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, October 29, 2016

The Loyal Heart by Shelley Shepard Gray

The Loyal Heart (Lone Star Hero #1)
ISBN: 9780310345398
Publisher's Synopsis:
Robert Truax, former Second Lieutenant and Confederate officer in the Civil War, made a promise to his comrade Phillip Markham. If anything happened to Phillip, Robert would look after his beloved wife, Miranda. She was his life, his world, his everything.

After the war, Robert is left to pick up the pieces and fulfill his pact. When he arrives at Miranda's home in Galveston, Texas, things are worse than he imagined. Phillip's name has been dragged through the mud, everyone in town believes him to be a traitor, and his widow is treated as an outcast. Even more disturbing is her emotional well-being. Miranda seems hopeless, lost, and so very alone.

Robert had thought his duty would be simple. He would help Miranda as quickly as possible in order to honor a promise. But the moment Robert laid eyes on her, his plans changed. He's mesmerized by her beauty and yearns to help her in any way he can.

He makes it his duty to protect Miranda, turn her reputation around, and to find some way to help her smile again. But it doesn't prove to be an easy task—Robert knows something about Phillip that could shake Miranda to the core and alter her view of the man she thought she knew so well.

MrsK's Review:
In 1867, Miranda's very existence is on the edge and very fragile. What was once a home of love, pride, and joy has forever been changed. Her husband's death in a POW camp on Lake Erie was causing a slanderous "chill" in the town of Galveston. Her life had become so bleak, that even the journey to the bank would cause intense grief. Not even the walk into town could ease her haunting. 

"To remember when one of us is sitting in the dark
and wondering why he should live to see another morning...
live for each other...
do everything we can to help each other survive."
Captain Phillip commanded a group of men that would remain faithful to him even beyond his death. Though the men from the encampment considered themselves lucky to have served with him, Phillip would not live to know the depth of their loyalty. It was at the time of a burial that Captain Devin asked the men to make a vow. That vow included Phillip's request to look after his wife Miranda.

Lieutenant Robert was not sure that the comfort of a "good woman" was all that a man needed, but he was sure that Captain Phillip's love for Miranda was exceptional. Robert had fought with Devin and never considered not honoring his request. Although, once he was being lead up the stairs to the boarding house's bedroom he "felt lower than he could ever recall." Perhaps Phillip never mentioned him in his numerous letters home. Miranda was in no state to be reminded about his connection, that could wait. Sometimes keeping secrets is the only way to uncover the truth.

Now that Robert was befriending Miranda, he understood the measures a man would take to keep her safe. Frustrated with the "ugliness" of the town and their lack of courtesy towards Miranda, Robert renews his vow to "take care" of her. He will need to discover who is spreading lies about Phillip and Miranda. Who would gain if Miranda is ran out of town, out of her home, or worse? Once again the vow at Lake Erie will bring forth a new commission for those who knew Phillip.

"I've been warning you for a year, and my patience is gone. Your time has run out."
With many characters woven in and out of Miranda's life, only those who remain loyal will help her to understand the truth about her husband, herself, and her purpose in life.

Unique weaving of a romance, mystery, and survival...

Enjoyable twists, many threads to unravel, and woven with love.
Meet the Author:
 Shelley Shepard Gray I live in southern Ohio with my husband, two teenagers, and two dogs. My days are filled with busy activities like most any other mom and housewife. But I also love to write books.

Each morning, after my kids go off to school, I sit at my desk, look out my window, and dream of other places. The hours fly by as I make up people and places and drink way too much coffee.

Writing for Avon Inspire has truly been a dream come true. Being able to spend my days in my make-believe world of the Brenneman Bed and Breakfast is a true blessing. I have enjoyed getting to know more about the Amish culture and tapping into my faith as I show each character’s progression toward a personal relationship with our Lord.

