s dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions. Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom. If only he will believe her.

"Gunfire exploded to the right of the stage,
a burst of sound that temporarily deafened her...
Two burly officers leapt onto the stage,
seized her by both arms,
and manhandled her into a police wagon..." 
MrsK's Review:

India Hartley is devastated, she had no clue that on December 20, 1870 her life, her career, and her safety would be threatened. As the morning dawned, India's only concern was about the "upstaging" Mr. Sterling had committed during the previous nights performance. Presently, while India had her cheek pressed against "the cold bars" she caught a glimpse of gray daylight. Would the magistrate realize that she was "not to blame" for the gun shot at the Southern Palace Theater?

"India Hartley, you are charged with the murder of Arthur Sterling
and are hereby bound over for trial at a date to be determined."
So many "if only" thoughts crashed in and out of India's mind. Why had Mr. Philbrick insisted on changing the script prior to that nights performance? How was the prop gun replaced by hers? Why was Mr. Sinclair "going to such lengths to assist a total stranger?" For now, India had to accept Mr. Sinclair's services, as well as her release into his custody. For now, India would be scurried away from the "juicy scandal." India was on her way to St. Simons, an island south of Savannah . Her destination was Indigo Point where Mr. Sinclair's family owned a war-torn plantation. The only hope that India could grasp a hold of was a type of safety net that had been flung into her possession by a Mrs. Sutton Mackay. True, she did not know who Mrs. Mackay was. She only knew that Mrs. Mackay had offered her a blessing when she needed it.

"Oh, what a man was this Philip Sinclair!
She couldn't remember the last time she had felt so sheltered."
At Indigo Point, India will find the shadowing of a murder charge briefly fading. Those days will not necessarily be carefree, and yet, India will regain hope, strength, and a re-acquaintance with an inner gift for helping others in need. There will be opportunities for disclosures, for smaller mysteries to be illuminated. Mysteries in which, once truth is revealed, all of the lives from the theater and Indigo Point will converge into one single focal point... India's trial!
 "Gazing at the blackened bricks and crooked chimney, India shivered.
She couldn't give it a name, but she could feel something dark and foreboding gathering there,
waiting in the shifting shadows."

With delightfully detailed settings, enjoyable conversations, and the hint of a blessed future... the reader is given a brief journey back in time when loyalty, a passion for your heritage, and a decisiveness of hope can bring every obstacle into submission.
"A lie is the truth in masquerade,
written in dark misfortune's book."
Who can be trusted?
Enjoyable read!
Perfect for any wintry storm.   
Meet the Author:
dorothylove  Born in the middle of the twentieth century, Dorothy Love is certain she arrived on Planet Earth a hundred years too late. An avid scholar of 19th century American history, she spends most of her time poking through museums, reading dusty books, and studying the journals of the Victorian-era women whose lives inspire her Southern historical novels.
She prefers a fountain pen to a computer keyboard, print books to digital downloads, and face to face conversations to 140 character tweets. Though she admits that modern technology makes it easier to stay in touch with her readers, whenever possible she avoids automated phone systems, online banking, and booking her own airline tickets. When she’s not busy researching or writing books or avoiding technology, she enjoys teaching at writers conferences. She is a former associate writer in residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, FL. She has taught at dozens of  writers conferences nationwide including the Florida First Coast Writers Conference, the Columbus Ohio Writers Conference, the South Carolina Writers Workshop, and the graduate program at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA,  and was a featured author on the Writer to Writer series for Florida Public Television.

"I received this book for free from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Time Garden by Daria Song

ISBN: 9781607749608
Publisher's Synopsis:
Journey through the doors of a mysterious cuckoo clock into its inky innerworkings to discover a magical land of clock gears, rooftops, starry skies, and giant flying owls—all ready for you to customize with whatever colors you can dream up.
Cuckoo . . . cuckoo . . . cuckoo . . . When the clock strikes midnight, you’ll wonder, was it all a dream?
The Time Garden features extra-thick craft paper, ideal for non bleed-through coloring, and the jacketed cover with flaps is removable and colorable. Special gold-foil stamping on the cover and spine and a To/From page make it perfect for gifting to adults and kids alike.

A dazzlingly beautiful coloring book for all ages, The Time Garden will sweep you away into a whimsical cuckoo clock–inspired world, created in intricate pen and ink by the internationally best-selling Korean artist Daria Song. 
Mrs.K's Review:
Ok, I have to admit that I was not a fan of this new type of genre. I did not look beyond the covers of most of these "adult" coloring books. As an educator and librarian, I knew these books of art would not be practical for our shelves. Students would never be able to check these out and color in them.

However, what I found was....
"There once was a little girl who had boundless imagination,
and exploring was one of her favorite things to do." 

An endearing story that captivated my imagination. When the little girl's father brings home an antique cuckoo clock, the little girl just has to take a closer look... to her surprise she discovers a "strange red-haired little fairy." And so her journey begins.

With detailed sketches, you journey with the little girl in and out of the cuckoo clock. Into many "alluring" settings. Into many illusions as enticing as any fantastical dream.