Before becoming a full time writer, I taught elementary school in Texas, Arizona, and Colorado. A job transfer to Ohio led my husband to encourage me to finally give writing a try. After all, I had notebooks full of made up stories.

Getting the opportunity to write Inspirational novels is truly gratifying. With every book, I feel my faith grows stronger. And that makes me feel very special indeed.

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

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

The Invention of Wings
ISBN: 9780143121701
Publisher's Synopsis:
Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world—and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection.

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.
"There was a time in Africa the people could fly."
MrsK's Review:
For Hetty living on the "scarce side of mercy," would not be her choice. Living on someone property and being a slave meant that others would find a way to keep you from "flying" free. There were so many rules about stealing, disobedience, laziness, and noise. Even though having been placed in the main house, Hetty will be pushed beyond acceptance of her "good" fortune.

Sarah was growing up in a three story home in Charleston. Her father was a judge and had fought with Washington. Elite and upper class doesn't necessarily mean happiness reigns in one's home. In November of 1803, on her eleventh birthday, Sarah decides that she would draft a manumission document for Hetty. She wanted to ownership of another's life. She didn't approve of slavery or the horrors of what an owner could enforce upon a slave.

Nina is Sarah's sister. Determined to follow in her sister's foot steps, she will be the voice at home that will try to bring about a change in the south. Through their correspondence, insights about the struggles to end slavery provides the depth of their character, their destiny, and their choices.

With in every life, there are those cross-road decisions that will alter the path that one once hoped in. For Hetty, it will be her mother running away. For Sarah it will be an opportunity to "strike" out against slavery, a destiny that began with the penning of Hetty's manumission. For Nina, it will be the insightfulness of Sarah's letters that leads her to Philadelphia.

By 1821, all three of these women will be on separate paths. Each one begins their search  for a "voice" that would match their "yearnings" and make a difference. Neither will achieve their goals for they are only on the verge of a maturity which begins clarity to one's path. In 1832, Philadelphia, Sarah will be learning how her faith and an anti-slavery voice could be heard. While Hetty, will be living through the "terror" between pro-slavery and radical abolition with Nina. 

By 1838, Nina has joined Sarah and both ladies will become strong voices against slavery. Their witness and writings will create such a following, and yet... such a fear in Charleston that they will be banned from ever returning to their home. For Hetty, the time has come for her and Sky to leave or "die trying."   

Historical fiction isn't always a journey that is easy to travel. When it is so well written, the character voices resonate with in you to a point of no return. You make a choice to adopt their voice of reasoning and then... then you make a change.
Excellent reading,
"How does one hear the voice of God?"
Amazing read for any book club...Booked to Dine book choice.        
Added to my shelf!
Meet the Author:
Sue Monk Kidd  SUE MONK KIDD was raised in the small town of Sylvester, Georgia. She graduated from Texas Christian University in 1970 and later took creative writing courses at Emory University and Anderson College, as well as studying at Sewanee, Bread Loaf, and other writers’ conferences. In her forties, Kidd turned her attention to writing fiction, winning the South Carolina Fellowship in Literature and the 1996 Poets & Writers Exchange Program in Fiction.

When her first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, was published by Viking in 2002, it became a genuine literary phenomenon, spending more than 2½ years on the New York Times bestseller list. It has been translated into 36 languages and sold more than 6 million copies in the U.S. and 8 million copies worldwide. Bees was named the Book Sense Paperback Book of the Year in 2004, long-listed for the 2002 Orange Prize in England, and won numerous awards.

The Mermaid Chair spent 24 weeks on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list, reaching the #1 position, and spent 22 weeks on the New York Times trade paperback list. She is also the author of several acclaimed memoirs, including the New York Times bestseller Traveling with Pomegranates, written with her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor. Kidd lives in Florida with her husband.

The Courtship Basket by Amy Clipston

The Courtship Basket
ISBN: 9780310342014
Publisher's Synopsis:
Rachel Fisher is devastated when the young man she’s loved for years leaves her to date her best friend. Her heart is broken, and she has all but given up on love. Determined to keep her mind off the pain, she starts teaching at an Amish school for children with learning disabilities.