Beautifully designed. Artistically playful. This color book holds the promise of enjoyment, tranquility, and discovery.
Take a moment to read, to color, to relax in a dreamy moment in time, 
"Every object in the house that caught her eye had a brilliant story of its own."
Beautifully crafted... Delightfully fun...
A great gift for yourself and all who love imaginative journeys.  
Meet the author/artist:
Photo of Daria Song  DARIA SONG is an author and artist with a master’s degree in fiber arts from the Ewha Womans University Graduate School of Fine Arts. Winner of the Kyung Hyang Arts Contest, Song has exhibited at numerous galleries and museums in Korea, Singapore, Turkey, and Hong Kong. She is a lecturer at the Kaywon School of Arts and her illustrations can be found in Amore Pacific and SK Planet. She spent five years of her childhood in San Francisco before returning to Korea, and the sense of wonder and mystery that comes from living in a far-off place inspired her internationally best-selling adult coloring book, The Time Garden.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."
A division of Penguin Random House LLC

Hiding Places by Erin Healy

ISBN: 9781401689605
Publisher's Synopsis:
The Harrison lodge is full of hiding places where young Kate can discover all the secrets no one wants her to know.
Eleven-year-old Kate keeps her knowledge to herself—one sister’s stash of marijuana, the other’s petty cash pilfering, her grandfather’s contraband candy bars. She protects her mother and Gran, too, screening out critical comments from the hotel suggestions box. But suddenly the stakes are raised; her grandfather’s best friend is murdered the day after Kate heard the two men arguing.
At the same time, far from the quiet mountain resort, a homeless man sees a robbery gone wrong . . . a gang member seeks revenge for the death of his son . . . and a boy chooses the worst time to wield spray paint on a store window. In a strange and spiraling sequence of events, their disparate worlds collide at Harrison Lodge.
Kate offers shelter to one of them, unaware of the terrible consequences to the family she loves. But people can hide in all kinds of ways, sometimes even in plain sight . . . and some secrets are just waiting to be exposed.

MrsK's Review:
If you are young. If you are someone who is living in the shadows of adults, then your story might be that which saves many lives. Kate is a darling character. She is gifted with a wisdom into the true character of those in her life. She is brave and courageous. She adores her Grandfather (Grandy) and her family is precious beyond their unique quirks. Before her story is finished, you will discover that Kate's passion towards those in need will not be in vain.
"Can you believe this old beast still works?
She's yours, Agent K.
Don't let the film canister go to the bad guys."
Kate's story begins with a sweet interchange with Grandy. They share many secrets that allows Kate to bloom as a young trouble-shooter. On this day of  "surprise gifts," Kate overhears her Grandy as he is arguing with his best friend. Her Grandy never gets angry, why is he threatening to kill Mr. Gorman?

"Mr. Gorman should say he's sorry so you guys can make up...
That's what we have to do at school when someone does something stupid."
Keeping her fears to herself, Kate and Grandy travel into town. At the Kwik Kash Pawnshop, Kate will experience a theft while Grandy and Mr. Gorman are in the back room. From that point on, Kate will experience a series of events that will lead her toward decisions that endanger the lives of her family and their home at Harrison Lodge.

Charlie is a young man who has experienced violence, abuse, abandonment, betrayal, hypocrisy, and "every type of fight for respect, resources, or relief". He doesn't have much other than a harmonica. The gang he hangs with is on the verge of a robbery. Merridew acts as the "dad" for the gang, he calls the shots. He decides what will be done and who will do it. What unfolds will be a series of fatal decisions. For Charlie, he will need to decide if he is going to get involved or run.

Fox is a man, a husband, a father, a gang leader, and an informer. His life is hard and on a fast track to a fatal decision. The morning after his son was abducted and killed, he finds himself between two worlds. One of anger seeking revenge. Another of regrets, grief, and a nauseating realization that life is valuable. 

On the day of the robbery, many will be changed forever. The moment death enters the scene, many will be confronted with choices in which their true strengths or weaknesses will determine their actions. Kate will extend a hiding place to Charlie. Charlie will need some time to recover. Grandy will need to share his secret in order to save his family. Great grandma Pearl will need to confront her family about their deceptions, denials, and the truth behind the creation of Harrison Lodge.

"The lodge was full of such hiding places, where an eleven-year old could spy out all the secrets..."

Seamlessly woven, six lives unfold. Six futures will be determined. Each life has a past that will "collide" at the Lodge. So vivid are the decisions. So carefully crafted are the scenes. So defined are the characters. What begins as a young girls story will end with a reader's experience that is flawlessly portrayed and played out as if it was viewed on the big screen.  

Intriguing suspense in which every turn of the page causes you to want to hope,
"Can you put a price on a saved life?" 
Meet the Author:
  Erin writes supernatural suspense novels with a curiosity about what it means to be a spiritual creation in a physical world. Her books invite readers into the thin places where God’s mysteries touch human realities and change us forever.
"I received this book for free from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

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.”

FTC Required Disclaimer: I receive these books from the publishers. I did not receive monetary compensation for these reviews. These reviews have been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at


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