Since his father became ill, Mike Lantz has been overwhelmed with the responsibility of providing for his family and caring for his six-year-old brother, John. When John joins Rachel’s class and she learns that his mother is deceased and his father sick, she desperately wants to help the family, even with something as simple as a meal.

With her parents’ old picnic basket, Rachel begins sending food to the Lantz family. As the weeks go by, John’s grades start to improve, and the attraction grows between Rachel and Mike. They can’t deny that their friendship is growing toward something more, but both of them are hesitant to risk a more serious relationship.

The last thing Rachel wants is another heartbreak, and Mike is worried about providing for his loved ones. Will the two be able to reconcile their past hurts with new hope for the future?

"And our hope for you is firm,
because we know that just as you share in our sufferings,
so also you share in our comfort."
2 Corinthians 1:7
MrsK's Review:
What should have been a delightful gathering became a moment of truth so heart breaking that Rachel will become determined to keep herself from ever allowing love to enter and reside within. Or so she thinks. With betrayal comes a deception that one is guilty of some wrong doing. It will take courage, faith, friendship, and love to accept the goodness of a life well lived.

Rachel's story begins in a classroom. Now that she is no longer engaged, many have encouraged her that her talent with children should be a focal point for her healing. As with any educator, Rachel finds a deep level of concern for her students. The preparation for a new student will not cease once the student becomes accustomed to the ways of this school. In fact, John's struggle with reading and math will prove to be a joint learning experience in which many will be blessed.

Mike is John's older brother. He is a craftsman at Bird-in-Hand Builders. His time is consumed with keeping his father's business in production, as well as the duties of their home and his father's failing health. John is a joy, yet his needs can be overwhelming when there is so much to do every day. Even though Mike has extended family to help, he can't take the time to just enjoy being with other young adults in his community. Embedded with in his soul is the faith that "God would see him through this difficult time in his life."
"...Please stop by the school as soon as possible."
"Received your notes and voice mail. Will be in touch."

Will be in touch, really. This man must not understand the magnitude of John's problem. With that in mind, the stubbornness with in Rachel sets forth a series of events that is quite entertaining. Armed with determination, Rachel will go to Mike's business and promote her case for his "at home" responsibility. Of course, it does not go the way she envisioned. Now Rachel will need to make amends and discover a different path for helping John. Never did she foresee that her mother's food basket would be the instrument for an overflow of blessings. 

Rachel will discover that once you begin doing for others your hurts become healed,
Love is found within...
"Today is the day!"

So endearing! 
A read-it-forward book worthy to be shared. 
Meet the Author:
Amy Clipston Hi, I’m Amy Clipston. I am an author of Amish and Christian fiction with HarperCollins Christian Publishing. Most of my books focus on the Amish community, faith, and love. I also write romance novels and young adult inspirational stories.

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

The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter

The Goodbye Bride (Summer Harbor, #2)
ISBN: 9780718023737
Publisher's Synopsis:
Following a concussion, Lucy Lovett can’t remember the last seven months of her life. She doesn’t remember leaving her fiancé Zac Callahan weeks before their wedding or moving to Portland, Maine. And she sure doesn’t remember getting engaged to another man. All she remembers is loving Zac more than life itself.

It’s taken Zac months to move on after Lucy left him with no explanation. He’s thrown himself into his family’s farm and his restaurant business in Summer Harbor. Now Lucy’s back, vulnerable, homeless, and still in love with him. She needs his help putting the pieces together, but letting her back into his life is a risk—and the stakes are high. If he follows his heart he’ll win back the love of his life. But if her memory returns he’ll lose her all over again.

MrsK's Review:
"While the headache and dizziness were disorienting,
the anxiety roiling in her gut was even worse."
When Lucy awoke she couldn't remember why she was laying on a floor of a restaurant in a wedding dress. Where was Zac?
"Please, Zac. I'm truly desperate."
When Zac gets the phone call about Lucy, all he can wonder is why after seven months would she be calling him? In no way was Zac ready to re-experience the pain of any encounters with Lucy. And yet, she sounded so lost and confused.

Lucy discovers that she had left Zac all those months ago, without even an explanation and causing him such pain. Not only has she lost at least a month of memory, she discovers that there is another fiancé looking for her. Could life get any tougher?

Getting a job, an apartment, and some stability in this "new life" seemed daunting. Of course anything would prove easy compared to the range of emotions that coursed through her veins every time she was around Zac. Being humbled around his family and friends was her cross for the decisions she had made. What Lucy doesn't expect is the compassion, the friendships, and the loving forgiveness that will be graciously extended towards her as she regains the truth about her leaving Zac in the first place.

Compassion for Lucy's memory loss will lead you on a quiet journey within your discovery of what merciful grace can do in any situation. Not only are Lucy and Zac those characters you root for, you find yourself wanting to help the extended family and friends encourage their love and healing. The frustration that surrounds Brad is so aggravating!

You will not be disappointed with the outcome.
Enjoy a light-hearted rekindling of a path destined for love,
Mrs K
"We should pray about that.
Or, as my daddy says, 'time to wear out the knees in those jeans."

Reading for enjoyment is delightful when the story like is well crafted.
"Grace was in all her steps
Heaven in her eyes
In every gesture dignity and love." 
Meet the Author:
 Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

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

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Kissed By a Cowboy by Debra Clopton

Kissed by a Cowboy
ISBN: 9781401690533
Publisher's Synopsis:
Having lived through her parents’ endless string of “matrimonial bliss gone wrong,” Cassidy Starr knows when the odds are not in her favor. Divorced and humiliated, her faith on rocky ground, Cassidy is through with love. She’s been bucked off that horse far too many times. Instead, she returns to Wishing Springs, Texas, and the rundown farm she’s inherited from her great aunt Roxie. She’ll reopen the strawberry farm and a bed & breakfast and follow in her aunt’s footsteps, remaining forever-independent, happy . . . and single.

Rancher Jarrod Monahan’s hands are full running the ranch, looking after his ailing grandfather, and chasing down a group of rustlers on the loose. He’s pushed his longing for a family to the bottom of his list of priorities. Besides, he was in love once but ran scared and lost his shot at happiness. But suddenly, the biggest regret of his life has moved in next door with a wounded heart, determined to become a spinster . . . and that’s a challenge that Jarrod can’t pass up.

"She was done with tears.
Seriously done.
So over them."
MrsK's Review:
As Cassidy Starr heads home to Strawberry Hill, she is ready to begin a new life. Coming home to her Aunt Roxie's house is just what she needs. Even though she had inherited the house six years ago, Cassidy is determined that Strawberry Hill would make a perfect Bed and Breakfast thus proving to be her renewing foundation. Given her failed marriage to an unfaithful husband, she is committed to a "no reliance" on any man. No matter how infuriating Jarrod's helpfulness becomes, she will not open her heart again.

"Cassidy Starr, I have seen you in some predicaments,
but this one wins hands down.
What in the name of thunder are you doing?"
Jarrod Monahan is a cattle rancher who is way to busy for any chaos that Cassidy's return will most definitely bring into his life and possibly his heart. He thought he had burned that bridge years ago. Besides, with so many cattle missing he had plenty to do locating the rustlers. 

With a town celebration, humorous and endearing characters, unshakable faith, a dash of stubbornness, and reunited love... this is purely a light-hearted romance.

Worthy of your moments... endless smiles will bring a lightness to your day,

Just for fun, just for enjoyment, just because every reader needs to smile!
Meet the Author:
Debra Clopton Award-winning, Bestselling author Debra Clopton has sold over 2.5 million books and her holiday story, OPERATION: MARRIED BY CHRISTMAS has been optioned for an ABC Family Movie. Debra is known for her snappy dialogue, cowboy heroes and spunky heroines set in Texas. Her awards include: The Book Sellers Best, Romantic Times Magazine's Book of the Year. She's also a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist, and a triple finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award. A sixth generation Texan, Debra lives on a ranch in central Texas with her husband Chuck. She loves to travel and spend time with her family. She is the author of the much loved Mule Hollow Matchmakers series where you never know what the Matchmaking "Posse" is going to do next! She's written for Harlequin Love Inspired and Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins Christian and DCP Publishing. She is currently working on her 38th novel surrounded by cows, dogs and even renegade donkey herds that keep her writing authentic and often find their way into her stories. She loves helping people smile with her fun, fast paced stories.

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

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah E Ladd

Dawn at Emberwilde (Treasures of Surrey, #2)
ISBN: 9780718011819
Publisher's Synopsis:
For as long as she can remember, beautiful and free-spirited Isabel has strained against the rules and rigidity of the Fellsworth School in the rolling English countryside. No longer a student, Isabel set her sights on a steady yet unexciting role as a teacher at the school, a safe yet stifling establishment that would provide her a steady environment to care for her younger sister Lizzie, who was left in her care after her father’s death.

The unexpected arrival of a striking stranger with news of unknown relatives turns Isabel’s small, predictable world upside down, sweeping her and her young charge into a labyrinth of intrigue and hidden motives.

At her new family’s invitation, Isabel and Lizzie relocate to Emberwilde, a sprawling estate adjacent to a vast, mysterious wood rife with mysterious rumors and ominous folklore—along with whispers of something far more sinister. And perhaps even more startling, two handsome men begin pursuing Isabel, forcing her to learn the delicate dance between attraction, the intricate rules of courtship, and the hopes of her heart.

At Emberwilde, Isabel will discover that the key to unlocking the mystery of her past may also open the door to her future and security. But first she must find it—in the depths of Emberwilde Forest.

MrsK's Review:
In 1817, Isabel Creston had come to a place of peace with her living at Fellsworth. She was in line for a permanent teaching position or at the least a governess position. With both of her parents dead, Isabel and her sister, Lizzie, had no living relatives. She hoped to continue her training at Fellsworth, at least until her sister was of age.

Summoned to the Superintendent's office, she was determined to meet the news with calmness. What she wasn't expecting was the news that her mother's sister had sent a Mr. Bradford as a messenger to escort her and her sister home to Emberwilde Hall. She was not pleased that a letter, a summons, would decide her future, yet she wasn't of the mind to let them know her feelings.

"In a matter of minutes she would come face-to-face with the pieces of her life that had for so long been a mystery.
Whatever her father's reasoning for keeping her aunt a secret,
it could not matter now."

Mr. Bradford is the superintendent of the foundling home in Northrop. The home is located on Emberwilde property and is the project of Mrs. Ellison's focus, of which she is quite proud. The school was "a school that would not turn anyone away." A school that would touch Isabel's heart in more ways than the mere needs of the foundling charges. 

Colin Galloway is over seeing the riddance of trespassers for Mr. Ellison, the master of Emberwilde Hall. If they were smugglers, he would need to uphold the lawfulness in which he was responsible as the magistrate of the Northrup area. With the help of his aunt Lydia, not just the lands are under his supervision. Even the youngest are tended to. Once the newest charge is delivered to the Foundling home, Colin realizes that this little one has found a place in his heart.

Miss Constance Ellison is a cousin, musically inclined, and a romantic. Will she remain a loyal confidant to Isabel? Will she be happy with her mother's arranged marriage? Why would Isabel feel trepidation about either Constance's fiance or Mr. Bradford?

"Beautiful places can be deceptive."

Mrs. Margaret Ellison is a "strong and persuasive woman," one who is use to giving orders. A person who over-sees everyone's life and future. Yet, for Isabel, there are many reasons why her niece is in need of her attention. Will her choice of a husband for Isabel bring a unification that will prove prosperous? Will Heddeston Park have a new owner?

"Let's just say, I will not be underestimating you again..."

Within and around the Victorian settings, you will find yourself entwined with Isabel's journey. Her journey is one of courage, betrayal, and hope of a family. Has Isabel really "come home?"
Enjoy a story that will be one you can't wait to share with others,

Perfectly enjoyable... 
A great read it forward... deserving of a warm cup of tea, a quilt, and a fire!

Meet the Author:
Sarah E. Ladd  "Every word has a melody. Every sentence has a rhythm."This truth has intrigued me since my early years. Even before I fully understood the meaning behind many of the words, I devoured literature and consumed poetry.
Austen, Alcott, Wordsworth: I left no piece of literature untouched, left no author unexamined. I continue to see magic in how a word is transformed by the word next to it and how written thoughts can incite emotion and evoke change.
In addition to a lifetime of writing and exploring fiction, I have more than ten years of strategic marketing and brand management experience, including five years of marketing non-fiction books and three years of marketing the musical arts.

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

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker
ISBN: 9780142180358
Publisher's Synopsis:
In a life that spanned nearly a century and witnessed some of the most momentous events in American history, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley was born a slave. A gifted seamstress, she earned her freedom by the skill of her needle, and won the friendship of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln by her devotion. A sweeping historical novel, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker illuminates the extraordinary relationship the two women shared, beginning in the hallowed halls of the White House during the trials of the Civil War and enduring almost, but not quite, to the end of Mrs. Lincoln’s days.

"On the day of the presidential election of 1860
she was eager to be safely indoors well before curfew."
MrsK's Review:
Elizabeth is a dressmaker for the District of Columbia's socially and politically elite. After years of saving, she has purchased freedom for her and her son George. She has become an independent business woman with an admirable reputation. She hopes that the new first lady will have a "taste for finery," in which she will be called upon to create her fashions.

Over the years, Elizabeth becomes not only a dressmaker for Mrs. Lincoln. She will be the one to tend to Mrs. Lincoln's outings and she will be the one that helps Mrs. Lincoln in those transitional days after the assassination. She will be instrumental in helping Mrs. Lincoln "transform the White House into a showplace worthy of our nation." This story is about Elizabeth and her grit, compassion, and determination to walk through those white house days as a support person for the first lady. 

Beyond her talent and attention to detail, Elizabeth will prove her loyalty with gracious dignity. She becomes a coveted mantua in which the Washington elite will "rush to place their orders." 

 "She had never known another man with such nobility of soul and greatness of heart..."

Elizabeth's story is expertly crafted. Historical fiction must accurately portray facts, yet there must be a voice that enables the reader the possibility to walk with the historical characters. Our book club did just that. We had discussions beyond Elizabeth and Mrs. Lincoln. We were left hungry for additional works by Jennifer. We checked into other primary sources about this time period. We shared Elizabeth's writings (Behind the Scenes). We are inspired to know more...
"Her greatest legacy could not be measured in garments or in words,
but in the wisdom she had imparted,
in the lives made better because she had touched them."
A remarkable read for any book club...Booked to Dine book choice.        
Added to my shelf!

For more information about Elizabeth, click here.
Meet the Author:
Jennifer Chiaverini  Jennifer Chiaverini is the New York Times bestselling author of several acclaimed historical novels and the beloved Elm Creek Quilts series, as well as six collections of quilt patterns inspired by her books. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin. About her historical fiction, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes, "In addition to simply being fascinating stories, these novels go a long way in capturing the texture of life for women, rich and poor, black and white, in those perilous years."

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


Traits of Writing: Inking Thoughts

Booked 4 Success: Inspired Learning